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How To Find and Fix Wi-Fi Dead Zones (Step-By-Step)

We’ve all been there. You’re video-chatting your mom to tell her some good news, and you’re almost to the big reveal – then the doorbell rings. You’re expecting a package, so you ask your mom to hang on. It doesn’t take long to get the package, and you look back down at your phone, ready to continue the conversation. But your mom isn’t on the line! She didn’t hang up on you – you’ve entered a Wi-Fi dead zone.

But what exactly is a Wi-Fi dead zone, and how can you fix it?

We have compiled ten easy steps to find and fix Wi-Fi dead zones. Continue reading to find out how you can eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones in your own home.

What Is A Wi-Fi Dead Zone?

A Wi-Fi dead zone is a spot in your home that should have Wi-Fi connectivity, but for some reason, does not. You can recognize a Wi-Fi dead zone in your home because you may have trouble streaming, apps may not open, or you may find yourself disconnected from video chats and Wi-Fi calling.

What Causes Wi-Fi Dead Spots?

Wi-Fi carries data on radio waves from your router to your devices. Wi-Fi dead spots are caused by obstruction of the Wi-Fi radio waves as they move through your house.

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There are many causes, but a few are as follows:

  • Thick walls
  • Bulky metal furniture (filing cabinets and metal walls)
  • Interference from other devices using radio waves (such as baby monitors, connected security systems, microwaves and cordless phones)
  • Other Wi-Fi networks nearby
  • Old homes (they often have thick plaster walls with metal wiring inside, which obstruct Wi-Fi signals.)

Each of these can block Wi-Fi signals and create dead zones, so the more you can avoid them, the better.

How to Find Wi-Fi Dead Zones?

You will already know a dead zone exists if there is a particular area in your home where you have trouble connecting to the Wi-Fi network.

However, you can also manually test for dead zones in a home by connecting to the Wi-Fi network and walking through the house, searching for areas where the Wi-Fi signal becomes weak or disconnects.

There’s also a mobile app for Android called Wi-Fi Analyzer that can help you locate any Wi-Fi dead zones — or you can use inSSIDer, a network scanner software that’s available on both Mac and Windows.

10 Steps to Fix Wi-Fi Dead Spots to Boost Signals

1. Reposition your router to escape the Wi-Fi dead zone

One of the easiest solutions is to move your router and position the router in the center of your home rather than a corner or a back room. This gives the radio signals more ways to travel and is a quick and simple fix.

Place the router in an unobstructed location. Never place your router behind a big piece of furniture; rather, place it above it. Make sure the router is at waist-height for the best signal strength. Don’t put it on the floor!

For more information on finding the best location for your router, read our article on the best places to put your router.


2. Adjust or replace your router's antenna

Almost all routers have an antenna, and positioning the antenna at the perfect angle can help you avoid Wi-Fi dead zones.

If your router has one or two antennas, try to place them vertically rather than horizontally. For routers with three or four antennas, position the middle antenna(s) vertically, and position the outside antennas at an angle for wider coverage.

Some routers even have detachable antennas. If your router is one of them, you can also try replacing it with a stronger antenna or an omnidirectional one to improve your signal.

3. Update the router's firmware

It’s always a good time to update to the latest firmware. Like all electronics, routers periodically require software updates. Check the manufacturer's website and follow their guide to update to the latest version.

Be sure to set your router to update the firmware automatically. This can be done in your router’s app or the online user interface. Check the manufacturer’s website for a guide. This way you won’t have to worry about updating the router’s firmware again in the future.

4. Change the channel on your router to avoid Wi-Fi dead zones

Routers use two frequencies of radio waves: 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. 5Ghz is less prone to congestion and faster, but 2.4Ghz has a longer range and travels better through walls and floors.

In neighborhoods with many networks, there can be channel congestion, especially on the 2.4Ghz network. Many routers have built-in diagnostics to check channel congestion. You can also use a Wi-Fi channel scanner app.

If you are experiencing Wi-Fi channel congestion, you will want to change your router’s settings to use a less congested channel. Change the frequency of your router and see if it helps improve your Wi-Fi signal.

5. Use a Wi-Fi extender, booster, or repeater

Still having issues with Wi-Fi dead zones?

You might want to buy a Wi-Fi repeater or extender and place it in the area near the dead zone. Repeaters have an antenna that picks up a wireless signal from your router and rebroadcasts it.

Repeaters work best when they have a line of sight with your router, but work well as long as they are placed in an area with a strong Wi-Fi signal.

Some extenders connect to your router with a Wi-Fi signal. These are less effective than a wired extender, but more effective than a repeater. However, they are more expensive than a repeater and require more set up.

Many extenders connect to your router with an Ethernet cable. They work well for extending Wi-Fi signal between floors or thick walls, but do require additional wiring.

fix dead zones

6. Upgrade your Wi-Fi

Like all electronics, Wi-Fi routers will eventually need to be replaced. If you have had your router for several years and have noticed the Wi-Fi signal getting weaker over time, your router’s internal antenna may be going bad. Buy a new Wi-Fi router for consistent signal strength.

7. Configure your router properly to avoid Wi-Fi dead zones

Follow these steps to ensure your router is configured properly:

  • Log into your router’s app or website and make sure the wireless output is 100%. Many routers do not output at 100% signal strength, to keep people from accessing your internet from outside your home. However, in a larger home, this may cause the signal to drop in some of the areas further from the router.
  • Make sure all connected devices use 802.11n, 802.11ac, or 802.11ax protocol. 802.11ac and 802.11ax protocols offer the best performance and speeds. Having devices with older connection types on the network can slow down overall speed.

With these settings in place, your router will have the best chance of combatting Wi-Fi dead zones.

8. Use an Ethernet connection

Laptops, desktops, and other devices may be able to connect to your network with an Ethernet connection — where you plug your computer into the router directly. Using an Ethernet cord to connect to your device will improve speeds and provide reliable internet even in spots with interference or other barriers to Wi-Fi.

9. Set up a mesh network to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones

If Wi-Fi repeaters and extenders do not work, set up a Mesh Network. These networks consist of a main router and several “satellite” devices that all work together to extend your Wi-Fi network to the furthest corners of your home.

Mesh Networks can be a great choice if you have a large home, or if you have a lot of connected devices. These networks are relatively inexpensive to purchase online and are easy to set up. Plus, they can provide much more reliable coverage across your entire house compared to having a single router in one room.


10. Set up a HomePlug network

Also known as powerline adapters, a HomePlug network extends your signal strength using specialized adapters and your existing home wiring. They are a simple way to reach places that Wi-Fi cannot. However, they are generally slower than traditional Wi-Fi.

You will need at least two powerline adapters, and an Ethernet cable to connect the main adapter to your router. HomePlug networks work best when both powerline devices are on the same electrical circuit.

The HomePlug device will help you connect directly to the network, or it can be used to set up additional access points. If you would like to use the HomePlug network to connect directly to your network, be sure to purchase powerline devices that offer wireless access.

Follow These Tips to Fix Wi-Fi Dead Zones

There are many causes of Wi-Fi dead zones, so finding a solution can require trial and error. Start with one step on the list and, if that doesn’t solve the problem, move on to the next suggestion.

If you have tried several solutions and still can’t eliminate that pesky dead zone, you may want to try a managed Wi-Fi solution from your internet service provider, such as EPB’s Smart Net Plus. For only $17.99 a month, you receive a Wi-Fi 6 router system and, expert set up to eliminate dead zones before they start, and the ongoing support you need to make the most of your Wi-Fi network.

Click here to learn more about EPB Smart Net Plus.

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