3 Quick & Easy Ways to Boost Your Wi-Fi Coverage
One of the biggest challenges with indoor wireless installations is ensuring you have sufficient coverage - meaning no dead zones and good quality connections in all the necessary areas.
While indoor wireless connections offer simple installation and very few cables, they are unpredictable and easily affected by numerous external factors such as walls (obstructions) and interference from other wireless devices. Thankfully, there are a few products available to users to easily extend existing coverage when it does not live up to your expectations.
1. RepeatersThe most common method for boosting coverage is with a wireless repeater. While a nice, simple option, if not cabled to the main router, this method will halve your bandwidth with each wireless hop. A product like the W-AP5 from Tenda is versatile and can operate as a stand-alone Access Point (AP) or in 'Range Extender' mode. It also offers passive PoE input and high gain antennas. The configuration for repeater mode is generally very simple and, in most cases, as easy as selecting 'Universal Repeater' mode from a drop-down menu in the router's web GUI.
Another option is a dedicated range extender which connects to the main AP with the press of a hardware button. Items such as the W-A9 and W-A15 from Tenda are cost-effective and offer immediate solutions.
Universal Repeater Mode:
2. Mesh SystemsIf running cables isn't for you but you still need the additional coverage, a wireless mesh system is a powerful alternative. Available in a variety of options from some of the big name brands such as MikroTik, Tenda and Ubiquiti, there is a mesh solution for almost every environment. These systems work on a wireless mesh topology using a single SSID and are easily configurable via a mobile phone app. When using Mesh technology, you also benefit from a level of wireless redundancy. Meaning that when the signal to a single node is interrupted, the node will immediately attempt to connect to another node within range, thereby reducing downtime and allowing your network to 'self-heal'.
3. PowerlinePowerline products are an incredibly cost-effective method for extending networks into hard-to-reach areas by using the single-phase power lines in your home. The plug-and-play installation makes it available to everyone, even the home user with little to no networking experience.
Step 1: Simply connect the Ethernet unit to a plug socket and run an Ethernet cable from the powerline unit to an open Ethernet port on your already-installed router.
Step 2: Connect either a second Ethernet or wireless unit to a plug socket in the room in which wireless/LAN connectivity is required. Your network is now being transmitted over the power lines of your home or office. A number of options are available from both Mikrotik and Tenda, both running Homeplug AV2 with options that include 1000Mbps over power lines as well as dual-band 630Mbps Wi-Fi.
Scoop stocks a number of product options in each category from these popular brands:
MikroTik Access Points & Repeaters
Ubiquiti Access Points
Tenda Access Points & Repeaters
Blog post by Abby Carelse