Whether you are using a wired network with wireless access points (WAPs) or a wireless mesh network, placing these devices properly to broadcast a clear and uninterrupted Wi-Fi signal is key to your network’s performance.

How To Lay Out Wireless Access Points

Even if you have the best WAPs money can buy, without good placement they will not function at full potential and you will experience slowdowns. WAPs have many enemies in the home that need to be avoided like appliances, concrete walls, and even other wireless devices. Let’s look at some sample home blueprints and figure out the best way to lay out wireless access points.

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How to lay out wireless access points in a wired system

Think of a network as an outdoor water system, the size of your hose is like the bandwidth of your internet service. Water pressure is like the speed, the more flow you have, the faster and more reliable the network is overall. As you add more parts, like a router and WAPs, they can help speed up, or potentially, slow down the speed of your internet if they are not all rated for high-speed network use. This is also true at the receiving end of your Wi-Fi. An expensive new WAP may have internet speeds like a fire hose, but your iPhone only has a drinking straw to collect it with.

Mid-size Home Design

Here is a picture of a basic home layout, as you can see it’s a standard single story, four bed, three bath, with about 2700 square feet of living space. When placing WAPs, you want to add them near areas where Wi-Fi usage is common, but also cover as much of the house as possible without any dead zones. Keeping them up high and hidden is a plus, and aiming to keep them near areas of high wireless usage will be a benefit.

Mid-size Home Plans

Here is where I would suggest putting three wireless access points in this home. The master closet (top right blue star) is a great spot because it will cover the master bedroom and the entire living room with ease. The closet in bedroom four (top left) covers that room plus bedroom two and the kitchen. Finally, the closet in bedroom three (bottom left) covers that room and the family room. You could also place an optional fourth access point in the retreat (bottom right), which will be likely used as a home office. This will help cover the office and the back porch.

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Putting WAPs on high closet shelves gives them good coverage and keeps them out of sight, something most home owners will appreciate. You also want to keep WAPs out of the kitchen to avoid interference with appliances like microwaves and refrigerators. That can disrupt your Wi-Fi. You should also avoid placing WAPs to close to one another as they will interfere resulting in reduced range. Keeping them spread out optimizes performance.

Smaller Home Design

Small Home Plan

Here is another layout example, but note that we could easily use a wireless mesh system in this much smaller home and get by with just two wireless access points. With one in the living room, we are providing great coverage there, plus the master bedroom and kitchen, without being too close to any appliances. The bedroom one closet WAP (upper right) will cover the master, bedroom two, and dining room. You want to cover the most important Wi-Fi areas first. Bedrooms and living rooms often have TVs, phones, and tablets that access the network more, so covering those rooms is always a safe bet.

These are just suggestions based on a blueprint of the home. WAPs can, and often are, moved to new locations based on needs, wiring, furniture placement, and other reasons. I hope this helps you to better understand placement of WAPs and how to improve your wireless network.