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Standard User mittenkrust
(member) Sat 16-May-15 00:44:50
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Other buildings were affecting wifi?


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I moved here last summer and I assumed as it was a 50 year old block of flat the walls were affecting signal as if I tried my dongle or mobile none of my laptops or desktops picked up wifi signal even with phone/dongle less than a foot away or if it did connect signal would keep appearing and disappearing at random and get speeds like 1 meg, I used dongle a few times in bedroom too because the main router seemed to get no signal in bedroom despite it being like 20-30 feet from router but stopped by the time I wired in ethernet under carpets so no need for wifi.

Around christmas time there was a block of burned out flats right across from mine that were knocked down, I did notice at the time my living room wifi seemed a little more stable(always got 5 bars on it but only 1 or 2 meg speed) but as I used wired I never really checked it.

I have used my dongle a few times recently as having problems accessing some websites on landline internet and suddenly noticed I can leave dongle anywhere in house and get 5 bars on laptop, though bedroom desktop is a little iffy still(have aerials pointing up I get 5 bars, move a millimeter or to left or right and get nothing but that is next to a wardrobe and desk so maybe blocking signal)

I am just confused as I am thinking did the flats that were knocked down affect my wifi? Also not sure if related but after flats were knocked down had many problems with Sky tv signal being weaker than before.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Sat 16-May-15 22:22:08
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Re: Other buildings were affecting wifi?


[re: mittenkrust] [link to this post]
 
If Sky is bad probably dish has shifted or a tree grown and partly blocking it

As for wifi probably just intercerence from others wifi or some old cctv or baby monitors

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User eckiedoo
(experienced) Sun 17-May-15 08:12:20
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Re: Other buildings were affecting wifi?


[re: mittenkrust] [link to this post]
 
If your flats have steel girder framing and/or concrete/breeze block walls and/or metal foil-backed plasterboard, then any and all have a considerable effects on WiFi in both a simple screening manner; and also from "Standing Waves" building up from reflections.


The usual WiFi radio frequency of 2.4 GHz has a Wave Length of about 12 Centimetres, so metallic objects of about that length, also 6 cms, 3 cms etc can have effects also, being directly related to that WiFi Wavelength, being half and quarter wave lengths.

Additionally, that radio frequency is readily absorbed by water, hence the magnetrons used in Microwave Cookers/Ovens operate on that frequency, relying on that particular effect - along with other items such as baby alarms.

Your body is largely water, so as you move, it will absorb some of the WiFi signal in degree, as will other human occupants, pets, even foodstuffs outside of metallic objects such as refrigerators, freezers etc.



If your WiFi source is tucked away in a corner "to be tidy" or simply out-of-the-way, the corner structure, particularly the metal foil on the back of plasterboard may be acting like a "Corner Reflector", such as you may see around airfields and harbours, for obstructions or as lane markers, thus beaming your WiFi in a limited direction, rather than the wide general coverage you want.



One way to get some idea of how WiFi radiates is to place a low level light source such as a small single LED of the older variety, at your WiFi source. Or your Router probably already has one working.

Then when it is dark with most/all other lighting off, observe how that LED light spreads through your flat, bearing in mind that it is not a perfect analogy.

Note the differences as others move about the rooms, mirrors reflecting and concentrating it in some places, whilst less/none gets beyond the mirror.

Open and close doors.


Bluetooth is similar.

The knocked-down flats are unlikely to have had any effect, unless extremely close, "just outside your window" etc. The degree that you can detect other WiFi circuits in your own block might give you some idea.


In other words, it is miraculous that WiFi works!



In degree, this general absorption is useful in that it very much reduces the spread of YOUR WiFi signal beyond your immediate environment, so minimising the chances of others using it without your knowledge.


(Yes, in particular circumstances with modified aerials etc, it can be used for line-of-sight etc - but the vast majority of WiFi users will not indulge in such practices.)


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Standard User mittenkrust
(member) Sun 17-May-15 23:56:18
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Re: Other buildings were affecting wifi?


[re: mittenkrust] [link to this post]
 
Welll they were close enough that I could see into the windows from my flat so id say 150 -200 feet away from my flat(not that great with measurments)

The only times I get problems with router now is like you say the line of sight, my line used to be behind door of living room and even in same room I got slow speeds, what I notice is if I knock router onto its side or on floor my signal drops hugely to about 2 bars, not sure type of building but we couldnt get cavity wall insulation as no cavity.

Only other difference is we now have a smart meter n property, wonder if that caused interference.

I am now with cable and assume its a better router but it doesnt explain why the mobile phone tethering suddenly works much better as well.

I do have new furniture in the guest bedroom which is nearer to living room than main bedroom though
Standard User eckiedoo
(experienced) Mon 18-May-15 07:24:06
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Re: Other buildings were affecting wifi?


[re: mittenkrust] [link to this post]
 
The mobile phone tethering improvement may be because of the disappearance of the other flats, if the Mobile Mast involved had been partially/fully screened by those flats; but at the distance you are suggesting, less effect - depending also on the size etc.

When using the dongle, you are open both to the variability of the mobile phone signal as usual with voice calls, plus the WiFi variability of of the dongle.

Your line-of-sight to the Mobile Mast can also readily be affected intermittently by passing vehicles, particularly high-sided, metal-clad such as furniture vans and buses.



The lack of a cavity in the wall suggests that your flats may have a lot of concrete, either solid panels as with Bison Build; or "No-Fines" Concrete poured in to shuttering which was then removed - clearly that is from guessing based on the "no cavity" situation.

(No Fines is that there is no small fines such as sand in the mix, only stone aggregate/chips of about 1 inch / 2.5. centimetre screen size, with the cement. The lack of sand in the mix produces an open cellular structure that air can permeate through, constrained by a conventional cement skim on the inner face; and usually a pebble-dash on the outer. The permeating air carries away any dampness managing to enter the wall.)

I have not readily found a description of the technical side of "Smart Meters"; but at present, I think it is unlikely that this would have any effect, unless your router was/is very close to/touching the meter.
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