Networking Guide: Extending the Network at Your Home or Office

I’m often asked how to combat dead spots in the Wi-Fi of a home or office. Dead spots are a common complaint in large homes or offices with multiple floors. Here are a few different ways to deal with this issue.

Wireless Access Points

A Wireless Access Point is just a device that broadcasts a Wi-Fi signal. A wireless router is basically just a regular router with a built-in access point. Since your wireless router has an access point built-in, you might be wondering why you need an additional access point but a standalone wireless access point is a great tool to help you extend your Wi-Fi signal. The most effective way to use one of these devices is to place it as far away from your wireless router as possible and connect it to the router using a network cable. This will provide you with the best range for your home or business.

Wi-Fi Range Extender

A Wi-Fi range extender is also a great way to extend your wireless network. A range extender is a small device that plugs into an outlet between your wireless router and the place where you’d like to use the Wi-Fi signal. It’s important to find the perfect place to plug in your extender in order to maximize its effectiveness. You can find the perfect spot by moving away from the router until you find the furthest spot in your home or office where you get full bars of reception. If you are too far from the router, you will not get a strong enough signal. If you’re too close, you can get interference.

When shopping for a range extender, make sure you choose a device that uses the same wireless standard as the router you’re extending the signal from.

Power-line Adapters

The third device I frequently recommend for combating network signal issues is a power-line adapter. This is a device that essentially turns a home’s existing electrical wiring into network cables. You use power-line adapters, you connect one to your wireless router and plug it into an outlet, you then plug another power-line adapter into an outlet in the area where you’d like to use the network. There are two flavours of power-line adapters: wireless and regular. With a regular power-line adapter, you’ll need a network cable to connect to the Internet connection on the receiving end. With a wireless power-line adapter, you’ll get a wireless signal on the receiving end.

I recommend using a power-line connection if you’re looking for a fast, reliable signal.

Using one of these three types of devices will make dead spots in your home or office a thing of the past.

By Mike Agerbo

April 29, 2014