This news is probably going to disappoint a lot of people hooked by the Wii U’s potential for (limited) portable console gaming. My office is on the 2nd floor of my house. It’s where everything is set up, including my TV and Wii U. I have very little wireless interference, as every device except the Wii U is handled via wired connection. It’s also right next to my bedroom.
Taking the GamePad into the next room over causes the GamePad to disconnect at about the 15 foot mark. I can lay on my bed if I hold the GamePad at the closest corner. I cannot, as I had hoped, lay normally, play and put the GamePad down on my nightstand before going to sleep. 15 feet is not nearly as far as we were lead to believe would be the minimum distance.
Speaking with Polygon, Broadcom’s Dino Bekis spoke about the factors that might contribute to improved range. Heavy wireless traffic seemed to be the biggest thing holding back the the portability, and users in rural areas with diminished noise could see significantly improved performance.
I wanted to find out how others were faring, though. In talking with Game Informer’s Andrew Reiner, he shared two different experiences. He managed to make it about 40 feet in a straight line with minimal walls or doors. Taking the GamePad around the corner and up a flight of stairs showed significantly weakened signal with a disconnect alert appearing much closer to the console.
Line of sight seems to matter greatly, so plan your setup accordingly. The fewer walls and doors in between where your console is setup and your primary alternate location will likely lead to an improved experience.