Skip to main content

Should you wall-mount your Wi-Fi router?

One of the most important aspects of getting a great Wi-Fi connection is positioning. Even the best Wi-Fi 6 routers can struggle with signal strength as you put walls between it and your device. This is an even bigger concern as higher-frequency signals at 5GHz and 6GHz will struggle a bit more when it comes to wall penetration. Wall-mounting your router can be a great way to ensure you get the best signal possible all over your home while also taking up less space.

Can wall-mounting improve performance?

If you're struggling to find a good position for your router, wall-mounting can definitely be a great option and can even lead to improved speeds. While your walls have the most significant impact on signal strength, other things like appliances and furniture can also have a big impact. For Wi-Fi to work well, radio waves must travel to and from your wireless device from the router and anything that disrupts those signals.

For the least signal degradation possible, you want the radio waves to spend as energy as possible inside dense objects like walls. Lower 2.4GHz Wi-Fi frequencies travel through walls a bit better, thanks to wider waves that only have a handful of peaks inside the dense portion of the wall. Higher 5GHz and 6GHz Wi-Fi signals have much narrower waves meaning they'll have more peaks inside the thick material and lose more energy.

This is the main reason why 2.4GHz Wi-Fi reaches so much further than 5GHz. But most of the time, even 5GHz can make its way through a whole house if you've got a powerful router. It all comes down to positioning your router as centrally as possible in your home.

Many of our homes are made from relatively thin drywall sheets attached to vertical wooden boards, which is fairly easy for Wi-Fi to deal with, but this isn't true for everyone. Some older homes, for example, have thick plaster or tiles on the wall. Not only that, but some areas will have internal blocks or concrete walls for added structural support. The point is that there is no single way to build a house, and your layout might be like no other.

The TP-Link Archer AX21 is lightweight and easy to mount.

Wall-mounting can help you put your router in an optimal location with no other furniture. For example, a router can be mounted in a central closet or higher on the wall in a hallway. Luckily most routers will come with mounting holes on the bottom that will work easily with a couple of screws.

Are there other reasons to wall-mount?

Even the simplest Wi-Fi router setup requires an Ethernet cable, a power cable, and much more if you've already got other networking equipment like a wired switch or a NAS. Clearing some shelf space for a router can be a challenge.

Not only that, but if you need to access the LAN ports on your router, having it up on a wall can make it easier to see what you're doing. Trying to spin your router around on a table or shelf is cumbersome, and it's still hard to see which port is which. On top of that, you'll need some extra slack in your cables which can make clean cable management much more difficult.

One last practical improvement that comes with wall-mounting is that you simply get the router up and out of the way. This can be great for a family with a kid that likes to push buttons and pull cables. Similarly, if your dog or cat likes to take a bite of your wires, they can be safely out of the way.

Sometimes it's not the best choice

Despite its eight external antennas, the TP-Link Archer GX90's antennas are fixed upright.

Admittedly, I never mount my routers, and that's not just because I'm constantly switching them out. When it comes down to it, having a dedicated space for my router on a shelf is much easier and means I don't need to run extended lengths of Ethernet or find a power solution that reaches up the wall. If you're willing to run the cables, it's not hard or expensive to find a compatible power cable and long Ethernet cable; you just need to decide if it's worth it.

It also makes the router difficult to move later on since your setup will be designed around the specific needs of the router you've mounted. Often this is simple with only a couple of screws needed for the whole job, but if you're mounting to finished drywall, you could be stuck patching the hole and trying to match paint from years ago.

There's also the problem that not all routers are designed to be vertical. Many routers use simple convection to stay cool, which could lead to overheating unless the router is going in a well-ventilated area.

The biggest problem by far is antenna layout. The omnidirectional antennas that most routers use. Simply put, this type of stick-like antenna's signal goes out in a donut shape from the center. With this shape, most of the signal is directed horizontally away from an upright antenna. For your router to work optimally on a wall, your antenna should be pointed upward or mostly upward. Many routers now come with fixed antennas or completely internal antennas.

The antennas on the Nighthawk RAXE500 look cool but limit your options.

Netgear's wing-like antennas on its Wi-Fi 6 Nighthawks, for example, only have one position. So while the internal orientation should still provide good coverage in a vertical setup, it may not be as efficient as an adjustable antenna.

