Every rose has its thorn. And by rose we mean wireless internet, and by thorn we mean bad connection. But also, every cloud has a silver lining, and in this case the cloud is the wifi and the silver lining is that you can maximize your connection by placing your router in an optimum location!
Okay, maybe we shouldn’t write this whole post in silly cliches. Let’s stop the hidden meanings and get right to the point. The invention of wireless internet is one of the most convenient features of modern households – you can use high-speed internet on laptops, tablets, and phones without ever having to mess with a cord or cable. However, the technology isn’t perfect, and depending on where you are in relation to your router will affect how strong your internet connection is. ZIRKEL Wireless can help you find the best place in your home for your router!
Wait – How Does Wireless Internet Even Work?
Good question! Before we talk about how to get the most out of your WiFi – a general term for wireless internet – let’s talk a little bit about how it all works. WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to provide a connection to the internet. The radio waves used for WiFi are at different frequency than those used for, say, a car stereo. Your stereo, for example, receives frequencies in Kilohertz and Megahertz (AM and FM), whereas WiFi radio waves are transmitted in Gigahertz. The frequency of the wave simply refers to how many waves are transmitted per second.
So, how do radio waves become what we see on our screens? Essentially, there are transmitter sites set up in your area – ZIRKEL Wireless, for example, has 22 antenna transmitter sites in Northern Colorado with more on the way. The transmitter turns electrical signals (like an image or a sound) into electromagnetic waves that then travel through the air to a receiver – in this case a wireless internet router – which in turn sends radio waves to your devices like laptops and smartphones.
Where is your router?
Take a look around – where is your router? If you’re like most people, you’ve tucked it away somewhere hidden. Maybe it’s in the bedroom at the back of the house that doubles as an office, or maybe it’s even in the basement. If this is the case, you probably are not maximizing your WiFi potential. As we explained above, wireless internet travels through radio waves, and if the waves cannot penetrate a surface, then your access will be limited.
Where NOT to place the router:
Before we discuss where you can put a router to maximize internet access, let’s discuss where to definitely NOT put one. Do not place a router near metal objects, as they can dissipate electromagnetic energy, so the kitchen or laundry room are probably not the best places to hook up the router. Another reason to not place the router in the kitchen: microwaves. Your microwave operates near the same frequency as the wireless routers, so heating up those leftovers near the router can interrupt the signal.
Have you ever been inside an old brick building and wondered why you couldn’t get any cell phone service? Brick and concrete tend to act like a sponge – they absorb the radio waves and lock them in. Wood and plaster block the waves a little bit, but function more like a funnel – it may slow down the waves, but most of them will get through in the end. Placing a router near a brick wall makes it harder for the waves to travel to your devices.
Some tips on router placement:
- Place the router in a central location: The radio waves from the router will spread out in all directions. This means that if you have your router in the back corner of your home, then there are wasted radio waves going in to the back yard! Centralizing your router will give you the best connection throughout the entire home.
- Place it up high: In general, radio waves travel more outwards than they do upwards. To maximize your connection, especially on the second floor, try placing your router on top of a high shelf.
- Minimize obstacles: Okay, so you’ve moved your router from the back bedroom to the living room – great! Is it by a brick chimney? If it is, try again. Something as simple as a brick or concrete chimney, or even a big fish tank, can interrupt waves. This includes tucking the router behind the TV or in a bookcase.
- Keep it away from windows: Is your router beginning to sound more like a Van Gogh painting that needs to be on display – but not TOO on display? Sorry. Sunlight and windows can reflect radio waves and, surprise, interrupt the connection.
ZIRKEL Wireless Can Help Place Your Router
Our professionals know how wireless internet works and maneuvers through homes. If you need help finding a new place for your router, or are installing a router with us for the first time, give us a call. We’d love to come out and get you the best possible signal throughout your home!