With the Holiday season fast approaching, it’s your duty to help your friends get the most out of their new gaming rigs. So put on that thinking hat, because this article is going to discuss how to boost the Wii U Gamepad Signal Range.
Nintendo states the Wii U Gamepad has a range of up-to 27 1/2 feet. You may notice screen lag and jumping as you start walking away from the console towards the range limits.
Once you move beyond the range, the signal is lost and you can no longer use the Gamepad. The Gamepad does not do anything when it is outside of range. It becomes a useless brick (although you can bring it to another TV to use as a remote control….).
The problem get’s even worse if you try to change floors or take your Gamepad to the toilet.
If WiFi can reach the whole house, why not the Wii U Wireless?
The Wii U GamePad uses a modified version of WiFi in the 5 Ghz band to communicate with the Wii U.
In order to stream HD video games with no lag, the Wii U needs to pack a lot of data in it’s signal.
When you use your home WiFi, the signal doesn’t need to be as strong or consistent. Sometimes your wifi will get slow and it just means you need to wait a few extra seconds to load a webpage. These kinds of delays would ruin the video game experience.
Remember, even when you play online games over Wifi, you’re not streaming the entire game, you’re just sending packets about your characters position or actions taken. The game itself is running off your laptop or tablet. With the Wii U Gamepad, nothing is on the tablet, everything is streamed.
That’s why the Wii U range is smaller than your regular router wifi signal.
But I can stream HD movies on Netflix over Wifi without Lagging…
You might think, “Yeah, but I can stream HD movies on Netflix over Wifi…”. and that’s true.
… but it’s not the same thing as when you’re playing the Wii U.
When you are streaming a movie, Netflix can buffer the stream. That means when your connection is good, it can get-ahead and load upcoming scenes. This works because your are in a read-only mode. By that I mean, you don’t interact with the movie, you just watch it.
The Wii U can’t buffer content because it has no idea what is coming next. The Wii U has to stream your content in real-time while interacting with instructions you send it. If you tell the Wii U you want to jump on a mushroom, it must respond instantaneously and send Mario where you want him.
Can I get a range extender for the Wii U Gamepad?
Range extenders are not an option because using them halves the available bandwidth.
Streaming HD video games requires a lot of bandwidth as mentioned above.
The only realistic option to extend the range is to get a more powerful antenna that can push that same quality signal a little further without any data loss/errors.
… A good tip is to think about your internal Wii U Antenna. You can’t see it, but directing it one way or another will increase your range in that direction. Your internal antenna might not be in an optimal position, so rotate the console itself until you find an angle that works better. Also, try to keep the Wii U away from other potentially interfering electronics.
My Wii U Gamepad Signal Only Reaches 15 feet!
Nintendo states the Wii U Gamepad has a range up to 27 1/2 feet.
That being said, to reach the maximum range you need to setup your Wii U in ideal conditions.
Wireless signals are not magic, they are electromagnetic waves that will bounce off objects and are subject to interference from other signals.
These days, your house is probably full of interference from cell phones, wireless home phones, routers, other wireless devices like laptops, microwaves, and your neighbors wireless signal reaching your home…
If you want to maximize the range of your Wii U, first make sure it’s not obstructed. For example, place your Wii U on top of your home theatre, rather than tucked away behind closed doors.
Also, if you place the Wii U console in a metallic TV stand, metal deflects radio waves and will reduce the Wii U signal range.
… Keep in mind, you will always get the best range in a large open room.
Whenever the signal needs to pass through walls, it will lose strength. For example, some people have posted YouTube videos showing they can actually get a range of 40-60 feet in a large room.
Less physical barriers means better range. If your console is in the corner of the room beside the TV, you could try using an extension cord to move the Wii U to a more prominent position. Moving Wii U to a more open location will extend your range and let you take advantage of off-tv play in more parts of the house!