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I have router Draytek Vigor 2100VG at home almost in the center of it.
The farthest point at my home is my balcony, ~12m from it.
I have constant wifi signal range problems with some of my devices, but not with others.

  • Notebook Lenovo W510 - no problems
  • Nokia Home Music - always on 10m - no problems
  • Sony PS3 - always on 7m - no problems
  • Sony tablet S - problems around 6m
  • Sony PSP - problems around 8m
  • Sony PS Vita - problems around 8m
  • Nokia E63 - problems around 8m

I'm curious why my Notebook don't have any problems even on the balcony? I guess it has better hardware or uses more power for transmission.
This information is really important when you want to buy new device/computer, so my real question is:

  1. Can device wifi range can somehow be found/suggested from official hardware technical specification?
    If not
  2. Is there some web page with wifi range reviews?
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This is what aftermarket antennas are for. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 24 '12 at 21:02
    
And repeaters. :) –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jun 24 '12 at 21:05
2  
I don't know the answers you are looking for but anyways, 8 to 10m seems very short... even with devices with low ranges. You may have interferences from other wifi conections. you could try to change the channel you use. My phone has no problem below 20m for example. –  laurent Jun 24 '12 at 21:26
    
Conditions must be very hostile for a properly configured Wifi signal to become unusable within eight meters. Perhaps your AP's power output is set too low. Most countries allow you to transmit at 100 mW without a license. If other Wifi stations are interfering, you could try switching channels away from them, or have them transmit at a lower power setting. –  Marcks Thomas Jun 25 '12 at 10:00

1 Answer 1

Nope, it's not possible to list the device's range in its spec. There are too many real-world variables involved for even the best RF engineers to know exactly what range you'll get in your particular scenario. Off the top of my head, here are just a few of the variables that affect range between device A and device B:

  • A's transmit power.
  • A's amplifier distortion.
  • A's antenna cable attenuation.
  • A's antenna efficiency (VSWR).
  • A's antenna gain in the direction of B.

  • B's antenna gain in the direction of A.

  • B's antenna efficiency.
  • B's antenna cable attenuation.
  • B's radio sensitivity.
  • B's system noise floor.

And since Wi-Fi is bi-directional, you can flip all those things above and end up with twice as many variables. Plus there's the RF characteristics of the materials (walls, etc.) between A and B, and the RF noise on channel in your environment, and the multipath environment (how many different paths the signals can take between A and B), and there's how humid the air is (water attenuates 2.4 GHz signals quite effectively).

So, nope, it just isn't possible for a device to give a meaningful guess at what kind of range you'll get out of it in your environment, especially since the makers of Device A not only don't know your environment, but they don't know the specs of Device B that's going to be on the other end of the link, and the specs of the link-partner are critical to the range.

It would be possible for manufacturers to give more detailed RF specifications for each device, but it won't tell you the range, it would just be a bunch of stuff you'd have to become an amateur RF engineer to understand. Products designed to be professionally installed for outdoor applications usually come with this kind of information so the RF engineers at the installation company can estimate what the device should be capable of in very carefully controlled conditions. But it wouldn't be meaningful or helpful to most home users in most home environments.

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