My home has consistently had a brace of Wi-Fi asleep zones that drive me basics — the basement, and the active allowance on the aboriginal floor. I usually administer a solid 40-80Mbps in all added locations, which is abounding for my needs. But in those two agitation spots the arresting can bead to a affecting 130Kbps (yup, hardly faster than the boilerplate modem about 1998) or abandon entirely. That’s a botheration aback you’re aggravating to beck Netflix, or do anything. I’ve struggled with this for months, but again our analysis of Google’s OnHub router gave me an idea. “OnHub is advised to be out in the open, breadth Wi-Fi works best,” said Google’s business copy. At first, I was skeptical. Abode a router added centrally? How do you do that aback it needs to be affiliated to your DSL or cable modem and to a ability supply? Still, it fabricated me wonder. Can you addition Wi-Fi speeds by artlessly affective your router about a bit?
At 2,800 aboveboard feet, my abode isn’t the largest. But it’s attenuated (18 anxiety at its widest point) and includes blubbery copse beams backed by solid brick walls. Over the years, I approved 9 altered routers from companies like Linksys, Buffalo, Angel and Netgear, as able-bodied as assorted ambit extenders from brands like Belkin and TP-Link. Nothing seemed to get those botheration areas anxiously connected, but one affair has remained the same. The router has consistently been in the aforementioned place, aloft a metal filing chiffonier in our home office.
Long adventure short? I was able to badly advance Wi-Fi achievement aloof by affective my router! Specifically, I animated it with a simple agenda box and readjusted my antennas to accomplish a big difference. Here’s what I was alive with, what I did, and how it can advice your router situation, too.
Moving the router: linksys-wrt1900ac
The aboriginal footfall was to accomplish abiding that the router itself was not allotment of the problem. The association at Linksys attentive offered to accommodation me one of their latest models for my test, the fabulously retro-styled, and third-party firmware-friendly, WRT 1900 ACS ($220). It’s a dual-band, a/b/g/n/ac router with four alien antennas and a dual-core 1.6Ghz processor.
Moving the router: Analysis App
To bulk out what the assorted changes in position did to my Wi-Fi performance, I acclimated software alleged iPerf. With iPerf, you set a apparatus on your adjustment (preferably a computer that’s active into the router’s ethernet port, like my iMac) as the host, again run an iPerf-compatible app on your wireless accessory as the applicant (I acclimated the chargeless HE.NET for iOS active on an iPhone 6). The applicant pings the host apparatus with your best of agreement (TCP or UDP), and amalgamation admeasurement (in this case, a distinct megabyte of data), and the host annal and relays the aftereffect of that ping aback to the client. You’ll see the bulk of abstracts sent, the acceleration it was able to achieve, and how connected it took to send.
Baseline: Afore installing the new WRT 1900 ACS, I took abstracts application my absolute router, the Linksys WRT 1200 AC, a two-antenna dual-band router.
1) Aboriginal Placement, Antenna Position 1: WRT 1900 ACS sitting anon aloft of a 2-foot-3-inch metal filing cabinet, about one inch from a drywall wall, which is the aforementioned breadth acclimated for the Baseline. The rear antennas were at a 45-degree apparent angle, the ancillary antennas pointing beeline up.
2) Partially Elevated, Antenna Position 1: Identical to (1), but router placed on top of its agenda package, four-and-a-half inches animated from the apparent of the filing cabinet
3) Fully Elevated, Antenna Position 1: Identical to (1) but with the router placed on top of its agenda box positioned angular for a ambit of 12.5 inches from the apparent of the filing cabinet.
4) Fully Elevated, Antenna Position 2: Identical to (3) but with ancillary antennas set to a analogous 45 bulk apparent bend as the rear antennas.
5) Fully Elevated, Antenna Position 3: Identical to (3) but with ancillary antennas set to a 90 bulk apparent bend (parallel to the floor).
6) Aboriginal Placement, Antenna Position 3: Removed the agenda box from config (5), but kept aggregate abroad the same.
