These Things Are Blocking the Wi-Fi Signal in Your Home

Your home Wi-Fi is your Internet lifeline, which in turn is your connection to the world. Since internet companies charge for what they do these days, you expect your speeds to be fast and consistent to watch 4K streaming or play online games with friends. However, there are plenty of obstacles around your home that can prevent your Wi-Fi from working at its peak.

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How Wi-Fi interacts with your space

To understand how certain objects and materials block and weaken Wi-Fi, it’s important to know what Wi-Fi really is. In short, Wi-Fi is not the Internet itself: rather, it is radio waves that allow your devices to communicate with your router, which in turn connects to the Internet.

Radio waves, like Wi-Fi, can travel through physical objects. Otherwise, Wi-Fi would not be an efficient or effective way to connect to the Internet. If Wi-Fi were exactly like light, it would be bright and glowing until it hits a hard surface – anything beyond the surface wouldn’t see light, while we know you can still connect to Wi-Fi from another room in your house.

While Wi-Fi can pass through physical objects and still reach your devices, it won’t work to its full potential. When Wi-Fi encounters interference, it decreases. Depending on the object it hits, the effects can be minimal or dramatic. That’s the difference between achieving advertised internet speeds and having a painfully slow, poor quality signal.

Your house may be on the way

If your Wi-Fi speed is poor, your home may be to blame. If your Wi-Fi signal is trying to reach you through concrete walls and floors, steel poles, or other types of heavy objects, it will have a hard time reaching its full potential. Wi-Fi and metal don’t mix well, so any type of metal in your walls and floors can block or impair signal access to you.

On the other hand, wood and drywall are not particularly effective against Wi-Fi, making them ideal for spreading a Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. If you’re getting great Wi-Fi speeds even when your router is tucked away in another room or behind a closet, it probably has a good time through stuff like this.

Of course, no one builds a house to maximize internet speed. You need to live with the cards you’ve been given in this situation: if your walls are full of metal or your house is built of concrete or cinder block, there’s little you can do to fix it. That’s why the location of your router is so important: the fewer obstacles between your devices and the router, the better.

Household appliances are often not friendly with Wi-Fi

While most electronics can be used with Wi-Fi – after all, anything that connects to Wi-Fi is by definition electronic – some just kill Wi-Fi. Consider the kitchen, which is not only a space where many people use the internet, but is often adjacent to or directly connected to other rooms with lots of internet. Kitchen appliances such as the dishwasher, refrigerator, and oven are large metal boxes that won’t interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. That’s not to mention the microwave, which, in addition to being a one-piece metal box, also emits its own interfering waves.

Other household appliances can also make a difference: washing machines and dryers, which can be located in different parts of your home (sometimes even in the kitchen!). If your signal is going through these rooms to get to you, it might have a hard time.

Consider thin metal barriers in your home

Two big criminals you might not be thinking about? TVs and mirrors. Your flat screen TV is actually a thin sheet of metal ready to block the Wi-Fi signal from objects around it. If you use a game console or smart device to connect to the internet from your TV, you can see how problematic this can be.

Mirrors are not good news either. They are also metallic and can degrade your signal. I have a mirror right next to my TV and I might change my mind soon…

Old technology can get in the way

It’s unlikely, but hey, it could apply to you too. While modern technology is designed to not mess up your Wi-Fi signals, older technology wasn’t as far-sighted. In particular, older Bluetooth devices can interfere with your Wi-Fi and reduce the stability of your signal. If you have old Bluetooth devices in your living room, consider moving them away from anything you’re trying to connect to the internet with.

What You Can Do to Avoid Blocking Your Home Wi-Fi

Now that you are aware of the objects in your home that can block or otherwise compromise your Wi-Fi signals, you are probably wondering how you can improve the situation. We have discussed how you can improve the speed and performance of your router as there are many steps and tricks to help improve your Wi-Fi.

However, there is one piece of advice, first of all, that I hope you will take away from this article: place the router somewhere open. While not everyone in your home will drastically degrade your Wi-Fi signal, it’s best to limit any obstruction from your router to your devices. Placing the router in as open an area as possible is the best way to do this.

Not all setups are the same: while some of us have the ability to place a router on a table in our living rooms, others are tied to where their Internet access point is. Mine, for example, is installed in my bedroom closet, so there’s not much I can do other than run an Ethernet extension throughout my house (hey, now there’s a fun idea for a weekend project).

However, at my previous location, the access point was in the living room, which gave me the opportunity to place the router in a more open area. Connecting to the Internet from the living room or even the kitchen was not difficult, because nothing was in the way. If you have the opportunity, stick to this philosophy when working with your own Internet settings.

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