Each one of us dreams of having a larger home. In most cases, this means having a 2, 3, or 4 story house. However, with such a big home, there is always a challenge with the WiFi signal on floors where the router is not located. Therefore, one of the main challenges is how to improve the WiFi signal upstairs for your 2, 3, or 4 story house.
The main challenge, in this case, is which router to buy for your 2 or 3 story home or where to even place it to maximize the coverage. In other homes, ways to boost the signal are explored with minimal effects.
Of course, with such a large home, there must be multiple smart devices. All these devices require high-performance Wi-Fi or wired internet. In this case, an exceptional router for multiple devices such as Amazon Eero Pro 6 Mesh router can come in handy.
In this article, we will explore the reasons why your signal may be weak and give you solutions that are easy to implement with exceptional results. The following are the ways to boost the Wi-Fi signal upstairs in your 2, 3, or 4 stories home or office.
A quick summary of the ways to improve the WiFi signal upstairs/ boost your WiFi signal
- Place your router strategically: Good location and with good aeration
- Ensure that your router’s firmware is updated
- Place the router far from devices that can interfere with the signal
- Get a high-performance router in terms of signal and coverage
- Get high-performance antennas for your router
- Buy a compatible Wi-Fi extender or Wi-Fi booster or repeater for your network
- Switch your devices to a different band or channel that has a better signal
- Reduce or eliminate the Wi-Fi parasites/ spongers for your network
- Use the current WiFi technology
- Reboot the router once in a while if you see a sudden signal drop
- Compare wired and wireless internet speeds to know the status of your connection
- Use a Mesh router system for wider coverage or expand the current router coverage using compatible mesh systems
- Talk to your service provider especially in cases where the router is provided by the ISP
- Check and reduce the applications, users, and sites that consume lots of bandwidth
Reasons why your Wi-Fi signal is bad upstairs
There are several reasons why the Wi-Fi signal may be bad upstairs. It is good to understand the common reasons in order to try and mitigate against them to ensure you get an improvement of the signal upstairs.
Some of the reasons may be about the structure type and make, signal interference, size of the house, and also about the capability of the router.
1. The material that make the house
Wi-Fi signals have high absorption which means that any material absorbs them. However, some materials absorb the signals more than others. Houses made of thick walls always lead to poor signals in rooms that are far from the router.
For houses with thick concrete or brick walls, the signal may be absorbed to a large extent. If your router is located downstairs and the floor is made from concrete, then the signal will be very poor upstairs.
Even thick timber walls can reduce the Wi-Fi signal strength markedly thus making the signal bad upstairs. In addition, ductwork and furniture can interfere with WiFi signals.
2. Distance from the router
The distance from the router determines the signal strength of your Wi-Fi signal. If the router is located downstairs, it means there is a significant distance between the router and your location upstairs.
The signal strength at a distance is different between the 2.4 and the 5GHz bands. The 2.4GHz band has a longer range as compared to the 5GHz band. However, to note is that the 5GHz band has a better performance and also is less prone to signal interference.
The Wi-Fi signals travel best on line-of-sight. Therefore, minimizing obstruction between the router and your devices may lead to better Wi-Fi signals and a longer distance.
3. Interference from other devices
Routers operate at 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Both dual-band and triband routers have both 2.5 and 5GHz bands. Single-band routers operate at the 2.4GHz band only.
The 2.4GHz band is prone to interference from devices available in our homes. This is because the band’s WiFi signals use the same radio frequency bands as the 2.4GHz band. These devices include microwaves, cordless phones, pacemakers, baby monitors, wireless Bluetooth devices (like headsets, keyboards, and mice), walkie-talkies, and other radio devices.
Other devices in our homes that can interfere with the Wi-Fi signals include televisions, washing machines, tumble dryers, and radiant heaters.
In addition, having another WiFi network in your home can interfere with the signal. This includes your neighbor’s Wi-Fi connection or in situations where you have two routers in your house.
4. The capacity of your router
Sometimes the problem lies with the source of the signal. Some routers do not have the capacity to broadcast the signals for a long-range. Long-range routers such as ASUS RT-AC88U will give you a wider coverage as compared to other poorly-performing routers.
The capacity of the router in terms of hardware and software will determine the range that the router can support. In this case, some router’s range can be increased by getting high-performance antennas.
Ways to Improve the WiFi signal upstairs/ boost your WiFi signal
Place your router strategically
The location of the router determines the range of your connection. Placing the router in a central place away from thick walls will work to improve the range. It should not be located on the floor since the signals radiate in all directions.
The router should be placed in an open place and not in a metal shelf or cabinet. This will increase the aeration and thus prevent overheating in addition to ensuring a good line of sight for the signal.
