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Why does the distance from the Router Affect Internet speed?

I noticed that when i'm just 2feet away from my router, i get my full 50mbps up/down and only get 20mbps when i'm approx 10ft away behind a 2-Inch thick wall.

From my understanding(pls correct me if im wrong), as long as your wireless device is tethered from the AP, then speedtest sites would measure the speed and bandwidth of your service. So why would the speed and bandwidth degrade when my wireless device is farther?

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Clarification Request
While the composition of the 2 inch wall matters.

In reply to: Why does the distance from the Router Affect Internet speed?

There are also reflections and cancellations that you'll see just like ripples in a pond. This is elementary physics at best and advanced RF theory at worst.

In short. Distance is going to be a factor along with reflections, what the signals have to pass through and competing signals. At close range most of these factors disappear.


So all is not goodness and light in that small space. If you place your devices just so in a dead spot you get nothing or much less performance.

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While the composition of the 2 inch wall matters.

In reply to: While the composition of the 2 inch wall matters.

Thanks for the quick response, however, the internet speed degradation is essentially what's being questioned here. From the "ripples in a pond" logic, i can understand the reliability of a device being tethered to the AP from the Router.

But if my device is already tethered to the AP of the router, shouldn't it measure the speed/bandwidth of my service? What is looks like is the speed/bandwidth measured by speedtests site(eg. is based on the signal strength of my device to the Router? Is the distance causing any packet drops that's causing the degradation?

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Tethering is via wireless

In reply to: While the composition of the 2 inch wall matters.

So as you move about, the signal quality will change.

I do not agree it's signal strength but I'm an electronics designer with RF work in my years in radar, cellular comms and more.

The way it works now is over many subchannels to get the speed up past the old single channel methods. It would take a classroom and many hours to start from scratch so I try to keep it simple.

Distance gets you farther away and the image above is not only strength but quality.

If you want to make it better you have to build a near laboratory quality setup where your other walls block and absorb RF to avoid reflections that create interference and other issues.

Now that so many things use the 2.4GHz band I always want to deploy dual band (2.4 and 5GHz) so we can move what we can to the presently uncrowded 5GHz space.

-> So no. The signal strength is not all that matters. Quality matters too but you don't get that information in today's devices. They simplify it to "how many bars?"

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Tethering is via wireless

In reply to: Tethering is via wireless

Lol with the "how many bars?".....and thats why i don't agree with the distance and the number of bars logic. If I put it in other logic, if i'm sending a note via snail mail vs Email to a person, this person would receive the same note(Internet service speed in Mbps) but would arrive to him on a different time. Thank you for the Input!

All Answers

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Think of it as a space heater.

When you closer the temperature is warmer. Wireless signal are also subject to walls and other barriers. Its common physics. A pitcher throwing a baseball it's faster coming off his hand then when it reaches the batter.

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