What about solving weak Wi-Fi on the PS4? Having a weak wireless signal on your console can mess up online multiplayer gaming and make streaming and downloading difficult. What ways are there to fix this?
Unfortunately weak Wi-Fi and lag problems are quite common on the PS4, especially when the gamer is a couple of rooms away from the router.
Here are some quick solutions for a better wireless signal for PS4 gaming:
- Quick reset your PS4 and router (sometimes refreshes signal)
- Move closer to your router is possible.
- Use a wired connection if possible.
- Use a powerline adapter if you cannot run ethernet directly.
- Use a wireless range extender as a last resort.
The top two solutions are fairly simple and don’t need elaborating on much, but it is also true they often won’t work for many users, which is when it becomes more important to simply get off wireless connections altogether if possible.
Ethernet cables are the obvious answer here, but not everyone can run long wires through the house for obvious reasons.
Thankfully there is a simple and underutilized solution in the form of Powerline Adapters which can be used to deliver strong wired internet connections to the PS4 or indeed any games console and eliminate the problem of weak Wi-Fi.
Powerline adapters are an excellent option in that they allow the user to run a wired ethernet connection to their console anywhere in the home thanks to the ingenious use of the house’s electrical wiring. This allows for a superior connection to standard Wi-Fi and makes smooth multiplayer gaming and streaming possible anywhere in the home.
Let’s look at the home networking solutions available for PS4 connectivity in more detail.
The PS4 is Known For Connectivity Problems
Unfortunately the PS4 is often reported to have connectivity issues, with common reports of weak Wi-Fi signals and lag in multiplayer gaming when people are using Wi-Fi. There are a couple of possible reasons for this.
Firstly, most PS4 games use peer to peer networking for online multiplayer, meaning consoles are connecting to each other to play online and not through dedicated servers. The Xbox One for example uses the latter and there tend to be far less reports of latency problems on this platform than the PS4.
Secondly, the Xbox One just tends to have better connectivity performance in general, with newer models using the more efficient IPv6 protocol which allows for end to end connectivity.
See this video for example where the Xbox One blows the PS4 out the water in terms of delivering consistently strong connectivity and bandwidth.
This all tends to leave the PS4 a little more vulnerable in terms of a slightly weaker or disrupted Wi-Fi signal negatively affecting online play. It should also be mentioned that the PS4 is also a widely used streaming device, compatible with many popular apps like YouTube, Netflix, Now TV and others. Having a strong internet connection is vital for streamers using these services as well.
Note – If you’ve got the specific problem of other devices (laptops/phones etc) working fine on Wi-Fi, but it’s specifically only the PS4 that’s not connecting properly to Wi-Fi, then we’ve just put together a specific guide on this, including using your other devices as a network bridge to supply an internet connection to your PS4.
For these reasons it is generally better to be on a wired connection on your PS4 whenever possible. For those who want to do this but are a long way from their router, the solution of powerline adapters are a convenient way around this.
Powerline Adapters Can Solve Weak Wi-Fi on the PS4
Despite improvements in router and device technology and better Wi-Fi chips in recent years, some people still suffer from the problem of weak Wi-Fi. In some larger or older houses there can still be Wi-Fi dead-zones where the signal is weak and inconsistent, and this can lead to problems for activities which need a reliable signal or lots of bandwidth.
Signal degradation is largely built into the way Wi-Fi operates, in that radio waves always get weaker the further they travel from the source. The more “stuff” the signal has to pass through along the route from router to device, like thick walls, floors, stairs and furniture, the further the signal weakens and this can affect users on Wi-Fi.
Routers have got better in recent years and many people experience no visible issues with wifi, even for latency sensitive activities like gaming. Some people still do struggle though and it depends on a number of factors like the house, the number of current internet users and the quality of the device’s hardware.
For gamers who are several rooms away from their router and don’t want to go through the DIY hassle of drilling through walls to create a wired home network, a powerline adapter is an excellent plug and plug, no hassle solution.
Powerline Adapters Explained in 2 Minutes
How a Powerline Adapter Works
Powerline Adapter kits consist of a pair of plugs, one of which is plugged in and connected to the router, the other of which is plugged in and connected to a device. The two plugs then communicate through the electrical wiring of the house to deliver a strong, wired internet connection to any room in the home.
