# How far can a 2.4 GHz, 1 watt signal go in a rural area?

What's the approximate range achievable by a 2.4 GHz signal of 1 watt in semi-urban areas? I can see 2 km from our rooftop. Will a 2.4 GHz signal go that far, i.e. if I send WiFi signals from our rooftop is it possible to catch them on my phone 2 km away?

• The frequency and the power is not sufficient information to determine range. What is the noise floor? Do you have directional antennas? What's the path loss? What SNR does your modulation require to function? Feb 16, 2014 at 23:14
• possible duplicate of How can I know over what distance or at what speed I can communicate? Feb 16, 2014 at 23:18

This is a strange sort of question, as in reality the signal will go infinitely far (effectively) however you are really asking at what distance might a receiver be able to pick up the signal.

In testing a 2.4GHz signal with a 100mW omni antenna, the furthest distance I could receive a signal with less than 5% retries (802.11b kit) was 2 miles with a 100mW 3dB receiver. I could manage over 5 miles with a directional 10dB antenna, but had some trouble aiming it accurately.

Your phone is going to have challenges at that range, but if you have a specific location, you could use a directional antenna on your rooftop aimed at that location. Even a basic Huber Suhner running at 1W could make that work.

(disclaimer - I used to test 2.4GHz radio kit from Symbol, Telxon, Motorola and Cisco. I can't post the data tables, but more than happy to give indications of what might work)

• It's not too strange; everyone wants to just know "how far will my signal go" (without knowing or supplying all the controllable variables involved in a link margin calc) but the real problem is that it infinitely depends. Can you point a laser from one ant and hit the other? That should work up to a mile or so with omnis or tens of miles with high gain yagis or dishes. Building in the way? Don't bother. What about a tree? Wellll, prepare for disappointment: I had a 5mi PTP link between two buildings, and one single tree branch was in the way and, zilch. We cut the branch and it was fixed! May 1, 2018 at 19:20
• @kawfey - definitely! The main things I found that blocked signal: rolls of paper at newspaper printing sites, beer and whisky in barrels and kegs, trees and metal (obviously) May 1, 2018 at 19:31

It's unlikely that the transceiver at the fixed location will hear the relatively tiny signal from your phone 2km away well enough to establish a link.

You need to have more power on both sides to make it work.

Even then, you might need specialized, large antennas or dishes.

Of course if there are no restrictions then you should be able to establish such a link with huge dishes on either end at a fraction of that power.

Try using the Friis equation for questions such as this. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friis_transmission_equation for more information.

• Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. That way, should the linked page ever change or become invalid for any reason, the answer will still be useful to visitors to Amateur Radio.
– user
Jun 4, 2014 at 11:12
• Friis equation isn't going to be very helpful, since it gives us free space values, which are in this case the best-case values, and the question is about semi-urban areas which can make a significant impact to the propagation of signal. Jun 5, 2014 at 6:41

Your question is unanswerable with out detailed information, most of which is not obtainable. There are many issues that limit the distance on 802.11 "WiFi" communications, some of which are:

• The transmitter power of the devices AT BOTH ENDS of the link
• The antenna system gain at both ends of the link
• The ambient RF noise level at both ends of the link
• The "timeout" value set in software at both ends of the link