Why you shouldn’t unscrew the antennas of Wi-Fi routers and use the Internet without them

Disconnection, bandwidth jumps, inability to get access – these are the phenomena that we may encounter when using a Wi-Fi router. However, the listed problems are not “innate” deficiencies of Wi-Fi – they stem from a lack of understanding of the technology, poor equipment selection or improper installation. Next, let’s talk about how to fix the bugs, and why Wi-Fi router owners unscrew antennas and use the Internet without them.

Antenna functions on Wi-Fi routers

The antenna on a Wi-Fi router is a passive element and, of course, as such, does not amplify the signal, that is, it does not give it additional power. However, through the appropriate formation of signal fields, thanks to the antennas, amplified in a certain direction (eg, horizontal and vertical plane). The electromagnetic field produced by a single antenna can be compared to an inflated balloon – the amount of air inside is always the same, but by compressing the balloon, you can increase its length or width as well as give it different shapes.

Wi-Fi router

Thus, having antennas on a router can increase the range in a certain plane or achieve a sectoral, or directional, effect.

More antennas – good or bad

As a general rule, having more than one antenna provides uniform signal coverage of a space – with, of course, the accuracy of surrounding obstacles that can suppress, refract and reflect the signal. Increasing the number of antennas does not improve reception quality, but rather, interference occurring on the receiver side can lead to signal attenuation and power factor degradation.

With typical omni-directional antennas, each of the transmitters (if the AP uses more than one transmitter) must be equipped with one antenna, increasing their number makes no sense.

Unscrewing the antenna and why you shouldn’t do that

On the Internet there are several guides and tips that if you get rid of the antennas at the router, it allegedly gives a number of advantages. They do it for the following reasons:

antennas

  1. So that the W-Fi network can’t be hacked.
  2. So that the device does not “irradiate” the person.
  3. To increase the speed of the Internet.
  4. To reduce the signal coverage area.

I don’t need to tell you that this is utter nonsense. By unscrewing the router’s antenna, all you will achieve is to break the equipment. To keep your Wi-Fi from being hacked, you can use a strong password and WPA2-PSK network authentication. You can also reduce the coverage area with software methods. And the second and third points are unsubstantiated and unproven silly reasons. There is no need to violate the instruction manual and damage your equipment yourself.

Ways to improve Wi-Fi signal at home

Weak Wi-Fi connection in the apartment is not the end of the world. All you have to do is use the methods below to boost your router’s Wi-Fi signal. Explore ten effective ways to increase your router’s Wi-Fi coverage so you can use the Internet in every corner of your home.

Wi-Fi

Reboot your router.

Everything needs a break from time to time – but your router especially needs one.

Your router broadcasts Internet signals between your home network and your ISP. If your Internet is going haywire, restarting your router is the first action to start troubleshooting. Restarting the device does a reset to clear its memory.

Reboot the router

It may not seem like much, but turning your home networking equipment off and on again can really give your network a boost. It is recommended that you reboot your equipment regularly – at least once every couple of months.

How to properly position the antenna or antennas

The antennas installed on routers send the signal sideways, so if you live in an apartment or single-story house, a single antenna will suffice. However, if the router is to serve a two-story house, then the best solution would be to buy a router with two antennas – one should be placed vertically and the other horizontally. This is necessary for even signal transmission up and down. This way, you will get rid of the problem of weak Wi-Fi signal coverage in a two-story room.

Location of the device itself

Is your Wi-Fi router standing in a back room or have you hidden it in a closet and wonder if the Internet in your house or apartment is weak? Perhaps you should pay attention to the location of the router for the best performance of your home network.

wi-fi router in the apartment

There’s nothing unusual about this – the router should be located in a place where the signal encounters as few obstacles as possible. Signals can be interrupted or blocked by walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, appliances and any large physical object.

So forget locked closets, places under stairs, and other such hiding places. It is best to place the router on an elevated location, such as the top shelf or on a closet, in a central location in the apartment or home, as the signal spreads evenly around itself. This may be enough to greatly improve signal quality.

Change the frequency to 5 GHz

Wi-Fi routers are automatically configured to operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency. Unfortunately, the same frequency is used:

5 GHz

  • Other Wi-Fi networks in the vicinity;
  • Microwave ovens and home appliances;
  • Toys, such as remote-controlled cars
  • Electronic baby monitors;
  • Game consoles;
  • office equipment.

Thus, the Wi-Fi signal is often disrupted by other devices. To boost your router’s signal, it’s better to buy a router that can operate on the 5 GHz frequency. This is a less busy frequency, and the signal is more stable due to less interference. Changing the frequency will probably have a positive effect on improving your Wi-Fi signal, and you’ll get better data transfer results.

Disabling Unnecessary Modes

Most wireless routers can operate as an access point (AP). Some add other wireless modes that can be used to extend the range, introduce multiple routers/access points into the network, or connect network segments together. Accordingly, if the wrong mode is enabled, the connection speed may be slower.

Choosing the best channel

If there is no possibility to change the signal frequency, there is another solution – manual selection of the transmission channel. Changing the transmission channel is very important with a slow connection. Usually the router selects such a channel automatically, however if it uses a channel which is loaded by other networks, interference is possible. Therefore, it is worth changing the settings to another, freer channel on your own.

Choice of channel in the router

Calibration of the transmitter power

Often a router will operate using incomplete power. Some models offer the ability to manually change the Wi-Fi signal power to the best. At 2.4 GHz, the maximum power is 100 mW. Lack of power can negatively affect the increase in coverage and our network will become ineffective. This parameter can be found in the advanced settings in the administration panel. Depending on the type of device, the values will be:

  • in percent;
  • in milliwatts;
  • in definitions such as “weak”, “medium” and “strong”.

Foil for signal reflection

If you attach a piece of aluminum foil to the antenna, it could theoretically boost the Wi-Fi signal. It’s easy to make an aluminum reflector:

Foil

  1. Cut a small circle out of a piece of foil.
  2. Glue the foil to a piece of cardboard about the size of your router.
  3. Make the cardboard semi-circular at 90 degrees.
  4. Place the resulting piece over the router.
  5. Place the antenna in the center.

Buying a repeater

If all the steps you can do on your own and for free have failed, you should consider buying a repeater.

wifi repeater

This is a device that receives the signal from the router, then copies and amplifies it for further transmission. In order for the repeater to work efficiently and at the same time properly amplify the Wi-Fi signal, you need to take care about its proper location. The repeater should not be too close to the router (preferably in the middle, between the router and the device that should be receiving the Wi-Fi signal).

Replacing the router

Technology moves fast. If the last time you replaced your router was before 2014, your device is probably two generations out of date.

Replacing the router

Wi-Fi 6 (802.11 AX) is fairly new technology, but it’s much better at connecting multiple devices than its predecessors. However, Wi-Fi 6 routers are still quite expensive.

Routers with the previous Wi-Fi 5 standard (802.11 AC) are still available and still for sale. When buying a new router, it is recommended that you look for one that uses the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands, has a network management application, and can handle faster speeds.

Replace a network adapter

Band and Wi-Fi signal problems aren’t always due to problems with the router. It is also possible that the signal receiver, that is, the network adapter, is damaged. If this device fails to cope with the signal reception, but you need to strengthen the Wi-Fi signal on your PC or laptop, you can replace the network adapter with a new one or bet on an external adapter connected via a USB connection.

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