How does wifi know where to stop working?



Whenever a new wifi router/network is set up in a place I’ve lived, the wifi only works within the immediate confines of the house or apartment. Wifi works through some walls, but how do localized wifi networks (for businesses and stuff too) know where exactly to stop connecting?

In: Technology

It has a lot to do with the construction of the building blocking a signal. There isn’t a specified apartment/office range involved. I’m actually on the outside of my apartment building right now typing this using my wifi.

Imagine the wifi signal is a cup of water. Except theres no cup containing the signal. The water just spreads out on the floor as far as it will reach. Parts of the floor absorb the signal, keeping it from going further than it normally could.

I cant think of a more apt way of describing it.

Usable signal will primarily depend on the power output of the access point (minus any interference, of course). For a business that may have many access points to cover a building, you essentially have a map of a floorplan and import it into a program. That program can tell you how many access points you need for various qualities of coverage, where to put them, and what power settings to use.

It doesn’t “know” anything. It’s just a signal that goes out in all directions but gets weaker with distance and gets blocked by stuff like walls and floors. If there signal is strong enough, a device can connect. It doesn’t just magically stop at some line. Think of it like 2 people talking in a house. If you’re in the same room, they can hear each other. If they’re in 2 different rooms with thin walls or separate sides of the house but with no walls in the way, they can still hear each other if they talk loud enough. If one is in the basement and one is on the 2nd floor, they probably can’t hear each other because there’s too much stuff in the way.

* It doesn’t.
* WiFi starts to weaken when it has to go through walls, especially thick or metal based walls.
* It may seem like a coincidence that wifi only really works inside the places we’ve installed it but really what’s happening is we have developed wifi strong enough to work in our homes and we haven’t really put money into mass marketing wifi that goes farther.