I'm bad at math.
September 12, 2012 10:12 AM   Subscribe

I already know where to place my router. My question is, how do I find the exact center of my house?

My router is currently in my office, and the router is placed on my desk, which is pretty near the outside wall of my house, so I understand that a good portion of the signal is going outside and probably hitting my neighbor's garage. Now that I have a couple of tablets, I like to drink coffee and catch up on news on my patio which is on the other side of my house. That area is an iffy deadspot. Sometimes I get good connections, other times its nil. So I want to move my router to an optimal location. I can easily get the total square footage of my house, but since my house isn't a perfect square or rectangle shape, I have no clue where the true center would be. I AM BAD AT MATH!
posted by PapaLobo to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Best answer: Step 1: Pick a place you think is center, and plug your router into the wall (doesn't need to be connected to your WAN yet)

Step 2: Download a program called InSSIDer and measure signal strength around the house.

Step 3: If the coverage isn't fairly even around the places you'd use it, move the router towards the weaker signal point, and go back to Step 1.
posted by samsara at 10:21 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

If your house is roughly quadrilateral in shape, the center is the intersection of the bi-medians (the lines connecting the middle of one side to the middle of the other side). After that it gets more complicated. But the center of your house is not necessarily the optimal place for your router, depending on all sorts of factors. It would probably be easier to try a few likely spots inside the house and manually verify that you get a good signal from both your patio and your office. (Since you don't mention rewiring the house, I'm assuming that you already have appropriate outlets or extension cables to put the router where you want it.)
posted by ubiquity at 10:25 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Why are focusing on the actual center of your house? Just find the spot where you get a good signal in the places where you'll use your tablets.
posted by shoesietart at 10:31 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

To literally answer your question without having to do calculations:

1. Trace out an accurate shape of your house on a piece of cardboard and cut it out.

2. Get a marker, some pushpins (3), string and weight.

3. Do the three-point plumb line procedure described in this video.

There is math involved, but Newton's Law of Gravity does all the hard work for you. This is fun in a sciencey kind of way, but samsara's method is much more practical.
posted by bonehead at 10:34 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

The centroid of your house is less relevant than the placement, thickness, and composition of your walls and floors. Fastest way to do this, honestly, would be trial and error, though I'm sure modeling it mathematically would be fascinating.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 11:42 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

For the record, there's absolutely no reason to place this at the *absolute center* of your house. Just pick the room that's vaguely equidistant (esp. line-of-sight) to the rooms you plan to use WiFi in, and find a reasonable place to put it.
posted by davejay at 3:33 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

How likely is it that the center of your house has a phone or cable connection to which the wireless router can connect to? And as Hollywood says, it's likely the dead spot has more to do with the materials between the router and you patio than the distance between them.

It's much easier to just get a wireless repeater and place it somewhere equidistant between the patio and the existing router.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:17 PM on September 12, 2012

Response by poster: I haven't had time to actually move the router or do anything else with it, so I'm gonna mark this resolved because everyone had such good input and ideas. Thanks y'all! :-)
posted by PapaLobo at 9:17 AM on October 8, 2012

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