FROM THE FRONT LINES: Should you place your router in the attic?

Solid Signal’s 100% US-based call center is here for questions anytime during east coast business hours. We’re here for you whether you’ve bought from us before, or whether you’re simply contemplating a purchase. We get some of the most complex technical questions, and some of the easiest. Either way we’re happy to help. Here’s a question that came through just the other day:

I think the router is ugly. Can’t I just put it in the attic?

In general, the answer is no. It may seem like it makes sense to put your router somewhere in the attic that’s more centrally located, but there are several issues with that.

Two reasons

First of all the router’s performance is going to be impacted negatively by the ceiling itself and any insulation that’s there. In a best case scenario you’re going to lose about 50% of the broadcast power of your router and probably more than that. If the router is designed with built-in antennas, it’s probably designed to radiate its broadcast power from the top and sides, not the bottom as you would want if you placed it in the attic. If you turn the router upside down, it could affect its cooling.

…which leads to…

the second reason, which is that the extreme temperatures in your attic are probably beyond what your router is designed for, meaning it’s likely to fail a lot sooner. It’s just an all-around bad idea, and the good thing is that there’s a better solution.

Choose an access point

An access point lets you keep the router in a back room and still get great internet where you need it. Most access points are much less obtrusive than that big cable company router. Best of all, Solid Signal has dozens of access points to choose from.

Here’s one great option: Ubiquiti’s access points are designed to be ceiling-mounted. You run the cable through the attic and drill through the ceiling with the template provided so you can mount the access point on the ceiling. One cable carries power and signal using the power-over-ethernet technology built into the access point. You have a lot of flexibility when installing this sort of system and Ubiquiti’s software makes it easy to customize the system to allow guests to log in and to maximize the power use. It’s really a better choice than putting the router in an attic.

The company also has an in-wall access point which gives the ultimate in clean installation. You get Wi-Fi and two wired Ethernet ports in an outlet-sized installation. Of course you do need to run Ethernet cables through the wall for this option but it’s still a really cool choice if you’re able to do that.

Repeaters are another choice

A Wi-Fi repeater takes your Wi-Fi signal, receives it, and creates a new Wi-Fi network from it. It’s a low-cost choice that doesn’t give the same speed or reliability as an access point, but it’s quick and easy to install. Check out Solid Signal’s great selection of access points.

Still not sure?

If you’re not sure what to get, why not do what thousands of other people do? Call the folks at Solid Signal at 888-233-7563 for advice!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.