Curious about why routers have multiple antennas? Or just can’t figure out whether to get a 2 antenna router or 4?
Well, no matter what your intention is we have got the answer.
It’s a common misconception that router antennas are gimmicky features. However, in reality router antennas make your wifi experience much better. But how do they work and Why do routers have multiple antennas?
We are about to find out. Because in this article I am going to simply explain why do routers have multiple antennas?, how antennas work and all the related queries. So, stick here till the end.
However, first, let’s have a look at why router antennas are important.
- Do Router Antennas Make A Difference?
- How Do Router Antennas Work?
- Why Do Routers Have Multiple Antennas?
- 1. Transmit More Data
- 2. Improved Speed
- 3. More Signal Reliability
- 4. Better Coverage
- 5. More Device Connectivity
- Does The Number Of Antennas On A Wi-Fi Router Have Any Effect On The Wi-Fi Range?
- How Many Antennas Should A Router Have?
- Difference Between 2 Antenna And 4 Antenna Router
Do Router Antennas Make A Difference?
Yes, router antennas do make a difference and they are quite important for an optimal wifi experience. Because antennas help to connect your devices with the router and communicate. But how?
Router Antennas transmit radio frequency in all directions. Then your nearby devices receive the signals and establish a connection between your wifi router and the device. As a result, your devices get connected to the internet.
So, without the router antennas your devices won’t be able to communicate with the router and wifi won’t be possible. Interesting, right?
But how do router antennas work?
How Do Router Antennas Work?
The working mechanism of router antennas can be quite complicated. However, let me simplify this for you.
You might notice router antennas are round but crosswise in shape. There is a reason for this. This shape helps router antennas to send and receive RF signals equally from all directions. Moreover, the signals are sent and received from the body of the antennas, not only the top.
The radio signals can be either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz or both depending on your router. Now your device will receive the radio signals sent by the antennas. Because every wireless capable device has its own network antenna.
These radio signals help the wireless devices to connect with the router and the router helps your devices connect to the internet.
Let’s look at an example to understand better.
Suppose you have connected your smartphone with a router. The moment you connect it to the router it starts to send and receive radio frequency from the router antennas.
Now let’s say you have sent a message. Your device will encrypt this message and make it a small data packet. After that, your device antennas will transform the data packet into an RF signal and send it to your router. Your router antennas will receive the signals and send it to the internet and your message receiver will receive the message. All of these happened within seconds. Amazing, right?
But all of this can be done by one antenna. Then why do routers have multiple antennas?
Why Do Routers Have Multiple Antennas?
Routers have multiple antennas because it helps a router to transfer more data, improve the speed, and reliability of your connection, and provide better coverage. So, is that all?
No, let’s find out in detail.
1. Transmit More Data
As I have mentioned before, antennas send and receive radio frequency signals and help your devices connect to the router. So, more router antennas will be able to send and receive more signals.
For instance, let’s suppose one 5 GHz antenna can transmit 400 Mbps of data and a router has 3 antennas. So, 3 antennas will be able to transmit 1200 Mbps of data.
So, more antennas on a router means more transmission data.
2. Improved Speed
More transmission of data means more bandwidth for your devices. With more bandwidth comes more network speed. Because three antennas will provide 3 times the bandwidth of one antenna.
As a result, more bandwidth will be available to your wireless devices resulting in improved wifi speed.
3. More Signal Reliability
When a router has multiple antennas the signal reliability also increases.
Your wireless device has only one antenna and can only connect to one. However, each of the router antennas has its own range. So, when you go out of range of an antenna. Your device can connect to another antenna which is in range.
But if your router has only one antenna then the wifi signal will be dropped when you go out range. In case of multiple antennas, this is not possible.
So, more antennas can provide better signal reliability.
4. Better Coverage
Multiple Antennas also help a router to provide better coverage. Because each of the antennas of the router covers a specific area. So, with a multiple antenna router, it is possible to provide better coverage than a single antenna router.
Moreover, if you get less coverage in a specific area of your house then you can just move one or two antennas in that direction and the coverage will improve.
5. More Device Connectivity
Having more antennas on a router also helps your router to connect to more devices.
