What is the typical range of your internet Wifi?
The range of a WiFi computer network depends primarily on the number and type of wireless access points (including wireless routers) used to build it.
A traditional home network having one wireless router can cover a single-family dwelling but often not much more. Business networks with grids of access points can cover large office buildings.
And wireless hotspots spanning several square miles (kilometers) have been built in some cities. The cost to build and maintain these networks increases significantly as the range increases, of course.
The WiFi signal range of any given access point also varies significantly from device to devices. Factors that determine the range of one access point include:
- the specific 802.11 protocol it runs
- the strength of its device transmitter
- the nature of physical obstructions and/or radio interference in the surrounding area
A general rule of thumb in home networking says that WiFi routers operating on the traditional 2.4 GHz band reach up to 150 feet (46 m) indoors and 300 feet (92 m) 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 vary in the reach similarly.
Radio signal interference from microwave ovens and other equipment also negatively affects WiFi network range.
Finally, 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 utilize directional antennas that enable longer reach in areas the antenna is pointing but shorter reach in other areas.