What to do when your iPad receives a weak Wi-Fi signal

There is nothing more frustrating than a poor Wi-Fi signal. It has the ability to cause almost everything you do to creep forward at an incredibly slow rate, which can lead to hair loss when pulled out. There are a few things we can do to find and fix what’s wrong with your Wi-Fi signal, but many of these steps require some technological savvy. Remember, only go as far as you feel comfortable. If a step seems difficult, skip it and move on to the next step.

Also, you need to make sure that the problem is the Wi-Fi signal. If it’s just your iPad acting slowly, it could be another problem. If you have a laptop or smartphone, you can use it to see if you’re having the same issues you’re having on your iPad. If it’s just your iPad, you should first read our guide to fix a slow iPad. If these steps don’t work, you can return to this troubleshooting guide.

Restart iPad and router

The first step in troubleshooting is always to restart the devices. This will solve more problems than any other steps to try, so first, let’s turn off the iPad and any other devices we’re connecting to the network. While they are off, let’s reboot the router. Leave the router off for a few seconds before turning it back on, and wait for all the lights to come back on before turning on the iPad and other devices.

If we’re lucky, this will fix the problem and we won’t have to continue with the next steps.

How to restart iPad

Remove other wireless technology

If you have a mobile phone or any other wireless technology near the router, try moving it to another location. Cordless phones can sometimes use the same frequency as a wireless router, which can cause signal strength to degrade as you remove interference. This may also be true of other wireless devices like baby monitors, so make sure the area around your router is clear of these devices.

Update the firmware of the router

Just as it’s important to keep your iPad’s software up to date, it can also be important to keep your router’s firmware up to date. The firmware is what makes the router work, and as we add new devices (like the iPad), older firmware can have issues.

You will need to log in to your router to update the firmware. You can log in to the router from a web browser on your PC or iPad, but you need to know the correct address, username, and password. These may be located in the manual or on a sticker on the router itself.

The standard address for logging into a router is http://192.168.0, but some routers use and others use

If you don’t know the username and password, try “admin” as the username and “admin” or “password” as the password. You can even try leaving the password blank. If these don’t work, you’ll need to find the correct username/password combo or refer to your particular brand of router for how to do a hard reset (if possible).

You can usually find the option to update the firmware with advanced options.

Change your Wi-Fi broadcast channel

This step will also require you to log in to your router. In your wireless settings you should be able to find an option to change the frequency band channel. It is often set to `6′ or `auto’. The best channels are 1, 6 and 11.

If your neighbors have Wi-Fi transmission on the same channel as you, there may be some interference. And if you’re in an apartment complex, this kind of interference can wreak havoc on your signal. Try changing this from auto to a scrambled channel, starting with 1 and going to 6 and 11. You can also try other channels, but you may see worse performance if the channel is not one of the three mentioned here.

Read more about how to find the best streaming channel

Buy an external antenna

If you continue to have problems with multiple devices, you may have a hardware problem. But before you go out and replace your router, you can try buying an external antenna. Make sure your router supports connecting an external antenna before you go to Best Buy.

There are two types of Wi-Fi antennas: omnidirectional and high gain. A high gain antenna transmits the signal in only one direction, but the signal itself is much stronger. This is great if your router is on one side of the house, but if your router is in the middle of your house, you’ll probably want an omnidirectional antenna.

Also, make sure you buy the antenna from a store that allows returns for any reason. We are basically troubleshooting the antenna of the router, and if the problem is with the router itself, connecting an external antenna will not solve the problem.


More tips to increase Wi-Fi signal strength

Buy a new router

If your router comes from your broadband company, you should be able to call them and have it replaced for free. They may take you through some of the same troubleshooting steps you’ve already gone through here, and because they know the specific hardware you’re using, they may have some new steps that might work.

If your router doesn’t come from your broadband company and you don’t know much about wireless routers, it’s best to use a well-known brand like Linksys, Apple, Netgear, or Belkin. Apple’s AirPort Extreme is a bit pricey, but it supports the new 802.11ac standard. The iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 4 support this standard, but even if you have an older iPad, 802.11ac-compatible routers can help boost your signal.

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