For a story house, placing the router centrally will work to ensure all the floors have excellent signals.
Also, it is also important to place the routers far from metal objects. This is because metals disrupt the Wi-Fi signal thus making the signal upstairs poor. You can use a handheld stud finder or smartphone stud finder app to find studs that are used for particleboard mounting and thus place the router far from them.
Finally, for the best signal for your multi-story house, place the router near the ceiling of the first floor for a two-story house or near the ceiling of the ground floor for a one-story house. This way all the floors will be covered with high-speed internet.
Keeping the router’s firmware updated
Routers use either the manufacturer’s firmware or in some cases DD-WRT, Tomato, or OpenWRT firmware. The firmware is updated once in a while to keep up with the current trends and eliminate the vulnerability to malware, hackers, and other viruses.
A router infected by malware in most cases has reduced bandwidth. Also, to ensure that your router is able to keep up with the current trends and offer better signals, it is important to keep the firmware updated.
You can check if your router is running on the current update of the firmware by logging into the router graphical user interface on your computer. Once logged in, you can check “Firmware Update or Router Update”. If it is not updated, then request for an update with the right firmware update.
Place the router far from devices that can interfere with the signal
As discussed above there are a number of devices that interfere with the Wi-Fi signal. The radio-emitting devices will make the performance of your router especially the 2.4GHz band to be poor.
Therefore, placing the router far from these devices will go a long way in improving the signal strength and range of your router. This is because the 2.4GHz band which easily gets interfered with by these devices has a longer range of the two bands.
Get high-performance antennas for your router
There are two types of antennas found in most routers; the external and the internal antennas. The external antennas can be replaced to ensure that the range becomes better. The internal antennas may be harder to replace.
Since most routers come with small weak antennas, replacing the antennas with high-performance antennas will go a long way in improving the range. The antenna’s difference may be in both length and performance.
As you choose the antennas, make sure that they are compatible with your router to ensure that you get the best performance in signal strength and range from your router. This means that you will be saving on buying a long-range router.
For even better performance, you can choose an antenna with a long extension cable such as REMO outdoor WiFi antenna which makes your router’s range to be even better.
Therefore, for you to get a better signal upstairs or even outdoors you can buy an antenna with more gain as compared to your current antennas. Since most home routers come with a gain of between 4–5 dBi, getting antennas with 9 dBi is one way on how to improve your WiFi signal upstairs.
Get a high-performance router
If you are getting poor Wi-Fi signals upstairs in your home or office, maybe it’s time to upgrade your router. Getting a Wi-Fi router for wide coverage will enable you to get long-range Wi-Fi coverage.
These routers have better processors, antennas, firmware, and other features to enable you to get an improved signal strength and coverage for your home.
The router may be a traditional router or a mesh system that we will discuss later.
Using a compatible Wi-Fi extender/ repeater/ booster
If you are having signal problems even with the best router set up in your home or office, then getting a compatible Wi-Fi range extender or repeater will help. The extender enables the signal extension to areas where there are dead spots in your home.
What a Wi-Fi extender does is to pick the signal from your router and rebroadcasts it to areas that are underserved by Wi-Fi signals. They have a quick installation process by pressing the WPS button.
You will always get a Wi-Fi extender that is compatible with your devices including the router and Wi-Fi devices will enable you to get extended coverage. For example, you can pick the best Wi-Fi extender for AT&T or the best Wi-Fi booster for Spectrum among other ISPs.
You can check our reviews for the best Wi-Fi extender for CenturyLink or the premium Wi-Fi extenders for Verizon FiOS or the exceptional Wi-Fi extender for Xfinity for our readers in the USA. For UK readers you can consider the best Wi-Fi extender for BT internet.
Switch your devices to a different band or channel
Most of the routers have a number of channels (a medium that is used to send or receive data on a Wi-Fi network) that are used to connect to devices. These channels may be congested or not depending on the router features that you possess.
Some exceptional routers have adaptive QOS that enable device prioritization in less congested channels. Connecting your devices to a less congested channel is a way on how you can improve the WiFi signal upstairs.
A channel is like a lane on the highway. If a lane has too much traffic, you may decide to change the lane to a less congested lane.
Most of the US-made routers have up to 11 channels on the 2.4 GHz band and 45 channels on the 5 GHz band. Most of the users leave the router to operate on the default channel which may become congested.
You need to log in to the router’s settings to change the channel that the devices are using.
In addition, dual-band and tri-band routers give you the ability to choose the band on which the devices are connected. This means you can choose the band that has the strongest signal wherever you are in the house.
Reduce or eliminate the Wi-Fi parasites/ spongers
Having so many people using your network reduces the Wi-Fi performance in your home. You will experience lags when using gaming consoles or video streaming devices. This is because these are some of the internet intense activities.
