Can You Boost Your WiFi Signal?

wifilaptopwithwomanSeems like this would be a really easy question to answer, but there are so many variables and pieces to this puzzle that it can sometimes become overwhelming. We’re here to help you break it down and simplify the process.

You’ll want to answer a few questions to get you started on the right path:

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
    • Are you wanting to share internet with a neighbor?
    • Do you want your child to be able to stream movies in the WiFi devices in their room?
    • Do you want whole house WiFi access?
    • Access the RV Park signal that’s 300 feet away?
  • Where do you want the signal to go?
    • This relates to question one, but you’d be amazed at how many people don’t have the answer for this.
  • What do you want to connect?
    • You’ll need specifics, makes, models, number of devices.

These may seem like straight forward questions, but correctly and honestly answering them can save you hours of frustration by getting you the right solution the first time. Below is a guide you can print out and use for reference when talking to anyone about possible WiFi solutions:

  • Do you have WiFi already? (This is a service that is often set up when you get broadband internet, possibly by your cable or cellular phone provider).
    • (This is a service that is often set up when you get broadband internet, possibly by your cable or cellular phone provider).
      • If Yes, what kind of router do you have? The make and model and knowing whether it has removable antennas or not can help you make an informed decision.
        • Some common brands are D-Link, NetGear and Linksys.
      • If No, how do you plan to access WiFi? Are you using public WiFi (like something at an RV park, coffee shop or hotel). You will not want to purchase any kind of accessory until you know how you are going to connect to WiFi
        • If you plan to use public WiFi there are several nuances you may encounter, we will save those for a different article.
  • Now that you know what router or WiFi access you have, where is it located in relation to where you’re trying to receive the signal? If the location is your house or office a rough diagram will help, especially with approximate distances. Is it 100 feet away through 4 walls and a refrigerator? Is it in the middle of your home but you’re trying to receive in the garage or the mother-in-law cottage next door which is 300 feet away? The more details you have about how far away and what’s in the way (walls, trees, levels of your home etc.) the better the solution will be. If it’s the coffee shop signal you want receiving may be more difficult.
  • The most important part is – what do you want to connect? The reason this is important is some devices like laptops can install drivers. Other devices like tablets, smartphones and gaming systems can’t. Those that cannot eliminate several possibilities for boosting WiFi. If you are planning on using the solution with a laptop, you will also need to know what operating system and version (this would be Windows 7 or MAC OS 9). If you want to connect multiple devices that narrows the solution options significantly.
    • Keep in mind that devices are only tested for operating systems that are currently available at the time the device is created. Sometimes drivers can be updated to work with new operating systems. Sometimes no updates are needed but other times major changes make older devices incompatible with new operating systems. Please be cautious when upgrading operating systems.

Now that you know the details, you can begin to look for the right solution.

  • For computers and laptops, you can choose from one of the USB antennas that connect directly to the USB port on your computer.
  • For routers with removable antennas, you can upgrade to a larger antenna system.
  • For creating a hotspot that multiple devices can connect to (such as smartphones and tablets), a repeater system would be a good place to start.
  • For specialty situations that are a distance of more than a few hundred feet or that require multiple access points (like a hotel or multi-office setup) a standard or custom bridge kit may be needed.

One more consideration: Not all makes and models are designed to work together (especially if you’re purchasing parts from multiple vendors). Compatibility issues may cause sub-par performance. Make sure to do your research and if you have any doubts, ask questions before making the final decision.

We’ve put together this really great chart to help you figure out the best solution for your situation. Still not sure what to do? Use the worksheet above that you’ve completed and give us a call. We can only advise you on solutions that we sell but we can certainly tell you if we don’t have anything that will work for what you’re trying to accomplish.

Not looking to purchase anything right now, here’s some ideas for boosting your WiFi for free.

What is your WiFi challenge? Tell us in the comments and you will be entered to win the Super WiFi Repeater Kit. One entry per person. Drawing will take place on June 1st.

Congratulations to Scott Goggin for winning the Super WiFi Repeater Kit on June 1st. Thank you all who participated! ! C. Crane

43 Responses to “Can You Boost Your WiFi Signal?”

  1. Richard Holden Says:

    We have problems at work with our wifi dropping out for several minutes at a time. I assume this happens because of some sort of electromagnetic interference in the area. The ISP serviceman has been out several times and seems to be clueless on how to fix it.

    • jessyca martinez Says:

      Those are tough problems to diagnose. We recently went through something similar and it turned out to be our service provider had upgraded the entire network (for the whole area) from 10MB service to 100MB service, our modem however didn’t support the bandwidth which created all sorts of compatibility and speed and availability issues. You might consider checking with your provider on any recent changes – may be nothing, but in our case a new modem solved everything.

  2. Angela Ulin-Brown Says:

    We are in an area of poor reception where I live on the outskirts of a main town, and video doesn’t stream correctly (stutters so much I click off).

