Want better Wi-Fi? Here is the best place to put your router

Optimize your router for fast internet speeds.

Taylor Martin / CNET

Is there anything more squeaky than slow Wi-Fi? Even if you have paid your monthly fees to a Internet service provider (ISP) and took the time to have your router professionally, you might still be spending too much time monitoring your computer. But luckily, there may be an easy solution: change the location of your router.

There are many factors that determine internet speeds and as long as there is a some tips or guidelines you can follow To improve the overall wireless speeds and coverage in your home, one of the most crucial factors is the location of your router. So keep reading to learn more about the best place in your house for your router and other tips for good Wi-Fi.

Read more: 11 Ways To Make Your Wi-Fi Faster

Start with the right equipment


There are many different routers: Wi-Fi routers, mesh networks, and more.

Chris Monroe / CNET

It all starts with choose the right router or other equipment. Not all routers are created equal, and the size and layout of your home will determine the type of wireless network you need.

For most apartments and small homes (less than 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 that supports 802.11ac wireless and dual-band support. This will give you the fastest possible wireless speeds and the best overall coverage.

For larger, multi-level homes, it is worth considering upgrade to a mesh network to provide uniform coverage throughout the house. After the primary access point is set up, if you find that a remote corner of your home does not have strong wireless coverage, simply add another node to that area. Problem solved.

To find out more, see our list of the best mesh routers of the year and if you don’t know where to start when choosing your next router, check out our purchase guide.

Whether you have a single access point or a mesh network, the location of the primary access point remains important.

Where to place your router?

When you first move into a new house or apartment, the modem is usually installed along the wall in one of the furthest corners of the house. This is simply because this is where the line enters the house and the technician’s job is to set up the connection – not to optimize your network. This part is on you.

It is tempting to leave everything where the technician installed it. But this is unlikely to be an optimal location to have your router.

Choose a central location

Routers send the signal in all directions, so if it’s left in a corner of your home, a significant percentage of your wireless coverage is sent outside your home. It is best to move the router to a central location to optimize the signal.

Installing a router through the house from the modem can be problematic. This may require manually running a CAT5 cable under the floor or using Powerline network adapters. But the improved wireless coverage will be worth it.

Lift the router

Routers tend to broadcast signals downwards, so it’s best to mount the router as high as possible to maximize coverage. Try placing it high on a shelf or mount it to the wall in a discreet place.

Avoid other electronic devices

Try to choose a location away from other electronic devices and large metal objects. The more walls, large obstacles, and electronics near your router, the more likely it is that something is interfering with the signal.

One electronics to avoid in particular is the microwave, which emits a strong signal in the 2.4 GHz band, the same wireless band in which your router operates.

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What to look for when buying a router


These funny antennas matter

Some routers have no antennae, but some have up to eight. These antennas help direct the signal. If there are two or more antennas on your router, do not position them all in the same direction.

Instead, make them perpendicular to each other – place one horizontally and the other vertically. Or change the position of all antennas slightly to cover a wide range of angles.

Try to map the signal

In the worst case, it may be useful to trace the signal in your home to see where there might be gaps or issues in your coverage.

If you are planning to upgrade your router, be sure to check The best routers from CNET in 2021.

For households with children, be sure to explore your router’s parental controls, too much.

Learn more about home internet, Wi-Fi, ISPs, and routers:

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