Should a WiFi Router Be Placed Low or High?

Should a WiFi Router Be Placed Low or High?

WiFi is a wonderful invention and a crucial aspect of modern living. We rely on WiFi for work, entertainment, and even socializing. However, most people are still unsure about where to place their WiFi router in their home or office. 

Many home WiFi routers have Omnidirectional Antennas. Omnidirectional antennas send WiFi signals in all directions. It is recommended by manufacturers to place your router in the center of your home or business in an elevation equal to or the same as your other WiFI devices.

Keep reading for an in-depth view of where you’d place your WiFi router for best results. We will also explore tips and tricks that you can use to improve the WiFi coverage in your home and how you can boost the signal to reach other areas of your property.

Why Place WiFi Router Low or High? What’s the Difference?

Why Place WiFi Router Low or High? What's the Difference?
Omnidirectional WiFi router on a desk with laptop and smartphone.

The elevation of your WiFi Router in your home or business is as important as the actual location. Router Manufacturers recommend putting WiFi routers as centrally and centered in buildings as possible. Companies like Linksys advise avoiding installing routers in a closet or back office.

Depending on the location of your internet service provider, Coaxial or Ethernet Cable coming into the house or building is many times going to dictate the actual location of the router in addition to the height.

That all being said, the height of your router should actually be somewhere in the middle of high and low and equal to your other WiFi devices that is why we show information pertaining to that in this article. Everything from location, other electronics, and wall types to the case on your smartphone affect WiFi signals and speed.

What Type of WiFI Router are We Talking About? 

What Type of WiFI Router are We Talking About?
Archer AX11000 Next-Gen Tri-Band Gaming Router

There are many types, brands, and antenna configurations for WiFi routers. For the purpose of this article, we are talking about Omnidirectional WiFi Routers for your home or small business. A traditional single-unit wireless router.

We are discussing WiFi Routers that handle homes or small businesses with multiple wireless devices such as computers, smartphones, and (IoT) Internet of Things like your smart refrigerator or oven. 

These WiFI or Wireless Fidelity systems are used for multiple tasks like gaming, internet access, on a smartphone or laptop, and working from home. Depending on the size of the home or business there are different types of Wireless Routers.

What Type of WiFI Routers Are There for Homes and Small Offices?

What Type of WiFI Routers Are There for Homes and Small Offices?
Woman plugging an internet service provider ethernet cable into her Wifi Router.

Wireless or WIFI routers are used to transmit data directly to computers and other electronic devices via (RF) Radio Frequency signals. We are discussing Base WiFi Routers, Mesh Routers, and Wifi Extenders and the best height in your home or office to mount them.

For most houses and small businesses, a traditional wireless router is adequate to cover the square footage area of the building. You can do wifi router searches on websites like Amazon and Bestbuy for 1000 to 5000 square feet of houses and buildings. For instance, a Google Nest standalone Wifi router covers up to 2,200 sq ft.

We then get into multi-story houses and floors with more complex coverage issues so we also utilize the newer Mesh Routers and Wifi Extenders for larger areas. It is also recommended to use a dual-band router that can transmit in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose which is the best band because you can buy a router that supports both bands.

  • WiFi Routers with single antennas
  • WiFi Routers with multiple antennas
  • Wifi Mesh Routers 
  • Wifi Extenders
  • Wifi Access Points

What Type of WiFI Antennas are Used with Routers?

What Type of WiFI Antennas are Used with Routers?
Woman typing on a laptop in the background while utilizing her Omnidirectional Wifi Router with its antennas shown.

There are two main types of WiFi Router antenna types for Homes and Small Offices. They can be on the router or on the building.

