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Feb 05

Extending Your Home Wireless Internet


It seems as if everything we use today now requires our home wireless internet from our computer to phones and cameras and more recently televisions. I even saw a WiFi Kettle advertised just the other day and these types of home appliances requiring internet connections will probably be the norm in the years to come.

The problem many of us have today is how do we connect all these things to the internet without having cables running everywhere and a home wireless network is the answer. The problem is although this may seem simple it is not always as simple as it sounds.

For example in larger houses sometimes the wireless network does not reach the entire house. This is the most common problem I come across. It can also be an issue when you try extending the wireless to outside buildings such as offices or extensions.

Finally the building materials in the walls, floors and ceilings can have a big impact on your  wireless home network and may reduce the wireless range and strength of the signal.

How to extend your homes wireless connection

There are multiple ways you can boost your wireless connection and here we will look briefly at a few of them.

Billion 7800n

Router Quality

The most important thing is a decent quality router. Don’t expect a poor quality, cheap router to be anything more than you paid for. Routers do widely vary in terms of their quality yet people are surprised when their cheap router fails or does not work correctly. Personally I have had routers that would only go as far as the front room and I have had other routers that my neighbor across the road can pick up. That is how much they can vary!!!

Currently I have the Billion BiPAC 7800N router which I would highly recommend if you are in the UK. While steep in price it is probably the best router on the market in my opinion having been through a lot of different routers from different manufacturers.

There are plenty of reviews out there on different routers and their performance when it comes to wireless performance so the first thing is to make sure you have a decent router and make sure you do your research.

aerial

 

High Gain Aerials

Now a new router may not be possible due to contract clauses or the fact they you can’t afford to replace the router just now but fear not there is a cheaper option that may work just as well if you are looking to gain an extra 10 feet or improve the connection and that is external aerial replacement.

A lot of routers allow you to replace the aerials on them if they are external to the unit. These can be replaced with higher gain Omni Antenna that are cheap to buy from places like Amazon. You cn even purchase larger aerials that will improve the wireless signal.

These smaller omni aerials tend to work best on the cheaper routers as the antennas supplied don’t tend to be of the greatest quality. Having said that I replaced the 3 stock aerials on my Billion 7800n with these and gained a good few meters.

billion extender

Wireless Repeater

You can also try a wireless repeater. What these do is boost the range of your wireless home network by creating another network off the back of your original network. Think of your wi-fi as a ripple in a pond. Your router gives off a ripple and what the repeater does it collect the end of that ripple and creates a new one.

A repeater is an excellent piece of kit and I currently have and have installed for others the Billion BiPac 3100SN.  It does have the slight drawback that it does create a second wireless network so you may occasionally have to switch between networks depending on which gives the best signal (router or repeater)

You can also purchase wireless range extenders. These extend your current wireless network without creating a new wireless network. These can be quite expensive for the ones that are true extenders as the cheaper versions don’t tend to do what they advertise in my experience.

Router Placement

Router placement is another often overlooked solution. If you place the router at the left hand side of your house common sense dictates that you will get a weaker signal at the right hand side of your house. Your best option is to try to place the router is as much of a central position as possible or towards the end where you will use the wireless signal most. This tends to be one of the reasons you find the router in the hall of homes, it can help extend the range of your wireless network and improve the connection speed.