So, I recently packed up my stuff and moved to a new office space. But there’s a catch: this office is in an older building, with those thick, sturdy concrete walls. And you guessed it – my WiFi was throwing tantrums, refusing to reach every nook and cranny of my workspace! This got me scratching my head, thinking, “How do I make my WiFi strong enough to zoom through these walls?”
Now, if you’ve been in a similar pickle, you probably know there are a few tricks up the tech-sleeve to make this happen. One cool option is using a ‘mesh system’. Think of it like a digital spider web, where each strand (or node) helps to spread the WiFi signal farther without hogging all the bandwidth. It’s like creating a seamless, invisible net of internet connectivity covering your entire space!
But wait, there’s another contender in the ring: the wired access point. It’s like the trusty old guard of internet connectivity – super reliable and steady.
However, we’ve all heard about or seen folks using WiFi extenders. While these little gadgets promise to stretch your WiFi, they are kind of like the ice cream that melts before you can enjoy it – sweet but not always reliable! They offer a quick fix but don’t be surprised if they give you a tough time occasionally.
And oh! There’s also this rising star in the WiFi-boosting world called the powerline adapter. It’s winning hearts because it’s dependable. But here’s the deal: it shines when the electrical wiring in your place is its buddy, supporting it like a true friend.
For the folks living in newer homes, you’ve got the freedom to set things up your way. You might think of having special circuits just for powerline adapters. But then I wonder, why not go classic and use Ethernet cables right away? Whether it’s Ethernet or its sophisticated cousin, fiber optics, these cables are like the superheroes of the internet – always there, always reliable.
Before you dive into making changes, I bet you’ve tried all the basic stuff, right? Picking the right channel, adjusting the bandwidth and tweaking the transmit power? If those didn’t do the magic, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and explore these options I shared.
So, grab your tech-hat and let’s venture into the realm of unbreakable, unstoppable WiFi together! Stay tuned for a guide full of options and solutions for a happy, wall-penetrating WiFi signal! 🚀
1. Use a mesh network to boost the WiFi signal through walls
As I mentioned earlier, my new workplace is in a vintage building where a giant concrete wall plays the role of a WiFi party pooper, making it hard for the signals to dance through. Imagine having two rooms with a massive wall in between that’s acting like a grumpy bouncer at a club, not letting the WiFi vibes flow freely.
Now, there’s a twist. You might have heard of 2.4GHz and 5GHz, two different WiFi signals. Sitting close to the wall, the 2.4GHz signal can still whisper through, while the 5GHz signal struggles. Why so? Well, the 5GHz is like a sports car – fast but not great at long-distance travel or maneuvering through obstacles. It also gets easily distracted (or interfered with), making it not-so-reliable when it has walls to conquer.
So, I decided to call in the cavalry: a mesh WiFi system. It helped me stitch together a cozy, seamless internet blanket that covered my entire space by using multiple mesh nodes. Picture it like having multiple mini routers (nodes) placed at different spots, all working together harmoniously to spread the WiFi love.
Flashback six years ago, I tried the Eero mesh system. Although it’s now part of the Amazon family (still wrapping my head around that), it was a pretty cool gadget back in the day. And guess what? Tech has sprinted forward since then! The star of the moment is WiFi 6, the newest, swankiest standard in WiFi technology.
The magical recipe of mesh networks hasn’t changed much, though. You have the main unit, the big boss, connected to the internet. Then, you deploy the little helpers (other units) around your space. These helpers talk to each other wirelessly to ensure you get smooth and steady internet, whether you are sipping coffee at your desk or brainstorming in the lounge.
Here’s a pro tip: Go for mesh units that use a special band just for chatting among themselves, leaving the other bands free to serve your devices. And the market is brimming with options! You can choose from dual-band or tri-band systems, and some offer identical units while others provide a mix of routers that can all join hands to form a robust mesh network.
Why did I choose an Asus router?
I went for an Asus router, but why, you ask? Well, I already had another one. But, let’s not stop there; there’s a bit more flavor to this tech tale.
First off, the interface on Asus routers is a beauty! It’s user-friendly, neat, and simply a joy to navigate compared to others. Besides the slick interface, these routers also play nice with a big family of devices – old and new. Even those gadgets that came before the fancy AiMesh system by Asus are welcomed with open arms.
I paired an Asus RT-AX82U (the main unit) with an RT-AX88U (the secondary one). And, oh boy, together, they lit up my entire office with strong, steady WiFi, not missing a beat!
As I roamed around, hopping from one conference call to another, I didn’t notice any hiccups. It was like walking through rooms filled with invisible, uninterrupted internet. But being the curious cat, I ran an iperf test to check for any packet drops or handshaking hiccups between the nodes. And guess what? Smooth sailing!
