Why do Wi-Fi routers unscrew antennas and use the Internet without them

Computers and mobile devices


Disconnection, bandwidth jumps, inability to access are phenomena that we can experience when using a Wi-Fi router. However, these problems are not “innate” Wi-Fi shortcomings – they stem from a lack of understanding of the technology, poor selection of equipment, or improper installation. Next, let’s talk about how to fix errors, and why the owners of Wi-Fi routers unscrew the 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, does not give it additional power. However, through the appropriate formation of the signal field, thanks to the antennas, they are amplified in a certain direction (for example, in the horizontal and vertical plane). The electromagnetic field created by a single antenna can be compared to an inflated balloon – the amount of air inside is always the same, but by squeezing the balloon, you can increase its length or width, as well as give it various shapes.

wifi router

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

More antennas – good or bad

As a rule, the presence of several antennas provides uniform signal coverage of the space – of course, up to surrounding obstacles that can suppress, refract and reflect the signal. Increasing the number of antennas does not lead to an improvement in reception quality, but on the contrary, interference occurring at the receiver side can lead to signal attenuation and deterioration in power factor.

When using typical omnidirectional antennas, each of the transmitters (if the AP uses more than one transmitter) must be equipped with one antenna, it is pointless to increase their number.

Unscrewing the antenna, and why you shouldn’t do it

There are several guides and tips on the Internet that if you get rid of the antennas from the router, then this supposedly will give a number of advantages. They do this for the following reasons:

antennas

  1. So that the Wi-Fi network cannot be hacked.
  2. So that the device “does not irradiate” a person.
  3. To improve the speed of the Internet.
  4. To reduce the signal coverage area.

I don’t think it’s worth saying that this is complete nonsense. By unscrewing the antenna at the router, all you achieve is equipment breakdowns. To prevent Wi-Fi from being hacked, it is enough to use a complex password and WPA2-PSK network authentication. You can also reduce the coverage area using software methods. And the second and third points are unsubstantiated and unproven stupid reasons. No need to violate the operating instructions and personally disable your equipment.

Ways to improve Wi-Fi signal at home

A weak Wi-Fi connection in an 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. Learn ten effective ways to increase your router’s Wi-Fi coverage so you can use the Internet in every corner of your home.

WiFi

Reboot router

Everything needs a break from time to time – but especially the router needs it.

Your router broadcasts Internet signals between your home network and your ISP. If your internet is slow, rebooting your router is the first step to start troubleshooting. Restarting the device does a reset to clear its memory.

Reboot router

It may seem minor, but turning your home network equipment off and on again can really give the network the boost it needs. It is recommended to reboot the hardware regularly – at least once every couple of months.

How to properly position the antenna or antennas

Antennas installed on routers transmit the signal to the sides, so if you live in an apartment or a one-story house, one antenna will be enough for you. However, if the router has to serve a two-story house, then the best solution would be to buy a router with two antennas – one should be located vertically and the other horizontally. This is necessary for uniform signal transmission up and down. Thus, you will get rid of the problem of poor Wi-Fi signal coverage in a two-story room.

The location of the device itself

Is the Wi-Fi router in the back room or have you hidden it in a closet and are surprised that the Internet in your house or apartment is weak? It may be worth paying attention to the location of the router for better home networking.

wi-fi router in the apartment

There is nothing unusual about this – the router should be located in such a place that 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 about closed cabinets, places under the stairs and other similar hiding places. The router is best placed on an elevated position, for example, on the top shelf or on a closet, in the central place of an apartment or house, since the signal propagates evenly around it. Perhaps this will be enough to significantly improve the signal quality.

Change frequency to 5 GHz

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

5 GHz

  • other Wi-Fi networks located nearby;
  • microwave ovens and household appliances;
  • toys, such as remote-controlled cars;
  • electronic video baby monitors;
  • game consoles;
  • office equipment.

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

Turn off unnecessary modes

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

Choice of the best channel

If it is not possible to change the signal frequency, then there is another solution – manual selection of the transmission channel. Changing the data link is very important on a slow connection. Usually, the router selects such a channel on its own, automatically, however, if it uses a channel loaded by other networks, interference is possible. Therefore, it is worth changing the settings yourself to another, freer channel.

channel selection in the router

Transmitter Power Calibration

Often, the router operates at less than full power. Some models offer the ability to manually change the Wi-Fi signal strength to the best one. At 2.4 GHz, the maximum power is 100 mW. The lack of power can negatively affect the increase in coverage, and our network will become inefficient. This setting can be found in the advanced settings in the administration panel. Depending on the device type, the values ​​will be:

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

Foil for signal reflection

If you fix a piece of aluminum foil on the antenna, then theoretically this can strengthen the Wi-Fi signal. Making an aluminum reflector is easy:

Foil

  1. Cut out a small circle from a piece of foil.
  2. Glue the foil onto a piece of cardboard about the size of a router.
  3. Make the cardboard semi-circular 90 degrees.
  4. Install the resulting blank over the router.
  5. Position the antenna in the center.

Buying a repeater

If all the actions that you can do yourself and for free have failed, it is worth considering buying a repeater.

wifi repeater

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

Router Replacement

Technologies are developing rapidly. If the last time you replaced your router was before 2014, then your device is probably two generations out of date.

Router Replacement

Wi-Fi 6 (802.11AX) 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.

The router with the previous Wi-Fi 5 (802.11 ac) standard is still available and still being sold. When shopping for a new router, it’s a good idea to look for one that uses the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands, has a network management app, and is also capable of handling faster speeds.

Replace network adapter

Not all Wi-Fi range and signal problems are caused by router issues. It is also possible damage to the signal receiver, that is, the network adapter. If this device cannot cope with signal reception, but you need to increase the Wi-Fi signal on your PC or laptop, then you can replace the network adapter with a new one or rely on an external adapter connected via a USB connection.

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