Whether you're working from home or your kids are playing games online, Internet dead spots or slow speeds can incite a certain kind of annoyance ranging from mild frustration that you can't refresh your Twitter feed, to blind panic that you won't be able to submit that important contract on time to get paid.

It’s all about the placement

The first thing to check is your Wi-Fi router placement? You don't want to go out and spend a lot of money on mesh networks or Wifi extenders only to discover that you would have solved the problem just by moving your router.

Before you can find the best place to put your Wi-Fi router, consider the impact your household might be having on your signal. Wi-Fi passes through solid objects with varying degrees of success. Some decrease the signal; others stop it dead.

Signal blockers or dampeners include:

  • Walls and floors can block or impact Wi-Fi signals – metal, brick and concrete block more than wood and plasterboard.
  • Appliances such as TVs, audio-visual equipment, microwave ovens and fridges block Wi-Fi. If you have your router hidden behind your TV, move it to a more open location.
  • The metal in mirrors can block your signal or cause interference by reflecting your router's signal if they're close by.
  • Bodies of water, such as fish tanks and water tanks can block your Wi-Fi signal if they are in the line-of-sight between your router and your connection.
  • Radio-producing electronic devices can cause interference. This may only be an issue if you have your router sitting among a large number of devices, such as in a TV cabinet next to a wireless phone base station, gaming console, set-top box, wireless audio equipment, and anything that uses Bluetooth.

If you have checked everything above and you are still having issues with your signal then you will need to install either a Wifi extender or a mesh network in your home.

Wi-Fi extender

This pretty much does what it says on the tin: extends your Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi extenders pick up and pass on a Wi-Fi signal so it reaches further than it normally would. It's a cheaper option than a mesh network, so it could be the best solution to your Wi-Fi woes if you're on a tight budget.

Wireless mesh network

In essence, this is one or more Wi-Fi extenders that use the same network name and password, so you don't need to switch. Each mesh device connects to every other mesh device in the network, rather than just back to the main router like Wi-Fi extenders do.

A wireless mesh network effectively creates a larger Wi-Fi footprint than a single router or a router plus Wi-Fi extender. Your device basically thinks you have a massive Wi-Fi area. Mesh networks can vary in price, starting at £150. A mesh network is definitely the better option if your budget can stretch that far.