10 Cheap Upgrades for Your Wireless Network

On November 27, 2011, in in my area, by admin

Hold onto that holiday cash. If you’re thinking of replacing your home wireless network, there are some inexpensive alternatives you should consider first. You can upgrade your current network’s performance with a much smaller investment than you think. Check out these ten inexpensive upgrades for your wireless network.

  1. Range Extender – You can improve your signal in spotty areas, fairly cheaply, with a range extender like this one . A plug-and-play device that connects to your USB port, it can save you from the expense of replacing your router by extending its range.
  2. Home-made Reflector – You can find templates, plans, and even how-to videos online that make building these a snap. A parabolic reflector will focus your wireless signal whereas a standard omnidirectional antenna will, as the name implies, scatter it in all directions.
  3. Replace Router Antenna – Alternately, you can buy a replacement for that omnidirectional antenna your router came with, and accomplish the same thing, for just a few bucks. A high-gain replacement antenna will boost your signal.
  4. Network Adapter – Another alternative to replacing your wireless network is to upgrade at the other end – your device’s network adapter.  If it has a PC card -based adapter, it may benefit from a USB type.
  5. Change the Channel – It may be that the router is getting radio interference from other nearby devices. You can switch the broadcast channel that your router is set for by accessing the manufacturer’s configuration web page.
  6. Update Firmware – Additionally, your router’s manufacturer will periodically release firmware upgrades, some of which will enhance its performance. While you’re at the website, check for any of these updates.
  7. Upgrade Router/Repeater – We found this 802.11n wireless router, which can also be configured as a repeater for your current router, for pretty cheap. Amazon, Newegg.com and other online retailers offer it for under $30.
  8. Re-position – As we mentioned earlier, wireless devices share frequencies with appliances such as microwave ovens, garage door openers, and cordless phones. Your upgrade may just be in the form of a simply re-arrangement of your equipment, to reduce any interference degrading its performance.
  9. Add a Game Adapter – You can find WiFi adapters to connect your game consoles to your wireless network for under $30. Hook your PS3 up to the internet-ready big screen TV in the living room, wirelessly.
  10. Add an Access Point – For about the same cost, you can get an additional access point for your network. This is sometimes a cheaper alternative than replacing your router, though not as often with the drop in prices for routers. Routers can be used as access points as well, so shop around.
 

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