How to boost the wi-fi signal in your home’s weak spots
Recently a friend of mine decided to convert his garage to a games room. The big screen TV was to be the main feature. We all gathered for the big turn on to experience Netflix in full ultra HD. But all we got was a blocky, stuttering, unwatchable excuse for entertainment.
It turned out that his wireless router (the bit that connects to his broadband) was plugged in at the opposite end of the house. The reception at this end of the house had always been poor, but the extra wall of the garage was just too much for the signal to push through. Result? No internet!
What to do? The router had to stay by the phone socket so moving that to the centre of the house wasn’t an option. Running a network cable (a permanent wire) from the router to the TV was a non-starter because it would involve a lot of work. This meant he had to work out a different way to boost the Wi-Fi signal in the garage.
I’d had a similar problem in my home and had discovered Wi-Fi extenders and repeaters (different companies call them by different names, but they all do the same thing).
There were two options:
A Wi-Fi repeater is basically a second router. You put it where you receive a good signal and it then creates a new Wi-Fi area that connects to your broadband. He could have sited that in the centre of the house and thus improved the signal in the garage. There would be a bit of setting up to get this working as you have to log on to the repeater with a computer, but it’s not hard if you know what you’re doing. There are YouTube tutorials which can help.
The second option is the simplest, and ultimately the one he settled on – a powerline adaptor. This is a box that plugs into your router and then into a mains socket. It actually uses your house wiring to send your broadband signal around the house. All you need to do is buy a powerline Wi-Fi extender and plug it into the wall in the room where you need it most. It’s like you’re sitting right beside your Wi-Fi point.
After buying the items online and receiving them in the post a couple of days later, he plugged in both devices. The set-up was quick and easy (literally pressing two buttons) and he was up and running with full broadband speed. His teens could now get Youtube in the garden as an extra bonus because he put an extra extender in a socket on the wall next to the patio.