There are a number of things that can affect a WiFi signal, but physical obstructions such as brick walls, concrete, metal and mirrors are the main culprits.
See our uSwitch Guide to Broadband Connection Problems for more information.
A good start is to make sure that your wireless router is positioned high up and in a clear space, for example on top of your desk rather than under it, to maximise your chances of a strong signal. It's a good idea to ensure that there are not too many solid objects in the way too.
Other wireless devices also cause interference. Generally speaking, anything that is cordless or wireless can create an issue, for example a phone or a baby monitor.
Electrical equipment can also cause problems, so on the whole it’s best to keep your router on its own somewhere. It won’t cause huge problems if it’s within a couple of metres, but if it sits on top of a speaker or a PC now is a good time to move it.
If you use a PC, Windows automatically searches for and connects to the strongest wireless broadband connection it can find. Make sure you’re connecting to the right network and with the right kind of security.
More advanced tips
By accessing your router’s configuration page, you can change details like the name of your network, the channel it broadcasts on, and the password.
Changing channel – typically the channels run from 1-13 and, by default, the channel is set to auto. In theory this will select the strongest channel for you, but it is often best to set this manually. In the UK the most commonly used channels are 1, 6 and 11 so it may be worth trying something else.
Security – sometimes the signal strength is low because someone is stealing your internet! Make sure you use at least WPA2 security – WEP isn’t very good at all and very easy to hack.
Upgrade equipment – although network cards and routers all work together, it’s best to match the broadcast type and if possible the manufacturer too. The broadcast type will be A, B, G or N – this simply refers to the strength and distance of the signal. If you’re not getting enough, upgrading to N may help.
Compare the latest wireless broadband offers at our Wireless Broadband comparison page.