Internet, Networking, & Security Home Networking 416 416 people found this article helpful What Is the Range of a Typical Wi-Fi Network? Does your Wi-Fi give you the coverage you need? by Bradley Mitchell Writer An MIT graduate who brings years of technical experience to articles on SEO, computers, and wireless networking. our editorial process LinkedIn Bradley Mitchell Updated on November 10, 2019 reviewed by Michael Barton Heine Jr Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Michael Heine is a CompTIA-certified writer, editor, and Network Engineer with 25+ years' experience working in the television, defense, ISP, telecommunications, and education industries. our review board Article reviewed on Apr 10, 2020 Michael Barton Heine Jr The Wireless Connection The Wireless Connection Introduction All About Wireless What Does Wireless Really Mean? 802.11 Standards Explained The Range Of A Wireless Network Dual-Band Wireless Networking Explained How Bluetooth Works With Wireless Measure It: Wi-Fi Signal Strength What Is A Wi-Fi Hotspot? 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Try This What to Do When There's No Internet Connection The Future of Wireless 5G Changes Everything How 4G And 5G Are Different Why 5G Really Is Faster All About 5G Cell Towers 5G Challenges: Why It Isn't Rolling Out Faster Is 5G The High-Speed Replacement for Cable? When 5G Is Coming to the US The 12 Best 5G Phones Coming in 2019 Tweet Share Email When you’re on a wireless network and things are slow or even not working at all, you might hear that you’re out of Wi-Fi range or that the signal strength is poor. So what is the range of a typical Wi-Fi network, and do you need to be close to a router or wireless access point for a good, sustained connection? A wireless network uses radio waves, just like TVs and cell phones. A radio wave degrades the further from its source the signal travels. Wi-Fi Range A wireless network's range can vary wildly depending on the type of network. A standard home network using one wireless router can serve a single-family dwelling, but often not much more. Jo Zhou / Lifewire Business networks with grids of access points can serve large office buildings, and wireless hotspots spanning several square miles have been built in some cities. The cost to build and maintain these networks increases significantly as the range increases, of course. A general rule of thumb in home networking says that Wi-Fi routers operating on the 2.4 GHz band can reach up to 150 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors. Older 802.11a routers that ran on 5 GHz bands reached approximately one-third of these distances. Newer 802.11n and 802.11ac routers that operate on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands reach greater distances. Because it uses narrower wavelengths, a 5 GHz Wi-Fi connection is more susceptible to obstructions than 2.4 GHz connections, and so will usually have a slightly shorter effective range, typically, 10 to 15 feet shorter. Factors Influencing Range There are three main factors that influence your Wi-Fi range: the access point or router itself, the structure you're in, and the wireless standard you're using. Access Point or Router The Wi-Fi signal range of any given access point varies significantly from device to device. Factors that determine the range of an access point include the specific 802.11 protocol it runs, the strength of its device transmitter, and the nature of physical obstructions and radio interference in the surrounding area. The distance at which someone can connect to an access point varies depending on antenna orientation. Smartphone users, in particular, may see their connection strength increase or decrease simply by turning the device at different angles. Furthermore, some access points use directional antennas that enable longer reach in areas the antenna is pointing but shorter reach in other areas. Change the antenna that came with your router if you're not getting the signal strength you need. Type of Structure or Building Physical obstructions in homes, such as brick walls and metal frames or siding, can reduce the range of a Wi-Fi network by 25 percent or more. A Wi-Fi signal weakens every time it encounters an obstruction, which happens a lot indoors, thanks to walls, floors, and even the electronic interference caused by appliances. Wireless Standard The wireless standard you're using has a direct effect on your wireless signal range and strength. The 802.11g protocol has an indoor range of 125 feet, while 802.11n has a range of 235 feet.