These 7 Materials Can Block WiFi Signal (& What You Can Do About It)
Do you want to avoid slow or spotty WiFi signal in certain areas of your home or office? Did you know that some materials can block your WiFi signal? Understanding what can interfere with it to optimize its quality is essential.
WiFi signal connects your devices to the internet. It works through a frequency range (2.4GHz or 5GHz) that travels through the air. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about materials that can block WiFi signals. We’ll also provide some solutions for improving it.
The material that’ll dampen your WiFi signal the most is metal. This excellent conductor of electricity can reflect WiFi signals, leading to buffering during streaming or videoconferencing, lagging when gaming, and frustratingly slow load times.
WiFi uses invisible waves to send data through the air. Still, metal surfaces can block these waves from reaching their destination. When WiFi waves hit metal objects, they can bounce off or get absorbed, creating weak spots or no WiFi zones in your home.
To get the best WiFi signal, avoid placing your router near or inside metal objects, such as filing cabinets, boxes, and doors.
2. Walls (Concrete & Brick)
Walls are made of materials that can block WiFi signals, but the extent to which that happens depends on various factors, including the type of wall material and thickness.
Concrete and brick walls, in particular, can be challenging for WiFi signals to penetrate. Concrete walls are more effective at blocking WiFi signals than brick walls due to their higher density and thicker mass.
So, if you need to place your router near a wall, it’s best to choose a wall made of a thinner or less dense material, such as drywall or wood. Avoid placing your router on an outside wall of the house. The precious WiFi signal is wasted there.
3. Windows, Glass & Mirrors
It’s generally not recommended to place your router next to a window or a mirror, either. WiFi signals can’t pass through windows, glass, and mirrors because these materials contain a thin layer of metal that reflects the radio waves back instead of allowing them to pass through.
This reflection causes interference and weakens the signal, making it difficult for devices to connect to the network. In short, the metal in windows and mirrors is a barrier to WiFi signals.
4. Devices Operating on the 2.4 GHz Frequency Band
The 2.4 GHz frequency band is a commonly used range of radio waves for many household devices, including microwave ovens, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, and IoT devices. The problem with these devices is that they can interfere with WiFi signals because they operate on the same frequency band.
You can produce electromagnetic interference that disrupts WiFi signals when using a microwave or other devices. This interference is especially powerful at close range, so having your router in the same room as a microwave or other 2.4 GHz device is generally not a good idea.
You can also consider using a dual-band router that operates on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands. The 5 GHz band is typically less crowded and less susceptible to interference from other devices.
In the case of water, the molecules in the liquid are particularly good at absorbing the energy from radio waves, which can effectively block them from passing through.
If your router is close to a large aquarium or other body of water, the water could cause connectivity issues. In fact, WiFi doesn’t work underwater at all. While some radio waves can penetrate water to a limited extent, the loss of WiFi signal strength is so severe that it becomes practically unusable for data transmission.
6. Furniture & Bookshelves
Certain types of furniture can also interfere with WiFi signals, mainly if they are made of materials that block signal strength. For example, metal furniture such as file cabinets or bookshelves can absorb WiFi signals, as do large pieces of furniture made of dense materials like wood.
That being said, having less furniture doesn’t mean your WiFi signal will be better. While certain types of furniture can interfere with signal strength, their impact is usually minimal compared to distance and interference from other devices.
7. Your Neighbors’ Routers
Did you know that your neighbors’ WiFi signals can interfere with your own WiFi signal if they use the same frequency band or channel as your router? This is especially common in blocks of flats or apartments where many routers are close to each other.
When multiple routers are close together, they can interfere with each other’s signals, causing slower speeds or even dropped connections. It’s like trying to listen to two people talking simultaneously – it’s hard to make out what either of them is saying!
To minimize this interference, you can change the channel on your router to one that’s less crowded. You should also consider upgrading to a dual-band or tri-band router, which uses multiple frequency bands to reduce interference.
How to Get WiFi Signal Through Brick Walls, Concrete, & Other Materials?
Now that you know what materials can block your WiFi signal, let’s discuss solutions. Here are some tips to help you get a stronger WiFi signal in areas where materials may be blocking it:
- Position your router in a central location: The closer your device is to the router, the stronger the signal will be. Position your router in a central location in your home or office to minimize the number of walls and obstacles between the router and your device.
- Use a WiFi extender or mesh network: A WiFi extender can help extend the range of your signal by repeating the signal from your router. A mesh network system uses multiple access points to create a seamless network throughout your home or office.
- Upgrade your router: Upgrading your router to a dual-band or tri-band router can improve signal strength and reduce interference from other devices.
- Use a wired connection: If all else fails, consider using a wired connection instead of WiFi. Running an Ethernet cable from your router to your device can provide a more reliable connection with faster speeds.
Remember, different materials can have different levels of impact on WiFi signal strength. While brick walls and concrete can significantly reduce signal strength, other materials have a minimal impact. By following these tips and experimenting with different solutions, you can optimize your WiFi signal.
How Far Should WiFi Reach?
The WiFi signal range can vary depending on several factors, including the frequency range, the strength of the signal, and the number of walls and obstacles between your device and the router.
The 2.4 GHz frequency band provides better coverage for your devices but at a lower speed. In comparison, the 5 GHz frequency band offers higher speeds but with a smaller range, which can maximize the performance of your network.
Generally, a typical WiFi router will range about 100 feet indoors and up to 300 feet outdoors in open areas. However, interference from other devices or materials can significantly reduce this range.
A Recap on What Materials Can Block WiFi Signal
Knowing which materials can block a WiFi signal is essential for optimizing its quality and enjoying your home internet. We covered the most common materials that can interfere with a WiFi signal, including metal, concrete, brick, and water, as well as other factors like neighboring routers, furniture, and the 2.4 GHz frequency band.
We also provided solutions for improving your WiFi signal, including positioning your router in a central location, using a WiFi extender or mesh router, upgrading your router, and using a wired connection.
Remember that different materials can impact your signal strength, so don’t be afraid to experiment to get the most out of your WiFi!