Wi-Fi Signal Strength/Performance Problems

If you get great performance of your Internet connection when hard-wired into your router using a LAN cable, but suffer slower or a less performing connection when connected by Wi-Fi, then it sounds like your Wi-Fi system will be the problem - not the Internet supply.

Wi-Fi isn't as good as hard-cabling

Wi-Fi is not perfect. It's not the best connection method if you are after the most reliable and high-performance link because of a number of factors:

  • Interference such as cordless DECT phones, baby monitors, microwave ovens, or your neighbours Wi-Fi can reduce the performance or stop the Wi-Fi signal altogether.
  • Signal attenuation such as walls, ceilings, windows and any heavy materials will lower or completely block the signal strength. This then in turn reduces the performance or reliability of the Wi-Fi link.

Therefore where possible you should hard cable any networked/Internet-connected devices for best performance & reliability.

Check out our router positioning guide.

Wi-Fi signal degrades over distance and through obstructions

The Wi-Fi signal is only so good at penetrating through walls, ceilings and other obstructions. The signal will decrease/attenuate with any interference or obstructions.

In new homes, it's not uncommon for homes to be well insulated and have foil-backed insulation or concrete floors which can adversely affect the Wi-Fi signal.

Wi-Fi Signal Attenuation

Material
Signal Attenuation
Glass window Low
Wooden door Low
Cubicle Low
Plasterboard wall Low
Dry wall with no insulation Low
Dry wall with foil-backed insulation Medium
Cinderblock Medium
Marble Medium
Glass wall with metal frame High
Brick wall Very High
Concrete wall Very High

What coverage should I expect from a Wi-Fi Access Point?

There is no straight answer on this as this will depend on your building materials and interference sources.

However a usual home should expect to receive acceptable Wi-Fi coverage two-to-three rooms away from the room where the Wi-Fi access point is located. You should also find that the signal reaches the room above/beneath/both and perhaps one room away upstairs/downstairs/both.

Your results will vary, and this is not to suggest a fault with the Wi-Fi access point, as it will almost certainly be down to your individual home's building materials and interference sources.

What can I do to improve the Wi-Fi signal?

1. Remove sources of interference where possible.

2. Remove or relocate your Wi-Fi Access Point to a location that doesn't suffer from attenuating sources.

3. Fitting additional Wi-Fi Access Points.

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