How to Increase Wi-Fi Reception on My Dell Inspiron

by James T Wood

Wireless (Wi-Fi) networks operate in a frequency range of 2.4 or 5 gigahertz to transmit wireless data between routers and computers. Like any radio signal, Wi-Fi networks are affected by several variables. Distance is one of the main factors in the ability to receive a signal. If your Dell Inspiron laptop is too far away from the Wi-Fi router, your signal will be weak. Other factors that affect the signal strength of your router and receptivity of your laptop are: the number and type of walls between them, other Wi-Fi networks operating in the area and other electromagnetic radiation in the area.

1

Change the channel of your Wi-Fi router. Wi-Fi channels are separated by 0.005 gigahertz, resulting in some bleed-over from one channel to the other. If you live in a densely populated area where several Wi-Fi routers broadcast in an overlapping area, you may need to change the channel. You can verify this by doing a site survey with a tool like Netstumbler (see Resources). Open the configuration console for your wireless router by typing in the router's internet protocol (IP) address in the Web browser of your Dell Inspiron laptop (see Resources). Log in to the router and click on "Wireless," then select the "Channel" drop-down list and change the channel. Typically, channels 1 and 11 have the least interference from other Wi-Fi routers. Click "Apply" to save the settings.

2

Move the router to a more central location in your home so that fewer walls come between the router and your Dell Inspiron laptop. A Wi-Fi router can typically broadcast indoors a signal of about 150 feet. Position the router in the middle of your home.

3

Reduce interference from other devices. Microwaves and cordless phones use a similar frequency to the older Wi-Fi technology. If your Wi-Fi router uses 802.11b or 802.11g, you may be receiving interference from those devices. Move any phones or microwaves away from the router. If possible, switch to a phone with a different bandwidth that won't interfere with the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi router and your Dell Inspiron laptop. Alternatively, if you have 802.11n or later Wi-Fi technology on your router and Dell, then you can switch to use only the 5 gigahertz range. Log into your router and click on the "Wireless" link, then find the "Bandwidth" setting and select "5GHz" and deselect "2.4GHz." Click "Apply" to save the settings.

About the Author

James T Wood is a teacher, blogger and author. Since 2009 he has published two books and numerous articles, both online and in print. His work experience has spanned the computer world, from sales and support to training and repair. He is also an accomplished public speaker and PowerPoint presenter.

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