WiFi In Your Home

I frequently get contacted by people wanting to improve wireless reception in the home. WiFi does not go through metal radiators, thick brick (external) walls or concrete walls/floors. It will go through standard plasterboard, wood and ordinary glass but the signal is halved.

The newer 5GHz WiFi technology is sometimes an improvement because it scatters and reflects better around the building. So in a house of conventional construction the WiFi will usually be OK in rooms adjacent to the Router or access point.

Wi-Fi Strong with Line of Sight

Wi-Fi Strong with Line of Sight

Wi-Fi Strength Fair Through Plasterboard

Wi-Fi Strength Fair Through Plasterboard

Wi-Fi Weakened by Interference and Walls

Wi-Fi Weakened by Interference and Walls

Improving Your WiFi Signal

Wireless Repeater

If you’ve exhausted the simple options like repositioning the devices, then repeaters are worth trying. A WiFi repeater takes the signal from a Router/Access Point and then transmits it out again locally. The main problem is the repeater must be able to get a good, reliable signal. If it can’t then it ends up slowing the whole network down. Any repeater will degrade the network performance but this is not normally a issue for undemanding users with a good internet connection speed. Typical cost £25. Mesh WiFi is another option that uses multiple interconnected repeaters but is usually too expensive for the domestic user.

Wireless Repeater

Powerline Networking

You can distribute your network (LAN) via wiring that is already present in your house i.e. the mains electrical sockets. PowerLine is a system using your mains wiring to send LAN signals around your home. Units are available with built in WiFi and Ethernet sockets for your Smart TV, Sky box, games console etc. Maplin Electronics and John Lewis stock a comprehensive range of products and usually have knowledgeable staff on hand to give advice. Their returns polices allow you get a refund if they are unsuitable for your house. Typical cost £50.

Powerline Networking

Wired WiFi Access Point

PowerLine can be problematic in some houses due to electrical interference or unusual mains wiring. If this is the case the best option is to run CAT5 cables and fit wireless access points on the end. For example you could have your WiFi Router in the lounge downstairs to cover one end of a large house. Then run a CAT5 cable around the outside walls to the other end and fit a WiFi access point to give adequate coverage for most of the house. The new point must be configured so it does not conflict with your existing router. Typical cost £250.

Wired Networking