In general, you want your router to be in the middle of things so Wi-Fi can reach as much of your home as possible. But a few factors affect where you can and should put your wireless router—like where you have access to a network jack or appliances that may affect your Wi-Fi signal strength.
Let’s run through what you should do and things to avoid when choosing a home for your router.
Walls, ceilings, furniture, and other big stuff can weaken Wi-Fi signals. You want to place your router so that Wi-Fi signals can follow the path of least resistance to necessary spots.
Put your router in an open space, preferably higher up (because Wi-Fi signals travel outwards and slightly downwards). Make sure there are as few obstructions as possible between the router and the areas where you need the best internet speed and reliability.
Of course, Wi-Fi signals can work through drywall, doors, and the normal trappings of a home, but Wi-Fi is only so strong, and you want to give it the best chance of reaching the corners of your home. You don’t want a dead spot in your bedroom preventing you from watching YouTube videos in bed.
These are the worst physical obstacles for Wi-Fi:
All these materials absorb or block Wi-Fi signals more than drywall and wood studs, so you want to avoid surrounding your Wi-Fi router with them. We mentioned earlier that the kitchen and bathroom aren’t great places for a router—that’s because the amount of water, pipes, and appliances that are usually in these areas can make it difficult for Wi-Fi to spread.
Appliances and electronics like microwaves, baby monitors, cordless phones, and Bluetooth speakers can mess with Wi-Fi signals because they use similar radio frequencies. Try to avoid putting any of these things too close to your router, or you might get some signals crossed.
Actually it’s a good idea to keep your router a bit of a distance from other electronics in general—they’re just full of wires and things that can block your Wi-Fi.
Another possible cause of signal interference is other Wi-Fi networks. If you live in close quarters to your neighbors, their Wi-Fi network could cause problems for yours (and vice versa). A fix for this issue is to change your Wi-Fi band channel to one your neighbor isn’t using. And as a courtesy, don’t put your router right up against any common walls if you can help it.