For those of us who need fresh air to focus, there’s nothing nicer than being able plop down with our tablets and check our email, poolside. And online banking is always more enjoyable when conducted on a screened-in porch, while it’s nice outside. Regardless of your aim, outdoor Wi-Fi is an easily-obtained luxury. Here’s how to extend the range of your Wi-Fi beyond the confines of your house.
Now, if you don’t want to mess with your router, one easy (albeit expensive) way to bring your Wi-Fi outside is to turn your smartphone into a wireless hotspot. This solution is as simple as adjusting your wireless plan to account for the increase in data usage. Just give your wireless carrier a quick call to check whether or not they offer this option, but bear in mind, it is pricey.
A similar alternative, is to invest in a Mi-Fi hotspot which is a portable device (other than your smartphone) that generates its own, local hotspot. Again, this will cost you additional data charges, but you won’t be tied down to your router. These two options are your only bet for taking that Wi-Fi anywhere – to the beach, camping out, even on a road trip!
Now, if you’d like to simply reach the outskirts of your yard, first, check the placement of your router. You may be able to free it up from physical barriers that reduce signal strength such as cement or brick walls.
Wireless signals get weaker as they expand, like water ripples or sound waves. Not only do they become weaker as they move outwardly, away from their source, but they come in contact with and bounce off other waves. Think of two water ripples colliding with one and another: as they overlap, they slow down. Not only do thick, physical barriers create signal interference but so objects with deflective surfaces and appliances that emit their own signals (microwaves, radios, etc.).
In order to reach your back patio or pool deck, you may want to reposition your router so that it’s physically closer to the area you’re aiming to reach and as far removed from these barriers as possible. Now, if you move your router, you don’t want the other areas of your house to lose quality of coverage. In that case, check out long range antennas. These powerful additions could triple your signal strength at an average cost of $30. Just remember, if you plan on directing your signal toward one particular area of the yard, your best bet is a directional antenna, verses an omni-directional one which casts its signal in every direction.
If the antenna doesn’t work, due to the current location of your router or if you’re not at liberty to relocate your router, try a repeater. Also known as a range extender, the repeater will catch the outer ripple of your router’s signal and pull it out farther. The beauty of repeaters is that you don’t have make room for it in your house. You can easily find heavy duty, waterproof models which are perfect for your back yard: essentially, they act as outdoor extensions of your indoor router.
That’s all there is to it! No matter what device you use, the placement of your router will always effect the strength and direction of your signal. And the closer you are to the router, the stronger the signal strength. Now that you’ve read all about Wi-Fi on your computer, why not take a break and go outside. You can scout potential locations for that repeater or take a walk-through your house and see if there are any barriers that may be obstructing your signal. Good luck!