Moving the router: WiFi diagram
The blueprint requires a bit of explanation. For the baseline analysis with the aboriginal router, I took abstracts in all six locations of the house. I again swapped out the WRT 1200 AC for the WRT 1900 ACS, mostly so I could see what (if any) aftereffect application a newer router with 2 added antennas would accept to my all-embracing connectivity. As you can see, speeds in my “good” zones bigger considerably, with Zone B seeing the bigger jump in performance. My botheration zones (D, F) didn’t advance at all. In fact, Zone F got worse (though I’m not abiding how that’s alike possible).
Moving the router hardly from the metal apparent (Config #2) of the filing chiffonier absolutely helped, but I was still ashore able-bodied beneath 1 Mbit/s. Elevating the router added (Config #3) produced a agnate access in Zone D, but absolutely beneath the acceleration in Zone F. Angling out the ancillary antennas to bout the rear antennas’ 45 bulk camber (Config #4) assuredly bumped Zone D aloft 1Mbit/s, but the basement connected to stagnate.
Then I angled the ancillary antennas bottomward to a 90-degree position (Config #5), and, BINGO! Speeds bigger in Zone D by 2,000 percent, and in Zone F by a amazing 64,000 percent, over the antecedent configuration. Finally, speeds I can alive with. But was this massive acceleration bang artlessly a bulk of angling two antennas?
The aftermost agreement (#6) breadth I accumulate the antennas the aforementioned but annihilate the agenda box, tells the tale. No bulk of antenna angling can affected the arresting impediment that the metal filing chiffonier throws into the mix.
Moving the router: Linksys WRT3200 ACM router review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
To acquisition out why the aggregate of router acme and antenna angles from Config #5 accepted so successful, I accomplished out to Linksys Product Manager, Mathieu Whelan.
“Most alien antennas are dipole,” Whelan said. “If you brainstorm the radiation adjustment in 3D amplitude it will attending kinda like a fat donut. From the top-down it will attending like a absolute circle. Aback you bend the antenna at 45 degrees, you accept to account that donut angry at 45 degrees as well.” Affective the donuts about has a absolute appulse on your advantage area. “If you bend the antenna alongside to the ground, that donut is now sitting angular instead of horizontally,” Whelan acicular out.
Sure enough, aback you attending at a diagram of our abode — apparent bang so you can anticipate these donuts — the starting antenna angles from Agreement #1 (45 degrees on the rear and beeline up on the sides) creates a alternation of donuts that never appear in absolute acquaintance with my two agitation spots.
Moving the router: wifi-donut-pattern-1
Which explains why, aback you artlessly circle the ancillary antennas bottomward to a 90 bulk angle, the donut adjustment changes too, consistent in way bigger all-embracing coverage.
Moving the router: wifi-donut-pattern-5
Both the advanced allowance (Zone D) and the basement (Zone F) are now aural the arresting aisle created by the ancillary antennas. However, this represents an optimal arrangement, after any accouterments to the signals as they banish about the house.
Re-introduce an obstacle (like a metal filing cabinet) and you ability as able-bodied not accept those ancillary antennas at all!
Moving the router: wifi-donut-pattern-6
This diagram makes it attending like the signals can’t get to the basal of the house, but in absoluteness it’s added subtle. “Generally, metal [like the filing cabinet] is appealing bad. Metal acts like a reflector [to radio waves] in abundant the aforementioned way that metal reflects light,” Whelan told me. “Light hits the metal of the filing chiffonier and again bounces backward. With RF [radio frequencies] some of it will get through, but best of it will animation back.” That’s why my agitation breadth had a arresting — but alone a anemic one.
In a absolute world, our best Wi-Fi routers would absorb almost the aforementioned breadth in our homes as the dining allowance chandelier — up high, abroad from any obstacles and almost centered in the amplitude of the home.
But back that adjustment isn’t acceptable to attending actual acceptable (or alike be applied from a base point of view) your best bet for best Wi-Fi advantage is to chase these guidelines as carefully as possible.
Updated: Edited to be added concise.
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