Most users of Wi-Fi networks are of course puzzled by the low level of Wi-Fi signal. When a router simply can’t provide enough wireless range, and you simply can’t get Wi-Fi in faraway rooms. Yes, it really is a problem. That’s why many people look for different ways to increase the range and signal strength of the Wi-Fi network.
However, before you use different methods to boost your signal, there are a few things you should be aware of. You have to figure out if it makes any sense at all. In some cases, users even try to reduce the signal strength and this is sometimes even easier. With signal amplification, on the other hand, things are a little more complicated. That’s why let’s figure out how it works.
What is Wi-Fi router transmit power?
Often when selecting a router, manufacturers may write two values: mW and dBm. And different manufacturers write them differently. It is quite easy to convert one value to the other, and there are many calculators on the Internet.
However, the most important thing you should know is that the higher the dBm power, the greater the gain in mW. For example, if we increase the power by only 10 dBm, the mW will also increase by a factor of 10. But if the first value is 20, the second value will be 100.
And if you increase this indicator in the router, will it beat further and better? Yes and no. The fact is that the distance that the radio wave beam will hit will indeed fly farther, but this is only in an open space without massive obstacles.
That’s why if you crank it up to maximum power, you can hurt your network. The signal will be so strong that it will start to be partially reflected by obstacles and interfere with itself. It will also interfere with neighboring routers. If the power difference between the receiver and transmitter is too great, it can affect the purity of the data transmission.
What is channel width?
If you have ever configured your router, you may have noticed this notion in the “Wi-Fi” section. Most often at 2.4 GHz, one channel width is 20-40 MHz. Many routers can work with two bands at once, automatically changing them.
To put it simply, the channel width gives you the ability to transmit a certain amount of information at a time. It’s like a road – not many cars can pass on a one-lane road in constant traffic. But if you add a few more lanes, the flow of traffic is increased. And it’s the same here.
Why shouldn’t you increase data transmission power on your Wi-Fi router?
There are some side cases when adjusting the power of your network equipment to improve your signal can have positive results. Unless there is another router located next to your router that might interfere with the signal strength, you can safely change the settings.
However, in some cases, it’s best not to change the router settings to make things worse.
Powerful router, but not devices
The point is that your Wi-Fi router sends a signal out into space to eventually get a response to it. Your device that receives the signal acts as the responder.
The power level between your Wi-Fi router and the devices it communicates with is asymmetrical. The router is much more powerful than the device it is paired with unless that device is another access point with equal power.
The device may be as close to your router as possible, but it still won’t be able to respond effectively to the signal. Therefore, no matter how much you boost your Wi-Fi, the internet speed on your smartphone, tablet or laptop won’t increase. Especially if there are objects nearby that interfere with the signal to be received by your device.
The higher transmission power can reduce performance
Oddly enough, increasing the power can lead to decreased performance.
Suppose you want music to be heard throughout the house. You could do this by installing a stereo system with large speakers in one room, and then turning up the volume enough so that the music can be heard in all the rooms. But you will quickly find that the sound distorts and the listening experience is uneven. Ideally, you want a whole-house audio solution with speakers in every room so you can enjoy your music without distortion.
Although streaming music and broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal aren’t direct analogs in every respect, the general idea is pretty clear. You’ll get a better signal if you have multiple Wi-Fi routers in your home with less power than if you increase the power of a single access point.
Increased transmission power reduces the service life of your Wi-Fi router
In fact, this is a minor point compared to the others, but it should be taken into account. Every router has a different effect. It all depends on the manufacturer and the specific model.
The more powerful the device is, the more it heats up. Therefore, if the device is constantly hot, its chips will wear out faster. A Wi-Fi access point operating in a cool and dry place will last much longer than, for example, a Wi-Fi router that stands in an unconditioned place.
Even if you can’t increase the transmit power to the point where it causes direct damage to the router, you can increase it to the point where the router is constantly heating up, resulting in decreased reliability and a shorter lifespan.
How to increase Wi-Fi signal range without turning up the transmit power
Choose the right location for your router. As a rule, everyone installs routers at the entrance, or in some distant room. The right location of the router will allow you to properly distribute the signal, thereby increasing the range of the Wi-Fi.
Simply put, you should install the router as close to the center of the house as possible. Yes, this is not always possible, because it is necessary to lay a cable to the router, and pulling it to the middle of the house is not very convenient. But, even minor router moves can increase the network level in the rooms you want. Also, keep in mind that walls are the enemy of Wi-Fi networks.
This method contains no risks, the router won’t overheat. And you will be able to improve the signal strength. At the same time, it is best to install the router as high as possible, as the Wi-Fi router signal covers the area in the form of a sphere.