Working from home WiFi

So your working from home, starting to realise this is going to be the new normal. Now the thought of what has not been working well in your working from home environment. Bee and I have been talking about our desk situation. I’m not sure I can work in the kitchen for ever. Its not the worst but a desk and desk chair is sorely missed.
I bet one of the things that keeps cropping up is your WiFi. Like I could use this room as an office but the WiFi doesn’t reach. Or you keep having drop outs, or other issues that are winding you up on your zoom call.
Well if I went on mastermind WiFi options for the house might be my specialist subject. Here are a couple of things you could do to help see improvements in your home network.
Just to say though I am only going to look at your network coverage, if the speed from your Internet service provider is toffee you might want to tackle have a look at other provider options before looking at your WiFi. Because if the speed coming in to the house is bad even the best network is not going to make it any better.
How do you find out what speed you are getting from your provider? Good question to get the most accurate reading plug an Ethernet cable in to the back of the hub your Internet provider installed and the other in to a computer and do a speed test. To find a speed test just Google it top option is really good.
What is a good speed? Well i would hope for at least 50mb/s down and 8mb/s up. With fibre making its way to most houses in most cities it wouldn’t be hard to see speeds double that. Sorry to those who live rurally keep your eyes peeled on star link it will help in the future.
So you have a good speed in what about the WiFi in your house. There are a number of good apps for working out the signal strength of your WiFi but by far the simplest thing to do is walk round the house with your phone and see where the signal drops on the little WiFi icon. Make a note of where it drops this will help you with your placement of your additional points later when you go to improve your network.
You have a couple of options for how to improve your options each have there pros and cons. I’ll do my best to round up the options for you but in my opinion they all have there merits you just have to choose what’s right for you.
Before we go in to major extensions if you need to improve your range by just a few metres or so try a dedicated router first. They cost about £50 but will have a big impact to your coverage and will also make the coverage more stable. Most are plug and play. I recommend following the instructions from the manufacturer but also changing network name and password, security is important and changing the admin password for the router its self.
Larger drop offs in signal, extending the network time.
Option 1 What I would most likely do because of the expandability.
Cabled network of additional access points. Here you would need to run fixed ethernet cables round the house. CAT5e ethernet cable is around £1.50 a metre. You will need a PoE switch that will send power and the Internet to the Wireless access points you are going to pop in. That will cost about £20-30 depending on the number of ports. And the final part is the Wireless access points which your looking at around £35 for one that will work nicely. I would put an access point in the dead point for the WiFi. The best part about this is you can add cables for networked security cameras or home networked storage which is going to be are next working from home problem. Because of the custom cable runs you will need someone who can crimp ethernet cables but I really hope they would not charge a lot for this. I would hope this is a days work at worst.

Option 2 Meshed Wifi
This is a smart idea but you can suffer a drop in performance due to the hubs sharing the band with rather than extending it. If you have 2 people in the house no stress as you probably won’t be putting enough demand on it to notice. Saying that my parents had mesh extenders for years and it shredded the performance on the network. So much so the are on option 1 now.
Mesh WiFi hubs for a set of three will set you back around £250. But will be the easiest to set up alongside the plug extenders. The hubs need to get a signal from each other to extend it. So make sure you put them in a place where they still get a signal from the first hub.
Set up you could do this yourself for sure. At worst an hour of a technicians work.

Option 3 power line extenders
These should end up like option 1 if the cabling in your house is good. If it is old or to thick you will not get good speed you will drop performance. A WiFi socket will cost roughly £30 which is good value in my opinion. Its just a gamble on your cabling. Done well its a good option but for me its a high risk choice. Also if you get the cool plug socket replacements you will need an electrician to fit them.
I hope that helps. If you want more advice feel free to contact me. I mean heck if the demands there it might lead to a change in path for me. For now happy to share my slice of knowledge.

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