Are you being plagued by buffering and dropouts even though you’ve signed up to a fast broadband package? Is a speed test giving you an odd reading that’s well below what you’re paying for? Before you reach for your phone and wait in a queue to speak to your broadband provider’s technical support, you might want to experiment with where your wireless router lives.
There are some notorious troublesome spots in every home. In this practical guide, we’ll take you through the worst spots to avoid. We’ll also let you know if there are any easy tweaks you can take to make to improve your Wi-Fi signal.
Best place to put a Wi-Fi router in your house: the key points
Best places at home to put your router and improve your Wi-Fi signal
No matter the shape and size of your house, whether you live in a flat, bungalow or 2-storey home, there are some common places you should avoid.
Here’s where you shouldn’t put your Wi-Fi Router:
Don’t put your Wi-Fi router in the kitchen
You’ve probably got the most gadgets in your kitchen. Any electrical devices or objects with large surfaces can cause strife with your Wi-Fi signal. This means placing your router anywhere near fridges, dishwashers, microwave ovens and washing machines is a big ‘no’. Did you know microwaves and routers emit the same 2.4 gHz radio waves? When both are running, they’ll compete. The further away your microwave is from your hub, the better your signal strength.
Avoid thick walls
Thick walls have a big impact on your Wi-Fi signal strength. This is tricky if you live in an older building or homes like barn conversions with solid obstructions. The best location for a router is a central location with a lot of open space and the fewest walls and doors. Although it can look tidier, hidden corners of your home aren’t good for fast internet speeds. If this proves to be too much of a challenge, and you can’t find an appropriate spot that also has access to a phone socket, you could look into setting up Wi-Fi repeaters or a mesh network. It’s not as tricky as it sounds.
For more help on how to do this, read our other guides on setting up a good home network:
- What is mesh Wi-Fi?
- What is a Wi-Fi booster? Extenders and broadband boosters explained
- How to use an old router as a Wi-Fi extender
Avoid electrical items
It’s a good idea not to place your router too close to common electronic devices, particularly ones that emit radio signals. For this reason, you shouldn’t place your router on the same shelf as a baby monitor or a cordless phone. Radio-controlled toys might also have an impact on wireless signals.
Avoid putting your router on the floor
For a strong connection, you’ll need to raise the position of your hub off the ground. Instead, place it on a desk, shelf, or a sideboard. Wi-Fi signals travel downwards, so the higher you can get, the stronger your Wi-Fi coverage.
Don’t put your router near a fish tank or mirrors
Although it sounds like some bizarre old wives tale, water and reflective surfaces are a router’s nemesis. Water can dampen the strength of Wi-Fi signal, whilst mirrors cause havoc in the same way as a stainless-steel appliance. These can scramble your signal and have a negative impact on your internet speed.
Tips to improve your home’s Wi-Fi network
Think about your router placement
All routers are designed differently. The model you get will depend on the broadband provider you’re signed up with, or whether you’ve opted for a third-party device.
It should be obvious how your router is designed to be placed. For example, if the hub clearly has pads on the bottom, it’s not a good idea to wedge the device sideways to fit onto a bookshelf. Wall-mounting your router may look good aesthetically, but there may be internal antennas inside that are carefully designed to face a certain way.
Alternatively, the router’s antenna might be very obvious. This gives you scope to adjust these. You should carefully read the instructions and guidance your provider gives you.
Wondering what kind of router model you’ll get when you sign up to a new provider? The quality of the router will make a huge difference. Some providers offer out very basic models, whilst others include the latest tech. Many providers also offer out ‘discs’ or ‘boosters’ as part of a Wi-Fi guarantee if you’re happy to pay for a premium.
Upgrade your router
Feel like your router is letting you down? These devices are upgraded all the time. You’re guaranteed to get a fresh bit of kit when you sign up to a new broadband package. As long as you’re out of contract, you’re free to switch.
You can pop your address into Broadband Genie’s deals checker to see the best offers available to you:
Broadband Genie deals checker
Here are some handy router round-ups to help you find out which router you get when you sign up to a new broadband package:
Best router position for a 2-storey house
If you live in a bungalow or flat, you’re best off placing your router in a central location with the clearest line of sight for each room you can manage. Avoid electrical appliances and kitchens.
If you’re in a 2-storey house or larger, you’ll need to think a little differently. If you want to keep your router on the ground floor, place it on a high shelf. Alternatively, use a low sideboard for a first floor bedroom or office. Don’t forget, you can use Wi-Fi extenders, mesh routers or ethernet cables if you live in a larger house, and you’re struggling with dead zones.
Use Wi-Fi checker apps to boost your internet speed
Check out your internet service provider’s technical help section if you’re having problems with a sluggish internet connection. Larger broadband providers offer a free Wi-Fi checker as part of their apps. You can download these to make light work of finding a good spot for your router. You’ll be able to check the Wi-Fi performance in each room and get a clear rating:
If you don’t have access to an app through your provider, there are many third-party Wi-Fi analyser apps for both Android and iPhone smartphones. You can find these through Google Play or the Apple App store. Here’s a few to consider:
If you’re experiencing slow broadband speeds, sometimes the problem could be as simple as where you’ve placed your router. Every home is different, with unique layouts and their own limitations. You might not have loads of choice when it comes to good spots for a router, but there are a few spaces you should definitely avoid. Kitchens are a big ‘no’ as they’re often home to a lot of electrical appliances. Microwaves are a big culprit for Wi-Fi interference.
If you have a large home, or you have particularly thick walls, you need to work on finding the best, central location. Several providers include a helpful tool in their phone apps to help you find the best spots for your router and scan your home for dead spots. These can also be used to find the best positions for any Wi-Fi disc or ‘Pods’ you may have too.
If these steps still don’t fix your internet issues, get in touch with your broadband provider’s technical help team.
For more help, read these extra guides:
- ‘Intermittent or slow broadband? Troubleshooting connection problems’
- ‘Making broadband complaints: how to complain about your home internet’
Why do we need your address?
We need your address to show you the broadband deals available at your home. This information is gathered in partnership with thinkbroadband.