As they help a router to transmit more data, provide better speed, increase network reliability and cover more area so more devices will be able to connect and operate without any issues.
Moreover, more bandwidth helps your devices to remain stable. So, no sudden network drops will be seen.
These are some of the reasons why routers come with multiple antennas. But what about no antenna mesh routers. How do they operate without any antenna?
Can a Router Work Without an Antenna?
The answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. However, a router can operate without an antenna. But you won’t be able to use wifi without antennas.
Whether a router should have an antenna or not completely depends on the usage of the router. For example, if you use a router and connect only via ethernet cables then your router won’t need any antennas.
Furthermore, high-grade enterprise-level routers also don’t have any antennas. As they are mostly used for servers and cameras. So, they don’t need wifi.
Any router can work without an antenna. But the wifi coverage is not possible without antennas. That’s why old routers did not have any antennas and there was no wifi either. Then what about mesh routers?
Mesh routers also have antennas. However, the antennas on mesh routers are more advanced and hidden. That’s why you don’t see any visible antennas with mesh routers.
Now let’s find out whether the number of antennas improves the range or not.
Does The Number Of Antennas On A Wi-Fi Router Have Any Effect On The Wi-Fi Range?
Yes, the number of antennas on a wifi router have a positive effect on the wifi range. But more antennas doesn’t mean more range.
Because a router will have the range it’s advertised. You can not get more range than that no matter how many antennas it has.
However, antennas increase network reliability and provide better coverage. Moreover, each antenna of a router provides separate RF signals and each of the antennas has a particular range.
So, when you go out of the range of one antenna if there is another antenna within the range then your device will get connected to the new antenna for better connectivity.
As a result, with more antennas, you will get the maximum coverage within the advertised range. On the other hand, with less antennas, you won’t get a stable connection when you are far from your router.
If you need to cover a large area you can check out our article on long range routers.
So, how many antennas should a router have?
How Many Antennas Should A Router Have?
Actually, there is no fixed number of antennas a router should have. As it depends on the usage of the router.
Because a router can operate without antennas. But how many antennas should your router have completely depends on your wifi usage, number of devices, and other network factors.
So, choose a router with more antennas if you have a lot of devices, need more area to cover, and need a superfast wifi experience. Here is a list of performance routers with more antennas.
Usually, most modern routers have 2-4 antennas and they are enough for most users. Because regular users do not perform network-intensive tasks. Moreover, some performance routers can have 6-8 antennas in total.
But what is the difference between 2 antenna and 4 antenna router
Difference Between 2 Antenna And 4 Antenna Router
To understand the difference between 2 antenna and 4 antenna router better, let’s have a look at the below table
|Comparison Factor||2 Antenna Router||4 Antenna Router|
|Radio Channels||2 Radio channels. As each antenna creates one radio channel.||4 Radio channels. Because 4 antennas create 4 radio channels.|
|Bands||Can have dual bands. Both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.||Can have dual or even triple bands (one 2.4GHz and two 5 GHz bands.|
|Speed||Speed is close to 2 times the speed of a single antenna router||Almost 4 times the speed of a single antenna router |
|Most Suitable for||Most suitable for small homes with less devices. Can also be used as a wifi extender.||Most suitable for medium-sized houses. Can be used as the main router.|
|Price||Comparatively cheaper.||More expensive than 2 antenna routers.|
These are the basic differences between 2 antenna and 4 antenna routers. Lastly, let’s check whether the positioning of your router and antennas matters.
Does It Matter Which Way Your Router Faces?
Yes, it does matter which way your router faces. Because the RF signals router antennas create can easily be distracted by obstacles.
Our homes have a lot of obstacles like thick walls, roofs, other electronic devices, and furniture. They can distract or even degrade RF signals. So, facing your router in a place where there are fewer obstacles is important.
For more details check out our article on home network setup diagrams.
I hope I have simply explained Why Do Routers Have Multiple Antennas. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.
By this time you should be able to understand how impactful router antennas can be to your network. So, be careful and think about how many antennas will be able to meet your networking needs when you choose a standalone router.
Moreover, if you want to purchase any networking instruments then you can purchase them from a trusted source like Amazon. Otherwise, you can get faulty products and your network performance will drop.
That’s it for now. Have a great day!