Extending WiFi Around Your House

Is your WiFi not getting to every spot in your house or office?  Does your computer, tablet, or printer sometimes lose its connection to the internet or to other devices in your home? If so, then you may need to “extend” your WiFi.

To extend your WiFi, you’ll need to add WiFi access points into the WiFi starved areas. Access points are similar to the WiFi routers that you already have, but they only do the WiFi part – basically rebroadcasting your main router’s WiFi signal.

There are three ways to extend WiFi. They are, by order of preference: by wire, by powerline, or by repeater.

By wire means that you actually run an Ethernet cable from your main internet router to a remote location with poor, or no, WiFi coverage and then add a WiFi access point at the end of the cable.  That’s easy to say, but rarely convenient to do. You need to have an electrician in to run the cables, or drill holes through walls yourself.  

Powerline Ethernet extension uses special adapters, in sets of two or more, to broadcast your in-house network via the electrical system of your home or office. The adapters are small boxes that plug into regular wall outlets in your home. You place one near your main router, and one in the remote location that has weak or no WiFi coverage.

The powerline adapters need to go directly into a wall outlet. (A surge protector will interfere with the signal.) Then you connect the powerline adapter near the router to the router with a regular Ethernet cable (usually supplied with the adapters).

For the remote location(s) you can get powerline adapters with or without a WiFi access point built into them. The setup is pretty straight forward if the WiFi is built in, but if you get one without the WiFi built in, then you run a regular Ethernet cable from the adapter to a WiFi access point that you purchase separately, or connect it directly to a computer, printer, or any other Ethernet device.

WiFi repeaters are also pretty straight forward to setup. A repeater is placed somewhere between your main router and the location that has weak or no WiFi coverage. 

The repeater needs to be able to “see” the WiFi signal from the main router, but it can be near the fringe of coverage. The repeater then acts as a man-in-the-middle of your WiFi connection; picking up the signal from the router and rebroadcasting it to you, and then vice versa.

The repeater method is third on the preference list because, while repeaters do work, and usually work pretty well, they do introduce tiny delays in the communication process and sometimes these delays become noticeable. Even so, a connection with tiny delays is better than no connection at all.  And, the repeater technology itself keeps improving and getting faster and faster.

WiFi access points, powerline adapters, and WiFi repeaters are all available at or through nearby or online retailers: Staples, BestBuy, Walmart and so on. When shopping for them, beware the term “WiFi extender” – it gets used interchangeably and confusingly for all of them. Get the one that you need and want, and if you have any questions about them, don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Hoping, as always, that this is all quite clear and useful; but if I can fill in some details or help with anything on your computers, please don’t hesitate to call: Mike Pepper ~ Computer Guy. www.PawlingComputerGuy.com  845-855-5824