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I want to put my router in a box for security reasons (it's in a common area of the building) and I was wondering in what ways would the box's material affect the signal's strength. It'll be either metal or wood.

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perhaps putting the router in a safer location would be a better solution? And what are your security concerns? – Keltari Sep 5 '13 at 16:04
Metal would be a horrible material for something like this. The best material would be plastic. Wood would reduce the signal strength but people put their routers in there desks all the time without a problem. I would worry about the heat generated and trapped in this box, which will end up, killing the router itself. – Ramhound Sep 5 '13 at 16:24
Maybe I just have a criminal mind, but if I really wanted to steal or mess with a router-in-a-box, couldn't I just take the box? – Moses Sep 5 '13 at 16:38

Metal will interfere with wireless signal, wood will not (noticeably) interfere. Make sure it is vented for airflow.

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You could use a wire cage (with large openings, but not large enough to pull the whole router through) to protect the router. Think of something like the cage over a gym clock to protect from stray basket balls, not a tight mesh like the faraday cage in your microwave oven. – Rod MacPherson Sep 5 '13 at 16:03
See my previous answer and associated comments, it would make a Faraday Cage, nullifying the signal. – Doktoro Reichard Sep 5 '13 at 16:04

If enclose it in a metal box, you could end up making a Faraday cage, which would cancel out much of the signal.

Wood shouldn't be a problem (2.4 GHz can go through walls), but it will still impact the signal strength (though probably not as much as the walls currently separating you). Make sure you have enough power to get from where the router is to where you are, and you should be fine.

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I got a moment to think... and what really matters is the antennae not being enclosed in the box.

If the antennae aren't enclosed and the only thing inside the box (which would have holes for the antennae) was the router, then it doesn't matter whether the box is made of metal or wood, as long as it was properly ventilated.

Even if the metal box had a Faraday Cage effect, since the antennae are outside it shouldn't interfere.

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