Omnidirectional RF Waveform
  • Omnidirectional Wifi Antennas – Omnidirectional antennas radiate an (RF) signal in all directions, similar to a doughnut shape. Omnidirectional antennas have a broad coverage similar to the sun rays beaming in all directions, sending signals throughout a building.
    • Types of Omnidirectional Antennas:
      • Ceiling Dome Antennas: Installed on a home or office ceiling and connected to a WiFi router or access point through coaxial cable.
      • Dipole or Paddle Antennas: Located directly on WiFi routers and access points.
      • Outdoor Omni Antennas: Used to improve WiFi signal outdoors.
Directional RF Waveform
  • Directional WiFi Antennas – Directional, Semi-directional, and Highly directional antennas are designed to provide specific, directed radio frequency signal coverage. These antennas radiate or receive greater power in specific directions.
    • Types of Directional Antennas:
      • Mini Panel Antennas: Low-profile antennas designed to transmit radio waves to and from a specific area. These antennas have a radiation pattern of 60 degrees.
      • Panel Antennas: Strong antennas that transmit or receive a signal from far distances. These antennas have a radiation pattern of 35 degrees.
      • Parabolic Grid Antenna: Parabolic antennas can send and receive signals from miles away. These antennas have a radiation pattern narrow beamwidth between 3 and 20 degrees. 
      • Yagi Antennas: Yagi antennas point in the direction they send or receive a signal. These antennas have a radiation pattern of 45 degrees.

How High Should Your WiFi Router Be According to Router Manufacturers?

How to set up Google Nest Wifi.

There are many different recommendations for placing your router in your home or office by router manufacturers. Below are their recommendations:

TP-Link – Put your wireless router at a certain height:

  • It is better to place the wireless router on a table or shelf and keep it at a certain height so that the omnidirectional antenna’s transmitting ability.
  • According to our actual situation, we suggest that the table should be about 1-1.5 ft so that the signal of the router is on the same horizontal plane as the equipment you usually use.

Asus – Mesh Router – We recommend that you place the routers in an open or spacious location.

Google Nest Wifi Router (standalone) – If possible, place your router off the ground and in plain view, like on a shelf or TV stand. Try to choose a central location at eye level.

Linksys – For the strongest signal, optimal performance, and widest coverage area, place your router in the center of your home, away from walls and other obstructions. Avoid installing routers in a closet or back office.

Netgear – Position your router according to the following guidelines:

  • Place your router near the center of the area where your computers and other devices operate and within line of sight of your WiFi devices.
  • Make sure that the router is within reach of an AC power outlet and near Ethernet cables for wired computers.
  • Place the router in an elevated location, minimizing the number of walls and ceilings between the router and your other devices.

Where’s the Best Place for a WiFi Router in Your Two-Story House?

Where’s the Best Place for a WiFi Router in Your Two Story House?
The second story of a house with a computer desk and WiFi Router.

One of the most common homes in the United States is a classic two-story house. You can cover the entire home with a single WiFi router in most houses this size. However, where should you place the router to provide an optimal signal in every room? 

The best place for a Wi-Fi router in a two-story house is mid-range on the second story. Place the WiFi router centrally in the building and on top of a shelf or desktop. This placement will ensure good coverage across both floors in your home. 

If you live in a three-story home and plan on using a single WiFi router to cover the entire property, you would place the WiFi router mid-range on the second floor. Placing your router on the top or bottom floor could leave the other floors without good coverage. A mesh router may be your best bet for a three-story house.

How Far Should Your WiFi Router Be From Your TV?

When you set up your WiFi in your home and want to connect it to the TV, you may be tempted to install the router right next to the device. But does this improve the connection between the WiFi and your TV? And does it interfere with the signal in other areas of your home? 

Your WiFi router should be at least 6 feet (1.8m) from your TV. Electronic devices like televisions can interfere with the WiFi signal coming from the router. As a result, it’s best to place your WiFi router away from your TV to ensure that you get a good connection.

Does WiFi Go Through Walls?

Does WiFi Go Through Walls?
Little girl looking at her phone, wondering what is going on with her WiFi signal.

You should consider a few things when figuring out where to place your new WiFi router. But what about walls? Do they interfere with the WiFi signal, or is this something you don’t need to worry about?

WiFi does go through walls. WiFi can penetrate through most materials, allowing the signal to reach different rooms in a building. Dense walls like compacted concrete may prevent WiFi signals from passing through, but materials like drywall allow WiFi through without resistance. 

