DIY WiFi extensions
There are a few cheap, cheerful DIY options you could try that will produce results with varied success. These are particularly for those who aren’t too bothered about signal quality. If you’re thinking any connection is better than nothing then one of these options may be for you.
WiFi Boosters or repeaters
To start, you could try a WiFi Booster or repeater. For best results you should try and position it as close as possible to the outbuilding you’re trying to reach, preferably in a window to minimise any interference from walls and other building materials.
If you’re lucky, and the building is close enough, you may get the signal to reach. However this would be very much trial and error, so you could end up wasting money on something that doesn’t work.
However well WiFi Boosters and repeaters are marketed, they are never as good as expected.
WiFi Boosters are best for: tight budgets, users willing to put up with a weak/unreliable signal
A Powerline adapter is a device that uses the electric wiring in your home to transmit communications signals and is is generally referred to as an ethernet over power connection. It works by plugging the adapter into a wall socket close to the router and connecting the adapter to the router with an ethernet cable. In the outbuilding you plug the adapter into a wall socket and then connect the adapter to your device (if you just want internet on that device) or a Wireless Access Point to provide WiFi in the outbuilding.
A powerline adapter will only work if you have mains power running to your outbuilding. It uses the power cable to transmit your internet connection. Because of this, it is generally referred to as an ethernet over power connection. These can work well for some, however that may depend on how up to date your electrical wiring is. They are also vulnerable to loss of signal and deterioration over time.
Powerline Adapters are Best for: Buildings with existing electrical wiring, users willing to put up with a poor quality signal.
DIP (Do It Properly) WiFI extensions.
If you’re looking for something more reliable for your garden office, summer house or shed – it’s probably worth investing in a professional WiFi networking solution that will give a reliable WiFi connection. You’ll probably need help from a networking specialist, but the results will be far better than DIY-ing it.
External access point
Depending on your situation, a good quality WiFi access point that is hard wired to your router and positioned on an outside wall (as close to the outbuilding as possible) may be all you need to get WiFi to your outbuilding, shed or summer house... If you’re looking to extend your WiFi to a more traditional shed structure this is probably the most cost effective option. Bear in mind, the further away your outbuilding, the weaker the signal will be.
Best for: outbuildings of light construction (e.g. wooden shed) that are close to the main premises
Point-to-point Wireless Bridge
A point-to-point wireless bridge connects your router to a WiFi access point in the outbuilding via a wireless link between the two buildings. This consists of a transmitting device connected to your router and positioned within line of site of the outbuilding. It would normally be mounted on an external wall and pointed in the direction of the outbuilding. A receiving unit on the outbuilding then receives the signal via WiFi and transfers it to a wireless access point which then broadcasts the WiFi which you can then connect your devices to.
This is a very cost effective way to transmit a WiFi signal over long distances, but there must be clear line of site between sender and receiver for it to work well.
Best for: reliable & high speed connections to outbuildings within clear line of sight.
Hard wiring with ethernet cable
An ethernet network cable running from your router to the outbuilding is probably the most efficient way to extend your WiFi. Where possible it would be the preferred way as this is a very reliable connection method. It’s effectively plugging an access point directly into your router which means that you will get your full broadband speed with no loss of performance.
There are, however, a few caveats:
- It’s not advisable to have cable runs of more than 100m due to signal degradation over the distance. If your outbuilding is further than 100m away then a Wireless point-to-point is the better alternative.
- Getting a cable across your garden could also be a challenge. If you are still in the building phase you could lay the data cable at the same time as the electricity cable (although these two should never run closer than 5cm parallel due to electromagnetic interference from the electricity cable).
- If you do choose to bury your cable you should probably consider more expensive shielded gel-filled ethernet cable to protect the internal wires. Any breakdown in the cable could be costly and disruptive to fix.
Hard wired ethernet cable is best for: reliable & high speed connections to buildings less than 100m from the main premises
Get help extending your WiFi to a shed, summerhouse or outbuilding
Need help getting a reliable internet connection to your outbuilding? Contact us today if you’re in the Inverness and Scottish Highland to discuss your options.
Inverness Cabling installs professional external WiFi solutions, wireless point-to-point links and cabled networks to get your WiFi where you need it.