The Best Way to Position a Dual-Antenna Router

Written by lawrence nyveen
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The Best Way to Position a Dual-Antenna Router
(Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Most Wi-Fi routers communicate through one, two or three external antennas. The most common configuration uses two external antennas, but many routers that operate under the latest 802.11N Wi-Fi standard use only internal antennas. The following suggestions work for all applicable routers.

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Antenna Position

Wi-Fi antennas are omnidirectional, meaning they broadcast in all directions, so the positions of the antennas should be irrelevant. Nevertheless, there are a few simple rules of thumb that experts advise.

Suggestions include positioning the antennas so they stick out at an angle roughly 30 degrees or more from the body of the router. If the router has more than one antenna, position each at a different angle; with three antennas, for example, one will stick 30 degrees up, one 30 degrees to the side, and one straight out.

Positioning the Router

Because the antennas are omnidirectional, the Wi-Fi signal around the router is a 360-degree "bubble." If you place the router near the boundary of the area you want to service, you will lose nearly half the signal to the exterior. For example, if you put the router near an exterior wall of your home, half the signal will cover your home and half will lie outside. It's best to place your router close to the middle of the area you want to serve with Wi-Fi. If you want Wi-Fi access in your back yard, place your router toward the back of the house.

Other Considerations

Materials that conduct electricity will deflect Wi-Fi signals and create blind spots in your coverage. Metal siding and decorative plates are obvious signal blockers, but be aware of less obvious obstructions such as pipes inside walls, mirrors and even bodies. Bricks, wood and glass have no effect.

You may have to shift the router within the area to get optimal coverage. If that doesn't help, you can boost your coverage with a repeater, which tails your router's Wi-Fi signal and rebroadcasts it.

If you have cordless phones or other wireless electronics that use the 2.4 GHz frequency, they can interfere with Wi-Fi signals. Downgrade to 900MHz or upgrade to 5.8 GHz if it's a problem.

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