Understanding What Line of Sight means with Wireless Ranges

The question of what exactly “line of sight” means when referring to wireless ranges comes up pretty frequently. For example all of the Dakota Alert 2500 products have a wireless range of 2500 feet with the disclaimer that that is a “line of sight” range. So again, what exactly does that mean?

It does NOT MEAN that the signal cannot travel through obstacles; it simply means that the only way you could ever send the signal the full 2500 feet is over an open field with no obstacles in the way. Each obstacle (trees, buildings, walls etc.) simply shortens the range, with the type of obstacle determining  how much the range is actually reduced. Steel walls, stucco walls etc. generally are the worst but still only remove a few hundred feet from the total wireless range.

So even if you don’t have a clear line of sight from where you want to install the wireless sensor to where the receiver will be, don’t worry about it. As long as you’re range is not close to the maximum range advertised for the system, you should be fine.


I have been in the alarm and control industry for the past 8 years. I am especially interested in the utilization of existing WiFi networks for alarm notification and control applications.


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    • I have been in the alarm and automation industry since 2006. I am particularly interested in seeing how the industry adapts as the number of home owners with traditional land line phone lines dwindles raising a need for WiFi and Cellular devices.