I’m at work on their Linksys Wi-Fi. Some days, the signal reaches down one
floor and 20 feet. And some days, it does not. The signal reaches further on the
same floor or directly below. Both antennas are pointing straight up. Outside
the brick building, the signal reaches much further diagonally (but not inside.)
Why does the signal strength change? I tried to track the weather, but couldn’t
find any pattern. I’m in northeastern Rhode Island. At home, in a standard
wooden house and it doesn’t change.
In this excerpt from
Answercast #54, I look at some possible causes of interference to a Wi-Fi
signal at a business location.
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Wi-Fi signal strength
So, there’s a lot of different things that can affect Wi-Fi signal
Certainly the amount of metal. I’ll just say that “generic metal” between
you and the antenna can decrease the signal strength. That’s why Wi-Fi will
probably range more outside than it will inside as you go through multiple
walls, multiple levels of construction, and multiple types and amounts of
The other thing that can change a lot from time-to-time is other
interfering equipment. For example, I know that in the home, the Wi-Fi signal
may be affected when the microwave is running.
In a business, there are so many different pieces of equipment that could
potentially be interfering that it really doesn’t surprise me too much. Once
you achieve a certain distance between your computer and the antenna, different
pieces of equipment in the area (not even necessarily in a straight line, but
just in a general area) could potentially be interfering with the signal, if
they’re turned on or if they’re running or if they’re doing something
Weather and sunspots
Finally, I’m of the opinion that the weather doesn’t necessarily affect
Wi-Fi that much – but I believe it’s possible that sunspots will!
Sunspots are one of those things that we don’t think of very often… they
don’t really have that much of an effect. But in reality, they can affect
various types of radio transmissions, of which Wi-Fi is really nothing
Wi-Fi is in fact just another form of radio. Sunspots, depending on their
intensity and their timing and all sorts of other things, potentially could
factor in to all of this.
If you wanted to do the research, that might be one of the things to do.
Find a sun spot tracking site and see if there’s a particularly high number of
sun spots at the time you see things not working properly.
Building construction and metal
But ultimately, I want to put more emphasis on:
The amount of metal construction between the antenna and the computer;
And the number of potentially interfering devices, electronic devices, that
may or may not be running from one time to the next.
Answercast #54. Back to – Audio Segment
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Thanks for listening, I’m Leo Notenboom and I’ll be back soon with another Ask