Poor wifi range from surf soho to upper floor

Have this setup in my home for a couple of weeks. I’m seeing pretty weak signals 1 floor up about 30 ft away.

1 floor down is pretty strong. The router is positioned on top of 6 ft bookshelf in the middle of a townhome on main floor.

Upstairs far bedroom sees -65 -75 strength. -70 or more ain’t great.

Wondering if placement on second floor is better or rather purchase an AP mini to help extend.

Tx power on both radios is set to max. I do see about a dozen or more networks in the area but seems no channel overlap. But that can change daily as the channel selection is refreshed overnight.

Just wondering what others have in homes similar. My home is 1600 sq ft townhome with 200 sq ft finished basement. Surf Soho is on main floor centrally located.

Running latest 8.0.1 firmware.

Actually, a signal strength of -70-75dBm is not bad at all. In general we’ve found we start to see performance issues when the signal drops to around -80 (+/-) or less. However, there may be other factors in play e.g., multi-path, other stations on the same frequency, RFI, etc. But I certainly would be not upset with a single AP hearing at -70-75.

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Oh wow ok. I thought -70 was in the threshold. My daughter was complaining about her chrome book wifi failing.

Do the antenna positions affect anything? I currently have all 3 pointing straight up but wondering if I’ll get a little wider coverage area above if I set the outer antennas to 45 deg.

I figure turning on boost for the radios is not advisable as it potentially would interfere with nearby stations.

Hi. While we’d like to see the clients a little better than what you are reporting, and the wireless segment of the system will run faster if we do, I would not hit the panic button to see clients in the -70-75 range. Remember, these are negative numbers. -70, for example, is three times stronger than -73.

You may be able to improve things a bit by setting the outboard antennas to a few degrees, say 30-40, off to one side, rotating the box a bit, and perhaps moving the location of the router some. The latter can sometimes help if there are obstructions in the direct path between router and client. Sometimes.


Thanks for the tips! I’ll stick with it.

Placement is important!


Where it is now on the main floor is tucked in a corner at a 45 degree angle to the floor layout close to the ceiling. I also have a metal bathtub almost directly above it.

I may try moving it away from the corner. Considered perhaps placing on 2nd floor but will have to test whether range is adequate to the basement.

Noted. Just for “grins”: Try moving those two lights a bit farther away from the router (or unplug them as a test), particularly if the power supplies are contained therein. If these are LED lights they likely have switching power supplies which are often wide-band noise generators and that noise (including harmonics) can extend up into the 2.4GHz spectrum.

They are halogen and are plugged into a switched outlet. I didn’t see any noticeable difference in signal strength with them turned off, on and unplugged. My iPhone signal strength was pretty constant -70-72 using router utility iOS app.

I plan on installing Netspot on my laptop to do a proper wifi site survey.

The router utility app is great but doesn’t tell you which band you’re on.

No. I was referring to the type of power supply that serves the lamps – e.g., switching or conventional/linear. You won’t note a difference in signal strength. It’s all about RF noise - RFI.

See, for example: Linear Vs Switching Power Supplies: Comprehensive Comparison, Difference between Linear Power Supply and SMPS (with Comparison Chart) - Electronics Coach, etc.

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You may want to try Speed test - how fast is your internet? | DSLReports, ISP Information from upstairs and compare the results to downstairs. If the Bufferbloat grade is good downstairs, but not good upstairs, then there may be other factors than simply signal strength such as switching power supplies or other RFI interference in the house. You are trying to get the Wi-Fi results to be as good as the hardwired results (hopefully you have an A grade on hardwired, but that is a different subject).

I always like to run a Wi-Fi analysis in my house to figure out signal strengths and channels being used. The 5GHz band is generally less congested. However the 2.4GHz band reaches further. You may want to switch the router 2.4GHz setting to be channel 1, 6 or 11 to avoid interference with other routers or devices in your home or close by neighbors. (I use WiFi Commander from the Microsoft store at $4.99.)

I also make it a practice to hard wire as much as possible in the house, even if it means using something like MoCA over existing coax cable, etc., particularly for high bandwidth devices like smart TV’s or Roku.

Plus, the slowest device on your Wi-Fi dictates the speed of the rest of your Wi-Fi connections on that band (2.4GHz or 5GHz). So a cell phone which is far away and has relatively low transmit power, will cause the Wi-Fi for everyone to slow down on that particular band when it is active.


Thanks for the tips. I’ve setup my router pretty much as Michael Horowitz recommends on his Surf SOHO guide.

I also hardwire everything I can and try to keep my wlan minimal. I have a chatty Lennox thermostat which I isolated in its vlan with layer 2 isolation , along with a TPLINK switch, withings smartscale and Harmony Hub.

I’ll try and run a site survey with Netspot eventually and will share results. I’ll look into that app you mentioned though, much cheaper.

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Follow up. Haven’t installed a Windows 10 on my Laptop but running Linux and discovered a nice little utility called “iwlist”.

It’s pretty good and revealed some interesting things.

I have a 2.4 ghz network reaching into my home on channel 8. It’s signal strength is almost equal to my own 2.4.

Nice thing with the Surf soho is I segregated my IoT devices into their vlan and and enabled the 2.4 ghz radio only. None of them require or need 5ghz.

I also configured it to use channels 1,6 and 11 with a narrow channel of 20mghz.

My main wifi I use for chrome books, iPads and iPhones. I disabled the 2.4 radio on it and rely solely on 5ghz

Based on iwlist results, the 5ghz is not as crowded and the Surf channel selection was a good one for now.

Signal strength is still a little weak to the one upstairs bedroom on the 5ghz (-80-83 at times worse case). I know neighbors on the other side of the wall have their dual band router setup on a desk, literally a couple of feet away from my daughters bed. So perhaps that is cause of noise interference. The iwlist utility doesn’t report SNR so cant measure that right now.

I love though how I can tweak the Surf Soho slightly based on the environment.

FYI. Red highlighted entries are mine.


On a good note, i know the guy who’s running the rogue wifi on channel 8, I politely asked that he change it to use a non overlapping channel and gave him a few Articles to back it up. Also advised to turn down his TX power, he lives 3 houses down from my own home!