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What causes degradation of wireless signals over time?

acer123 (88528) writes | about 2 years ago

Wireless Networking 4

acer123 (88528) writes "Lately I have replaced several home wireless routers because the signal strength has been found to be degraded. These devices, when new (2+ years ago) would cover an entire house. Over the years, the strength seems to decrease to a point where it might only cover one or two rooms. Of the three that I have replaced for friends, I have not found a common brand, age, etc. It just seems that after time, the signal strength decreases. I know that routers are cheap and easy to replace but I'm curious what actually causes this. I would have assumed that the components would either work or not work; we would either have a full signal or have no signal. I am not an electrical engineer and I can't find the answer online so I'm reaching out to you.

Can someone explain how a transmitter can /slowly/ go bad?"

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runs too hot (1)

Spazmania (174582) | about 2 years ago | (#41720737)

Virtually all home wireless routers run way too hot. Feel the underside after it's been on for an hour. Hot. Open it up and put your fingers on the chips after its been running for an hour. Burn your fingers.

Have you measured signal strength? (2)

Maow (620678) | about 2 years ago | (#41720951)

My only thought is that it may not be signal strength but interference from other, nearby routers on the same channel.

Is it the device? (1)

ripvlan (2609033) | about 2 years ago | (#41721407)

I've had a similar experience.  However, I have also moved into a new place.... and bought more furniture, drapes, wall hangings etc over the years.    And more electronic devices such as wifi enabled tv, blueray, iPad, appletv, AirPlay devices.  And I'm sure my neighbors have too.

Is it (more) possible that your airspace is getting polluted?  And the replacement models are simply better/more powerful?

I know when I bought my iPad this year, my network went into vapor lock until I moved some devices to 5ghz and others onto 2.5.  My dell laptop has never recovered and still suffers poor connections even though the router is now 12ft away. Although, I also think the dell may be suffering general cancer and will die soon (eSATA port died and random BSODs claims USB port driver in dump...which wifi is prob also on)

Have you ruled out "capacitor plague"? (1)

unitron (5733) | about 2 years ago | (#41723221)

Or voltage sag as you plug more things into your wall sockets?

I've found that the Linksys BEFSR41 routers and WRT54G wireless routers work much better with little 12V fans installed, so you might experiment with greater external airflow to see if "blowing the heat out" is of any help.

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