How to extend wifi vertically?

I live on 15th floor condo. I wanna share wifi with neighbors above/below/side of my condo.
Side condos get 3-4 bars, but above /below condos only get 1-2bars (thus no internet).
No matter where I locate router, above/below condos only get 1-2 bars.
Tried everything..extender, new 10dB antenna, moving router and extender closer to window..
What's puzzling is why side condos(same floor) get better wifi when they are separated by doors, yet above/below condos have free air (via windows) but worse wifi? It would seem above/below condos would gte better wifi since no doors or any barriers, only free open air.

One theory is router, access point best spread wifi horizontally but not vertically. Is this true?
Yes already tried turn antenna many different positions, no change

Discussion is locked
Reply to: How to extend wifi vertically?
PLEASE NOTE: Do not post advertisements, offensive materials, profanity, or personal attacks. Please remember to be considerate of other members. If you are new to the CNET Forums, please read our CNET Forums FAQ. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Reporting: How to extend wifi vertically?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
- Collapse -
Re: extend vertically

Nothing you can do about it, I'm afraid. There is nothing specifically horizontally or vertically in the laws of nature.
If you don't believe that, ask one of your neighbours to turn their router for 90 degrees. Then vertically has become horizontally. Does that change the reception?

- Collapse -
How to extend wifi vertically?

Yes tried turning router and antennas 90 degrees, but no change.
What is puzzling is why side condos thru (2) doors(mine and theirs) get better wifi than above/below condos where only open air separates us?
I would think open air get better wifi, no walls, no doors.

Even place wifi extender out window, so closer to above/below than side condos. Yes, side condos get better wifi, Mystery???
I even stuck router out window, same, side condos get better wifi

- Collapse -
How to extend wifi vertically?

I checked with hotels..They run ethrnet cables to all floors, and place access point to cover each floor horizontally.
I thought placing access point near end hallways windows to cover above/below floors but not designed that way to spread wifi, Only per floor, not using open air window to spread wifi.

My condo I can't run cables, so all must be wireless.

- Collapse -
There is no magic.

As you found out how companies, hotels and others deploy across floors there are reasons why you often can't penetrate floors such as rebar in concrete makes a Faraday cage. Just try to break that! It's science!

Not to leave you without hope, did you try a mesh system? Like a Google Mesh?

- Collapse -
How to extend wifi vertically?

First Mesh? Google Mesh? NO not tried, mainly cost. All we are trying to do is to share wifi if possible from existing router, whatever it can deliver.

As to trying to penetrate concrete and all.....
I know wifi don;t penetrate concrete, only thru doors(losing signal strength).

As I stated, what I am puzzled by is why same level (thru doors) get better wifi signal than above/below condos where router is closer to them and thru open air via windows, nothing blocking wifi as compared to doors? Mystery???
Maybe cus antenna are directional so not spread wifi good vertically?

- Collapse -
No mystery so far.

In the same building, but different floor would mean the signals would have to reflect. At 2.4GHz and 5, these don't reflect well. So badly that you never count on a bounce. Just figure it's like ripples in a pond without the reflections if you want some way to visualize dispersion in a real world scenario.

As to antennas being directional, most consumer routers are omni-directional. And you already tested this above by flipping the antenna orientation.

This means you are stuck until you get more gear. A mesh stands the best chance to succeed since you have your base station and the next mesh AP can be moved around to see what works best.

- Collapse -
"concrete and all"

Post was last edited on November 30, 2018 2:35 PM PST

- Collapse -
Let's include tin foil.

In one building I saw a silver coated insulation layer used on the skin of the building. Sure enough WiFi outside of the apartments was awful. Many folk could not use their cell phones inside either. The building was pretty dead to RF signal use inside.

- Collapse -
Tin foil hat.

I never take mine off Bob. If I did, the voices start. Shocked

- Collapse -
My final analysis

Well, so far nothing new, already known information. So I move on.

What I did learn during this process?
Spreading wifi is costly cus need powerful router, WAP, etc..
Need ethernet to connect WAP/second router. That's why hotels, large office who can afford cost can install each floor wifi signals.
But for average home owner or students who live in apartment or condo building, each unit need to get their own ISP internet. Trying to share internet via wifi sound good but not practical.
Of course many unproven false claims of extending wifi, increasing signals, etc...

Also word definitions are confusing. NO such thing as "booster", as in increasing original wifi signal from router, but only "extender" as in extending existing wifi. SO repeater, extender,booster, all mean same thing, Now I know.

Another thing...ISP router are cheap, low power, less coverage than commercially available routers (extra cost). ISP routers are good for room or too in open space. But to cover extended are, need new powerful routers/WAP...again extra cost.

