Every time we have more devices connected to the local network and the Internet in our homes, we are asked more and more bandwidth, low latency and ability to transmit data streams in streaming without cuts or interruptions. In an ideal world we would have the whole house wired with a gigabit network without interference or lack of coverage problems.
However, in most cases it will normally have turned to wireless links based on WiFi technology, easier to install and invisible, but which are probably not getting the desired performance in all rooms. What can we do? How to bring WiFi to all corners of the home without coverage problems?
Fighting the distance, obstacles and interference
The main problems we will find ourselves in a home WiFi network are related to interference, obstacles and distance to the origin of the signal (which will normally be the place where you place the router). The power of our wireless signal has a relationship inversely proportional to the distance .That is, the farther you have the router in the room that you want to take the coverage, the lower the speed and quality of the connection.
When installed, the technician or operator installed router us, we usually do near where the PTR (Network Termination Point) in ADSL connections or right next to the ONT (Optical Network Terminal) in the case of the optical fiber. If this point is not located in the center of the house, the distribution of the WiFi signal is irregular and probably will have problems in the most remote corners.
Hence the importance of choosing a central point at home to place the router, if we have to ask our operator to install us the line a few meters away from where it would be usual (You can usually do this request, although we charged a extra for each additional meter we want).
The barriers also pose a serious problem for the proper functioning of the wireless network. The more obstacles there are between the WiFi access point and the device you want to connect (furniture, walls, windows, ceilings and floors if we are talking about several floors), the greater the difficulty in achieving a stable and quality link.
In most cases it is not a factor that we can control easily, but if we can try to place the router away from walls, corners and especially avoid having it embedded in a piece of furniture, surrounded by nearly all sides. It is also desirable to orient the external antenna (if so equipped and allowed) to the places where we need to improve coverage. In some cases, you may even be some kind of homemade reflector with metallic elements to help bounce the signal and not lost through a wall. It is not miraculous, but it potentially poses a significant improvement in certain extreme cases.
Finally, we should not let the random selection of channels WiFi, these frequency blocks that can get to saturate due to the connections of other wireless devices (such as keyboards, mice, Bluetooth equipment, wireless music systems, etc.) or even WiFi connections from neighbors. Looking for a free channel where you can get the highest quality and select your router.
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Renew your router and spend an AC model
Routers that operators give us no conspicuous by its technical specifications, or at least do not when compared to those who find in most stores. Fortunately, the solution is simple: buy a new, more modern, with the latest connectivity router.
The installation should be as immediate as connect the new router to the modem or router to the operator by means of any of the Ethernet ports you have available. Deactivate the WiFi network equipment operator (which will give us access to the Internet) and activate new wireless router that we purchased.
In the shops you will find many models, but now the best performance offered are compatible with WiFi AC (i.e. the standard of wireless communications 802.11ac), which began to hit the market in 2012 and in addition to the saturated 2.4GHz band focus on the 5 GHz to provide better coverage and speed (which by the way also make some models WiFi N).
These types of routers are capable of providing multiple communication channels simultaneously to supply different devices simultaneously, for example several mobile phones, tablets, smart TVs, computers, etc. They use standard techniques such as MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) and different versions of Beamforming, which improves signal reception thanks to the guidance of the energy emitted by the antennas into a narrow beam directly to the device which we are using at all times.
So power is optimized and manages to increase coverage inside the house and outside areas like gardens. What speeds handle these routers? Then there is everything, depending on the range we’re looking for and the number of simultaneous connections that need. For example, the initial specification stated that the routers should be able to combine the bands 2.4 and 5 GHz to achieve at least three data streams of 433 Mbps, representing a total of 1.3 Gbps.
However, these figures have been overtaken considerably in subsequent updates and are now easier to find in the market models 1,900, 2,400 or 3,200 Mbps, figures that even seem ridiculous when compared with 802.11ac-2013 review that IEEE approved last year and aims to 7 Gbps.
WiFi installed an amplifier with or without PLC
The next big chance we have to improve our passing WiFi network to use some type of extender, regenerating or existing signal amplifier so that we increase the coverage and capacity in the remotest corners of the house. Although if you are a little hands and count on old routers in a drawer you can make you your own system to expand and improve the network, the easiest is to use a device made just for this purpose.
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The simplest are only regenerating-signal amplifiers. That is, detect the WiFi network that we have running, copy your most important parameters such as network ID and security protocols and create a new signal regenerated with maximum power and to extend coverage. Installation usually consists basically out of the box, plug in one point of the house where we have a signal but it begins to be weak and that’s usually not have to do much more.
Another option for when the quality of the original WiFi is bad or need to cover long distances is the PLC adapters with WiFi capabilities. In this case we have two devices that create a link to each other using the grid from home. To do so one adapter is connected directly to the router by Ethernet cable and the other is that we plug in the room we want to have WiFi coverage.
This adapter is responsible for creating its own network that will supply connectivity to wireless devices, without relying on the original principal WiFi network router. They are more expensive than a simple signal re-generator and speeds obtained depend on the state of the power grid of the house and interference from other appliances, but in general if we choose models of more than 500 or 600 Mbps (easily will find adapters more than 1,200 Mbps) does not have any problem and achieve good coverage up to 300 meters (counting the wired side, of course).