Understanding environmental sources affecting signal transmission

Wireless signal strength generally decreases as you move further from the transmitter. As the signal weakens, it also become more susceptible to interference from environment sources. These sources can be either physical objects that block radio transmission, such as buildings, trees, or radio waves from other wireless equipment.

Line of sight is important for radio waves as they only travel in straight line. That means you will need a clear unobstructed view of the antenna from the remote point in the link. Keep in mind that walls and obstacles will limit your operating range and could even prevent you from establishing a link. Signals generally will not penetrate metal or concrete walls. As the signal passes through thin non-metallic walls, its strength is degraded, the thicker the wall, the more degradation. Trees and leaves are obstructions to wireless signals so they will partially or entirely block the signal.

Other factors that will reduce range and affect coverage area include metal studs in walls, concrete fiberboard walls, aluminum siding, foil-backed insulation foam in the walls, pipes and electrical wiring, furniture are sources of interference. This can dramatically affect the transmission of radio signals and this can cause either noise or complete dropout of the signal. The primary source of interference in the home will be the microwave oven (2.4GHz). Other sources include other wireless equipment, cordless phones, radio transmitters and electrical equipment.

Using range extender antennas such as MIMO antennas did work for most of our customers to improve performance, however, there is more to the effective signal strength than simply the power of the transmitter or what antennas are installed. Due to the numerous environmental factors affecting the signal strength, hence the range and the performance, range extender antennas perform quite differently under different working environment.