  3. scott goggin Says:

    the biggest challenge is keeping the signal from a source that is not stable to begin with (Comcast!) … Mister Crane I need my own satellite, how much $$$ for that?

  4. mark antonino Says:

    crowded broadband in my area

  5. Dale De Laria Says:

    My wifi is 53′ from the front of my connected garage. Which is where I quite often attempt to use the internet on my phone with little or no success. Sounds like you have a cure for my wife challenge.

  6. Christopher Williams Says:

    I’m looking for an AC Adapter that you plug into your wall that uses 2 prongs and that is wireless and enables you to have the internet or enables you to use a signal from 500-700ft. away from where you are,or does both and allows you to stream movies and videos just like it would if you had the service(signal)in your own home.

    • jessyca martinez Says:

      We do not carry such an item however we have seen this idea on the market as well. You may want to check amazon.com for more results. What we have that may be the right solution is the Super USB WiFi Repeater Kit http://www.ccrane.com/Super-WiFi-Repeater-Kit. This will pick up a WiFi signal within 1 mile, line of site and will repeat the signal through a wifi router to the other wireless devices in your home; like a Smart TV, Tablet, Cell Phone and Laptop. Maybe this will be the solution for what you originally were looking for. If we can answer any questions about the WiFi Repeater Kit, please call us at 800-522-8863.

  7. Marv Gibson Says:

    I would like to use my home wifi (Comcast) in another building on the property approximately 200 feet away for laptop, iPad and smart phone use…

  8. Raymond Burt Says:

    Need a solution to get better signal strength at an RV campground.

  9. leo hund Says:

    I am a Senor Citizen on Social Security . I spend most of my day time up in my barn with my animals. The barn is about 325 feet away, on a hill ,from the house .
    I need your wonderful booster/repeater badly, can’t seem to save enough to purchase. Thanks!

  10. ridingonfumes Says:

    My WiFi challenge is just finding it to Begin with, then it becomes an issue of parking my motorhome near enough to the WiFi source that it will still get through the aluminum wall’s of my RV. And now that I’m trying to do a YouTube travel Vlog channel I’m always needing WiFi to upload videos

  11. Kevin Voorhees Says:

    I would like to extend my house wi-fi to a detached garage workshop.

  12. Albert Wallace Says:

    Live in the fringe of the WiFi signal, its frustrating to be cut off during my internet sessions.

  13. Rob DeHarpport Says:

    I live in a remote portion of the Oregon Cascade mountains, I would like a booster device that would allow me to reach and share the costs of wifi with my neighbor who is 300 feet away.

  14. Jim Metter Says:

    I have my suspension business in my shop that’s about 120 feet from the house and the wifi in the house won’t reach. Plus inside the shop I don’t have any mobil phone service. It like a big Faraday cage! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • jessyca martinez Says:

      Normally I would recommend our Super USB WiFi Repeater Kit (http://www.ccrane.com/WiFi-Antennas/Super-WiFi-Repeater-Kit) for such a short distance. However when it comes to businesses, bandwidth tends to matter much more. In that case you may want to call one of our technicians and ask about a Custom Station to Router Kit. These are built-to-order and customized on an individual case.

  15. Sheree Fulton Says:

    My challenge is useing a tablet that pulls only 2/3rd of the signal.

  16. Jay Denn Says:

    My WIFI Challenge is that I can’t afford WiFi…

  17. Nathan Bates Says:

    My challenge is I would like to be able to use McDonalds free wifi that is about 500 yards from my apartment.

  18. Christopher Miller Says:

    It would be great to get a consistent wi-Fi signal.

  19. psbrubaker Says:

    I live in a rural area, so Verizon LTE service through their MBR1515 Wireless Router is the only way to go. It barely covers my house, and I would love a good way to push the signal outside to the patio, or my woodworking shop 100′ away.

    • jessyca martinez Says:

      There are a few things you can do here with that router. The most economical boost you can do is upgrade the stock antennas that came with the router. According to the manual for the MBR1515 the antennas are removable and have SMA connectors. That being the case, ordering a pair of these antennas (http://www.ccrane.com/WiFi-Antennas/Hi-Gain-7dBi-WiFi-Antenna-RPSMA) will boost performance significantly. Your household coverage will improve immensely and likely even creep outside. If the outdoor distance doesn’t quite reach where you want, call back and speak with a technician about ordering a Custom Access Point. These are built-to-order and customized on an individual case. Coverage for these Custom Access Points is generally acres wide so it should cover to your shop with no issues. Call us at 800-522-8863

  20. Cynthia Sizemore Says:

    My biggest wi fi challenge is getting a good signal at the other end of my house.

