Other Things To Consider
Aside from my speed tests, I made sure to stream video in my bedroom on each extender’s network and I made several video calls on each network, too. I also spent time playing with each extender’s settings. You shouldn’t expect much, but most will at least make it easy to change the extension network’s name or password. Some include app controls with extra features, too.
My top pick, the TP-Link RE505X, makes it easy to tweak settings via TP-Link’s Tether app on an Android or iOS device. Again, the features make for slim pickings, but you can check signal strength or turn on High-Speed Mode, which dedicates the 2.4GHz band for traffic from the router to the range extender, leaving the 5GHz free for your normal Wi-Fi network traffic. That mode actually wasn’t as fast as sharing the 5GHz band like normal when I tested it out, because those incoming 2.4GHz speeds are limited, but it still might be a useful option in some situations.
Solution #: Add A Powerline Network Adapter
Powerline network adapters are another option to add internet access and WiFi in your garage.
These adapters use your homes electrical circuit to transmit your internet signal. Theyre easy to install heres how they work:
Hardwiring a particular device in your garage or throughout your home isnt always practical, so you could also pair the second adapter with another router to give you a usable WiFi signal.
Note that factors like the quality and age of your homes electrical wiring, the distance a second powerline adapter is from the main router, and interference from other electronics can all affect your signal quality.
Use 5ghz At Short Ranges
If you have a dual band router, you have the option of using either the 2.4GHz band or the 5GHz band. You will usually get better performance if you select 5GHz, because its less commonly used and there will be less interference.
The caveat here is that the 5GHz signal doesnt travel as far and doesnt fare as well with obstructions as the 2.4GHz band does, so it isnt a great option for devices that are located far away from the router. You can learn more about the differences between the 2.4 and 5GHz bands here.
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How To Extend Your Wi
You have many options for covering your yard in Wi-Fi, but you have to balance cost, reliability and complexity.
Netgear’s Orbi Outdoor is a great option for extending Wi-Fi outdoors, but it comes at a price.
It’s great to be able to seamlessly connect to your Wi-Fi to devices throughout your home, but frustration often starts the moment you try to connect your Wi-Fi network to a device outside. You can move your router as close to your yard or front porch as your Ethernet cable will take you, but that won’t always solve the problem.
With the increasing number of outdoor smart devices like lighting, security cameras and garage door openers, you need to be able to extend your Wi-Fi beyond your home’s exterior walls. It can be tricky, but with the right hardware, you’ll be streaming video by the pool and posting pics to social media in the yard in no time.
How I Tested Them
We’re still working from home here in 2021, so for my second round of at-home range extender tests, I followed the same playbook as I did in 2020. In short, I ran lots and lots and lots of speed tests.
I started out by measuring the average internet speeds in five different parts of my home, a 1,300 square-foot shotgun-style house with an incoming AT& T fiber internet connection of 300Mbps. I started towards the front of the house in the living room, where the router sits, then worked my way back to my home’s back bathroom — a common dead zone whenever I’m running speed tests here. Even with an AX1500 Wi-Fi 6 router running my Wi-Fi network traffic, speeds in that back bathroom dropped to averages of 15Mpbs for a Wi-Fi 5 client device and 50Mbps for a Wi-Fi 6 device . Upload speeds are typically in the single digits and sometimes the connection drops you outright.
Those baseline speeds are represented by the gray columns in the test results below. See how they drop off in that back bathroom?
The top chart shows you the average speeds in each room when I ran my speed tests on a six-year-old laptop with an aging Wi-Fi 5 radio. For the bottom chart, I ran my speed tests on an iPhone 12 Pro with full support for Wi-Fi 6. All of the extenders boosted the back bathroom speeds for both of them, but some did a better job than others.
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Why Would You Need To Extend The Wifi Range
There are several reasons that you might want or need to extend the WiFi range that you currently are achieving.
- Poor planning Creating a WiFi network without adequate planning can result in poor coverage and can negatively impact your users. All users need access to a strong WiFi signal in order for your network to operate successfully. Later in this article, we will look at how a WiFi tool like NetSpot can help alleviate this type of problem.
- New requirements This issue can arise in a business setting where additional space is used to house new employees. Despite your best previous efforts in sizing your WiFi network correctly, you now may be faced with the problem of figuring out how to extend the WiFi range to accommodate the influx of new users.
- Inadequate signal You can be faced with this issue no matter if the WiFi network is used for business or simply for home use. You might have issues connecting to the WiFi from certain rooms in your home. Customers taking advantage of the free WiFi offered by your coffee shop may need to avoid certain parts of your establishment.
Choose The Right Location For Your Router Or Access Point
One of the key elements of a strong WiFi signal is the location of your wireless router or access point . Most wireless routers or APs broadcast wireless signals omnidirectionally, a fancy way of saying the WiFi signal is broadcast in all directions. There are sectorized APs that broadcast wireless signals in a 45 or 90 degree area, but you typically dont find these used outside of commercial applications.
In a perfect world, you would position your AP in the exact center of your home. A centralized location allows the WiFi signal to extend and permeate every square inch of your home equally. However, in most scenarios, a variety of factors prevent a simple repositioning from being the quick fix, especially if you are trying to extend your WiFi signal to an outdoor location, such as the garage or backyard. Large structures, like walls and shelving units, as well as materials, such as glass, metal and stone will weaken your wireless signal.
