If you often struggle with your wireless signal in different parts of your house, you should know that the placement of your router can have a big effect on the signal you get.
In fact, to get the best possible signal throughout your home, there are many different factors you should consider when setting up your router. Please read to find out about some of the things you should consider when setting up your network.
Where Should I Place My Router?
Location In Your Home
The first thing you will need to think about is the physical location of the router within your network. If you only need to cover a fairly small area, this perhaps won’t matter that much and anywhere you put the router will give you signal throughout your home or office.
However, if you have a larger area that needs to be covered, you will need to think a bit more about where you place your router. Ideally, you would place your router somewhere central within your network.
As the antennas on wifi routers are generally omnidirectional, they will send their signal out evenly in all directions. As such, placing your router in the middle of your network will give you the widest possible signal area.
Having said that, you should also take into consideration where you will be using your wifi signal and the type of router your have. If there is a specific room that requires a fast and reliable connection, for example wherever you play computer games/stream movies, it could be best to place your router close by. Even if that means having a weaker signal elsewhere.
What About Interference?
There are two main types of interference that can affect your network. These are physical interference (not really interference as such, more specifically known as attenuation, reflection, refraction and diffraction) from objects like walls and furniture, and signal interference from other devices that give out a wireless or radio signal.
In terms of physical interference, it is obviously going to be pretty much impossible to avoid interference from walls if you plan to use your wireless network throughout your house.
What you can do though is keep your wifi router in the room that requires the best connection. Also, make sure to not place your router in a cabinet. Even though it may make your room look tidier, it will have a negative effect on your network (especially if the cabinet is metal!).
As well as walls, metal objects can absorb or reflect your wireless signal. Because of this, it is best to keep your router away from rooms, like your kitchen, that have a lot of metal surfaces. Even if your kitchen is in a perfectly central location within your network, it will probably be best to avoid placing your router in the kitchen.
Wireless Signal Interference
The second type of signal interference comes from other objects that emit a wireless signal on the same frequency as your router. If you have a wireless router that uses the 2.4GHz frequency, you will be competing against products like your microwave, Bluetooth devices and potentially your neighbor's wifi signal.
As such it is best to keep your router as far away from these objects as possible (yeah we know, it's going to be hard to avoid your neighbor's wifi, lol). However, if that is impossible, you could always try to use a router that works on the 5GHz frequency band as this band generally has less competing interference.
What About Height, Does It Matter?
You should also take into consideration the position of your router in the room. When it comes to router placement, it is generally a good idea to keep your router as high as possible to get a better range. This is because the wireless signal (generally) spreads out and down from its source.
If you need to use your wifi signal over two stories, putting it close to the ceiling on the first floor or close to the floor of your second floor could be the best bet.
So yeah, height does matter. Especially if you live on more than one level. For these types of dwelling, we recommend adjusting the router antennas (if you router antennas are external and adjust) to cover both the horizontal and the vertical 'azimuths'. Or at least angle one antenna at 45 degrees from vertical (keeping the others vertical!).
Wifi Router Placement: Wrapping Up
Of course, houses are mainly built for living in, not for optimal wifi conditions. As such, you may find that, despite your best efforts, you can’t find a spot in your house that is central, near to where you do your gaming, away from the kitchen and out of reach of your neighbour's wifi.
What you should essentially do then, is experiment with a couple of different locations throughout your house and see where you can get the optimal wifi signal for all your needs.
And remember, if no matter what you do you can’t find a satisfactory solution, there are plenty of options for extending the range of your network. These include access points, wireless bridges or even just using a plain old Ethernet connection!
Over to you... Where do you put your router?