How to improve Wi-Fi Performance – Wi-Fi Master Class

One of our networking experts, Hugh Macdonald, was recently invited to give a Wi-Fi master class at Rain Bird's regional conference in Melbourne. In this article, we look at how to improve Wi-Fi performance throughout the home or office, what hardware to use and the pros and cons of each, and our own expert tips and tricks.
Wi-Fi Master Class How to improve Wi-Fi Performance

In our presentation, we looked at ways to improve wireless performance using TP-Link devices including Deco Mesh and Powerline Kit with Wi-Fi extender for better signal quality. Read on for a full summary of the wireless presentation or get in touch for wireless networking support on 1300-694-877.


Let’s cover all the bases relating to Wi-Fi, what hardware you need, where to position your networking devices, what channels to use, and how to get the most out of our Rain Bird device.

What affects Wi-Fi quality?

Physical limitations on wireless quality

Location of the router: if your router is too far away, it may have trouble reaching all your devices indoors and outdoors, resulting in poor signal quality.

Position of the wireless router: Many people hide their routers so that they are out of sight. This is ok as long as they are not placed behind metal walls, microwaves, speakers, televisions or other magnetic or wireless emitting devices.

Construction of walls at location: Wireless signals travel through walls; however, you will find that they struggle when moving through concrete or double brick walls. Placing your wireless router near a window will generally improve coverage.

Presence of other radio devices: If too many devices are on the same radio network channel, the signal quality and speed would be significantly impacted.

Technical limitations on wireless quality

2.4Ghz vs 5Ghz

  • 2.4Ghz is best for devices that aren’t bandwidth-intensive and may be some. distance from the router.
  • 5Ghz is best for devices that are bandwidth-intensive and are close to the router.

Beamforming technology is designed to deliver faster, strong Wi-Fi performance and signal quality with a longer range, using multiple antennas to target a specific device at once.

Channel selection: To have the best possible speed and throughput it’s important to choose a wireless channel with the least congestion.

How to diagnose Wi-Fi signal quality

Various Wi-Fi diagnostic apps

You want to try and achieve around -40dB or less for good WI-Fi performance. Here is a list of tools on how to diagnose Wi-Fi signal quality on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.

Once you have optimised the location, channel and position of your Wi-Fi router, use the app or website to test your speed. During the test move around your home or office and you will notice a drop in speed as the quality of the Wi-Fi signal drops.

How to improve Wi-Fi performance on an existing router

Use these 4 steps to improve Wi-Fi performance on an existing router without using additional hardware or wireless extenders:

  1. Try and locate the router centrally.
  2. position the router so it’s in a clear, open space.
  3. Manually select a Wi-Fi channel if available.
  4. Turn on Beamforming if your router supports it.

Other solutions for better Wi-Fi performance

Let’s take a look at other solutions for better Wi-Fi performance throughout the home or business.

Regular Wi-Fi Extenders
(TP-Link TL-WA850RE)

Pros: A basic Wi-Fi extender or repeater will usually set you back $20 – $50 and will generally boost the performance and distance of your existing network.

Cons: This device operates independently of your main router which means it cant be centrally managed. It usually also requires a separate wireless network name (SSID) for optimal performance. So you will need to add both your main SSID and the extenders SSID to all your devices.


Powerline Kit with Wi-Fi Extender
(TP-Link TL-WPA4220KIT)

Pros: A powerline kit with Wi-Fi extender can extend the network much further than a regular Wi-Fi extender by using a powerline backhaul (your home’s power circuit).

Cons: Your home or office location must run on a single circuit otherwise a powerline kit will not work. You will still be required to use a different SSID name for your extended Wi-Fi network.


Mesh Network
(TP-Link Deco Home Wi-Fi)

Pros: Mesh network devices are easy to configure and manage, using a smartphone app. You get to keep the same Wi-Fi network name, no additional SSID is required. You have the ability to add as many points/satellites as required. Can use Ethernet or Powerline backhaul if required/available.

Cons: Due to the features, functionality and exceptional performance the only downside is that this is the most expensive solution. Mesh devices range from $200 – $800 depending on the size and quality).


Optimal positioning for your Rain Bird

As with any other device connecting to your Wi-Fi network, it’s important to get a few things right, and the same goes for Rain Bird wireless water systems. Follow these steps to ensure the most optimal performance between your router and the Rain Bird system.

  • Locate with a line of sight to your router.
  • Try and minimise the number of walls between Rain Bird and the router.
  • Look at Wi-Fi signal strength in the Rain bird app and try to achieve -70Dbs or better.

The Rain Bird LNK Wi-Fi Module allows easy access and control of a Rain Bird irrigation system from anywhere in the world. If you are looking for a good quality watering timer that can be controlled by Wi-Fi be sure to check out the Rain Bird LNK Wi-Fi Module.

Wi-Fi Master Class How to improve Wi-Fi Performance

Wrapping up

  • Position and locate your Wi-Fi router as optimally a possible
  • Obtain a Wi-Fi analyzer app to help you
  • Learn how to tweak your Wi-Fi router’s settings
  • Use a Mesh network for optimal performance
  • Position your Rain Bird controller correctly
For expert wireless networking support for your business or home, speak to Hugh Macdonald on 0432 922 011 or use the book online form below for same-day Wi-Fi support in Melbourne.

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