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How can I get Wi-Fi upstairs if my router is downstairs?

Updated April 17, 2017

Concrete, metal girders and stone block Wi-Fi signals. If you live in a sturdy old farmhouse, or a trendy concrete designer home, the signal from you Wi-Fi router won’t reach upstairs. One solution is to move your router upstairs, but then you won’t get a signal downstairs. Wi-Fi repeaters won’t help you either - they need to be within range of the router and that is blocked by the floors in your house. The only solution is what is known as a “powerline adapter.” This will carry the signal over wires to a different part of the house and then retransmit it so Wi-Fi can get around solid barriers.

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Go to your local computer megastore for a powerline adapter. You will need at least two. One adapter will connect the router to the network and the second combines a transmitter to send the signal out of an outlet on the first floor. You can buy the adapters online as well. Three links to online purchasing options appear in the Resources section here.

Unpack the two adapters. The one with Wi-Fi capability is for upstairs, so put that to one side for later. Plug the remaining adapter into an electric socket close to where you keep your Wi-Fi router. If you have a double plug socket, plug the router into one outlet and the adapter into the other.

Look at the sockets on the back of your Wi-Fi router. It will have at least one ethernet socket. Some have more than one. If so, it doesn’t matter which you choose. The powerline adapter comes with an ethernet cable. Plug one end into a socket on the back of your router and the other into the socket on the adapter.

Take the Wi-Fi powerline adapter upstairs. Choose a central location, like half way along the bedroom corridor. One important element of the location is that it must have an electrical outlet. Plug the Wi-Fi-enabled powerline adapter into the socket. You now have a Wi-Fi signal upstairs. Users don’t need to enter a new access key because this process just extends you original router, which hasn’t changed its key.

Tip

The adapter that connects to the router downstairs should not have Wi-Fi capability.

If you buy the second adapter without Wi-Fi capabilities you can only get Internet access upstairs by connecting your computer to the adapter by an ethernet cable.

If you have very thick hardwood doors, bedroom occupants may need to open the doors to get a signal.

If you have more floors, buy a Wi-Fi-enabled powerline adapter for each floor.

If your house is very big, or if your family members and guests don’t want to leave their bedroom doors open, you can install more adapters in any location. This technique also works if your walls are thick and signal cannot travel between rooms. You will have a signal wherever you plug in the adapter.

You could also move the adapter and plug it in within any room where you need a better reception.

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Things You'll Need

  • A powerline adapter
  • A WiFi-enabled powerline adapter

About the Author

Stephen Byron Cooper began writing professionally in 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computing from the University of Plymouth and a Master of Science in manufacturing systems from Kingston University. A career as a programmer gives him experience in technology. Cooper also has experience in hospitality management with knowledge in tourism.

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