I saw this originally posted on slashdot, but their comment format is not conducive to actually getting a correct answer.
Having directly experienced this phenomenon myself, I'm now asking here where I think I can actually get an educated answer.
Here's the original question verbatim:
Lately I have replaced several home wireless routers because the signal strength has been found to be degraded. These devices, when new (2+ years ago) would cover an entire house. Over the years, the strength seems to decrease to a point where it might only cover one or two rooms. Of the three that I have replaced for friends, I have not found a common brand, age, etc. It just seems that after time, the signal strength decreases. I know that routers are cheap and easy to replace but I'm curious what actually causes this. I would have assumed that the components would either work or not work; we would either have a full signal or have no signal. I am not an electrical engineer and I can't find the answer online so I'm reaching out to you. Can someone explain how a transmitter can slowly go bad?
Common (incorrect, but repeated) answers from slashdot include:
- Back then your neighbors didn't have wifi, now they do. They drowning you out.
- I don't think this is likely because replacing the access point with a new one and using the same frequencies solves the problem.
- Older devices had low transmit power. Crank that baby.
- Manufacturers make cheap crap designed to wear out.
- This one actually may be legitimate although it is overly broad. What specifically causes damage over time? Heat? Excessive power?
So can anyone provide an informed answer on this? Is there any way to fix these older access points?