Finally, rarely discussed yet maybe more influential is wifi are most unpredictable, like emotional person. Never know what you gonna get.
Say you got areas covered, but final wifi received at a device depend on how many users, what time of day, ISP internet reliability, and router/WAP function(yes they fluctuate wifi signals.
So what appears to be bad router/WAP or coverage could be caused by somebody downloading, streaming, wrong time of day, etc....

Funny..just bought a extender, located next to router. next room, extender give stronger wifi than router. Then next time router wifi is stronger.
More puzzling is rooms on each side of router area each get different strength wifi. One room extender wifi is stronger, other room router wifi is stronger. Go figure? LOL
All very confusing.

- Collapse -
any actual experiences extending wifi?

I see several comments here but I am curious..
Have anyone actually share wifi vertically in places like apartment or condo building?
I can see on college dorms where students try to share wifi near their room.
Students are poor(haha) so trying to find cheap solution and share wifi to as much people as possible.

I suspect all replies are based on guesses and not actual experience.

- Collapse -
Some facts to consider

The radio waves for this are spreading like light - no curves, straight line only. SO sharing with the 15th floor of the next building is more likely to work. To stick it out a window to reach the next floor you would have to go quite a distance to have any effect (think 50 feet or more - I assume you are in the US - "a.k.a. feet zone.")

Going through plasterboard walls or wooden doors is a lot easier than to go through steel enforced concrete ceilings. The ceilings carry the weight of the persons and furniture above you, the walls wouldn't.

Have you tried powerline adapters instead of ethernet cables to connect access points on the other floors? Depending on how the power wiring is organised around your building this might work very well - or not at all.

- Collapse -
Some facts to consider

Thanks for your reply. This probably is way way more than what I or most people wanna know about wifi, but I found my question to academically curious, So let me share details of my wifi set up and what I was trying to do, if possible...LOL

I understand how wifi radios works and travels, directional and omni direction antennas, etc..from google search.

I live on 15th floor of condo building, condo is about 500sqft(this is in Asia), Since I got fast fiber 25mbps internet, friends around me wanna share at cheapest way possible.
(BTW if this was my house of several floors, etc, and I am willing to spend lotta money for WAP, repeaters/extenders, etc..maybe what I am asking can be done.)
Back to my layout.
So main router is in middle of condo, Condos next to me on same floor, even two doors away, can get 3-4 bars, can can get 5-10mbps.
But condos above(16th), or below(14th), only get 1-2bars, barely get internet, maybe at less than 1mbps.
Mind you above/below condos are actually closer in distance than, say, same floor condos, two doors away.

So same floor condos get better wifi cus on same floor, only thru my door and their doors. And I get that,

BUT the mystery is even if I stick out router out the window and turn router and antenna in all possible ways, above/below condos get no better than 1-2 bars still. It's like nothing changed.
This was a surprise cus I thought wifi travels better thru open air than doors.
Just imagine, open window and holding out router in free air...

Ok, now powerline extenders, etc...(I am not 100% sure) but powerline must be within my condo?
So I got a long extension cord, plugged in extender, (again) stuck it out the window, still only 1-2 bars.
Even threw outlet cord above/below condos (by now extender is far from router in my condo), now extender is too far from router thus not work, 1-2 bars from router is better than extender.
BTW those extenders work across maybe one more condo distance, so not reach too far. Better than nothing but IMHO not work too good.
(Funny, plugged in extender next to router. Wifi from extender is stronger than router.. Same floor next condos get 4-5 bars wifi extender but only 3-4 bars from router.. Now that don;t make sense at all..????

Back to wifi radio waves...I understand horizontal spread, but when held 90 degree than same horizontal now become vertical wifi spread? thus should reach above/below condos better than same floor condos?

Anyway, just a curios question.

- Collapse -
Right, here goes:


I guess we can agree that the penetration of an otherwise omnidirectional radio signal would depend a lot on the type of material that needs to be penetrated - steel enforced concrete in the floor/ceiling vs. just brick or plasterboard or even just wood in the doors. So it is not so much about the waves not moving vertically at all. In the same way, if you wanted better reception upstairs or downstairs you would have to hang the router out of the window and then raise or drop it to the other floor's level, preferably to the window panes there.

If you use Wifi extenders, they use a Wifi radio connection to your primary router and another to their destination. So your challenge now is that either the router-to-extender signal or the extender-to-computer signal still needs to penetrate the floor/ceiling. In addition, you now use two radio channels on the extender and add sopme packet trunaround time to your overall latency - making things slower. If channel selection issues come to aggravate this your results may be even slower. Instead, I was thinking you should be using access points that are connected to the router via Ethernet cable - they can communicate quite a bit faster, as a rule. Since you said you can't run Ethernet cables between the appartments, I was suggesting to try powerline communication instead: Router to Powerline adapter via Ethernet, then another Powerline adapter on the other floor to the access point there with another Ethernet cable. If the powerline connection works at all between the access points and teh router you should now have a nice working solution. Of course that depends a lot on how much electric equipment is installed in your building that would hamper the signals on their trip between your apartement and the other one(s).