  21. macc83 Says:

    i like to sit in the lark across the street to enjoy the sun light and the trees and birds. I also walk my puppies there. My cell phone coverage and tablet coverage is not good. I can see my home network yet to use have to be in a part of park that can see the signal. And on some days that does not even work. So like to have a way to enjoy wifi and read your web page, other ham radio and weather and storm spotting and radar web pages.

  22. Talmadge S. Bradley Says:

    I am receiving the Internet on my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone , and on my Samsung smart TV. I have no idea where it is coming from, or how far away that it is. It seems to operate best, when I am in the living roo., which faces east. Sometimes it runs great, and sometimes it runs a little spotty, but it almost always works, 24 hours a day. It seems to work a whole lot better , when I am outside. What can I do, to increase the consistency and power of my reception?

  23. James Bishop Says:

    i need to get a signal in my back yard. up to 200 feetaway from house &in my shop (75 feet away)

  24. ridingonfumes Says:

    I wonder who won?

  25. Stephen Airy Says:

    I’m finding it interesting that I have trouble getting wifi in the bathroom about 45 feet northwest of wireless router, but I can still get some trace of signal about 160 feet away out west in the back yard. The router, a Buffalo WZR-600DHP, is almost at the other end of the house. Going to the back it’s about 30 feet before I’m outside the house. In both situations I’m only getting about 0 or 1 bar on my smartphone, a Galaxy S Relay 4G. Is there a suggested solution so that I could get 4 or 5 bars (whichever is max / strong reception) in the back yard and bathroom, without letting the signal go out into the street which is 60 feet east of the router? (One idea I’ve personally had was a concept like a miniaturized version of some of those multi-tower directional AM arrays you see all over the place, basically like a 6-antenna phased array or something like that with each antenna being a half wave or full wave dipole.)

    P.S. I missed the entry period of course but I’m okay with that this time. 🙂

    • jessyca martinez Says:

      Hi Stephen,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Do you have removable antennas on your Buffalo router? Routers are directional, especially if you do not have an antenna on the router. Moving the router left, right on its sides, up or down can potentially change the connection and distance. Depending on your router connections on the back, we would normally suggest adding a larger gain antenna to the router to boost the signal further. If you do not have removable antennas, we would then suggest something like the WiFi Repeater kit in order to receive the signal and repeat it back out to where you’d like.
      If you do not want the signal to reach the street, this may be more difficult but a potential solution would be to disguise your wireless network, the option would be to “hide your SSID” in your router settings.
      If you would like to discuss your options further, please call us at 800-522-8863, we would be happy to make suggestions for you.

      Thank you,
      Jessyca M.
      C. Crane Company

  26. NanDora Holcomb Says:

    Not very savvy on the techie stuff, know just enough to be dangerous! LOL!…anyway, we have TWC internet service and want to figure out how the extend the signal to our motor home parked in the back yard (250 feet). We use it as a guest house and have purchased a ROKU box for internet tv…my signal strength on the ROKU box is only the dot, no bars. so it does see the wifi signal from the modem, but no more. wasn’t sure what to look for as the ROKU box is only the connection to the tv and the power cord. do I look for a signal relay to place somewhere near the back of the house to extend the signal? THANKS, NanDora Holcomb

  27. Crystal Andrews Says:

    I live in an apartment next to the house. Probably 50 yards from the router inside the house to my apartment. I pick up Wi-Fi in my place but its very low signal in a few places with no signal at all throughout most of my rooms. I want a roku tv and my signal needs to be stronger. I thought about running another router but will this work instead? With better performance possibly?

  28. Daren Grant Says:

    My neighbor recently passed, His wife called telling me that her point to point network no longer worked due to loss of site to the tower. I’m guessing someones trees grew up. The only other provider in the area is over subscribed and not taking customers. As a good neighbor I want to share my network with her. She doesn’t do a lot but need the signal to reach. He house is across the street but that is approximately 600-700ft.

    • C. Crane Says:

      Dear Daren,

      I am sorry to hear about your neighbor passing. We have the equipment that can help his widow. I imagine you want to keep things as easy as possible for her; a no stress setup. That said I would go with a Custom Station to Router Kit. Basically a roof top antenna on her house pointed to your house, a cable dropped insider her house and plugged into her router. This specifics will be a link listed below. The pro’s, no programing on her part just need someone to mount the antenna and plug in some cords. The con’s, if you change your network information down the road it will take some reprograming on the equipment in her house or she would lose your network access. The cost is roughly $235 + shipping. Alternately a full bridge kit could be used and then there is no worry about you making changes to your network but that rings in at around $420. If I can be of any further help please let me know.
      http://www.ccrane.com/stationtorouter
      http://www.ccrane.com/WiFi-Antennas-1/14dBi-IndoorOutdoor-24-GHz-WiFi-Antenna

      John Wilder
      C. Crane Company Inc.
      http://www.ccrane.com
      800-522-8863


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