12 Wireless Router Antenna Distance Coverage Comparison

Updated: October 11, 2016 / Home » Computer PC Hardware » Wireless Wifi Router

If you are having problem with wifi coverage in your ‘big’ house, there are 2 solutions to your problem. Either you upgrade the antenna to a high gain antenna or purchase a range extender. The best solution is to upgrade the antenna and use a range extender, alternatively, you can optimize your router via this simple 6 tips on getting 5x better Wifi signal and speed, a simple hack such as aluminum foil and changing the position of the router will greatly boost the overall coverage.

See Also ➤ 5 Wireless Wifi 802.11 a,b,g,n Router Range and Distance Comparison

12 Wireless Router Antenna Distance Coverage Comparison

01 – Difference Between Directional vs. Omni Antennas

omni vs directional antenna

Directional Antenna – A directional antenna is one that radiates its energy more effectively in one (or some) direction than others. Typically, these antennas have one main lobe and several minor lobes. Examples of directional antennas are patches and dishes.

Omni Antenna – An omnidirectional antenna is an antenna that has a non-directional pattern (circular pattern) in a given plane with a directional pattern in any orthogonal plane. Examples of omnidirectional antennas are dipoles and collinear antennas. Omni Antenna is widely used in most routers.

02 – Approximate Range of Various 802.11 Protocol

As shown in the table below, the latest wireless 802.11 standard has the best coverage in term of distance. However, it doesn’t eliminates blind spots (dead zones) when it comes to internet sharing between a very long distance.

802.11 ProtocolFreq (GHz)Bandwidth (MHz)Approximate indoor rangeApproximate outdoor range
-2.42020 m / 66 ft100 m / 330 ft
a3.7/ 52035 m / 115 ft120 m / 390 ft
b2.42035 m / 115 ft140 m / 460 ft
g2.42038 m / 125 ft140 m / 460 ft
n2.4/520 - 4070 m / 230 ft250 m / 820 ft
ac520/40/80/16035 m / 115 ft
ad602,16060 m / 200 ft100 m / 300 ft
ay60800060 m / 200 ft1000 m / 3000 ft

03 – Approximate Range of Various Antennas

Below is the approximate range for various brand and type of antenna. Do understand that the range of the signal depends heavily on the position of the router, number of antenna, types of antenna and many more.

 EnvironmentGainTypeApproximate Range
Indoor Outdoor9 dBiDirectional1.77km/1km/140m
Outdoor24 dBiGrid Parabolic56km/31.5km/4.44km
Indoor5 dBiOmni-directionaln/a
Outdoor15 dBiOmni-directionaln/a
Indoor7 dBiOmni-directionaln/a
D-Link Xtreme N
C Crane
US3 Super USB
Indoor Outdoor4.5 dBiOmni-directional90 meters (with corners)
1.6km (line of sight)
Wireless WA12
Indoor12 dBiOmni-directionaln/a
Wireless A8EX
Outdoor8 dBiOmni-directional1.6km (line of sight)
Indoor15 dBiDirectional Cornern/a
Outdoor15 dBiOmni-directionaln/a
Outdoor9 dBiOmni-directional2.4km

04 – 2dBi vs. 5dBi vs. 9dBi Omni Antennas

What is the difference between 5 dBi, 7dBi, 12 dBi and 15 dBi antennas? Well, the higher the dbi, the wider the coverage. Based on my own limited understanding, the higher the dBi, the weaker the signal. The signal will fluctuate as it covers more areas. As for TP-Link claimed on achieving 56km, it is almost impossible unless you have a clear line of sight.

It is a better idea to buy a Range Extender, you can read more about range extender. As shown in the image below, an antenna with low dBi has 360 degrees coverage whereas a high gain antenna has more distance. It will be a good idea to purchase 1 high gain 9dBi antenna for your router.

Stock Antenna vs High Gain Antenna

05 – Differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wireless

The primary difference between the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz wireless frequencies is range as the 2.4GHz frequency is able to reach farther than the 5GHz frequency. This is a result of the basic characteristics that waves attenuate much faster at higher frequencies. So if you are more concerned with the coverage, you should select 2.4GHz rather than 5GHz.

The second difference is the number of devices on the frequencies. 2.4GHz suffers more interference than 5GHz.

  • The older 11g standard only uses the 2.4GHz frequency, majority of the world is on it. 2.4 GHz has fewer channel options with only three of them non-overlapping, while 5GHz has 23 non-overlapping channels.
  • A lot of other devices are also on the 2.4 GHz frequencies, the biggest offenders are microwaves and cordless phones. These devices add noise to the medium that can further decrease the speed of wireless networks.

In both aspects, choosing to deploy on the 5GHz frequency is the much better option as you have more channels to use to isolate yourself from other networks and there are far fewer interference sources.

But the radar and military frequency is also 5GHz, so 5GHz wireless may also have some interference, and many countries require that wireless devices working on 5GHz should support DFS(Dynamic Frequency Selection) and TPC(Transmitting Power Control). Summary:

  • 5GHz has a shorter range compared with 2.4GHz.
  • The 2.4GHz frequency is way more crowded than 5GHz, devices on 2.4GHz suffer much more interference than the ones on 5GHz.
  • 5GHz is ideal for those living in a high density area, such as Condominiums where every house has a wifi device.
  • Fewer devices, especially older devices are not capable of using the 5GHz channel than the 2.4GHz channel.

06 – Want Faster Wifi? Here Are 5 Weirdly Easy Tips

We’ve been putting our routers in the wrong place this whole time. Wifi signals are made of radio waves that have a shorter wavelength than AM radio and cell phones but longer than satellite tv. How can I make my wifi faster? There are several things you can do to make your wifi faster without paying more, and they mostly have to do with the placement of your wifi router.

07 – DIY WiFi Antenna Booster

08 – Wireless Networking Performance of Various Router Brand

I am a big fan of Linksys (Cisco), my second favorite brand is Asus followed by D-link or TP-Link. Huawei, Netgear and Buffalo are equally good too. The rule of thumb is to always purchase quality brand over unreliable brands. These devices are means to operate 24 hours every day until they are broken, thus a high quality product is important.

2.4ghz 802.11n Wireless Networking Performance of Various Router Brand

9 comments on “12 Wireless Router Antenna Distance Coverage Comparison

  1. Gravatar
    Harsh Singh [ Reply ]

    Most wireless routers contain a built-in radio antenna that broadcasts its Wi-Fi signal in all directions.

  2. Gravatar
    Bradley Mitchell [ Reply ]

    Upgrading the Wi-Fi Antenna on a Wireless Router? Which is the best?

  3. Gravatar
    Eric Geier [ Reply ]

    How to Extend Your Wi-Fi Network?

  4. Gravatar

    Ways to Boost a Router Signal?

  5. Gravatar

    How to Increase the Range of Your Wifi?

  6. Gravatar
    4G External Antenna [ Reply ]

    Installing aftermarket antennas on Wi-Fi equipment helps increase the devices’ effective range. However, because radio antennas only help concentrate and direct signals, the range of a Wi-Fi device is ultimately limited by the power of its radio transmitter rather than its antenna. For these reasons, signal boosting of a Wi-Fi network is sometimes necessary, normally accomplished by adding repeater devices that amplify and relay signals at intermediate points between network connections.

  7. Gravatar
    kundanjoshi [ Reply ]

    which wifi system is best to built up in my town to mobile user accessible internet

    longest range system

    how it setep
    cost of total system

  8. Gravatar

    These are a bit expensive for home usage, but for large network is good.

  9. Gravatar

    Perfect article. Thanks so much

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