WiFi signals can also pass through ceilings without issue, provided they are not made of thick metal or concrete. 

How Do You Boost Your WiFi Signal at Home?

There’s nothing as frustrating as having your WiFi signal dip just while you’re streaming a show. Never mind if you’re working from home with a poor internet connection. If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll likely be desperate for a way to boost your WiFi signal at home. 

Here are some ways to boost your WiFi signal at home:

  1. Place the WiFi router in an elevation equal to or the same as your other WiFI devices. 
  2. Buy a WiFi Mesh Router or Extender/Booster. 
  3. Move electronics away from the router. 
  4. Upgrade your WiFi router.

See below for a breakdown of each of these tips.

1. Put the WiFi Router in the Correct Place

The first way to enhance your WiFi signal strength is to place the WiFi router in a central place. Omnidirectional WiFi routers send signals out in a doughnut pattern, so the signal will diminish in strength when your router is positioned too low, like on the ground. A good location for WiFi routers is on a desktop, bookshelf, or mounted to a wall.

2. Buy a WiFi Mesh Router, Extender, or a Booster

One common difficulty with WiFi routers is their limited range. If you live in a large building and need your WiFi to cover an ample space, you could invest in either WiFi Mesh RouterWiFi Extenders, or a WiFi Booster. These devices are affordable and extend the reach of your WiFi signal, so you have a large area covered by the router.

3. Move Electronics Away From the Router

Move Electronics Away From the Router
Router behind a TV with a WiFi Extender and computer nearby.

WiFi routers are prone to disruption from many different sources. Everything from elevators and microwaves, there are different types of electrical devices that can interfere with your WiFi signal. For this reason, you should place your WiFi router away from any electrical appliances, thick concrete, metal walls, microwave ovens, or elevators. Doing so will minimize interference and boost your signal strength.

4. Upgrade Your WiFi Router

If nothing of the above improves your connection, it might be time to switch to a better device. If you’ve been using the same router for many years, it might be outdated. The problem might also lie in the quality of the router as high-quality routers can reach farther than cheaper ones.

You can also call your internet provider and ask them to upgrade your package. They may be able to increase your bandwidth, improving your WiFi connection.

Where Should You Place a WiFi Extender?

Where Should You Place a WiFi Extender?
Woman with a perplexed look wondering how to improve her WiFi signal in her home.

As mentioned above, one of the ways that you can boost the range and strength of your WiFi signal is by investing in a WiFi extender. WiFI Extenders are not that expensive and knowing exactly where to place your WiFi extender for best results is important.

It would be best to place a WiFi extender halfway between the WiFi router and the device that is out of reach of the wireless connection. The WiFi extender must be able to receive the signal from the router, which it will then relay to devices out of reach from the WiFi router.

The WiFi extender receives a wireless signal and then bounces it out to nearby devices. Similar to how some WiFi routers work. A good quality WiFi extender can double or even triple the range of your WiFi signal.

WiFi extenders are especially useful in three-story buildings. Since one router is rarely sufficient for a three-story home, a WiFi extender can allow a single router to supply a connection to the entire house.

Final Thoughts

As a general rule, a WiFi router should be placed centrally and in an elevation equal to or the same as your other WiFI devices. Omnidirectional WiFi routers distribute signals in a doughnut RF signal pattern, so setting the WiFi router off the ground provides a more even coverage for more space. If you live in a multi-floor home, place the WiFi router mid-level upstairs to reach all areas. 

WiFi signals can penetrate through materials and surfaces. However, they can be disrupted by electronics or thick walls made of concrete or metal. If moving your WiFi router has not improved the signal, try to invest in a WiFi Mesh Router or Extender to reach further from the router. 

Please see some of our other interesting articles like Is Cellular Data the Same as the Internet? – Tech Evaluate.

References: 

John Mortensen

I am a project manager, tech writer, and science enthusiast who loves to study the latest technology, such as AI, comedy, quantum computers, smartphones, headphones, and software.

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