A typical Wi-Fi network range is dependent on the type and number of wireless access points and wireless routers that it is made up of.
In a business set up, networks with grids of access points will cover several offices building while a home network with just a single wireless router covers a large area of home without much more. Wireless hotspots traversing many kilometers have been put up in some cities.
Networking Building Cost
The cost of building and maintaining these networks increases with increase in the range.
The signal range of a Wi-Fi differs from device to device significantly. There are factors that decide the range of a single access point. These factors are;
- the strength of the device transmitter
- the particular 802.11 protocol and
- the nature of environmental interference in that particular area.
“a general rule of thumb in home networking states that a Wi-Fi router that is operating on a 2.4GHz can reach up to 46 meters (150 feet) indoors and 92 meters (300) feet outdoor”. The Older routers (802.11a) that ran on 5GHz bands can reach approximately 1/3 of these distances while newer routers (802.11n and 802.11ac) that operate on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands differ in the reach likewise.
There are several factors that can reduce the range of the router and exterminate its signal strength. Most people are not cognizant of the fact that other wireless devices that emit electromagnetic radiation can interfere with the signal strength of the Wi-Fi. Research has shown that physical obstructions such as metal frames and walls in a home play a significant role in reducing the range and the strength of a Wi-Fi network by more than 25%.
5GHz Wi-Fi connections are easily affected by obstructions than 2.4GHz.
In a residential apartment, Wi-Fi network range can also be negatively affected by either radio signal interference, microwave or other equipment.
Additionally, the distance at which an individual can connect to an access point is dependent on the orientation of the antenna. Gadgets such as smart phone users may observe a decrease or increase in the connection strength of their devices by turning it to different directions. There are certain access points that utilize directional antennas which allow a longer reach in the areas where the antenna is pointing but shorten signal reach in other areas.
There are several routers in the market which guarantee a stronger connection, a wider range and high-speed internet connection irrespective of the factors that affect signals.
802.11n Routers: The power antennas allow a wider range and stronger connections. The Netgear WNR2500-100NAS IEEE 802.11n 450 Mbps wireless router makes downloads and streaming online faster.
802.11ac Routers: TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabyte Router comprises 450Mbps at 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps at 5GHz. This router comes with an easy setup aide with multi-language support to make the installation process much easier and it also features guest network access for extra privacy while sharing your household.
802.11g Routers: The Linksys WRT54GL Wi-Fi Wireless-G Broadband Router features four different Ethernet ports and the WPA2 encryption allows one to surf the internet with full security.