Whether you’re moving house or just making a few updates to your home, you should consider the best place to put your Wi-Fi router. Your Wi-Fi router distributes your internet signal wirelessly throughout your home, and where you locate it affects the strength of the signal connecting your devices. You can quickly improve your wireless network strength with just a few simple adjustments.
What does a Wi-Fi router do?
Your Wi-Fi router connects to your modem, which connects to your internet service provider’s network. If you connect to the internet using satellite internet, the modem connects to your satellite dish. Either way, your router performs the same function: transmitting data wirelessly between your modem and your devices. (Learn more about modems, routers, and internet signals on our internet terminology page).
Factors Affecting Wi-Fi Signal Strength
Knowing how to set up a Wi-Fi router directly impacts your network’s wireless signal strength. Many factors can interfere with your router’s performance, including the following:
- The distance between the router and the connected device.
- Physical obstructions such as thick walls, ceilings, doors, and even heavy furniture.
- Metal and floor heating infrastructure.
- Interference from nearby electronic appliances such as cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, televisions, fridges, and microwaves.
- Outdated router firmware or hardware.
- Competition from nearby networks for the name GHz band.
Understanding Wireless Signal Behavior
Why do these factors impact where to place your Wi-Fi router? Routers use two radio frequencies to transmit data: 2.4 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz. The signal transmits in all directions, so many people think of their router’s range as a circle. The signal is strongest at the circle's center and weakest at the edge.
Several obstacles can weaken radio signals. Airborne water scatters and restricts radio signals. Rain is the primary culprit, but high humidity can have an impact. Traveling through thick concrete, timber, and metal layers also weakens Wi-Fi signals. These factors must be considered when deciding where to place a Wi-Fi router.
Best Place to Put a W-Fi Router
Put your router in a central location
As we noted above, your router’s radio signal can be considered a circle. In fact, it’s more like a globe, as the router transmits radio signals vertically as well as horizontally, making it possible to connect devices on other floors of your building.
The best place to place your router is in a central location so the radio signal covers as much of your home or business as possible. As your modem usually plugs into an exterior wall, your router will usually also be against this wall.
Minimize router obstructions
If possible, position the router away from thick walls, metal obstacles, and even windows, which can cause Wi-Fi signals to refract and scatter. The clearer the space between your router and a connected device, the stronger the signal.
Elevated off the floor
Because Wi-Fi routers transit signals outwards in all directions, if you position your router close to the floor you'll lose a good part of your signal through the floorboards. If you live or work in a multi-level building, position your router on a high shelf to optimize coverage on all floors.
Avoid other electronics
Electronic devices can interfere with Wi-Fi signals. Microwaves, especially, emit energy that interferes with Wi-Fi signals. If you’ve ever noticed your signal slowing down when heating something, you’ve experienced this phenomenon. Add in wirelessly connected smart fridges, ovens, and other appliances, and the kitchen is an unsuitable location for most routers.
Other objects, like baby monitors or cordless telephones, can also affect your signal when close to the router, but one of the worst offenders is your television. Placing your router next to a television will significantly interfere with your wireless signal.
Tools and Techniques for Signal Optimization
The following tools and techniques can greatly improve your wireless signal:
Keep your router updated
Regular maintenance is essential for optimum Wi-Fi router performance. Installing the latest firmware updates helps your router keep pace with wireless and internet technology changes. Periodically check with your internet provider to see if you qualify for a newer router model so your hardware is as up-to-date as possible.
If areas of your home receive weak wireless systems, you can often improve your signal with a Wi-Fi Extender. Also known as signal boosters or range extenders, a Wi-Fi extender rebroadcasts your router signal to areas of your home with limited Wi-Fi.
Mesh network systems
Mesh network systems are groups of connectivity devices that act as a single unified network. In practice, mesh network systems work like multiple routers, providing more reliable and faster signals than single routers or routers with Wi-Fi extenders.
Troubleshooting Common Connectivity Issues
Addressing signal weakness and dead zones
Sometimes, a little redecorating is all you need to resolve a Wi-Fi dead zone. Moving heavy furniture, metal filing cabinets, or electronics out of the way can often fix the issue. Failing that, placing Wi-Fi extenders close to areas of signal weakness or Wi-Fi dead zones usually helps. Mesh network systems offer a more reliable solution but have a higher price tag. Hughesnet offers Whole Home Wi-Fi eliminates dead zones. Simply add up to 3 optional Mesh Wi-Fi Nodes to extend your modem’s signal throughout your home, for wall-to-wall Wi-Fi coverage.
Resolving network congestion and bandwidth limitations
Every device connected to your router demands its share of bandwidth, which can quickly weaken your connection. Keeping your devices and routers updated helps reduce bandwidth congestion. You can also take the following steps:
- Use your router settings to choose which types of data receive priority.
- Use VPNs to control traffic flow.
- Restrict the use of personal devices when more essential devices are in use.
- Find out the peak times for internet use in your area and reduce device usage during these times.
- Upgrade your internet to a plan that can handle more data.
Resolving interference problems and channel overlaps
You may experience channel interference from networks using the same radio frequencies if you're close to other homes or businesses. A quick fix is to switch between your router’s 2.4 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz frequencies to see if your signal strength improves.
If your Wi-Fi router always seems to have a weak signal, contact your internet provider for help. At Hughesnet®, we provide quick, professional customer support to resolve any problems our satellite internet users experience. Find the Best Satellite Internet Plans in Your Area today!