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Old 02-14-2019, 01:33 PM
 
2,494 posts, read 4,767,459 times
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Suppose you have a wifi router and your wifi device, in a room. The only other object is a tall, thin pole of thick metal in between the router and your device. Would the signal still work?

In other words, the signal has to be able to travel in that straight line to work, or can a signal travel in a non-straight line?

To use another analogy, suppose you're in a huge field with a TV/radio transmitter. No buildings or mountains. You have a TV or radio, but there is tall, thin tower of lead in between. Would it still work?

BTW, have you noticed something is funny with this forum in the past two weeks?
It sometimes doesn't load the little icons next to each topic title. Also I have to reload once or twice on many pages. Also the little spinning thing keeps spinning even though a page is loaded.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:35 PM
 
Location: McAllen, TX
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Yes, it would work. Wifi signals do not travel in a straight line like a laser but more like a powerful flashlight and are omnidirectional. They may be impaired a bit depending on the width of the obstruction. A thin pole would not have much effect if any. If you have a smartphone you can actually test the signal strength while walking around. This is for Android, there is probably one for Apple.

Wifi Analyzer
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:48 PM
 
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Radio waves (the type of waves used in wifi signals) in a vacuum and not obstructed by anything would travel perfectly straight. However, we don't live in a vacuum and as a result, radio waves are constantly changing direction due to refraction in the gasses in the air. Additionally they will hit anything in the way (including particles in the air) and be reflected and/or absorbed.

These devices do not send radio waves out in one direction, but rather in all directions (360). It is likely and with almost near 100% certainty that the waves will bounce off of other surfaces to eventually make it to your router. The best way to understand this is to consider that wifi signal will act just like light in these situations. You can put a tall poll between a light source and an object, but the light will eventually make it around the poll... even though light travels in straight line.
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Old 02-15-2019, 01:33 PM
 
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Aren't radio, TV and wifi signals the same thing really, just different frequencies? But it's the same idea all around?
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:57 PM
 
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From real world experience I can tell you I had trouble with wireless dog collar that used wifi. I had it up in the attic as high as it could be. The one trouble spot was the chimney, in addition to the metal fireplace it was three metal line flues, Even at a distance where the chimney was line of sight between the the collar and the wifi unit the signal was sporadic at best and outright lost at worse. I also did not work well at all behind vehicles parked in the driveway or garage.
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Old 02-16-2019, 12:27 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,507 posts, read 55,427,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpasa View Post
Suppose you have a wifi router and your wifi device, in a room. The only other object is a tall, thin pole of thick metal in between the router and your device. Would the signal still work?

In other words, the signal has to be able to travel in that straight line to work, or can a signal travel in a non-straight line?

To use another analogy, suppose you're in a huge field with a TV/radio transmitter. No buildings or mountains. You have a TV or radio, but there is tall, thin tower of lead in between. Would it still work?

BTW, have you noticed something is funny with this forum in the past two weeks?
It sometimes doesn't load the little icons next to each topic title. Also I have to reload once or twice on many pages. Also the little spinning thing keeps spinning even though a page is loaded.
An advantage of my high school science classes was access to a wave table, where we could see how waves interfered with each other or became additive (in TWO dimensions). Refraction (bending) of light happens in other waves as well.

There are a BUNCH of caveats to any answers to your questions. For instance - do the walls or objects in the room have the ability to reflect signals? Is the lead pole grounded or free standing? Is the frequency being used somewhat immune to blockage by certain materials? What is the power level of the signal? What is the receiver capable of discriminating?

I'd rather not comment of forum performance, other that to say that in my experience there could be an outage at some point that will get corrected.
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Old 03-16-2019, 01:32 PM
 
2,494 posts, read 4,767,459 times
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If a signal is traveling through empty air, it can only move in a straight line, is that right?
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