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How to boost Wi-Fi signal on your Android device

If you notice that your Wi-Fi is consuming a lot more battery than it usually does, or you always appear to be connected but the internet isn't exactly lightning fast, then you might be suffering from a poor Wi-Fi connection. Wi-Fi problems can occur anywhere, from thickly walled buildings, to long-range connections or simply a bad Wi-Fi signal in the first place. Here's our guide for how to boost Wi-Fi signal on your Android smartphone.

Change your Wi-Fi frequency band to 5 GHz

Most Android devices can run on the 5 GHz frequency band, as well as the old 2.4 GHz band. What does this mean? On the higher frequencies, like 5 GHz, there's much more free space on the spectrum. There are 23 channels of 20 MHz each on the 5 GHz frequency, which is much more than the 14 channels offered on 2.4 GHz. Because the channels don't overlap, you're likely to get better signal on your Wi-Fi.

If your router works on the 5 GHz band (most recent routers do), then switch your phone over to that band too by going to Settings > Wi-Fi > Advanced > Wi-Fi frequency band then tap Auto. This will ensure that your phone runs on the 5 GHz band when possible.

androidpit wifi frequency band
Make sure your phone uses the 5 GHz band when possible by setting the frequency band to 'Auto'. / © ANDROIDPIT

Precisely track your Wi-Fi signal

Do you sometimes find yourself wandering around an area or building looking for the perfect signal, but find that those Wi-Fi bars just aren't quite accurate enough? To really pin down the spots with the best Wi-Fi signal in your area, download Wi-Fi Signal Booster, tap Manual Boost, then keep your eye on the red line as you slowly wander around an area looking for the best signal.

The closer the red line (current signal) is to the yellow line (available signal), the better. Tap Automatic Improvement to get a quick but big boost to your Wi-Fi signal.

androidpit wi fi signal booster
Manually track your Wi-Fi signal to find the signal sweet spot. / © ANDROIDPIT

Tell your phone to avoid poor connections

In the Android Settings menu there is a nice little option that tells your phone to avoid poor Wi-Fi connections, meaning that while it is scanning for available networks it will actually avoid trying to connect to those with poor signals. This will save you a lot in terms of power and frustration. Just go to Settings > Wi-Fi and tap the overflow menu button and then Advanced. Here you will see the check box to avoid poor connections.

AndroidPIT WiFi Avoid Poor Connections
Avoiding poor Wi-Fi connections is a great idea! / © ANDROIDPIT

Update your radio or firmware

If you're receiving OTA updates from your carrier or manufacturer then this probably doesn't apply to you, but if you are running custom ROMs you may find yourself occasionally needing to manually update the radio on your Android. As an example, here's how to update the bootloader and radio on the Nexus 5. You should also make sure you're on the latest version of Android to ensure the best performance. To check this, go to Settings > About > Software updates.

Fastboot ADB Tools Files
If you're not on the OTA trail, you may need to update your radio manually./ © ANDROIDPIT

Check if your phone case is blocking signal

Many phone cases actually make your Wi-Fi signal worse, especially if they contain metal, which is often used for added protection or kick stands. To see if your case is affecting your Wi-Fi signal, do an Ookla speed test with the case off, then, in the same location, put the case back on and perform the test again. If you see a difference when using your case you may want to look at alternatives.

AndroidPIT Ookla SpeedTest Results
If you notice a decrease in Wi-Fi speed from no case (left) to with case (right) then you need to reconsider your case. / © ANDROIDPIT/Ookla
Speedtest.net Install on Google Play

Learn which Wi-Fi access point is the best

One way to do this is using the Wi-Fi analyzer app which houses three useful functions. Firstly it provides the best channel to use for your particular network. Without going into details, it allows you to optimize the network and means you don't have to be a technical whizz-kid to do so. 

Secondly it assesses which network in the area has the most stable connection, which often isn't the one which your phone connects to by default. Lastly, it offers easy access to network information such as your IP address, network gateway, DNS, etc. It's not essential, but useful for power-users.  

androidpit wifi analyzer screenshot
Wi-Fi analyzer can give you a quick view of what is the best wireless network nearby. / © ANDROIDPIT
Wifi Analyzer Install on Google Play

Put your router in the perfect spot

Another simple trick that can greatly improve the Wi-Fi connection at home is the optimization of the router's location. Often it is placed right next to the phone or cable outlet, but this is rarely the best for your connection. If you can move it, take a look at the Wi-Fi FDTD solver app that allows you to see at a glance how your router signal is doing. 

suportebanggood0
By analyzing the signal waves you can find the best place to position your router. / © ANDROIDPIT
WiFi Solver FDTD Install on Google Play

MacGyver a DIY radio dish

Have all the above failed? It's time for the old-school option. If you're in real need of a better Wi-Fi signal then you can actually make your own little parabolic dish to ''catch'' some better reception. This is basically a small version of a big radio or satellite dish. You can use a metal bowl or cut open a soda can to make a receiver dish. It may not be the most practical thing to do every time you have a weak signal, but it is fun.