Your APs optimal position may also conflict with your aesthetic. People place their wireless routers in discreet locations for a reason-theyre ugly! Its true, most wireless routers meant for home use look like something out of a science fiction movie with blinking lights and large antennas.
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Purchase A Wifi Extender
Wifi range extenders, also known as wifi range boosters, are like wifi access points but do not require Ethernet cables. Instead, they use a wireless connection to transmit data from the router to nearby devices. Imagine youre standing in front of the Mona Lisa. There, you have an uninterrupted view of the painting. Now imagine you take a picture of the painting and send it to a loved one. While they will still be able to see the painting, the quality wont be as clear or strong. That said, your phone has allowed them to experience the image without being directly in front of it. In this case, your phone is acting as the wifi extender, granting access to something without being in direct range. For the device to work, it must be in a wireless range to the router. As a best practice, consider placing the wifi extender anywhere between the router and the farthest point of connection in your home. This will vary depending on your space and router signal. Be aware that not all wifi extenders provide a secure connection. As so, your data may be at risk of theft since others nearby can easily join your network. Besides strangers using your wifi, you may have too many family members online, too. Make sure that you choose an option that keeps your home and data secure.
Choose Cable When Possible
It may seem counter intuitive after all, you are extending your wireless network but using cable to connect two buildings is always the most reliable method in terms of speed and latency.
Despite its reliability, cable also has its limitations. Regular Cat 5 or Cat 6 cable can only be run for about 328 feet, plus you have to use the right materials and make sure its properly installed, so that it doesnt erode or sever. Optical fiber cable can be run for much longer distances, but these types of installations can be very expensive and involve obtaining digging permits and otherwise dealing with complex city regulations.
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Get A Stronger Antenna
Most WiFi routers come with small, weak antennas. Its not that manufacturers want to save every cent they can, but powerful WiFi antennas tend to be hideously large. Compared to the antenna that came with your router, which probably is just a few inches tall and has around 4 dB gain, a 10-dB antenna can be anywhere between 10 to 15 inches tall.
But if you dont mind the size, a new, powerful WiFi antenna is a great way how you can boost WiFi at home or office without buying a new router.
There are several different types of WiFi antennas, but the only type you need to care about is the common rubber duck antenna, which is an electrically short monopole antenna that consists of a springy wire in the shape of a narrow helix, sealed in a rubber or plastic jacket to protect the antenna.
Such antennas use the same RP-SMA connector, and there are many different models available on Amazon and other online stores. Some even come with a handy extension cable that allows you to place the antenna farther away from your router to achieve optimal signal distribution.
To boost WiFi signal, you need to purchase an antenna with more gain than your current one. The gain of an antenna system relative to an isotropic radiator at radio frequencies is expressed in dBi, or decibels relative to isotropic. Most home routers come with small antennas, whose gain tends to be between 45 dBi. Replacing such antenna with a 9 dBi antenna should provide excellent signal boost.
Optus Ultra Wifi Booster
Optus NBN customers can pick up the Ultra WiFi Booster on an Optus Family Internet Plan, which extends WiFi throughout your home. As this extends the WiFi range of your Optus modem, theres no need for a separate login.
You can pick up the Booster for $216, or get it at no additional cost if you stay connected on a Family Internet Ultimate plan for 36 months. You can also sign up for a payment plan. Make sure youre either using the Sagecom 5366TN or the Optus Ultra WiFi Modem if youre purchasing this Booster, as it will only work with these devices.
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How Powerful Is The O2surf Connection Kit Will It Extend Wifi To My Building
RadioLabs Building connection Kit, has AMAZING range. If your building , barn, shop or remote outbuilding is within a few hundred yards and your home router is powerful enough to even give a perceivable, 1-2 bar signal at 50-100 feet outside your house, our kit will connect and give you up to a 150 MBPS WiFi link to virtually any building. This kit is built to save you money, provide a stable link, and save the cost of having to put in a full bridge kit. Well, what happens if I have metal siding or dont have WiFi that will reach outside of my house? Well, theres 2 options. Buying a high power WiFi Router, or if you install our kit and it doesnt work, you can always purchase the rest of the kit to complete your WiFi bridge. Worst case scenario, youll have to spend another $170 plus a CAT-5 Cable to finish of a true point to point bridge. But, our kits have been successful in 9 out of 10 installations. If you have any questions about range, click the live chat box below and we will tell you if we think it will work, but in most cases, unless youre planning on going 1/2 mile through trees, have metal siding on your home, or have an unusually weak router, our kit will likely establish a VERY good link.
Find The Best Spot For Your Router
The next thing to consider when youre trying to optimize your Wi-Fi signal is where you place your router. In general, the farther your router is from the devices connected to its signal, the weaker that signal is going to be.
Ideally, you want to place your router in a central location in your home so youre never too far from it even if youre moving about with your mobile devices. If you use Wi-Fi primarily for streaming to televisions in your home, youll benefit from the router being closer to those TVs.
Other things that can help are making sure the router is elevated and that its not surrounded by other electronic devices.
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If You Arent Happy With Your Wifi Coverage At Home Start With The Basics
Getting a solid wireless connection to every corner of your home can be a real challenge. The solutions above can help you get there, but dont forget about the fundamentalsespecially if you just have a few blind spots to contend with. Remember that router positioning is key always try and place your equipment in the most centrally-located spot available. Once youve optimized the position and things still arent where you want them to be performance-wise, then you can use the information presented above to formulate your next steps. See our guide to WiFi troubleshooting if youre having basic problems with your router.
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