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Bad signal: The five worst places to put a Wi-Fi router

Wi-Fi routers are made to emit their signals in every direction.

Image: © Digital Journal
Image: © Digital Journal

For those experiencing trouble with slow Wi-Fi speeds and poor connectivity, the answer to what is impeding the Wi-Fi signal could be as simple as nudging a router to a slightly different location.

Tech guru Trevor Cooke (EarthWeb) has told Digital Journal about where to put a Wi-Fi router for the best signal. This includes the necessity of having a clear “line of sight” in order for the device to work properly.

The five of the worst spots to place a router are:

Under the Stairs

Hiding routers behind a closed door or wall can greatly weaken the signal. Additionally, putting a Wi-Fi router in an enclosed space could cause it to overheat and also run slower than it should.

Cooke says: “Think of it like this: if you can’t see the router, it can’t see your electronic device, and the signal won’t be as good as it could be.”

In the Kitchen

Cooke advises: “Maybe you have a central kitchen, and it seems like the best spot. However, something that really interferes with the Wi-Fi signal are the radio waves certain appliances emit. The biggest offender being your microwave, which produces radio waves that most definitely will tamper with the reliability of your Wi-Fi router’s signal.”

Windows & Exterior Walls

Cooke notes: “Putting your Wi-Fi router on the windowsill is a bad idea because it can easily be affected by weather or other nearby networks. The same rule goes for any other exterior walls lining your house. The more central your router is inside the house, the better.”

By a Water Source

Cooke cautions: “Keep your router away from the laundry room, nearby bathrooms, or any other location where it can come into contact with water. This list includes aquariums, fish tanks, or even vases. The first reason why is obvious: electronics and water together are a big no-no.”

In a Corner

Wi-Fi routers are made to emit their signals in every direction.

Cooke  notes: “By hiding your router away in the corner, it will basically only be able to reach half of its full capability. The other half of the signal will be absorbed by the wall, therefore greatly reducing your signal strength. This could mean that some areas of your house may experience “dead zones” or a weaker connection.”

Cooke suggests keeping your Wi-Fi router in a central, ground floor room of the house so its signal can reach all the rooms in the house. Another option is to prop it up on a high shelf closer to the ceiling. That way it’s still tucked out of sight, being above your sight line, while still having an open area where the signal is unobstructed by walls, furniture, and so on.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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