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Which Wireless Router Offers the Best WiFi Range?


Man using laptop on dock over calm lake
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Question: Which Wireless Router Offers the Best WiFi Range?
Consumer wireless routers vary in the Wi-Fi range they support. Routers with stronger Wi-Fi signals allow devices to connect at higher speeds from a greater distance and stay connected more reliably. Which wireless router then, has the overall best Wi-Fi range?
Answer: A wireless router's antenna technology generally determines its Wi-Fi signal strength and hence its range. Generally speaking, 802.11g wireless routers offer better Wi-Fi range than comparable 802.11b units due to improved antennas.

802.11n and Wi-Fi Router Range

In general, wireless routers currently offering the best Wi-Fi signal range, however, are 802.11n (sometimes called "wireless N") units. Where standard 802.11b and 802.11g routers contain just one Wi-Fi radio and antenna, wireless N routers contain two or three radios specifically designed to maximize Wi-Fi range. Note that the actual range and performance of any wireless router varies substantially depending on conditions of the environment such as obstructions and radio interference.

Increasing Wi-Fi Range - Do It Yourself

The standard antennas shipped wih wireless routers work omnidirectionally. Omnidirectional antennas distribute their signal equally in all directions. These antennas provide more uniform coverage in a radius, but they also limit the signal's reach in any particular direction.

Some routers support replacement of their standard antennas with upgraded "aftermarket" ones. Many aftermarket Wi-Fi antennas work directionally, meaning their radio signals can be focused in a specific direction. All other things being equal, replacing the omnidirectional antenna on a wireless router with a directional one will increase its range.

Router Wi-Fi Range Only One Factor to Consider

Wi-Fi range is just one of several factors to consider when choosing a wireless router. For example, the reach of a wireless network can also be increased by installing wireless range extender products, or by upgrading a Wi-Fi client instead of the router.

Finally, even those routers with lesser range may service your residence quite well. If your Wi-Fi devices are located near to each other, with few walls and other obstructions in the vicinity, you likely need not seek out a router with the best Wi-Fi range.

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