Reception hole

One block from the office, I get three bars, maybe 3.5 bars. Actually in the office, it’s more like zero, maybe 0.5. And I know why. It’s very much like this:

The other day I was watching a contractor cut a hole in the outer wall of my house, which is covered in stucco. I hadn’t really thought much about the home’s construction — it has some cinder block but mostly is just wood frame. But watching the construction I had an epiphany. The stucco was put on in the old way, over chicken wire. I hadn’t thought of this because none of the new stucco I have ever seen going on is done this way any more. It turns out my whole house is covered in a big net of chicken wire. Worse, I saw they had removed the stucco around one of the hose bibs and the chicken wire was wrapped around the metal piping, the same piping our house uses as a ground. My whole house turns out to be covered in grounded chicken wire — I’m living in a Faraday cage!

Obviously since the wire does not cover every surface (windows, roof, etc) and was not carefully constructed to be a Faraday cage, the effect is not perfect. But I took some measurements. Wifi signal strengths in the 2.4Ghz range dropped by about 7-10 db when passing through an interior wall but dropped between 20 and 30 db through my exterior walls.

I’m surrounded by the corporate LAN. The only time I’ve ever had good coverage in the shop is when the network was failing.


  1. McG »

    5 September 2017 · 9:05 am

    Thus confirming that the lousy AT&T coverage we got in our former digs was simply because of lousy tower placement. And in fact it took a couple of years in the current abode before I could finally retire the “microcell” thingie we’d bought from AT&T to get decent signal in the house.

    That experience is why I switched to a carrier that does wifi calling.

  2. fillyjonk »

    5 September 2017 · 1:16 pm

    brb, drafting up plans to have my entire classroom building remodeled with ‘traditional’ stucco….

    I have crap cell phone reception in my house but it’s not stucco, so I don’t know what’s to blame. But that’s why I’m only giving up my landline when I’m FORCED to.

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