Wi-Fi signals travel in the air. But the flight is limited by distance. The further the signal-receiving device, the slightly weaker it will get. After a certain point, it will drop off.
Chromecasts need the internet to function. Although you can use the device wired, most connect it to the router wirelessly for the obvious convenience.
So, how far can a Chromecast be from the router? And because all Google streaming dongles (except for Chromecast with Google TV) require a smartphone to cast and control proceedings, how far can a Chromecast be from your smartphone?
Read on for the answers to the questions above and more.
How Far Can My Chromecast Be from My Router?
Your Chromecast should be within the router’s range—whatever your specific router’s scope is. The Wi-Fi band, antenna orientation, Wi-Fi protocol, obstructions (a wall, floor, cabinet, etc.) between the two devices, and other things also determine the distance.
If we had to throw a number, ensure the Chromecast is not more than 10 feet (3 meters) away from the router. A setup farther shall also work, but 10 feet is a safe bet with most routers.
The longer the gap, the more the router specifications and the factors mentioned above will come into play.
Kindly note that the above specifics pertain to a wireless connection. If you plan to connect the Chromecast and router wired, the two can be as far from each other as the connecting cable’s length.
How Far Can My Smartphone Be from My Router?
Your smartphone or laptop should ideally be no more than 6 meters (20 feet) away from your router. The closer the two physically, the better and more reliable the streaming experience.
Smartphones offer less power for a wireless signal than laptops, which can shorten their range. Laptops usually have a bigger, more robust Wi-Fi card and antenna as there’s more physical space on offer.
Moreover, since the surface area receptive to Wi-Fi signals on the phone is much smaller, how you hold the device also determines how good it is at picking up Wi-Fi signals. Remember the iPhone 4 controversy where the phone lost reception if you palmed it a certain way?
Although smartphones have gotten a lot better over the years with their Wi-Fi performance, they still trail laptops and tablets purely due to the size disadvantage.
Therefore, be slightly more aware of the router’s distance and positioning from your smartphone for a reliable Wi-Fi connection.
Wi-Fi Band Determines Range Too
Wireless routers on the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band offer more range, reaching up to 300 feet (91.5m) outdoors and 150 feet (45m) indoors. Routers on the 5 GHz band have a shorter reach, usually around a third of a 2.4 GHz band’s range.
The narrower wavelengths of the 5 GHz band are also more susceptible to physical hurdles than 2.4 GHz. Therefore, in the real world, expect the 5 GHz band to offer less than the specified 50 feet (15m) effective Wi-Fi range.
Besides physical distance and the Wi-Fi band, a few others determining the Wi-Fi range include surrounding area radio interference and Wi-Fi protocol. The 802.11g standard, for instance, has a 125 feet (38m) indoor range. 802.11n, on the other hand, extends the range to up to 235 feet.
Use a Wi-Fi Extender
If you cannot possibly bring the router within range of your Chromecast or smartphone for various reasons, bridge the two with a Wi-Fi extender. The TP-Link AC1900 (RE550) Wi-Fi Extender is an excellent device for this purpose.
Suppose you live in a big house. The router is at one end, and your living space with the TV is at the other. A Wi-Fi extension device can help minimize the signal loss between the two extremes.
Not all Wi-Fi extenders work the same way; their reach, for instance, could significantly vary. The above-linked AC1900 extender offers support for up to 35 devices and houses spanning 2,800 sq. ft. of area or less.
The extension device should be good enough for most people. But if you need increased coverage, look at the TECHFACTURE Wi-Fi Extender . It offers a range of up to 9,784 sq. ft.
If your house is a multi-storied building, extenders won’t help much. Consider a Wi-Fi mesh system instead. The TP-Link Deco S4 Mesh Wi-Fi System covers an area of up to 5,500 sq. ft. and connects up to 100 devices, making every spot in the house Wi-Fi-friendly.
How Far Can My Chromecast Be from My Smartphone?
According to Google, the maximum distance between your Chromecast and smartphone/laptop is 4.5 (14.7 feet) to 6 meters (19.7 feet).
However, there’s also the notion that the distance between the Chromecast and your smartphone doesn’t matter really. As long as the two devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi router, the space between them doesn’t affect proceedings much.
Moreover, if your casting device (smartphone/laptop) and Chromecast are near the router, the two devices naturally won’t be too far away.
In short, focus on establishing a reliable Wi-Fi connection for the Chromecast and your smartphone/laptop. You shall meet the physical distance requirements between the two devices before you can even try.
How Far Can the Chromecast Remote Be from the TV?
Chromecast with Google TV comes with a dedicated remote in the box, eliminating the smartphone—a first for Chromecasts.
The remote uses Bluetooth, not Wi-Fi or infrared signals, to connect and interact with the streaming device. You don’t have to point to the Chromecast to use the remote.
Generally, Bluetooth signals travel up to 10 meters (30 feet). Expect a similar range from your Bluetooth 4.2-enabled Chromecast remote. The range will drop if there are obstructions (such as walls and floors).
The Chromecast remote also has a built-in infrared (IR) sensor to control essential TV functions like volume, power, and input. You’ll have to fall back to your TV remote to access deeper TV settings.
As far as the Chromecast remote’s infrared range is concerned, it’s determined by the TV’s infrared sensor range.
If you don’t want to juggle two remotes and want more from the Chromecast remote, look at an accessory like the Sideclick Universal Remote Attachment . It attaches to your Chromecast remote and offers a few more handy functions.
Does Wi-Fi Range Weaken with Aging Hardware?
That is usually not the case. If the Wi-Fi hardware is faulty or too old, it would most likely not connect to wireless internet anymore instead of degrading performance over time. The connection either gets through, or it doesn’t.
The distance between your router, smartphone, and Chromecast is integral to the streaming experience. But the physical distance between the devices is not all.
The router and smartphone may sometimes fail to connect with your Chromecast despite being in range. If that happens, ensure the Chromecast is not out of sight or hiding behind the TV.
The HDMI extender cable your Chromecast came with helps safeguard your TV’s HDMI port from frequent plugging and unplugging action. It also helps bring the Chromecast more in the open to facilitate seamless communication.
If the distance is favorable, the Chromecast is visible, and there still are internet issues, restart the Chromecast and update its firmware. If that doesn’t solve your connection woes, maybe there’s a hardware concern with the device(s).
Catherine Tramell has been covering technology as a freelance writer for over a decade. She has been writing for Pointer Clicker for over a year, further expanding her expertise as a tech columnist. Catherine likes spending time with her family and friends and her pastimes are reading books and news articles.