Wifi waves are basically just radio-waves, so that’s the same as the electromagnetic waves you pick up with your cell phone or a radio. But wifi waves are fairly short. They’re only 12 cm long, the conventional kind. Compare that to AM radio waves, which are hundreds of meters long. The signal gets a lot weaker as it gets further from the router. And generally they can’t go more than 150 feet from a single router. They actually get absorbed and blocked by walls and metal surfaces. So the way you position your wifi router makes a huge difference in how strong your signal is throughout your house.
One thing you definitely want to do is put your router near the center of your house. Because it broadcasts the signal out in equal strength in all directions. You want it out in the open. If it’s in a closet, the walls of the closet are going to absorb and block some of the signal. And if you have it closed up in a cabinet, it’s the same thing. A good way to think about it is just use line of sight. From whatever position you can see the furthest in your house and you can see the most number of rooms, that’s probably a good place to put your router.
You also want to lift your router up off the ground because the signals can’t penetrate some of the materials that make up floors, like metal, or concrete, or cement. And also, the way most routers are designed, they broadcast the waves slightly downwards, so that way you’re projecting less of it down into your basement for no reason.
A lot of other electronics can interfere with the router’s signal, things like TVs, computers, microwaves, pretty much anything that has a motor inside it. So you want to keep the router away from other electronics.
Most routers have two antennas in them. Ideally you could position one vertically and one horizontally. Devices work best when their internal antenna is parallel with the router’s, so most antennas inside laptops are horizontal. But if you’re using a mobile device or a tablet, it totally depends on how you’re holding it. So that way if you have one horizontal and one vertical, you have the highest chance of having a parallel match with antennas.
If you find that your network isn’t working well, you can go around and measure your signal strength. There are a lot of apps that you can download on your phone. You could create a rough map and figure out what you need to do to fix it.