Another thought: Sometimes apparment buildings have supply shafts between floors and it may be feasible to run cables up and down in there - one might even be able to install the access points in there. But that would also depend a lot on how tolerant the people in charge of the infrastructure there can be.

I wish I could draw some diargams in here - I am sure that would clarify things a bit better.

And once more - there is a certain amount of directionality of the antennas (if your router even has external antennas.) But the by far bigger obstacle would be the material of the floor - and also bear in mind that if the radio waves have to travel both horizontally and vertcally (i.e. at a slant) they have to penetrate even more material.

Is this any better?

- Collapse -
Right, here goes:

??? Replies keep mentioning materials wifi has to go thru....But that's missing my question.
Again, my question is why open air between above/below condos has less wifi signal than same floor condos thur (2) doors?
So it's open air vs (2)doors, no walls, no concrete, etc...

I said I held out router and extender out the window of my condo, and moves router and antenna every direction possible...yes router has external antennas. (BTW tried new 10dB antenna, no change, waste, I think routers have 2-3dB antennas?)

I even moved extender plugged into extension cord tossed down outside window to below(14th floors) condo, Extender can't get signal cus too far from router.

As you can see from my rambling long explanation, I tried them all.

So back to my original question. Open air vs (2)doors?

Anyway, I think I am done discussing cus obviously no clear answer. But fun asking a curious question.
What I am shocked is nobody here tried to share wifi vertically between floors in condo/apartments?

- Collapse -
It still sounds ...

... as if you ahve no floors between the levels of your building. As I said, if you hang the router out the window and drop it to the lower floor in front of a window there, then and only then should you get decent reception on that floor.

In summary: I don't believe that anyone in your part of the world is sitting on flying carpets instead of concrete. And it won't help to hang an extender out the window because it can only hang in one position and thus "see" either the router on the one floor or the PC on the other, but not both. An access point on an Ethernet cable or the router itself could do the trick, but they would both only need to connect wirelessly on the lower floor, then.

Until we agree on that I don't see the point of going further on thsi. Have Fun!

- Collapse -
It still sounds ...

???? I know English is my 4th language but I don't get your reply at all.
Have you actually read my reply and digested it to understand? OMG

What's up with constantly mention walls, concrete floor, etc...???
I am asking about wifi not spreading thru open air space from one floor to another.
I said I even hung router out the window, tried extension cord and extender.
Of course I know ultimate is ethernet and router/WAP, which I can't do cus I don;t own the building.

It seem common that somebody had same question. Many people live in buildings, wanna share wifi.. Maybe I am the only person in the world asking this? LOL

In the end, I still don;t have answer as to why wifi dont; spread thru open air to next floor. Life moves on.

- Collapse -
Yes I've read your questions again.

And everyone is correct in mentioning what blocks WiFi.

As to hanging out the window, that only helps spreading the signal outside but the RF won't make its way up the building (it does that) then make a turn and go back in the next window (nope, it fades too much to write that works.)

Just because it's a common question doesn't mean you can expect a simple answer unless we just write no.

- Collapse -
Yes I've read your questions again.

Are you sure you really read this thread before your reply?

Let me repeat..
I said I hung router out the window, AND turned router and antenna every which way possible. That includes router turned 90 degrees and now RF is spreading vertically.

Let me explain like this..
Imagine..on my floor, router RF ripples out to hallway thru my door, then enters next two adjacent rooms via their doors. RF is rippling horizontally thru my door, yet spreads sides ways into adjacent doors, They get decent wifi (3-4bars) to use internet.

Now imagine turning router vertically, now RF should ripple upward/downward which is same path as side ways when RF spreading horizontally. So I am thinking vertical RF spread is same as RF spreading into hallway horizontally.
So if horizontal RF spread can reach adjacent rooms then why can't vertical RF spread reach above/below rooms?
Maybe my thinking is too simple?

I understand RF can't bend into above/below rooms, but RF does SPREAD out like ripple in water.

Anyway no big deal in the end, It was a great discussion, and I learned something new.
Wifi in general is very tricky and unpredictable animal anyway. When wifi problem happens never really know which part is causing the problem. Router? ISP? Router location? demand at the time? device function, etc???

Final note:
I got an extender, good for maybe 5-10 feet further than what router RF sent out.
In fact, I got extender right next to router, and often extender has greater RF signal to rooms than router(ISP). so my adjacent rooms use extender signal more often than ISP router. Maybe ISP router is cheap, low quality??
I am connected LAN in my condo, but others are using wifi.

CNET Forums