When we are connected to a wireless network and we notice that we can barely surf the Internet, the first thing we think is that the Wi-Fi signal is very weak. Once we have ruled out the presence of possible intruders on our network or the more than probable interference from neighbors, we can only ask ourselves one thing: Could we be too far from the router? What is the average range of a Wi-Fi network?
Reach range according to signal frequency
Wireless networks use radio waves to transmit the signal, the same as televisions or smartphones. That is why the further we move away from the source of emission, the more the signal strength weakens.
In any case, if we focus solely on the frequency of said signal, we can more or less calculate the range that our router can have.
- 4GHz: 45 meters indoors and 90 meters outdoors.
- 5GHz: 15 meters indoors and 30 meters outdoors.
The new 802.11n and 802.11ac standards, which operate in both frequency bands according to the needs of each moment, can reach greater distances.
Factors that influence the coverage of a Wi-Fi network
But not everything depends on how often the wireless network is running. There are also other factors that are equally or more important that directly affect the quality and power of the signal.
The router or access point used
There are several factors that determine the range of a router, such as the orientation of the antennas, the 802.11 protocol used, the transmitting power of the device, and radio interference from the surroundings.
If we are using a mobile phone, we can even notice the increase or decrease in the signal simply by turning the device, depending on its alignment with respect to the router. Some access points also tend to incorporate antennas, which make the signal boost in the direction they point and weaken in other areas.
Building structure and materials
Brick walls and metal objects can reduce range by 25%. Normally, homes are divided into rooms, have ceilings, floors and are usually decorated with mirrors and other furniture or accessories that obstruct the free circulation of Wi-Fi waves.
A good way to overcome this type of structural problem is to install one or more Wi-Fi repeaters in areas where the signal begins to weaken. There is no golden rule: it may be enough in a house with a single repeater, and in another of the same dimensions we need 2 or even 3 extenders to obtain a similar result.
The 802.11 protocol, or what is the same, the wireless standard that we use to transmit the signal has a direct effect on the coverage offered. Each of these protocols has a different scope range:
- 11th: 35 meters indoors and 118 meters outdoors.
- 11b: 35 meters indoors and 140 meters outdoors.
- 11g: 38 meters indoors and 140 meters outdoors.
- 11n: 70 meters indoors and 250 meters outdoors.
- 11ac: 70 meters indoors and 250 meters outdoors.
Finally, it should be remembered that the signal strength depends on its degree of degradation. Usually, the lower the frequency, the lower also the degradation Of the signal.
If we look at radio waves, low frequency signals (2.4GHz) tend to have less pronounced waves as opposed to higher frequencies (5GHz, 6GHz) that show more pronounced waves and close together. This makes low-frequency waves more stable and has a longer range.
However, low frequencies are also more susceptible to interference. Most devices use the 2.4GHz frequency and if we are in a place with many electronic devices and several Wi-Fi networks, “bottlenecks” can be generated in the transmission channels. For these cases it is best to configure the router to broadcast in 5GHz, although this also means reducing the range of the signal as we mentioned at the beginning of the post.You have Telegram installed? Receive the best post of each day on our channel. Or if you prefer, find out everything from our Facebook page.