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Registered: ‎25-01-2010

Tips for improving your wireless network range and performance

If you notice your wireless network has a weak signal, it probably means your connection isn't as fast or as reliable as it could be. Worse, you might lose your connection entirely in some parts of your home. If you're looking to improve the signal for your wireless network, try some of these tips for extending your wireless range and improving your wireless network performance.

1. Position your wireless modem in a central location.

Avoid placing your modem next to an outside wall of your home. Most modem antennas are omni-directional. This means that the signal radiates from the antenna in all directions equally. Place the modem as close to the centre of your home as you can to increase the strength of your wireless signal throughout your home. Don't worry if you can't move your wireless modem, because there are many other ways to improve your connection.

2. Move the modem off the floor and away from walls and metal objects (such as metal file cabinets)

Putting your modem on the floor, or next to walls or metal objects, can diminish the signal strength, because the modem's signal is broadcast in the shape of a sphere. The fewer physical obstructions between your computer and the modem's signal, the more likely that you'll be using the modem's full signal strength. This means a stronger Internet connection from greater distances in your home.

Your wireless signal should be able to pass through most obstacles around the home, but certain materials can affect the performance of your wireless network. Floors, walls and other obstacles made of dense materials such as brick, stone, concrete and metal can reduce the range and strength of your wireless connection.

3. Change your wireless channel

Wireless modems can broadcast on several different channels, similar to the way radio stations use different channels. Just like you'll sometimes hear interference on one radio station while another is perfectly clear, sometimes one wireless channel is clearer than others. Try changing your wireless modem's channel through your modem's configuration page to see if your signal strength improves. You don't need to change your computer's configuration, because it'll automatically detect the new channel.

Click here for instructions on how to change the wireless channel of your modem/router.

4 . Reduce wireless interference

Your cordless phone or other wireless electronics are sending signals, too. If they're close together, they may interfere with each other. You can help prevent interference by changing the location of your cordless phone base station, changing the frequency channel on your wireless modem, or avoiding wireless electronics that use the 2.4-gigahertz (GHz) frequency. If you have trouble reducing the amount of wireless interference, look for cordless phones and other wireless electronics that use the 5.8-GHz or 900-megahertz frequencies.

5. Upgrade 802.11b and 802.11g devices to 802.11n.

The Vodafone HG556a Wireless Modem uses the latest 802.11n wireless networking standard, which is the high-bandwidth successor to 802.11g, and it's nearly five times faster (nearly 25 times faster than 802.11b!). This increased speed is noticeable if you're sending information from one computer to another on your home network—for example, sending pictures from your mobile PC to your desktop computer—however, it's not as evident when you're simply accessing the Internet.

The 802.11n standard, also known as 'N' technology, also uses a stronger signal, meaning it's more reliable and you can get online while further away from your Vodafone modem. To get the best range and speed possible from your Vodafone HG556a Wireless Modem consider buying an 'N' standard adapter (802.11n).

You can use the 'N' technology with your Vodafone HG556a Wireless Modem if your computer is compatible. If you've got a new computer that already works with the 'N' technology, you'll see the image on its box or in its user guide. If you bought your computer before 2008 it won't work with the new 'N' technology unless you buy an 'N' wireless adapter, you can purchase such an adapter from any computer retail store.

6. Update your modem firmware and/or your network adapter drive.

If you are using a Vodafone supplied Huawei HG556a modem then you should upgrade to the latest firmware. Click here for further details.

Network adapter vendors occasionally update the software that your operating system uses to communicate with your network adapter , known as the driver. These updates typically improve performance and reliability. To get the driver updates, do the following:

Windows 7 and Windows Vista
1. Click Start menu, click All Programs, and then click Windows Update.
2. In the left pane, click Check for updates, and then wait while Windows Vista looks for the latest updates for your computer.
3. Install any updates relating to your wireless network adapter.

Windows XP
1. Visit Microsoft Update , click Custom, and then wait while Windows XP looks for the latest updates for your computer.
2. Install any updates relating to your wireless network adapter.

Apple Mac OS X
1. Click the Apple icon in top left hand corner of your screen.
2. From the drop down menu select "Software Update...".
3. Install any updates recommended by Apple
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