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Placement of your Apple TV is a critical factor influencing WiFi signal strength. Make sure your Apple TV isn’t enclosed in a cabinet or furniture. This is also a good idea in terms of keeping your Apple TV from overheating, although it’s unlikely to happen. You should also place your Apple TV away from any other WiFi device or wireless electronics. Placing your Apple TV higher up, such as on a shelf, will also enhance WiFi signal strength.
Wi-Fi Sweetspots is a free iOS app that can help you determine the best location for your Apple TV 4. Download the app from the App Store and launch it. Tap the start button and move your iPhone (or other iOS device) to preferred locations for your Apple TV. Tap the record button to capture the WiFi signal strength of a particular location. Using this app, you can easily find a suitable location for your Apple TV 4.
If you still can’t get 4 or 5 WiFi “bars”, you may want to consider using an ethernet cable. Most WiFi routers have a few ethernet ports. Simply connect the ethernet jack on your Apple TV to the one on your router using an ethernet cable. Apple TV should automatically connect to your wired network. You may need to configure your router to allow ethernet access. Most consumer network routers will work without any additional configuration.
For some people, ethernet is not an option. In my case, my router is in a different room. I would need to run 50 feet of cable through a few rooms to use ethernet. If attempts at placing your Apple TV in different locations aren’t producing a stronger WiFi signal, there are some other options. It may be possible to adjust your WiFi router or even extend the network.
Optimizing WiFi Router Configuration for Stronger WiFi
For most people, the default WiFi router configuration will work with Apple TV 4. If you’re not getting at least 4 WiFi “bars” or you are experiencing pauses or low resolution video, configuring your router may help. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be using an Apple AirPort Extreme WiFi router. Most WiFi routers offer similar configuration capabilities. Refer to the manual or online documentation for information on how to access these settings.
WiFi routers operate at different bands. This is similar to a radio, which has an AM or FM band. The two WiFi bands operate at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
When WiFi first emerged, 2.4 GHz was the only available band. This limited the speed of WiFi and, since this band is used by so many wireless devices (cordless phones, baby monitors) and microwaves, it is full of interference. If you are using the 2.4 GHz band, you can see a drop in signal strength if a nearby neighbor uses their microwave. (continue…)