How to get Wi-Fi to your garden office12.04.2021
High-speed internet access is a first-world necessity for almost every household. Yet with the rise of home working, many of us have found that the Wi-Fi signal within the house does not extend to a garden office, or the signal is just too weak for reliable and usable performance.
While individual circumstances may vary, one thing is for sure – demand for bandwidth hungry streaming and internet services will continue to increase.
Fortunately, there are a number of cost-effective options to consider, whether you’re planning a new garden office, or retrospectively fitting out an existing building.
So, what is the best way to extend Wi-Fi to a garden office?
Also known as a Wi-Fi extender or booster, a Wi-Fi repeater works by wirelessly connecting to your home Wi-Fi router and repeating the signal so you can pick it up from further away.
For a Wi-Fi repeater to work effectively, it simply needs a power supply and to receive a strong enough signal from your home Wi-Fi router.
How far does my Wi-Fi reach?
As a guide, Wi-Fi routers operating on the 2.4 GHz band can reach up to 45 metres indoors, but less if using the (faster) 5 GHz band, but naturally this depends on the type of router, its location, as well as the wall construction and other obstacles.
The 5 GHz band provides faster connectivity but does not pass through obstacles as well as the 2.4 GHz band.
It is important to note that all Wi-Fi repeaters will experience some speed loss, though some more than others. Single band repeaters have to receive and then retransmit data using the same channel, whereas dual band repeaters receive on one band and transmit the Wi-Fi signal on another.
Pros: Simple, convenient and inexpensive to install and set-up.
Cons: Has a limit to the distance/reach. Expect a downgraded speed from your Wi-Fi network, which may not suit power/business users.
Price range: £20 – £50
Ethernet cable to a wireless access point
The most reliable, secure & future-proofed method to extend your Wi-Fi to your garden office, and the best option for anyone requiring a fast connection.
Simply run an ethernet cable from your home Wi-Fi router to your garden office. Then connect to a wireless access point, or wireless router. You can also connect any device with an ethernet port directly into the Wi-Fi router/access point if the highest levels of performance are required.
Installing an ethernet cable to your garden office
At the point of installing an electrical supply to your garden office, you should also install an exterior-grade ethernet cable, protected within 25mm flexible plastic conduit and installed in the ground at a minimum depth of 450mm.
Pros: Fast, reliable and secure internet connection, limited only by the speed of your broadband service.
Cons: Cable requires shielding from the elements through professional installation.
Price range: £25 for exterior grade ethernet cable; £25 for flexible PVC conduit; Professional installation £100 – £200.
Wireless router vs Wireless access point – What’s the difference?
A router acts as a hub, setting up a Local Area Network (LAN) and policies to manage devices and communications. While an access point is a sub-device within the Local Area Network which simply provides another location for devices to connect to.
Most Wi-Fi routers can be configured as access points.
Point-to-Point Wi-Fi (PtP)
Where alternative networking connectivity methods are either not feasible or undesirable, Point-to-Point Wi-Fi has the advantage of providing a greater range than a Wi-Fi repeater, linking a network wirelessly without the need to lay an ethernet cable.
Using similar principles to a Wi-Fi repeater, Point-to-Point Wi-Fi requires installing a sender unit to the outside of your house, and a second unit to your garden office. The signal transmitted between to two units requires a clear line of sight, unobstructed by trees or other structures which can interfere with the signal.
While providing a significantly greater range than a than a Wi-Fi repeater, Point-to-Point Wi-Fi is more complex to set-up and install, but offers an effective and reliable connectivity, where alternative methods are not feasible.
Pros: Provides a wireless connection method over longer distances, from 30m up to several kilometres (line of sight permitting).
Cons: More complex to install and set-up, while still requiring a clear line of sight.
Price range: £150+
A Powerline adaptor turns the electrical wiring of a home into network cables. You can form a Powerline network wherever there are power outlets, eliminating the need for ethernet cables.
To create a powerline network, you will need at least two Powerline devices. One is connected to your home Wi-Fi router. The second adaptor connects to the Wi-Fi access point/router in your garden office.
As Powerline networks use your home electricity cables, the effectiveness can often fall short of expectations, with interference caused by several factors including: The age and condition of electrical wiring in your home; Interference caused by other appliances or devices on the same electrical supply.
Pros: Relatively simple and inexpensive to install.
Cons: Performance can fall short of expectations. Also requires your garden office to be connected to the same electrical distribution.
Price range: £20 – £50
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