How can I improve the Wifi signal in my house? This was a question from one of my recent clients. After a site visit I was able to offer the following advice: –
I have looked at 3 options to improve the Wi-Fi coverage at your home.
You currently have a BT Home Hub4. As you can see from the diagram below this hub is a few years old and is actually a few models behind the latest’s BT Smart Hub.
The Home Hub 4 only uses the “n” standard which is slower and travels less distance than the “ac” standard. The latest BT Smart hub is a much more capable piece of kit which will provide a better signal around the house. It is possible to ask BT to upgrade your existing device from a Home Hub 4 to the Smart hub.
They may ask you to sign a new 12-month contract to obtain a “Free” hub or there is also the option to purchase the hub for around £60. If you are happy with the service provided by BT this may be a free / cheap first step and should improve the Wi-Fi coverage.
The router would still be located close to the main BT socket and the performance around the house will be improved. However, given the lay out of the house it would be difficult for me to guarantee that a better signal would be available in some of the more distance rooms.
The second option involves replacing your current BT router with a more up to date 3rd party router which has an improved coverage and performance. Again, the router would still need to be located near the existing BT socket and performance around the house will be improved. However, given the lay out of the house it would be difficult for me to guarantee that a better signal would be available in some of the more distance rooms.
There is a 3rd option which as known as Mesh networking. This involves the use of 3 separate Wi-Fi units. The first unit is attached to your existing router via a network cable. The existing Hub Wi-Fi service is turned off and a new system configured on the new Mesh networking unit.
Two other mesh units are then configured and placed in other areas of the house. They need to be plugged into a power socket and are designed to sit on a table/ shelve rather than to be fixed to the wall or ceiling. This does have the advantage of being able to move them around to optimise coverage.
Each of these mesh units speak to each other to establish a network around the house. As you move around the house you’re PC / Phone etc. connect to the most appropriate mesh Wi-Fi unit. The additional mesh units will only provide Wi-Fi and cannot be used to provide networking to say a TV via a cable.
Which option would I recommend?
If you are happy with the current network service, you are receiving from BT I would suggest ringing them up and asking them to replace your current hub with a BT Smart Hub. This should certainly give you some improvement in performance and if you are lucky this may even be a “Free” upgrade.
If you find that upgrading to a Smart Hub is not possible or still does not give you sufficient coverage I would suggest going with the Mesh networking option.