Parabolic Radio Dish
It may seem silly, but a metal bowl can improve your Wi-Fi reception if you're really desperate. / © ANDROIDPIT

Are we missing any tricks? What do you do to boost Wi-Fi signal?

Updated by Robert Zak on July 14, 2015

Readers' favorite comments

  • Robert Brown Aug 27, 2014

    Alas, there's no 'Avoid Poor Connections' option on my Samsung Galaxy S4 from AT&T.

  • My1 Aug 25, 2014

    Android should learn to switch better between WLAN networks.
    I for example have internet over cable but our only cable connection is in the cellar and I have my room in the roof (2nd floor, with ground floor in-between) and I have another WLAN router at my room at the roof and whenever I am running somewhere in my house my phone pretty much ALWAYS has the wrong Router with 0 to 1 bars of reception.
    Android should get a WLAN priority list which includes which one can be used interchangeably along with when to switch.

24 comments

Write new comment:
  • The MacGyver tip takes away all seriousness of the article.
    Hilarious!

  • which app can help me to boost android hotspot wifi signals? www.chat4enjoy.com

  • Um, I'm curious how to utilize a metal bowl or tin can. The pic doesn't look like it's set up as a receiver. Or maybe just having the bowl close works?? Is there a certain way to place the bowl and phone or do they have to touch. Because there's no mention of attachment of wires or tin foil etc. Please respond cause I'm curious if it works. This phone frustrstes me with its weak grip on the signal. I don't care if I look like I'm alien crazed. Ya baby! :0

  • im not sure if any of these will help me. I red the one could make your battery hot and idk if thats going to hure my phone. my problem is my samsung galaxy core prime will not pick up my schools wifi signal no matter where i am. i just got it and already hate samsung and everything about it and will be looking for an iphone if it keeos happening cuz everyone with iohones connects just fine

  • I have a Topaz S600 there connection was very weak .. I can't update even PlayStore did'nt run .. how to fix it :(

  • 2319145 What do I do when my display screen goes blank? I know when it's ringing or someone sends me a txt, I just don't have nothing on display. No icons no nothing! Help!

  • What to do with my Samsung Galaxy s4 when my display screen goes blank. I can hear it ring when I'm called or when it receives a text. Just can't see anything on screen? What to do???

    • Your secondary screen is broken, you have to take it and get it fixed

      -How I know- Same thing happened to me

  • Hey guys help me how I suppose to know the wifi frequency if my phone is oppo joy R1001 because I can't find it....

  • Is they're anyway to download this article? There should be one in my opinion.

  • Also, try downloading the Cloudcheck app. Cloudcheck has a feature called Smartifi that monitors your wireless usage per device connected and allows users a holistic view into their network’s performance and productivity. Super useful for troubleshooting and learning how to configure your router’s settings for optimized performance!

  • hello
    can i delete completely the reception on 5GHZ band , because its not allowed in my country
    i like to delet it from the list of choices when i clic on the WI-FI frequency band.
    is it possibe?
    please help me

  • On my Phone I dont have 2,4 - 5GHz,I have 2options with aphabetic order and auto. Phone is LG BELLO D331.
    What I do, what etc. On which option I put?

  • Mark G. Jul 15, 2015 Link to comment

    Does anyone know if you need to keep wifi booster running to benefit from the optimisation?

  • the wifi settings you showed are not on my LG G4
    It is too bad no one gets an answer why is that, what is the purpose for comments than?

  • This is a great tip to know as we always want wireless connection especially if we are always on the go.

  • you send me email with all this info, when I try to sign in, say no email address found. How is it not found when you send me email?????

  • Can't get photo apps to work since my upgrade to lollipop.... Keeps getting app has stopped working report or foreclose

  • Alas, there's no 'Avoid Poor Connections' option on my Samsung Galaxy S4 from AT&T.

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