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How Wi-Fi works and how to improve your signal

How Wi-Fi works and how to improve your signal

Friday 11 August 2017

how WiFi works

We use Wi-Fi every day and it currently carries more than 60% of the world’s internet traffic. But have you ever wondered how you’re able to watch a video on your tablet through that invisible connection to your wireless router and the internet?

We explain how Wi-Fi works and how you can improve your signal without boring you with the technical details:

How does Wi-Fi work?

You can imagine the connection between your router and your computer like two radios communicating with each other but with lower power and broadcasting over a much shorter distance. While your car stereo receives frequencies in the Kilohertz and Megahertz range, your wireless router works on a different wavelength and transmits and receives data in the Gigahertz range. The two frequencies your modem is using are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

What happens when you download data

Your router receives information from the internet through the Ethernet cable and translates this into a coded signal that is sent off to your computer’s wireless adapter. This is a set of instructions that tell your computer what to do to display text, images and videos in your browser.

What happens when you upload data

When you upload data, your computer’s wireless adapter codes data into a signal and transmits it to your router. Your modem receives the signal, decodes it and sends your data to the internet via Ethernet cable.

What you can do when your Wi-Fi isn’t working

When your Wi-Fi signal is travelling from your computer to your router and vice versa, it’s subject to interference. Walls, microwaves and some other electrical appliances can interfere with your Wi-Fi frequency. If you keep your router in a central and elevated location in your house away from any devices that might cause problems, your broadband connection should be good. However, if you find that you’re getting a weaker signal in your bedroom or find that your internet speeds are considerably slowing down when the whole family is online, you might be able to improve your connection by changing your frequency.

The rule of thumb here is that the lower the frequency, the farther a transmission can go and the higher the frequency, the shorter is the distance the signal can cover.


If you’re having trouble getting a signal in your upstairs bedroom, you should be using the 2.4GHz frequency. 2.4GHz operates on a lower frequency and reaches further than a higher frequency

Internet speed

If your problem is slow broadband when your whole family is online or all your housemates are home, you can try switching to 5GHz. 5Ghz can carry more transmissions at once than a lower frequency and should improve broadband speeds for you.

Get even more tips on how to improve your Wi-Fi signal here.

broadband speed test