Best wifi solution for old house?

Hi,

I live in a small, but old brick built house. Currently using my ISP’s router but it isn’t quite cutting the mustard - it only works in the same room or the room above. Wifi gets pretty poor in the bedroom at the back of the house and the kitchen, and there’s no connection at all by the time I’m in the garden (not that I’m bothered at the moment but would be nice to work in the garden in summer!)

I’m looking at all sorts of solutions such as extenders and mesh disks. I did try a TP Link powerline extender a while ago but I found it to be very slow compared to my normal speeds which when connected via a cable are pretty good.

What sort of ‘wifi boost’ would do me best?

Hi @anon78084474, welcome to Computer Forums.

Before going down the path of buying new network equipment, have you optimised your existing router? Often simply placing it in a more central location can help. Also it’s worth checking the router settings - sometimes you might need to do things such as seperating the 2.4 and 5Ghz networks in order to get the best performance.

If you have done all that - generally the best way to add wifi coverage is to use access points such as Unifi, and to wire them via Ethernet to the router. Wireless repeaters, although will get you a better signal, tend to be a bit flaky and can sometimes even slow your network down.

I’ve had some success with the Netgear Orbi wifi mesh system… it’s quite expensive but it has pretty well covered my 5 bed property.

I did used to use a couple of access points wired in across the house, we renovated about 15 years ago and I had cat5 installed everywhere… but now our broadband is faster than the cabling can handle so i’ve gone with the orbis and they aren’t doing too bad at all, probably around 70-80% of the bandwidth available other than a few of the far reaches of the property. Anything is better than the 3 meg we managed between 8 of us until BT finally pulled their finger out their arse and installed proper fibre!!

Thanks for your suggestions people!

I have already tried the suggestions with my current router, been round the bend with my ISP to try and fix this. I am thinking of going down the wired, access point route. Would I be best off with Netgear or TPLink stuff or Unifi? I have looked at this and it looks a bit ‘overkill’ for my domestic setup.

It all depends on a) how fast you want your network to be and b) how much configuration you want for it.

For a simple solution, simply add one new access point - either centrally in your property (APs designed for one purpose tend to offer much better coverage than ISP routers that even when advertised as ‘best wifi ever’ are built to a cost and make comprimises) or simply extend ethernet to the weaker areas and place the AP there.

Something like this would do the job fine in this regard:

If, however you want a more advanced network, you may be better off turning off the wifi aspect of your ISPs router and going with either the TP Link or Unifi units that are designed for commcerial use. TP Links are a bit cheaper but a bit slower - with that said it depends on your actual line speed. If you are on a 300mb or gigabit fibre connection, you’ll want the wifi to be as fast as possible. If on the other hand you are getting anywhere between 5-100 meg, a 300meg access point will be more than enough.

I have found two that may be suitable and linked them below. I would go for the Unifi if you need the higher speed, if you don’t the TP Link is a good way to save some money - perhaps buy two TP Links for even better coverage, if needed. You can always buy one and see how well it performs before adding another later on if required.

With both of these they can be manged through a server running on your network that allows you to record performance stats, usage etc. However this is optional, and both the TP Link and Unifi units only need to connect to the server software once in order to be configured - once you’ve got them set up how you like, they will run on their own quite happily with no further input.

Unifi:


TP Link:

Both of the above can be powered by PoE - this means you only need to run an ethernet cable to the access point and it will get its power through this - handy if you’re limited by where your plug sockets are.