WiFi Antenna Position and Placement | WiFi Range and Direction

In the last post, I explained most common WiFi antennas that are used with WiFi routers and WiFi adapters. In this post, I will explain WiFi antenna position as well as WiFi antenna Placement for effective and fast transmission and reception of WiFi Signal and better WiFi range. I will also explain best WiFi Router Position and how to Point point WiFi antenna for best WiFi range.

The WiFi signals are based on Radio Waves, that's the same as the electromagnetic waves from your cell phone or radio. But unlike these waves, WiFi signal wave is really short - they're usually only twelve centimetres long when compared to that of AM waves which are hundreds of meters long whose signal will get weaker as they gets further from the source and generally it cannot get more than one hundred and fifty feet from a source.

WiFi signal get absorbed and blocked by walls and metallic surfaces and so the way you position WiFi Antenna of  the WiFi Router makes a huge difference on how strong the WiFi signal is through out your house.

Before going through WiFi antenna position, lets talk a little bit about WiFi Antennas. WiFi Antennas are of various types.

Types of WiFi Antennas

Based on the radiation pattern, WiFi Antennas are classified into

  • Omni Directional Antenna
  • Semi Directional Antenna
  • Directional Antenna

Omni Directional WiFi Antennas emits electromagnetic waves equally in all direction. Semi directional antennas emits radio waves in particular pattern and direction antennas transmits energy in a particular direction only. They are commonly used in WiFi Routers and WiFi Adapters.

Based on the Antenna placement, there are mainly two types of WiFi Antennas

  • Indoor WiFi Antenna
  • Outdoor WiFi Antenna

Indoor WiFi antennas are usually small and compact antennas, generally usually used in WiFi routers, Mobile Phones, Laptops and low powered USB WiFi Adapters. These antennas have very low power gain (generally 2dBi-9dBi) and are designed for internal uses.

Outdoor WiFi antennas are a designed for long range transmission and reception purposes. They are usually mounted on roof top and can transmit or receive radio waves to a very long distances. They have very high power gain and are usually weather proof that are designed for external use.

WiFi Router Antenna Position and Placement

Some of most common questions that comes to our mind when we install a WiFi router - How to position and place WiFi antenna for maximum coverage? Which the best WiFi antenna orientation for maximum coverage? Wich is the best WiFi antenna Position in your home? Before going into that question, you should know how the EM waves are radiated through the antenna.

Most of the Home Routers antennas have omni directional antennas that (as explained in my previous post) emits radiations equally in a single plane.

This is what it means. The direction of radiation emitted will be perpendicular to the direction you point the antenna. That means, If you point your antennas vertically, it will emit radiation in a a horizontal plane. If you point it horizontally, waves will be emitted vertically.

So for home routers with two antennas, it is always best to keep one antenna horizontal and the other vertical. This way we can cover both vertical and horizontal space in our house. Another advantage of keeping antennas in this position is polarization. It is observed that maximum signal can be received when the transmitter and receiving devices have same polarization. Polarization depends up on the WiFi antenna Placement of the device which will be different for different devices; some will be horizontal and some will be vertical. By pointing WiFi antennas perpendicularly, we can match the polarization in both devices no matter which position the device is kept.

Let talk a bit simpler. Most WiFi routers have two WiFi antennas on them and ideally you could position one of them vertically and one horizontally. Transmission and reception of WiFi signal will be faster when internal antennas of client devices such as laptops, mobile phones are parallel with the routers antenna. So if you keep one horizontal and the other vertical, there is more chance of aligning the client antenna with at least one of the router antenna and having a parallel mach.

WiFi Antenna Position and Increased WiFi Range

Now that you know how the waves are radiated, let us place it somewhere, where we would get maximum coverage. As mentioned in my previous post, maximum distance an antenna can cover (transmit or receive) depends up on the power gain of the antenna, which will be constant for a particular antenna. Most common home routers have a power gain of 5dBi-9dBi which is enough to cover a medium sized house if placed correctly.

One thing you wanna do is is put your router at the centre of your house because it broadcast the signal out in equal strength in all direction. If possible, its always a good idea to put your router in a room in which the antenna of the router is in direct line of sight the from whatever position your device is. This will help in the transmission WiFi Signal around the home with less dissipation.

It is always a good practice to keep your router at the center of the of the house rather than a corner So that it can cover maximum horizontal radius.

If it is a multistory building, the router should be placed somewhere in between the first floor and the second floor for covering maximum vertical range, like ceiling of the ground floor or somewhere near the floor of the first floor.

You should also lift your router off the ground for maximum WiFi range because most WiFi signal can't penetrate some of the materials that make up floors like a metal or concrete cement. Also the way most routers are designed is they broadcast the signal slightly downwards. That way you are projecting some of its wave down into your basement. So to get maximum WiFi range, and reduce dissipation of the WiFi Signal, its always better to elevate the position of the WiFi router in your home.

Electromagnetic Interference

Another thing to be taken care of is the electronic devices around your router. A lot of electronic device can interfere with the WiFi signal - things like TVs, computers, microwaves, pretty much anything that has a motor inside it. So you want to keep the router away from other electronics devices.

External WiFi Receivers

To increase the range, we could use USB WiFi receivers. The use of receiving antenna (USB WiFi Adapters) depends up on whether the station is portable or not. If it is portable, it is better to use an omni directional WiFi antenna that has same polarisation as that of the transmitter (Router). If it is not portable, it is better to use a directional antenna, such as a mini panel antenna or cantenna that is pointed to the access point.

Troubleshooting

If you find that your WiFi network isn't working well or you are not getting WiFi signal when you are still in WiFi range, you can just go around and measure your WiFi signal strength. There's a lot of different apps so you can download on your phone. You could creative a rough map and figure out what you need to fix it.

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