Have you been experiencing a weak Wi-Fi or cellular signal lately? There are many reasons as to why you might be getting a bad signal but the building materials around you could be to blame for blocked signals. If you get a good signal while outside the building, and a feeble one as soon as you step inside, the building materials used could be blocking the signals, or making them bounce all over. Many of the building materials in use today are known to block Wi-Fi and cellular signals hence could be the reason you have been experiencing a poor connection or slow internet speeds while inside the house.
Although it might be impossible to identify the problem material, you need to have an idea of what materials could be causing the problem. It’s worth noting that mobile signal and Wi-Fi signals are attenuated in the same way, one of the reasons one factor can affect both of them. Frequency range and channels are however subject for discussion. Outlined below are some of the common building materials known to block Wi-Fi and cellular signals.
1. Clear Glass Panes
Clear glass panes are commonly used to allow natural light into the house. Many of us will however try walking to the window in an attempt to get a stronger signal. While the glass pane may allow light through, they cause cellular and wi-fi signals to bounce around hence an even weaker signal double-glazed and triple glazed-windows make it hard for cellular signals to penetrate through, hence could be the reason you are always having trouble getting a strong signal in the house.
Low emission windows are the most notorious in blocking Wi-Fi and cellular signals. These windows are designed to keep elements such as cold and warmth out of the house and have a similar effect on mobile signals. One way to solve this issue would be by opening the window to allow the signals through.
2. Sheetrock and Insulation
Although sheetrock may not be capable of blocking strong signals, weaker signals might not be able to penetrate rooms with the same. Sheetrock is known to cause signal degradation and fluctuation up to -2db, hence can make a significant difference in weak 5G, 4G, or even 3G signals. With sheetrock not part of the main floor plan, materials used to build the floorplan may make the issue even worse.
If your house has fiberglass insulation installed, you might then experience a decline in signal strength. Foam boards, fiberglass batts, and other types of foil-faced insulation may have a similar effect on both radio and Wi-Fi signals. The denser the insulation material is, the higher the impact will be on inbound signals. That said, homes with both sheetrock and heavy insulation in place are bound to block signal causing a decline in reception.
3. Plywood and Solid Wood
Most residential properties are primarily made of plywood. A framework of plywood alone is capable of reducing signal strengths on 3G and 4G networks by -6db. The effect is even worse on 5G networks with users getting fluctuations up to -9db. Several factors, such as the plywood's thickness, and whether it is wet or not will cause even more significant signal loss. The signal loss my increase up to -20db if the plywood is compressed and damp.
Solid wood will also contribute to increased signal fluctuation and loss in the house. Home with hardwood flooring will experience a signal degradation up to -12db. Softwoods may however not have the same impact as solid hardwoods.
Brick is one of the top signal building materials in use today. In addition to the thickness of the brick, other factors such as mortar and supplementary materials incorporated in the wall make it almost impossible for the signal to pass through. Most brick walls will have sheetrock, electronics, as well as shelves installed. All these factors combined can contribute to up to -20db signal loss. Most homes made of brick, with lots of insulation, and glass windows installed will have inferior signal reception as compared to those made of wood. The density of the bricks plays a considerable role in how the signals are blocked from the house.
Metal is considered the top signal disrupter in homes and office setups. Metal reinforcements in concrete walls, metal roofs, and metal studs cause massive signal disruption blocking the signals through, with metal roofs deflecting the signals. While metal roofs may be aesthetically appealing, they do play a big part in blocking signals. Anyone living in such a home is bound to experience dropped calls and slow internet. The only solution you might have in such a setup would be to invest in a mobile signal repeater.
More than 80% of all homes with metal roofs have a weak cellular signal. This happens in areas with the best signal reception. This is because the metal roof will deflect cellular signals away from the house. Unlike other building materials, a metal roof can see you go from excellent reception to -50db signal loss. At this signal strength, your phone won't be able to get reception if any. This makes it more of a dead zone. The sad thing about this is that simply stepping out of the house will see you get a stronger and more stable signal.
So there you have. Any number of these materials might be the reason as to why your signal might be decent in some rooms but terrible in others. However, one way to stop this being a problem is to get a mobile signal repeaters!