Best wifi solutions for large old houses with  really thick walls

Posted on 2007-11-13
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I regularly set up home wifis for business clients and unlike me they tend to have large houses and do not want wiring running to access points all over the place. Office installations always have an abundance of network points, but obviously homes (at least in the UK) are different.

I normally use Netgear wifi routers as I find these give the best reception and I have read here about the Netgear antennae with "half a mile range" - anyone tried this? What is the best solution for older houses where one wifi router has to send a signal through several walls/floors? And at what point do we get into the professional wifi systems and how much are these? Do prices suddenly leap from sub-£100 to many thousands for a proper system or is their a gradual performance to £ growth?

One home wifi I am look at doing is a Victorian house with seven bedrooms and four reception rooms. All eleven rooms plus the kitchen have wall socket for two telephone lines. One bedroom has hard wired broadband. I know one line can only use one router, but is their any hardware solution to attach a second wifi router/access point using the other connectors to share the broadband?

Thanks for any ideas.



Question by:mikeabc27
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Expert Comment

ID: 20275824
Extending your WiFi infrastructure is pretty straightforward.
1) You can extend via CAT5 cable to a WiFi Repeater on each floor, for example on the outside of a building (like the POTS twin wire).
2) Depending on the layout, MIMO based devices will give excellent coverage on each floor, without costing a fortune.
3) Consider discreet networks, one for the owner, one for his wealthy guests who just want Internet Access. VLAN support devices will allow you to do that. (I experimented with Ruckus MediaFlex Hotspot Wireless Access Point; was good for what it did, but not for what I wanted.)
Hope this helps

Author Comment

ID: 20276251
Good ideas Brian.

I want to avoid any cabling. How would wireless repeaters compare with a booster aerial attached to the router?

I've tried MIMO to a degree with a Zyxel Draft N router with 3 aerials, but wasn't overly impressed with it's performance. However to be fair I was using a standard IBM notebook as the receiver. Maybe if I was able to get hold of a Zyxel Draft N card to put in the notebook it would have been different.

None of my clients use data/printer sharing at home, dad's connecting to his office PC/network, mum's shopping online, kid's doing their thing. So all simply require Internet connection and secured properly.  

Accepted Solution

BrianMilnes earned 2000 total points
ID: 20276383
My own experience of WIreless bridges/repeaters is fine on the same level, but poor on different floors. You'd have to consider the wireless signal which is normally omindirectional but on a mainly horizontal plane.
Booster aerials (the physcially larger type) are moderately better. Directional aerials may be better suited.
Rethink the cable option - outside on the wall of the house - up the service elevator - there's generally more choice than you'd think, and the results are far more consistent.
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Expert Comment

ID: 20276397
PS. Did I tell you the stroy of the 8 year old logging into his Dad's work netowrk with his SecurID card?

Author Comment

ID: 20276739
Thanks for the advice on how the signal works (or doesn't work) on different levels.

Why has there been so little progress in reception quality with wifi? Why in order to get a good signal did I have to take a step back  and resort to cabling.

Sorry, just thinking aloud!

Expert Comment

ID: 23306036
I know the Q is closed, but ethernet over power devices work much better than expected. A couple of these connecting two access points will give greater coverage with no extra structure cabling

Expert Comment

ID: 23306378
PoE devices are fine if you're on the same circuit. However, many buildings have separate rings and therefore cannot be used. Otherwise, I'd agree - the speed of PoE devices isn't brilliant but is consistent (unlike WiFi).

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