Wi-Fi routers and associated equipment are often not the prettiest to look at, so you might be tempted to hide them. Is it okay to cover your router to hide it?
What are Router Covers?
If you snoop around the internet, especially in the more crafty corners like Pinterest or YouTube crafting channels, you’ll come across all sorts of tutorials to help you conceal your unsightly networking gear – there are so many different ways to turn a black box with some antennas come out in something a bit more intimate.
Solutions range from terrible, like making a decorative tin box, to less terrible, like hiding your router in a lightweight fabric basket. There are even commercial options on the market like this wooden box, designed expressly to camouflage your router.
Bearut Wooden Router Box
This router cover offers plenty of ventilation, space for antennas, and even wall mounting options.
Head to Etsy for router covers and you’ll find everything from faux book hideouts to airy mesh boxes. Before buying a router cover, however, we encourage you to read until the end of this article to ensure you find the best solution for both your décor and your Wi-Fi setup.
We recommend that you do not cover your router
As cute as most of these solutions are, our first and foremost recommendation is not to cover your Wi-Fi router, Wi-Fi access points or other Wi-Fi equipment. These devices are all designed to be at in the open air and not wrapped, stuffed into objects or otherwise covered. (If you really want to do this, keep reading because we’ll explain how to optimally hide your router in the next section.)
Instead, before you consider stuffing your poor router with hollowed-out world books you picked up at an estate sale, first think about doing what you can to lessen your complaints about the device.
For example, if your main complaint is that LED lights are unbearably bright, then you are an ideal candidate to buy Light Dims. We’ve been using them for years – they’re a cleaner, more efficient way to deal with bright LEDs than breaking electrical tape.
And if your real complaint is how ugly and utilitarian your Wi-Fi gear is, there’s always the option of upgrading to a mesh system. Since mesh systems are meant to be placed throughout a home, mesh nodes are designed to look much less industrial and much more decorative.
The Google Nest Wi-Fi nodes look like small, slightly curved white canisters, for example, and the Eero nodes have a similar look, albeit more square and rounded. Several of Netgear’s mesh systems like the Nighthawk AX3600 MK83 are shaped like a textured cube that looks more like a small speaker than a Wi-Fi device.
Almost all Wi-Fi mesh systems feature nodes without external antennas, so whether you opt for a cylinder, disc, or cube shape, the lack of large antennas protruding from the back goes a long way in helping the nodes stay together. blend into your decor.
If, however, you really want to cover your Wi-Fi router or access points, we recommend reading our tips and tricks below to make sure you get the decorative effect you’re looking for without killing your router. or your Wi-Fi signal strength in the process.
If you cover it, follow these rules
Let’s say your Wi-Fi router is really ugly and you’re not planning on upgrading your home network to get mesh nodes that look like an Art Deco rendition of ocean waves, leaving it to be disguised from a somehow as a workaround.
If you’re going to hide your router, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it, so let’s go over all the do’s and don’ts of hiding your router.
Many of these tips are based on good router placement practices and understanding what parts of your home are blocking Wi-Fi signals, so check out our treatment of the topic here and keep the general concepts in mind as you go. plan where you will place your router and how you will camouflage it.
Do not put it in thick-walled containers or packed shelves
Wi-Fi signals are waves in the electromagnetic spectrum and a form of energy. Putting your router inside something with thick walls like a heavy decorative box just dampens the signal.
And it doesn’t matter if the box is open on one side or even if the “container” is actually an opening on a shelf heavily loaded with books. All of these books act as barriers that absorb radio waves and significantly impede your signal. The more exposure your router has to the air, the better.
Do not hide it indoors or behind any metal object
Just as placing your router in a thick box or behind thick books is less than ideal, metal is a must when it comes to concealing your router. Of the other materials on our list of things in the home that block Wi-Fi signals, metal is one of the most common and problematic.
You don’t want to hide your router in a wire mesh basket or container, as this creates a Faraday cage effect that screws up your Wi-Fi coverage.
While some people deliberately purchase such “shields” for their Wi-Fi equipment, you certainly don’t want an accidental Faraday cage around a radio device. The goal is wider and faster Wi-Fi coverage, not less!
Besides avoiding any sort of wire mesh, the same goes for metal shelves, metal boxes, or trying to hide a wall router behind metal decoration like a tin sign or the like. Even placing the router on the wall behind a large TV isn’t a good idea, since most TVs have a massive metal screen inside.
Do not cover the router body or vents
Electronic devices generate heat and high temperatures are the enemy of all electronic devices. Although the heat dissipation requirements of a small home router are nowhere near the requirements of, say, a laptop or game console, that doesn’t mean you can’t stack things on it or push the router into a cramped space without repercussions.
Excess heat may not kill the device, but you may experience performance issues and instability. To avoid this, do not tightly enclose the router in anything and especially do not place it in a place where the air vents of the router are covered.
Whether your router is passively cooled, as most consumer routers on the market are, or has a small fan, covering the vents is a surefire way to smother it.
That’s not to say you can never place the router inside or behind anything, but whatever you place should allow heat to rise and have adequate airflow.
Use thin coatings
The thinner and less metallic the thing you use to conceal your router, the better. If the worst thing you could put your router in is a thick metal box with a lid, the best thing you could put your router in would be a large cloth cube – cloth would hide the router but be effectively invisible in terms of Wi-Fi. – FI absorption.
If you want to place the router in a basket, opt for a basket with an open top and side walls made of a material that is largely invisible to Wi-Fi radio waves, such as cloth or woven grass. This woven grass magazine organizer, for example, is large enough for most routers but allows for airflow.
Or, if you want to hide the router behind books, build a shell of just the thorns, without all the paper, to ensure there’s little between you and the Wi-Fi signal. This Pinterest tutorial shows how you can create the look without the clutter.
Whatever you are concealing, you want this material to be non-metallic and as simple as possible.
Leave the top open
Speaking of airflow, leave the top open. As our use of the Internet has become more demanding over the years, routers have become more and more powerful to handle all of our streams, games, etc. Heavier routers generate more heat than their smaller ancestors.
Whatever you put on the router shouldn’t have a cover. Besides not blocking the vents, you want a place where the heat goes and the heat wants to rise.
Open-top baskets and bins, tabletop or wall-mounted magazine racks, and other solutions help you conceal the overall shape and color of the router while allowing heat to escape.
Let the antennae stick out
If you’re hiding the router inside something, try selecting a container or location that allows you to position the router with the antenna sticking out.
In the case of routers with true external antennas, this may mean positioning the router upright so that the antenna can stick out of the basket or whatever else you placed the router in.
If you dig around, you can find a wide variety of wooden router boxes, like the one we mentioned above, that are designed to break up the profile of the router while still allowing the antennas to project.
For routers with internal antennas, this might mean forgoing putting the router entirely inside something and instead placing it on a side table or the like where you can park something “light” in front like a picture frame. It’s not total concealment, but it does help with the “Yup, it’s a black electronic box” profile that most routers have.
Again, however, we would like to point out that the best practice is always to leave your Wi-Fi router and other free Wi-Fi equipment out in the open.
If you’re gaming you’ll hide your router for aesthetic reasons and find that your Wi-Fi signal isn’t what it used to be, it’s worth upgrading to a mesh system to get the low-key decor vibe you want or abandon the coating and using your “bare” router again.