If you are having issues getting good Wi-Fi coverage in your home, you may have thought about turning up the transmit power for your Wi-Fi router. However, there are things that you need to consider before doing this.
What is the Wi-Fi Transmit Power?
The transmit power of the Wi-Fi router is similar to a volume knob on a stereo. Just like how sound energy is measured in decibels, Wi-Fi radio energy is measured the same with decibel milliwatts.
If your router allows for transmitting power adjustments, you can turn the volume up or down in the configuration panel to increase the Wi-Fi’s power output, according to HowtoGeek.
How the transmit power is displayed and adjusted depends on the manufacturer. Depending on the model and manufacturer, it might be labeled Transmit Power, Transmit Power Control, Tx Power, or other variation.
The adjustment options also depend on the manufacturer. Some have a low, medium and high option, while others have a menu with relative power, allowing you to adjust transmit power anywhere from 0% to 100% power.
Other manufacturers offer a setting corresponding to the milliwatt output of the radio, usually labeled just mW, with whatever range is available for the hardware like 0-200 mW, according to Excentis.
Turning up the transmit power on your router may seem like a sensible thing to do, but the connection between the transmit power of a given Wi-Fi access point and the corresponding user experience is not a 1 on 1 relationship.
More power does not automatically mean you can get better speed or coverage, according to SonicWall.
Unless you are a serious home network enthusiast or a professional fine-tuning a network deployment, it is best to leave the settings alone, or even turn them down instead of up.
Why Turning Up the Transmit Power Should be Avoided
There are fringe cases where tweaking the power on your network gear to increase the transmit power can have positive outcomes.
If your home is significantly separated from your neighbors by acres of space, then you can play around with the settings as you won’t be helping or hurting anybody.
But for most people, there are more than a couple of practical reasons to leave the router settings alone. First, the router is powerful, but the devices are not.
Wi-Fi is a bidirectional system and the router is not just blasting out a signal into space to get picked up, like a radio listening to a distant radio station. It is sending out a signal and expecting one back.
Also, raising the transmit power increases the interference. If your home is close to other homes also using Wi-Fi, be it tightly packed apartments or just a neighborhood with small lots, turning up the power may offer a small boost for you but at the expense of polluting the airspace around your home.
Given that increasing the transmit power does not equal a better experience, it is not worth decreasing the Wi-Fi quality for all your neighbors just to get a marginal performance increase in your home.
There are much better ways to address your issues with your Wi-Fi, and it is best to consult a professional for it.
Written by Sophie Webster