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Reasons why your WiFi range is low

The WiFi is a group of network protocols and technologies that employs radio signals to provide wireless communication between electronic devices. Most commonly it is used for local area networks (LANs) in homes and businesses. Because of nature how radio waves work there are limits to how far does WiFi reach. The general rule how far can WiFi reach is 150 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoor.

But how far does WiFi reach in reality depends on many factors that have a negative impact on the signal strength and quality. Under perfect conditions, how far does a WiFi signal go depends on the specific version of the WiFi protocol it uses and the strength of the transmitter inside the router.

In the real world, the nature of the environment, obstructions, and other signal interference can substantially decrease the signal strength and reach.

WiFi PROTOCOL

There are several protocols in the 802.11 group of protocols your WiFi could use, and how far does WiFi reach depends in part on which one of them your home or business network uses. Some protocols exclusively use the 2.4 GHz radio signal frequency, and inside it can reach up to around 150 feet ranges.

Newer protocols can transmit signal in the 5 GHz band which allows for higher connection speeds but at the price of a decreased range of how far does WiFi reach.

STRENGTH OF TRANSMITTER

How far does WiFi reach depends also on the strength of the transmitter inside your WiFi router’s transmitter. Cheaper routers usually have lower strength transmitters, which can severely limit how far router can reach. Premium long-range routers employ stronger emitters, and such wireless router maximum distance can actually go above the expected 150/300 feet range.

THE ENVIRONMENT

How far does WiFi reach depends also on the physical properties of the obstacles through which the radio signal has to pass before reaching the receiving device. Radio signals very poorly travel through solid materials, such as walls, and it decreases their strength. Common household and office items also can decrease the signal strength, chairs, drawers, and so on; have an impact easy to understand as similar to light.

When light shines on some object it creates a shade behind itself, but some light bounces from the surrounding surfaces so such shade is not completely black. Similar thing happens with WiFi’s radio signal, so common household items create a patchwork of spots with weaker signals around your house.

INTERFERENCES

In our homes and offices, there is a high number of other electric devices which create electromagnetic fields around them. And these can negatively impact how far does WiFi reach throughout an indoor area. Another source of the interferences is actually other WiFi networks.

HOW TO EXTEND HOW FAR DOES WIFI REACH?


The easiest way to extend how far does WiFi reach is to employ a WiFi booster, one such device is RangeXTD. These devices are often also called WiFi repeaters or boosters because that’s the basic way they function. They receive the WiFi signal from your main router, boost its strength, and resend it into areas that your router can’t reach.

How far does a WiFi extender like RangeXTD reaches depends on the same factors as how far does WiFi reach from your router, but by moving the point from which the WiFi signal is emitted to a new location it extends the area your network covers.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST LOCATION FOR WIFI BOOSTER

Some people make a rush decision and place the WiFi booster in the part of their home where the signal is weakest, but this severely limits how far will a WiFi extender reach when boosting the signal. A weak signal can have a large percentage of dropped packets and similar erroneous transmission of data, boosting such a dirty signal will just amplify the problems you already have with WiFi.

The best practice is to place it as far as possible from your router, but where its signal is still of sufficient strength. To find such a spot may be a bit of a chore, but you can find a plethora of good mobile phone apps for measuring WiFi signal strength that comes in very handy in this situation.

HOW FAR WIFI RANGE CAN BE EXTENDED?

This depends on the location of your extender and its characteristics. Same as with wireless routers, different quality extenders offer different maximum ranges. The environment in which they are placed will have the same impact on the maximum range and the quality of the signal, thus placing it in a very crowded area can completely defeat its purpose.

As some general rule, you can count on the extender increasing the range by two-thirds of the range of your router. So some realistic expectation is to push the WiFi signal from a maximum of 150 feet indoors to 250 feet.

CAN I USE MORE THAN ONE EXTENDER?

The short answer is yes. You can use more than one extender to increase the maximum cover of your WiFi network signal, but you can’t really increase the maximum range. WiFi extenders very poorly repeat already repeated signal, especially in case that the second repeater can detect your main router.

The second repeater will often connect to your router and repeat the weak signal and only amplify the errors created by poor quality. Solution for extending the range thus demands that you change the location of your router and place it in the middle of the repeaters.

DO WIFI EXTENDERS HAVE NEGATIVE IMPACT ON WIFI SPEED?


If they are properly placed they will not have any measurable negative effect on the speed of your WiFi connection. They need to be placed on a spot where you have decent signal strength so that it can retransmit a good quality signal. WiFi boosters amplify the strength of your wireless network signal and can amplify all of the issues that exist in it.

In case of a weak signal, problems with transmitting data will occur, dropped packages are the most common one. If you place it in a spot with a particular weak signal these issues will become more apparent, and actually defeat the purpose of a WiFi repeater.

April 13, 2021

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