Range and speed mainly characterise any wifi network present commonly in different homes or offices. Multiple factors, such as radio frequency used for transmission, the wireless standard, the layout of your home or office, etc., which can influence wifi range of any network. Use this guide to pick the right wireless router for your space and ensure good Wifi range.
Factors affecting wifi range
Radio frequency band
Wifi signals operate primarily on two radio frequency bands – 2.4GHz and 5GHz. On a general note, Wifi routers which operate on 2.4 GHz band have an indoor wifi range of 150 feet (46m) and an outdoor wifi range of 300 feet (92m).
The moment you go for Wifi router with higher frequency bands, the range or distance of wireless communication reduces significantly.
This is because high frequency requires more power for transmission. Old wireless networks such as 802.11a standard operate on 5GHz band, but the range roughly becomes one-third of the distance possible in the case of 2.4 GHz.
Wifi range of any network depends significantly on the wireless standard used by your Wifi routers. Standards such as 802.11b and 802.11g use 2.4 GHz frequency, whereas 802.11a uses 5GHz frequency.
802.11n uses both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency and range of the signal depend on which frequency is being used. The latest wireless standard is 802.11ac which uses 2.4GHz frequency and thus has a good range coupled with advanced technologies to boost your network speed.
Orientation of antenna
The range of a wireless signal also depends on how your wireless antenna is oriented. When positioned vertically, the signal spreads out more in a horizontal manner. When placed horizontally, the signal will travel farther in the vertical direction.
If you find two antennas on your wireless router, orient one in a horizontal manner while the other in a vertical way. This will ensure proper coverage all around the house.
Obstacles in a line of sight
Radios signals are most reliable and reach maximum distance when used in the line of the sight. So, when using a Wifi network indoors such as in your home, it is important to avoid putting any large objects in the line of sight of the wireless signal.
This is because brick walls and metal objects dissipate the wireless signals. As the signals have trouble penetrating these objects, the Wifi range can reduce by 25% or even more.
Please make a note that as the frequency of the radio signals increases, their ability to penetrate walls reduces. This means that Wifi networks that use 5GHz frequency bands are more susceptible to obstructions that the ones that use 2.4 GHz frequency band.
Extending the WIFI range of your network
If you have a big house or an office and your Wi-Fi is not reaching every corner, you can apply one of the following methods to extend the range:
Use a range extender
One way to extend the range of your network is to use a wireless repeater. This is a small, inexpensive device that will repeat the wireless signal if kept within the range of your wireless access point.
Range extenders are useful when fewer users are working in a large space.
Add another access point
If you have a large number of users, adding access point is a better choice over using a range extender. This is because an extra access point will also increase the speed of the network and ensure fast internet access.
Creating a wireless mesh network is a much more expensive but reliable way of ensuring that every corner of your place has Wi-Fi access. A mesh network is created by placing radio nodes in a way to create a mesh in your home.
These nodes communicate with each other and retransmit the radio signals so that there are no Wi-Fi dead zones. A mesh network can cost more than $500. A mesh network is only recommended when your place is larger than 2000 sq. feet.