Wireless and Blocking by metal Layers

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Avery

Occasional Visitor
In my remodel, I am installing Warmboard-R on the ceiling as radiant heating. They are basically 2'x4' particle board sheets with a groove for PEX tubing, covered by a thin sheet of aluminum.

In most rooms, it will cover 50-75% of the ceiling.

What type of signal attenuation or blocking can I expect from this type of a setup on the ceiling, both within a floor and between floors?

Can I expect that within a given floor it will adversely affect WiFi reception, due to mounting close to that type of a surface? I'm making the assumption floor-to-floor signal loss will be increased and unpredictable. Warmboard even says the below:

Do Warmboard panels interfere with WiFi signals?

Depending on the home, Warmboard's aluminum may interfere with wireless connectivity. However, we do want to note that we rarely, if ever, hear complaints about this. Current WiFi routers using 802.11n protocols (or later) seem to have resolved this issue. If this does occur, we recommend purchasing a WiFi Repeater (generally $30-$100) to boost the signal
"
 

degrub

Very Senior Member
It sounds like you will have the ceilings open so now is the time to run cat6 to all of the rooms in the house so you can locate APs where you need them, upstairs and down.

yes, the foil backing will attenuate the signal. As an example from OTA TV , i had foil backed roof deck to reject solar radiation and foil backed insulation panels on the walls of my two story house. I had to use a very large UHF/VHF directional high gain antenna with a very low noise amp in my attic to get marginal signal from transmission towers 11 miles away.
Moving outside of the attic, required only a very small directional antenna.

outside of my house, i get good 2.4 GHz signal due to plenty of window area. Same inside for TV signal - if by a window on the side facing the towers, no issue.

so it will depend on the uncovered area and the other materials used in the ceiling/floor above. 5GHz will be hit the hardest, 2.4GHz less so. With 5GHz, more than 1 wall or floor/ceiling will be iffy. 2.4, less so in more typical house designs.

so, i would figure out a way to get wired connections installed, either over. cat6 ethernet or rg6 coax with moca2 or 2.5. Otherwise, it will be a roll of the dice on wireless coverage, particularly if you intend to use only one AP or wireless router.
 

Avery

Occasional Visitor
Thanks. I will definitely be pulling CAT6 for multiple access points. However, I am trying to understand if mounting an access point immediately against a layer of aluminum on the ceiling behind the drywall, will affect the downward or side-to-side transmission of data, such that I need to consider alternate mounting locations, such as walls. Alternatively, I may have some areas of the ceiling where there is not warmboard (think gaps between some boards), and if I need to focus on placing AP's beneath these spaces, versus under the warmboard sections.
 

degrub

Very Senior Member
An AP designed for ceiling or wall mount puts most of its power orthogonal to the surface and out to the sides. There will be additional reflection, of course, but it shouldn’t make practical difference. Horizontal spacing from very close nearby walls, if theywere foil surfaced, would be more of an issue. I have had one sitting on a large metal surfaced table for years and not had signal or measurable bandwidth issues. I have others mounted on my walls with foil backed insulation sheet.

wireless works pretty well inside of an aircraft and it is a long metal tube.
 

degrub

Very Senior Member
Depending on your layout, you may have to use wall mounts to avoid too much coverage overlap. You might consider turning off the 2.4 GHz radios if you don’t need them and using only 5GHz APs every other room or so. Search for posts by Tripp. He has experience with planning layouts and wireless networks.
 

Avery

Occasional Visitor
Thanks. Yes, Trip gave me some awesome guidance and advice. We just didn't get to discussing the warmboard much.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
The warmboard being above each ceiling-mounted AP shouldn't be much of an issue, provided you're mounting APs as intended (AP "bottom" to the ceiling, "top" facing the ground). In that case, 75+% of the Z-axis (elevation) broadcast volume will already be located below the ceiling anyways, which means a good bulk of the signal will not be effected adversely, and what little of it that may be effected will be effectively overcome by the vast majority of clean signal.

Long story short: again, not much to worry about, provided you stick with proper ceiling mounting and orientation on both floors.
 

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