In the past, it was normal to connect to the router using an ethernet cable, but today we have so many gadgets connected at home that it would be unthinkable. Wi-Fi comes to the rescue, though These invisible waves do not always arrive with the force that we would like to the whole house.
While the range of action of a typical Wi-Fi connection is estimated at 46 meters for the 2.4 GHz band and about 15 meters for the 5.0 GHz, in reality obstacles and router placement greatly affect the quality of the Internet connection, reducing coverage and, therefore, speed.
Where do we put the router?
You don’t need to do math or study wave propagation theory to get a rough idea of where to place your router to maximize speed and coverage throughout your home. The general rule is very simple: put it as close to the devices they are going to connect to it.
The easy answer is: as close as possible to the devices that connect to it
This is because the signal drops exponentially as you move away from the router, so that the distance with respect to the router is – together with the possible obstacles in the way, which we will talk about later – the most important factor in the quality of the connection.
Now, this rule is easy to take into account if we consider devices that do not change places like the television or the desktop PC, but not if we take into account the rest of the gadgets, like our mobile phones. For better or worse, we take them to all parts of the house, and we hope that the connection is maintained just as well when we are in the living room as in the kitchen or the terrace. The solution is half Solomonic and half geometric: put it in the middle of the house.
« In the middle of the house » is always a good option
Since the signal from the router is propagated in all directions equally, the way to make sure that the whole house receives good coverage is to put it rather in the middle, so that the distance to any of the rooms is similar and there is no corner of the house that is further from the waves than the rest.
Of course, this also depends on your preferences. If you anticipate that you will need more signal on one side of the house (because that is where most of your devices are and where you spend most of your time), then the general rule of thumb prevails: the closer the better.
In multi-story houses, the same rule applies vertically. If you are not going to use Wi-Fi repeaters (and, in this case, it would be highly recommended), your best bet is to install the router on the middle floor to ensure that the signal reaches all floors equally.
Centered, also vertically
Speaking of verticality, ideally you should place the router at the same height as the devices that connect to it for optimal connection. Therefore avoid the temptation to anchor it to the ceiling or put it hidden in the ground. At table height is a good starting point.
Beware of obstacles
It is as important to put the router in a privileged location in the house as it is to avoid obstacles in its path. The signal strength decreases each time the waves must pass certain obstacles in their way, especially solid objects and certain materials.
This is the case of cement (or other materials) for walls and floors, metal, rock and water. In simple words and closer to what we would find in a house: putting the router next to the refrigerator, the washing machine or a large fish tank can be a bad idea. The wooden doors mean less signal reduction than the walls.
When placing the router, you must imagine that waves come out of it in all directions and these lose their strength when they try to pass through some of these materials. If you prefer facts to use your imagination, you can use the WiFi Solver app for Android (0.69 euros) or Netspot or Ekahau HeatMaper to create a heat map like the screenshot above.
And the antennas, what?
Where should the antennas point?
Ok, we have already got an idea about where we should put and where we should not put the router, but what do we do with its antennae or antennas? Some models have up to six antennas, and almost everyone has a theory about where should they point.
Routers are often touted as omni-directional, but their antennas are rather dipole: the signal they emit looks more like a squashed donut that expands and reaches further horizontally than vertically. Therefore, the general rule is put the antennas vertically, that is, pointing to the ceiling.
If we saw the Wifi of an antenna, it would be something like this
Now there are some exceptions. When your router has multiple antennas, you can try putting one antenna vertically and one horizontallyThis little trick makes sure to maximize the possibility that the sender and receiver use the same polarization, as some devices have the antenna vertically and others horizontally.
As a general rule, vertically. If you have several: one vertically and another parallel to the ground is a good option
Also, when you are trying cover several floors With a single router, it is a good idea to tilt one of the antennas (approximately 45 degrees) so that the signal also reaches up or down, depending on your interest.
You will probably have to try various configurations to find which one best suits the devices you use and where you use them, although the general and easy-to-understand rule is that, despite what it may seem, the antennas are more powerful on its sides than on its tip.