Everyone knows the golden rule of real estate: location, location, location. But you may not know that the same logic applies to your home's WiFi hardware. No matter the WiFi system you've got in your home—a traditional router or a smart ecosystem like Plume's HomePass—where you set it up matters. Think of your WiFi devices as traffic directors: They're a lot more useful in a busy intersection during rush hour than on some side street with just a few cars going by. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your whole-home WiFi system.
Choose a central location
Professional technicians often set up WiFi routers in the far corners of a home or wherever the line/Ethernet connection happens to be. But moving your hardware to a raised, more central location will likely give you a stronger signal and better WiFi performance overall. Where you should place your WiFi routers, boosters, extenders, access points, or Plume pod(s) depends on the size and shape of your home. Smaller homes or apartments typically require fewer WiFi access points since the signal has less ground to cover. In a larger home, you'll want to make sure your devices are spread evenly throughout the space—especially in those rooms where you tend to use the most bandwidth like home offices, main bedrooms, or the den where the kids stream video games. (Remember: think traffic directors.) Small to medium-size homes Large homes For those with irregular-shaped-homes, you may need to get a little more creative to ensure that your WiFi signal can pass between walls or floors. In open spaces like large living rooms, you can spread your devices out a bit more. But if you've got a lot of potential sources of interference (more on this in a minute), you'll probably need to place them closer together so they can "talk" to each other more effectively. Irregular-shaped homes
Identify possible areas of interference
Regardless of the size of your living space, one major WiFi disrupter you'll want to consider is potential signal interference. This can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Having multiple or parallel WiFi networks from an additional router
- Bulky furniture with dense padding and/or metal/wood framing
- Large appliances like televisions or refrigerators
- Devices or appliances that operate on the same frequency as your WiFi network
- Metal doors
- Mirrors and windows, which may reflect WiFi signal and affect its strength
- Foil-backed insulation between floors in your home
If you're having difficulty getting a strong signal in a specific part of your home, one or more of these things may be at play. Be sure to place your WiFi hardware in open, exposed areas. Look for central locations along interior walls. Avoid placing devices on walls with large mirrors or windows—instead, try to position them so that the signal can go around these things. To stretch your WiFi signal between floors, try placing your hardware near stairs. Microwaves, baby monitors, and cordless phones may also operate on the same frequency as your WiFi network, so it's a good idea to situate your WiFi hardware in an area that's not too close to these devices. You'll also want to avoid placing your hardware behind or right next to a fridge, TV, or subwoofer. Finally, if you're trying to stretch your signal to an outdoor space like a balcony or terrace, try to avoid metallic window treatments like blinds or shades, as well as metal doors. Your whole-home mesh WiFi system is a central part of your life, streamlining everything from the way you work to how you relax. Putting some thought into where your WiFi devices live can make a world of difference when it comes to the quality of your signal—and when it comes to making your own life a little more seamless.