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Positioning the Router for Success

Positioning your Wireless Router or Access Point (or AP) can greatly influence the quality of your home wireless network. Follow these tips to maximize its range:

  • The AP must be positioned at least 4′ to 5′ above the ground. Never place your wireless router on the floor. If your microwave or other wireless emitting devices are positioned at that height, consider increasing the AP to 6′.
  • The AP surrounding must be open and free of obstructions. Any barriers along the “line of sight” between your wireless devices and AP will degrade the Wi-Fi radio signal. Think of wireless waves like a stream of light. If you can’t see the “light” from where the router is situated, then your wireless device will have difficulty seeing the router too. Plaster, brick and glass walls tend to have the most negative impact, as well as doors, cabinets and other pieces of large furniture. Your wireless router measures distance by the time it takes the device to “talk” to it. A cell phone inside your purse that is inside a closet that is 20′ from the router, may seem a lot further away than a laptop that is located 50′ away, but doesn’t obstacles between it and the router.
  • Avoid reflective surfaces whenever possible. Some Wi-Fi signals literally bounce off of windows, mirrors, metal file cabinets and stainless steel countertops, lessening both network range and performance.
  • Keep the AP at least 3′ away from any electronic device such as a TV, game console, computer, monitor, telephone base, etc.
  • If the house is larger than 1500 sqf, consider adding a secondary AP. Consult with a network designer and engineer on the best way to add a second AP.
  • If the router has external antennas, make sure they do not cross. It’s best to position them facing up.

Remember: Your device wireless gauge (bars) are not a good indication of the quality of the connection. The bars indicate signal level only. They do not indicate noise level nor do they show the negotiating rates and what other devices are burdening your AP.