Maximize Your Wi-Fi - Part 3 - Extenders
Extending Your Wi-Fi Signal
In the previous articles I gave you some ideas about how you can maximize your WiFi signal. But sometimes that's still not enough. If you have a large house or office that is spread out, there is only so much you can do to get the signal to cover the entire building.
If you need to extend the normal range, you can try installing Wi-Fi extenders throughout the house/office to re-broadcast the wireless signal. The ideal way to do this is using a network (i.e. Ethernet) connection. This may not be an option though if your house/office wasn’t wired with Cat5/Cat6 cabling.
If you don't have this option, don't fret. Many extenders simply plug into the wall with no cabling and look like an over-sized wall wart. They pick up the wireless signal and then pass it along like a relay. The trick there is you need to place the extender in a location that still gets a good signal in order to maintain that signal.
Let’s say your main wireless router is located at one end off the building and you can't relocate it. If you plug your extender in at the other end of the house, it will simply re-broadcast a weak or non-existent signal. So it might appear that you are getting a strong signal to your computer/device, but your web pages and email will still take forever to load, or you will keep getting “Cannot Connect to Server” errors from your browser. Best thing to do is plug your extender in more toward the center of the house where there is still a strong signal so that it will re-broadcast a good connection to the rest of the house. It's still not an ideal solution, but they work fairly well when there is no other option.
Yet another option, if you want the stability and dependability of a wired connection, is to use a Powerline Adapter kit. There are various brands and qualities, of course, but in general the way they work is by transmitting/receiving data through the power cables already installed in your house/office. You have to plug them directly into an outlet (not a power strip), and you have to have one on each end using the same circuit. It can be hit-and-miss how well these work, because they depend on a properly-installed electrical system, which isn't always the case. But when they work, they're great.
So there you have it. Some great ways to maximize and extend your WiFi so you can get a strong signal and load your web pages, movies, etc. at lightning speed.
Of course there is always more to learn that what we can cover in an article. If you really want to get down and dirty with your home/office networking and learn how to set it up and keep it secure, sign up for our upcoming Live+ classes. If you don't see a date that works in you schedule, you can still sign up and you will get access to the video recoding and all the class materials.
Here's to a happy WiFi!