Are you tired of having slow WiFi at the back of your house? There is a lot of misinformation out there about the typical wireless router range. Some of this is just from the misinformed public, but a lot of it comes from the marketing materials that the router companies themselves put out. To understand why you might be having problems with your WiFi connection in some areas of your house, you first have to understand what you need to look for in your router.
The average WiFi router range depends upon the number (and type) or wireless access points that have been used to build the network. In most homes, this is typically a single wireless router. In most cases, a single router is enough to cover the average size of a single-family home, but even those can sometimes push routers to their limits. Keep in mind that many businesses will have several access points to deliver WiFi over a similar square footage.
What Determines Wireless Router Range?
The wireless router range of any WiFi signal from a single access point can vary quite a bit from one device to another. So, how far does WiFi reach? There are multiple things that determine how much range the signal has, including:
- The 802.11 protocol that the router runs on
- The strength of the device that is transmitting the signal
- The area in which the access point is located. Sometimes, walls or other physical obstructions can have a serious negative impact on WiFi range.
There are a few ground rules that you should be aware of as you try to diagnose the problem. The traditional 2.4 GHz band typically covers areas within 150 feet while indoors, and up to 300 feet outdoors or in unobstructed areas. Traditional 5 GHz bands that ran on 802.11 routers offer a range of about 50 feet. Newer routers utilize different 802.11 protocols, such as 802.11n and 802.11ac. These protocols do allow for wider wireless router range, but the variance between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands remains about the same. 5GHz bands are more likely to suffer from obstructions like doors and walls as well, while the 2.4 GHz band is more likely to suffer from interference. Many users mistakenly believe that the 5 GHz band offers superior WiFi range because the number is larger, but that is not true.
Wireless Router Range Interference
One of the benefits of the shorter-ranged 5 GHz bands is the fact that many household appliances and consumer devices use 2.4 GHz radios. Microwaves are notorious for interfering with the 2.4 GHz band. This makes the 2.4 GHz bands more susceptible to interference, particularly inside homes. Radio signal interference is common from microwaves, which can negatively impact the range of a WiFi network.
Wireless Router Range Obstructions
The 5GHz band range is more likely to be impacted by obstructions within the home. While doors and walls do have some impact, the obstructions that you should really be on the look out for are brick walls, metal walls, or metal siding. These can reduce the range of a WiFi network by as much as 50% in some cases. The 5 GHz band is more adversely impacted by obstructions than the 2.4 GHz band.
Key WiFi Range Facts:
- 2.4 GHz Band Range: 150 Feet (Average)
- 5 GHz Band Range: 50 Feet (Average)
- 2.4 GHz Band is more likely to suffer from interference
- 5 GHz Band is more likely to suffer from obstructions
How Can I Improve My WiFi Network?
The easiest and most effective way to improve the WiFi network within your home is to increase the number of access points. This is ideal for multi-level homes or sprawling ramblers that find their WiFi suffering at the opposite end of their home.
The best product for multiple access points is the Eero WiFi System. We have reviewed the Eero system at length. Essentially, the Eero WiFi System allows you to buy multiple units which then act as additional access points to your wireless network. The largest package comes with three units, which provides more than enough range for your average home. It’s easy to setup and even has an auto-reboot feature for when your WiFi goes down.