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Routers aren’t the prettiest of devices, often resembling one of the shoddier competitors in Robot Wars, but before you banish your router to the bottom of a cupboard you need to consider the impact its location will have on the strength of your Wi-Fi signal. Here are our six steps to finding the perfect home for your Sky router, and indeed most others.
1. Plug it into the Master Socket
The best place for a router – such as the Sky router – is plugged into the Master Socket rather than an extension. But…
2. Ideally, keep it central
It’s tempting to set your router down as close to the plugs as possible – usually in the corner of your sitting room or office. But, to maximise the Wi-Fi signal in the places you use the internet the most, you should place your router as centrally in the room as possible, even if it means trailing wires. This reduces the chance that the signal will be impeded by walls and furniture.
However, if this contravenes our top tip – plug it into the Master Socket – then ignore and move on.
3. Avoid brick walls and windows
No matter how good your Sky router and superfast your internet speed, Wi-Fi still struggles to penetrate brick walls. If, therefore, the router is hemmed in by walls, you will most likely have patchy coverage around your home.
The same rule applies to windows: if, for example, you put your router on a windowsill in your home, a large proportion of your signal will literally go out the window. Unless you’re very kindly providing a hotspot for passers-by on the street, it’s best to locate your router in the middle of the room.
4. Raise it up
One of the most common mistakes people make when installing their router is to place it directly on a concrete floor. As Wi-Fi radio waves spread out and down from their source, you’re inhibiting the Sky router’s range before you even switch it on. As an alternative, place your router on the top of a cupboard, desk, or if you don’t mind it being on full display, a table.
One final caveat: if your house has wooden floors, or your router is located upstairs, then sometimes the floor may be the best place to put it.
5. Make sure you can see it
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that sometimes your router will go on the fritz. Consequently, common sense dictates that it should be as easily accessible, and viewable, as possible. This is especially true for the Sky Hub and its range of different coloured lights. After all, there’s nothing more annoying than interrupting your precious Netflix binge to dig your router out of a massive pile of paper under your desk…
6. Shun the microwave
This one may sound like an urban myth, but Wi-Fi and microwaves really don’t mix. If you decide to put your router in the kitchen, you may find that the internet is disrupted whenever you blitz a ready meal as microwaves operate at the same frequency as routers. A simple solution is to put your router in a different room, but, if problems still occur, it might be a sign that your microwave is damaged.
As a wider point, if you have intermittent problems when using devices in your kitchen then your microwave may well be at fault.
7. Save the fish
Another, more unusual, tip is to not put your Sky router near your fish tank. Not because they’ll be fried or turned into three-eyed “Blinkys” – the real reason is far less interesting. The water in the tank will absorb a lot of the signal, reducing the distance it can travel.
Similarly, if you place your router near a metal filing cabinet then you’re asking for trouble. But that photo wouldn’t have looked so good at the top of this article.
With thanks to Paul Ockenden, who writes a monthly column in PC Pro that covers all things wireless (and much more besides). Subscribe to PC Pro here.
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