Boosting your Wi-Fi signal speed and coverage

Do you experience from poor Wi-Fi coverage around your home, do you encounter buffering and slower speed on Wi-Fi away from the router?

This is not uncommon in older constructed homes, modern homes with lots of insulation, large homes, awkwardly shaped homes, and those homes with high sources of RF (radio frequency) interference.

These problems would be common no matter which broadband provider you chose, whether Wessex Internet's superfast service, Sky Fibre or BT Infinity, as we all have to rely on the physical of the Wi-Fi RF (radio frequency) signals, and we can't do much about physics! :(

Quick re-cap on how Wi-Fi works

Wi-Fi is a wireless signal like a mobile phone signal, however unlike mobile signals, the power levels are considerably lower (Ofcom/EU regulated), and also much higher frequency, therefore more likely to be blocked/attenuated by things like walls, ceilings, metal radiators, furniture and other materials.

Wi-Fi converts the physical hard-cabled network into a wireless signal for greater convenience and mobility. It saves you having to run network cabling (CAT5e/6) around the home - however CAT5e/6 cables are the ultimate answer to the best performance if you can hard-wire these devices in.

 

Solution 1: Hard cable additional Wi-Fi Access Points and place these in the Wi-Fi dead-spots

This solution is the best way to extend Wi-Fi coverage in a home. If you can achieve this, then you have a configuration that is business-grade and the recommended way to achieve both speed/ coverage/ reliability.

Start by either contracting an electrician or running a network cable (CAT5e/6) cable from your main router to each remote Wi-Fi Access Point location. This could be more than one cable run depending on how many Wi-Fi Access Points you will need.

Then install a Wi-Fi Access Point at the other end of the cable run. The Wi-Fi Access points should all be configured with the same Wi-Fi name (SSID) and passcode to allow 'roaming' between them. Do not have a different name such as Kitchen, Floor 1, Bedroom, instead have a common name for all such as WessexInt_845a (or whatever your main router is set to).

If you are not techie and sure on how to set this up, please contact a local IT company such as Prodigy, Computer Aide of which we know many of our customers have used in the past.

 

Solution 2: Hard cable your devices

This is the best solution, however it may also be the most expensive, difficult and disruptive to achieve. This is where you contact a local electrician to run CAT5e/6 network cables from your main Internet router to each Internet-connected device that you need a connection to. The main router only has 4 ports in most cases that you can hard-cable devices to, so you may need a network switch to add more ports. A network switch is simply a device that connects to your router with a CAT5e/6 data cable and then provides more ports to make hard-cabled connections to.

Network switches come in a variety of different versions and typically cost from around £15 for a 100Mb 5-port switch, to around £30 for an 8-port 100Mb switch. You can get 1Gb switches and models right the way up to 24-ports.

Solution 3: Wi-Fi Powerline adapters

This option is the easiest to install, you can DIY in most cases, purchase them from Amazon or any other computer retailer, but this solution can have hugely variable results.

Powerline is a technology that allow you to use your home AC wiring to send a network signal over. So rather than running CAT5e/6 network cables around the home, you can use special adapters that connect to your power sockets and your router to pass the network signal onto your mains ring.

In another room, you connect a similar powerline adapter which could have a Wi-Fi Access Point in-built, or it could have a network cable.

  1. Install the non-WiFi powerline adapter into a power socket next to the main Internet router. Try to plug it directly into a wall socket, and NOT an extension cord for best performance.
  2. Connect a network cable between the powerline adapter and the router.
  3. In a room with poor Wi-Fi coverage/speed, connect the Wi-Fi powerline adapter to a wall socket.
  4. You should notice that the powerline adapters synchronise together. Please follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to pair the units and know when they are communicating.

Powerline is not a solution in 100% of cases. Here are the most common problems with powerline, if you encounter these problems, please try Solution 1.

  • Your electrical wiring is very old. This means that the network signals can't pass as well over the cables as is possible with modern wiring systems. So typically in old homes, this could be a problem.
  • You are trying to connect a remote powerline adapter in a room too far away from the main powerline adapter. If the copper-wire power cable distance is too great from A to B, then this will be a problem. You may have to move the remote powerline adapter closer to the main powerline adapter to see if this connects.
  • Some fuse boards/distribution power boards block the network signal, and therefore you may have problems if you are trying to connect from one mains ring to another. Try different rooms for best performance.

Isn't this Wessex Internet's problem to sort!?

Unfortunately for you, no. We are responsible to delivering the reliable and fast Internet connection to your home or business. As much as we'd like to be in charge of your building construction and layout, we have no say over this, and therefore we can't have the liability of being responsible to fund or resolve any internal wireless Wi-Fi signal issues.

You will find this the same no matter which broadband provider you went with.

It's also like why the power company or the water company don't get involved with your internal electrics or plumbing. 

We can point you in the right direction, and make recommendations, but we'd can't fund these or being held accountable for their suitability or use.

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