Let's say that you've just bought yourselves a notebook or another type of mobile computing system and you want to be able to use it freely all around your home. For this reason, you've also purchased a wireless router, but now you're seriously thinking about what's the best position for it, namely the one which will provide the least amount of interference and the best possible transfer speeds.
There are quite a lot of factors to be taken into account when deciding exactly where to place the router, and most of them are related either to your mobile computing habits, the structure of your home, the other appliances and various electronic products you've got installed and even your furniture. In the following article, we'll try to point out some of the things you should do and some of the things you should avoid when choosing a definite place for your router.
The first decisive issue you should take into account is related to your habits as a notebook or netbook user and the structure of your house. For example, if you live in a flat within an apartment building and plan on using your portable system anywhere around the house, then the best position for the router is most likely a central one. If possible, choose a location where there will be some “line of sight” between the router and the areas where you'll be mostly using your portable computer.
However, if you live in a two or three-story house, then the best thing you could do is to place the router at ground level and then install wireless repeaters at the upper levels. In this way, you'll be able to access the Internet from just about anywhere around your property. As mentioned earlier, the structure of your house is also quite important. For example, walls will certainly interfere with the wireless signal, especially if we're talking about heavily reinforced ones (built-in rebars are a killer for Wi-Fi). The same goes for pretty much any large metallic objects you've got around the house, so placing the router in a closed metal cabinet or underneath a metal counter is not exactly a very good idea.
Another thing you should avoid is placing the router in the vicinity of appliances that emit wireless signals on pretty much the same frequency range, such as microwave ovens, cordless telephones, baby monitors, and home automation equipment. Other electrical equipment that might adversely affect the quality of the wireless networks are all sorts of electrical motors, as well as, quite surprisingly, fluorescent lights.
The last piece of advice we have to offer regarding the positioning of a wireless router is that probably the best method of finding the best position is trial and error. Thus, before settling for a definite position, your should test several potential “candidates”, because you might be quite surprised to find out that the wireless network is actually stronger in certain places that didn't really qualify after an initial screening of the house.