They are an easy to use home networking solution that can get PS4 users off a wireless connection with all the potential lag and buffering issues it can cause and onto a stronger, more reliable wired connection. In many cases they will deliver a connection almost as good as if you were plugged directly into the router with an ethernet cable.
They also eliminate the need for complex, time consuming and often expensive DIY of running ethernet cables all through the house. They are a much tidier and easier solution in that they use the house’s existing electrical wiring instead. They are mostly plug and play devices and can be working in seconds.
TheTP Link Nano TL-PA4010 Kit model is an entry level, best selling no nonsense powerline adapter model with just one ethernet port and no passthrough. Click here to view on our product page. It will provide a solid, wired ethernet connection to your router using the existing electrical wiring of your house. See our full review of the product and our Powerline Adapters page. Our Product Comparison Table compares all the wired and wireless powerline adapter models at a glance by feature and functionality.
Do Powerline Adapters Really Work?
Powerline Adapters are by and large an excellent home networking solution that will deliver a solid, reliable internet connection in the vast majority of cases. A pair of adapters can connect across any house circuitry which is off the same main feed or meter.
In rarer cases of extensions and annexes and other parts of buildings which run off separate meters they will not work.
In older or larger houses which may have either idiosyncratic or old and worn circuitry, they may not work or deliver a reduced quality signal. They do require electrical wiring which is in decent enough condition to be able to communicate with each other. In most modern and semi modern houses they will work fine.
They can also be susceptible to interference, though newer models are better able to filter out noise from large appliances such as washers and dryers. Any interference issues can be solved by keeping the adapters away from these appliances.
Despite these caveats, powerline adapters are very useful home networking products that PS4 gamers can use to get on a wired connection and solve the problem of weak Wi-Fi and the lag and buffering that can result from it.
Wi-Fi Range Extenders as a Last Resort For PS4 Gamers
If you find that powerline adapters are not an option for you to reduce lag on the PS4, usually because the house wiring is not in good enough condition for the adapters to deliver a reliable signal, then your options for getting a better signal are more limited.
You can try and run a long ethernet cable from your router to your PS4, but as we mentioned, the reason you are probably trying powerline adapters to begin with is because this wasn’t practical or possible.
In the cases where a direct ethernet or powerline connection is not possible by any means, and you have to stay on Wi-Fi, then the last resort option is to user a Wi-Fi Booster/Repeater/Range Extender to enhance the wireless signal.
These are basically single plug adapters that you install in a wall socket, and they “capture” and amplify the existing wireless signal from your router, hopefully delivering stronger wireless coverage to your PS4.
See the short video below for a quick demonstration of how they are meant to work. The general idea is to install them somewhere in between your PS4 and router, bridging the gap that the wireless signal currently has to travel.
How To Install Range Extenders
However, Wi-Fi range extenders are far from an ideal solution for PS4 gamers, simply because they keep you on a wireless connection, and leave you open to exactly the same problems as before, even if the signal is boosted.
For the highest quality, lowest ping connection for gaming, you ideally need to be on wired, either through ethernet or powerline adapter.
Nevertheless, if range extenders are your only option, they may deliver acceptable signal improvements and be useful in some cases.
Here is a quick summary of when range extenders may or may not work for PS4 gamers:
Range Extenders Can Work For:
- Boosting Wi-Fi over short to medium distances.
- More open plan spaces like apartments.
- Quieter home networks.
- Slower paced, turn based games (eg. strategy, golf, chess etc), where a little bit of delay isn’t going to ruin the experience.
- Can be OK in delivering better speeds for streaming on your PS4, if gaming is not so much a priority.
- May or may not work in reducing lag for faster paced games, but not guaranteed.
Range Extenders May Not Work So Well For:
- Boosting Wi-Fi over longer distances with more walls in the way.
- If you play faster paced online games where low ping is critical (eg. First person shooters, racing games, past faced sports games). You really need a wired connection for these games.
- On busy home networks where a lot of other users are also connecting on Wi-Fi. May not work so well in delivering a better signal and lower ping, and using a wired connection is preferable.
See our full article on using range extenders for gaming for more information on the pro’s and cons.
In summary, they can work but are generally a last resort option and wired connections are preferable if you want the best speeds and lowest latency.