You know the drill. You’re sitting outside your home or business, trying to connect to your WiFi. You’re waving your arms around, trying to find the magic connection point. It doesn’t have to be like that. Whether it’s for your home or business, getting Wi-Fi outside is easier than it sounds.
A cabled solution is the best way to keep high speeds without moving everything closer to the router. However, this isn’t always possible. The layout of your rooms may need to take priority.
So, what do you do when you need internet access outside?
If using a cable isn’t feasible, outdoor wireless access is the way forward. Wireless signals can typically transmit up to 1000 feet, provided their path is unobstructed. However, windows, walls and doors are often between your router and you. You may need to help the signal with some tech.
The three primary options are:
- Wireless access point
- Wireless range booster/extender
- Wireless repeater
Before we look into the options, it is important to test your range first. See how far your signal reaches before you determine the best solution for you.
Before you then install any new equipment, try:
- Relocating your router (if possible)
- Removing any metallic obstacles
- Removing any fish tanks or water features (as these can also block your signals)
If you’ve tried the above and are still coming up short, it is time to consider one of the three following options.
1. Wireless Access Points
A wireless access point is a small piece of hardware that allows WiFi devices to connect to a cabled network. When connected to a router, a wireless access point creates a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). This provides data transfer capabilities to any devices within range.
A wireless access point is connected to a router using an ethernet cable. You will need to consider the length and limitations of your chosen cable when buying one.
For small offices or home networks, a wireless access point is an effective way to ensure that you have access to the internet around your property. They often deliver greater ranges than your standard wireless router. We’ve rounded up the 10 best wireless access points on a previous blog to help you out. We recommend considering a Power over Ethernet (PoE) option since you won’t also need to free up an extra plug socket as part of the process.
If you plan to use a wireless access point, then remember to remove any obstacles. Where possible, use a CAT5e or CAT6 cable at a minimum.
It is also important to locate your access point as close to the location that your WiFi access is needed as possible, considering wire lengths.
2. WiFi Range Extenders
A WiFi range extender is sometimes also known as a wireless booster. Its purpose is to expand the range of your existing wireless network. The benefit of a range extender over a repeater is that it uses different frequencies to send and receive data. This meaning that the signals do not clash and the negative impact on performance is vastly reduced.
The location of your WiFi range extender can determine whether or not it’ll be useful for your WiFi needs outdoors. Most devices are plug and play, making installation easier than other options.
A great place to start is by looking at the best WiFi range extenders and then ensuring that you take advantage of flexible installation options. Many wireless extenders come with ethernet ports attached, which allow you to connect devices which aren’t WiFi enabled to your network too.
3. Wireless Repeaters
A wireless repeater essentially contains two smaller routers within it. One of these routers will be used to send and the other to receive the signal. This method has some issues. Connected users will need to switch between the repeaters when roaming around your premises. Repeaters can also cause a drop in the speed of the network. While this can be a good short term solution, we recommend looking at the Whole Home WiFi section for alternatives ways to boost your WiFi.
While connecting to the internet where the WiFi can’t reach is frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be. Getting the right range for you is easier than ever. Whether it’s your home or your business, our range of WiFi equipment can give you peace, tranquillity and the opportunity to work in the sun.