You might need a mesh

The fast Deco X60 mesh system is compact enough to fit in just about anywhere.

If you're looking for a solution to dead zones and positioning has little effect, it may be worth checking out one of the best mesh routers. Mesh routers work around tricky home layouts by putting wirelessly connected nodes in an area to avoid interference the main router would encounter. One example is a home with concrete walls. A traditional single-router setup would need to use brute force to penetrate the wall, while a cleverly deployed mesh could simply sidestep the wall.

A mesh system also puts the access point closer to your device so you can be sure both your downlink and uplink speeds are strong. Not only that, but the minor hit to latency you take with a mesh likely comes with great consistency across the board. Most people that don't get enough coverage with a standalone router should consider a mesh solution before getting in too deep with mounting solutions.



Source: androidcentral

Popular posts from this blog

FCC approves broadband 'nutrition labels' to help you shop for internet

The FCC is pushing nutrition labels for internet providers. What you need to know The FCC has voted to move forward with new rules for ISPs to display nutrition labels. The proposed rulemaking would mandate ISPs to display relevant speed and pricing information to consumers. This should make it easier for consumers to make an informed decision on their broadband. The FCC voted unanimously on a plan that would allow consumers to make better decisions about their broadband internet. The proposal will require internet service providers (ISPs) - including many of the best wireless carriers in the U.S. — to display "nutrition labels" that display relevant service information for consumers at point-of-sale. This includes internet speeds, allowances, and clear information on rates. "If you walk into any grocery store and pull boxes of cereal from the shelves, you can easily compare calories and carbohydrates," FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statemen

Yandex spins out self-driving car unit from its Uber JV, invests $150M into newco

Self-driving cars are still many years away from becoming a ubiquitous reality, but today one of the bigger efforts to build and develop them is taking a significant step out as part of its strategy to be at the forefront for when they do. Yandex — the publicly-traded Russian tech giant that started as a search engine but has expanded into a number of other, related areas (similar to US counterpart Google) — today announced that it is spinning out its self-driving car unit from MLU BV — a ride-hailing and food delivery joint venture it operates in partnership with Uber. The move comes amid reports that Yandex and Uber were eyeing up an IPO for MLU  last year. At the time, the JV was estimated to be valued at around $7.7 billion. It’s not clear how those plans will have been impacted in recent months, with COVID-19 putting huge pressure on ride-hailing and food-delivery businesses globally, and IPOs generally down compared to a year ago. In that context, spinning out the unit could

Slack’s new integration deal with AWS could also be about tweaking Microsoft

Slack and Amazon announced a big integration late yesterday afternoon. As part of the deal, Slack will use Amazon Chime for its call feature, while reiterating its commitment to use AWS as its preferred cloud provider to run its infrastructure. At the same time, AWS has agreed to use Slack for internal communications. Make no mistake, this is a big deal as the SaaS communications tool increases its ties with AWS, but this agreement could also be about slighting Microsoft and its rival Teams product by making a deal with a cloud rival. In the past Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield has had choice words for Microsoft saying the Redmond technology giant sees his company as an “existential threat.” Whether that’s true or not — Teams is but one piece of a huge technology company — it’s impossible not to look at the deal in this context. Aligning more deeply with AWS sends a message to Microsoft, whose Azure infrastructure services compete with AWS. Butterfield didn’t say that of course

Xbox One S vs. Xbox One X: Which should you buy?

http://bit.ly/2v1agl5 We live and breathe tech, and also gaming, with every member of Windows Central rocking either an Xbox One console or PC gaming rig. We've compared and contrasted every iteration of Xbox One to bring you this guide. Xbox One X Raw 4K power From $299 at Amazon Pros Has thousands of games 4K media apps, Blu-ray discs, and games IR blaster for TV controls, Amazon Echo for voice controls Improved HDD speeds for faster loading times Cons More expensive at around $500 RRP Requires a 4K TV to get the most out of it The Xbox One X is the world's most powerful games console, running the latest games with the crispest, detailed visuals on TV sets with 4K HDR support. Xbox One S More affordable From $226 at Amazon Pros Has thousands of games 4K media apps and Blu-ray IR blaster for TV controls, Amazon Echo for voice controls More affordable at around $300 RRP Cons No 4K games Games run worse, even on a 1080p TV The Xbox One S i