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My WiFi router is located inside a wooden box (1 cm, 0.4 inch thick) for aesthetic reasons. How much does the wood weaken the signal? What is the physical explanation to the answer?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

This depends on the type of wood. Putting unconfirmed jokes aside, you can verify this yourself using a program like inSSIDer (linux version here) and compare the signal strength and signal to noise ratio's before and after putting it in the box.

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Wood will not weaken the signal as it is not electrically conductive.

If the box were made of metal and sealed and grounded, all your signal would be blocked. Such a device is called a Faraday cage. If the metal box were ungrounded and had an open side, the signal would be redirected in and out of the open side, depending on the exact dimensions of the box and its shape. Under the right conditions you can get the signal to amplify in one direction. This is the principle upon which satellite dishes work.

If the wooden box were assembled with metal screws, nails, or staples, these would have an effect on the radiation pattern. Testing the exact signal attenuation would require an FCC Class-C testing facility. This is a wooden building constructed with no nails or screws, located away from radiation sources like TV and Radio transmission towers. The DUT is turned on and the radiation pattern recorded on a spectrum analyzer while rotating the DUT.

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If this reasoning were correct, then all non-conductive substances would be transparent. In fact, wood reduces WiFi by about 3dB per inch. – David Schwartz Jun 11 '15 at 11:27

Ever since I changed my floor, from carpet to wood (maple 2cm thick), my wireless signal is WEAK. I then changed my router (internal antenna) to another router (external antenna) but still have weak signal. I live in a house, so there isn't much interference from neighbors.

Weakened by 2 bars. Wifi analyzer about 10db. so YES it possible it makes the signal weaker.

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Completely unrelated to the completely enclosed router of the question. – Zeiss Ikon Jun 11 '15 at 11:25
Maple isn't wood? – RandomHasard Jun 12 '15 at 12:21
Maple flooring isn't enclosing the router. The signal isn't passing through the wood (unless the router and computer are on different floors in the home). – Zeiss Ikon Jun 12 '15 at 12:42
what else is the problem if nothing else changed ? Or was it that carpet adds 10 db? – RandomHasard Jun 14 '15 at 4:45

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