The Best Way To Point Your Wi-Fi Router Antennas: Perpendicularly

The Best Way to Point Your Wi-Fi Router Antennas: Perpendicularly

Raise your hand if you thought pointing both of a router's antennas straight up was better for Wi-Fi reception. Yeah, us too. According to a former Apple Wi-Fi engineer, however, the best placement is to have one antenna vertical and the other horizontal.

In an enlightening post about Wi-Fi on the Mac Observer, Alf Watt, who also created Wi-Fi utility iStumbler, explains why the perpendicular orientation is better:

This is because radio reception is maximized when both client and access point have matched polarization (antennas pointing along the same plane).

Some client devices have antennas in vertical orientation, some horizontal. The current crop of MacBooks, for example, have their antennas in the black plastic part of the hinge in a horizontal orientation.

By pointing antennas both ways, you'll maximise radio reception no matter which way your device's antenna is oriented.

Check out the full post of the Mac Observer for more Wi-Fi tips, including why you should use the same SSID for all your access points.

4 Wi-Fi Tips from Former Apple Wi-Fi Engineer [The Mac Observer]


    I have always thought of wifi signal more of a doughnut shape coming out from the antenna.
    So the vertical antenna covers the devices on the same level of the house, as the router. Then the horizontal antenna sends the signal up and down to get to the devices on the other levels of your house.
    But who am I.

      Pretty much dead on. If you line it up carefully so you're part of the new 'doughnut', you might get increased coverage...but you'll create some dead spots elsewhere in the house.

      Some routers have different antennas perform different tasks: if one of them transmits and receives but the other is receive-only, it's probably best to keep them oriented the same.

      (disclaimer: not an expert but his advice seems to have a lot of caveats he didn't mention)

    And if we only have one antenna? Which orientation is recommended?

      point it in the direction of your main wifi device? dunno spit-balling lol.

    Sorry, This is just plain wrong.

    The apple engineer is forgetting that Wireless radiates from a Dipole / Omnidirection antenna on Three Axis, X,Y and Z, not just X,Y (2D flat plane).

    Also due to reflection and refraction, if you point it on 90 degree angle's (eg, 90Degree's) parallel with a wall, then you'll get more reflection and less refraction, confining the wireless signal.

    Same with 0/180 degree's parallel with roof/floor, you'll have more reflection and less refraction, signal does not goes as far.

    Your best angles are not parallel angle's, eg, 45/70/110/135

    Reflection and Refraction is wanted because this is how MIMO works to gain a better signal.

    I tried this suggestion from the Apple engineer. No difference for me using a Netcomm NB604N wireless N modem router with two antennae.

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