You can easily eliminate the Wi-Fi leeches by changing the password and using a strong password. A strong password can have the following features:
- Is a mix of small letters and capital letters
- Has a number in it
- It has at least 8 characters
- Has a special character such as !, #, $, & among others
- The password is not very common like year and date of birth or numbers/ digits following each other on the keyboard for example qwerty01 or 12345678
- Don’t include your name or the name of your children, your pet or mobile number in the password because it is easy to guess them
- The password should not be noted in a piece of paper or diary
Once the password is created, do not share it with lots of people. However, for people with many guests, get a router that gives you the ability to set guest network Wi-Fi.
Use the current WiFi technology
The current Wi-Fi standards are Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax). The standard offers better performances in terms of range, internet speed, number of devices supported, security features among other exceptional features. This is when it is compared with 802.11ac and other older specifications.
Using a router with Wi-Fi 6 enables to improve the WiFi signal upstairs. In addition, it offers some of the beastly features that make your devices enjoy the best performances.
To enjoy the Wi-Fi 6 speeds and performances, however, you will require Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices. The available Wi-Fi 6 devices so far are laptops, smartphones, tablets among other devices.
Since routers last for very long, you should strive to get a meaningful budget to get the best router to ensure an improved wi-fi signal upstairs.
Reboot the router
If the signal upstairs was better but currently you are having issues with the network then it is good to consider rebooting the router. Also, the router needs rebooting once in a while to ensure it updates the router’s memory.
Restarting the router may not be as straightforward as restarting a computer or a mobile phone. It involves switching off the power source or pressing the power button and waiting for some time for the router to completely shut off. The power supply is then switched on again after a period of time averagely being 30 seconds.
Note that the router may start updating the firmware during the rebooting process. If this occurs, then you have to wait until the update is complete. Most of the time, updates take a minimum of 10 minutes.
Use a Mesh router system for wider coverage
When checking the best routers for a 2 or 3 story house and also the best routers for a large home, the mesh router systems feature prominently. The mesh systems give you wide coverage and are some of the best routers to penetrate thick walls.
The devices seamlessly extend the range of your connection. You will be able to use the same username and password wherever you are on the network.
A mesh system contains a router and satellites. The devices connect seamlessly without the use of ethernet cables. The good thing about the mesh system is that there is barely any drop in the performances as you get connected to the router or satellites. This is different from when using Wi-Fi extenders.
Talk to your service provider
In some cases, the router you are using at home is provided by the internet service provider. This is either a rental or free router that comes with the package.
If this router does not cover your upper floors with high-speed internet, then it’s time to call the ISP. The ISP will either change the router or give you options on how to improve the WiFi signal upstairs.
The ISP can either diagnose the issue remotely or send a technician to check on your connection. After this process, the ISP is able to offer recommendations based on the nature of the problem.
Compare wired and wireless internet speeds
To know if there is a problem with the router or it’s just the Wi-Fi signal, you can test the speed of your connections using both wired and wireless connections. If the wired connections are excellent then you might be having a problem with your wireless connection.
To do the test you need to have a device that can access the internet on both wireless and wired connections such as a laptop or a personal computer. To do the test of the wired connection, you will need to switch off the Wi-Fi and then use an Ethernet cable for connection.
Set up a wired connection upstairs
A wired connection is more expensive to set-up as compared to a wireless connection but is also reliable and does not lose bandwidth as much as a wireless system. To ensure that you get to improve the WiFi signal upstairs, you can set up a wired connection upstairs.
However, the main challenges of a wired connection are that you cannot move around with the devices, and also not all devices have Ethernet ports. However, if you are using printers, personal computers, and laptops upstairs then the wired connection will be good for you.
Check and reduce the applications, users, and sites
This last step may not be for the signal boost upstairs but for the whole network in general. Always when you find a major drop in the performance of your network, it is good to check the users, applications, and sites that are used most in the network and their bandwidth usage.
Gaming consoles and 4K streaming devices consume lots of bandwidth. Therefore, if left to be carried out without your knowledge, you may end up complaining all the time about the slow internet.
Also, there are some applications and sites that may use a lot of bandwidth to operate. These can be checked on either the device’s mobile app or on the graphical user interface on your computer.
When discovered, you can either reduce or eliminate the applications, sites, or devices that use lots of bandwidth.
Following the above steps, you are sure that you will be able to improve the Wi-Fi signal upstairs or boost the signal everywhere in the house. As seen, most of the steps are easy to implement and will give your immediate results.
If these steps do not work, then it’s time to upgrade the internet package or change the internet service provider whichever is cheaper and/ or easier.