WiFi Basics – Wi-Fi SignalIrene
As a supplement to the ONT basic knowledge, I begin to introduce a series of basic Wi-Fi knowledge.
Today, I will share knowledge about Wi-Fi signals.
Wi-Fi signals are transmitted through radio waves; therefore, interference and attenuation are inevitable.
The further away from a wireless router, the weaker the signals.
Wi-Fi standards impose strict restrictions on the transmit power of devices. An indoor antenna gain cannot exceed 5 dBi. In addition, Wi-Fi signals attenuate exponentially over distance. That is, signals attenuate by 20 dBm when the unobstructed distance increases by tenfold.
|Distance (m)||Signal Power (mW)||Relative Strength (dBm)|
The gain of an indoor antenna is within 5 dBi. Therefore, a longer antenna can provide stronger signal strength.
The antenna gain depends largely on the antenna size. There are 1-dbi, 3-dbi, and 5-dbi antennas. Between two 5-dBi antennas, the one larger in size can offer greater receiving sensitivity if not a larger gain. If one terminal receives Wi-Fi signals at a strength of 1 bar but cannot access the network, this is because the antenna in use has poor receiving sensitivity.
An obstacle such as a wall may also significantly weaken Wi-Fi signals.
The main causes of signal attenuation are metal objects, walls (especially load-bearing ones), and large furniture or household appliances.
The following table lists the empirical penetration loss values when 2.4 GHz electromagnetic waves penetrate various construction materials.
|Reinforced concrete partition (load-bearing wall)||20–40 dB|
|Concrete wall||10–18 dB|
|Hollow brick wall||4–6 dB|
|Plasterboard wall||3–5 dB|
|Common glass door and window||2–4 dB|
|Wooden door||3–5 dB|
|Coated glass door and window||12–15 dB|
|Wooden furniture, door, and other wooden partition||2–15 dB|
|Metal object||Total reflection|
Some electrical household appliances will also cause interference with Wi-Fi signals.
Wireless signals are transmitted at the 2.4 GHz frequency (802.11b/g/n) or 5 GHz frequency (802.11a/n/ac). These frequencies are also used by microwave ovens, refrigerators, wireless mice, and some cordless phones, resulting in co-channel interference. In addition, the closer an interference source, the stronger the interference. Moreover, if there are multiple wireless signals around, wireless signals on the same channel or adjacent channels interfere with each other, making transmission unstable.
|Interference Source||Frequency||Power||Evaluated Interference|
|> 800 W||Severe: The network speed decreases sharply when the distance is between 2 m and 4 m, and the network is
disconnected occasionally when the distance is less than
|Cordless phone||2.4 GHz||3 W||Fairly severe: The network speed decreases when the distance is between 0.5 m and 1 m, and the network is
disconnected when the distance is less than 0.5 m.
|Wireless camera||2.4 GHz||0.5–1 W||Slight, but it is better to keep the interference source far
|Bluetooth device||2.4 GHz||1 mW||Insignificant|
That’s all for today’s basic knowledge sharing.
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