Now, you might be wondering, “Why not go all out and get a tri-band?” Sure, tri-band routers are fantastic at ensuring that bandwidth stays strong and steady. But in my case, that would have been like bringing a spaceship to a go-kart race – cool but unnecessary.
I’ve even analyzed a simpler WiFi 6 AiMesh system with RT-AX58U and RT-AX56U, and it performed beautifully at the second node. So, unless you have a sea of devices with high demands (which I don’t), there’s no need to shell out extra cash for something that you won’t fully utilize.
And a quick heads up, if you have devices that support WiFi 6, be ready for a delightful performance boost!
What other options are there?
You have other fish in the tech sea like the dedicated WiFi 5, WiFi 6, and the mighty 6E mesh systems, all coming with identical units. The WiFi 5 dual-band systems are champs when the nodes can see each other. But if there are walls playing hard to get, the performance might be just okay.
For instance, early models like Google WiFi or the TP-Link Deco M5 are decent. They use both bands for client connection and node talk, limiting the bandwidth a bit. Even the praised Asus AiMesh isn’t immune to this, but its hardware muscles through without sweating over bandwidth issues.
If bandwidth limitation is a dealbreaker for you, consider tri-band WiFi 5 systems. Eero Pro and Netgear Orbi, despite being occasionally moody, deliver jaw-dropping wireless performance at the second node. Just be cautious with Netgear, as their router software has been acting a bit quirky lately, and you wouldn’t want software issues raining on your wireless parade.
2. Use a wireless access point to boost the WiFi signal
Now, here’s an option that might not be your first choice but will indeed make you smile once it’s up and running. Enter the wireless access point! It does ask you for a bit of commitment – dealing with cables.
I get it; not everyone enjoys having cables running through their home, especially if it’s an older building without pre-installed CAT cables. Having to set up those cables might seem daunting (I’ve been there!), but it’s worth it. Why? Because a cable running from your router, cutting through those stubborn walls to your access point, ensures top-speed internet on your devices.
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There might be some interference with your main router, but that’s usually not a significant issue since we’re trying to fix a lack of WiFi in certain areas. The transition from the main network to the access point might be a little bumpy at times since they don’t always communicate seamlessly. You might face occasional disconnections while wandering around your home.
And just as a techy tidbit: you could consider using fiber optics cables instead of Ethernet. They’re like the elite athletes of cables – less interference and stellar at maintaining bandwidth over long distances. But using fiber optics might be overdoing it if you’re just looking to boost your WiFi in some areas.
3. Use a WiFi extender to cover more space
The WiFi extender isn’t my go-to option, but it’s popular for a reason. It’s like the instant noodles of WiFi solutions – quick, easy, and does the job when you need it.
WiFi extenders are usually wallet-friendly, and they save you from buying an entirely new router or mesh system. They’re straightforward, extending your existing WiFi signal to those hard-to-reach corners.
However, they have their quirks. While they extend the signal, the bandwidth they offer isn’t great for multiple devices. You might notice higher ping times and some of the other annoying traits of a weak WiFi connection. But when no other option is on the table, a WiFi extender can throw some much-needed Mbps your way, making it a decent plan B!
4. Use a powerline adapter to get Internet in difficult-to-reach areas
So, there’s this neat gadget called a powerline adapter. It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but it’s pretty simple and cool. These adapters let you use your home’s existing electrical wires to deliver internet. Nifty, right?
However, it’s not magic without some rules. Powerline adapters are a bit picky; they aren’t fans of jumping through circuits. When they do, they might lose their speed mojo due to interference, sometimes slowing down so much that it’s like having no internet at all.
But if your home’s electrical circuit is well-designed (like a well-laid out racetrack), a pair of powerline adapters can be your champions of wireless performance, even through formidable walls.
Planning to try powerline adapters? Here’s a tip: instead of choosing a WiFi powerline adapter for the receiving end, opt for a dedicated wireless access point. Why? Because a standalone access point usually delivers a stronger, more reliable performance. It’s always wise to use separate, specialized devices in your network rather than an all-in-one gadget, as the latter might compromise on some aspects to be a Jack-of-all-trades.
Wrapping It Up: Choosing Your WiFi Hero!
We’ve explored the nooks and crannies of WiFi boosting options. Each one brings something different to the table. Whether it’s the sleek mesh network system, the reliable but cable-dependent wireless access point, the quick fix WiFi extender, or the innovative powerline adapter – your perfect solution depends on your home’s layout, your internet needs, and of course, your budget.
Remember, the trick is to understand your space and your tech needs. Once you have that figured out, picking the right tool to vanquish those WiFi dead zones will be a breeze. So, gear up, make your choice, and get ready for a smooth, unstoppable internet experience throughout your home! 🌐🚀