Reader Comments

The best place to install your router for better Wi-Fi

by Frieda Fort (2020-01-20)

image.php?image=b19nature_animals_land09id="article-body" class="row" section="article-body"> Enlarge ImageOptimize your router.

Taylor Martin/CNET Just because you pay for the fastest package your internet service provider (ISP) offers doesn't mean you're actually going to get those speeds. For starters, those speeds are theoretical speeds under ideal conditions with the recommended equipment.

There are a lot of factors that determine the internet speeds you'll actually get and, likewise, a few tricks or guidelines you can follow to improve the overall wireless speeds and coverage in your home.

Read more: Wi-Fi 6: Better, faster internet is coming this year -- here's everything you need to know  

One of the most crucial things you can do is pick the optimal location in your home for your router.

Start with proper equipment
Chris Monroe/CNET It all starts with choosing the right router or other equipment. Not all routers are made equal and the size and layout of your home will determine what type of wireless network you need.

For most apartments and smaller homes (under 1,500 square feet), a single wireless access point should suffice. That said, if your router is several years old, you may want to consider upgrading to a newer model with support for wireless 802.11ac and dual-band support. This will give you the fastest wireless speeds possible and the best overall coverage.

For bigger, multilevel homes, it's worth considering making the upgrade to a mesh network to offer consistent coverage throughout the entire house. Once the main access point is installed, if you find a far corner of your home doesn't have solid wireless coverage, just add another node to that area. Problem solved.

If you're not sure where to begin in choosing your next router, consult our buying guide.

Regardless of whether you have a single access point or a mesh network, where you place the primary access point still matters.