Why is it that the place you most need a strong, consistent Wi-Fi connection in your home is always at the edge of your router’s range?
Here are a few gadgets that might fix your problem. (Spoiler alert: They didn’t entirely fix mine — but they helped!)
Looking for inexpensive Wi-Fi boosters/extenders
My house challenges Wi-Fi the way a locked prison cell challenges a walk in the park. I work in a home office that’s a semi-basement in the back of the house. It’s also where my Wi-Fi router lives — where it must live to keep my office electronics connected to each other and the world outside. With the router sequestered in that location, much of the house gets a weak, undependable Wi-Fi signal. The TV room and front part of the living room get no Wi-Fi at all. Only the rooms directly above my office get a good signal.
For years, I’ve used HomePlug devices to fill these Wi-Fi holes. They worked well until late last year, when they suddenly stopped. As I reported in Jan. 24 Best Practices, “When a HomePlug network suddenly stops working,” I thought I’d found a solution.
Alas, the fix proved unreliable and short-lived. To this day, the HomePlug network sometimes works and other times doesn’t. I needed another solution.
Running Ethernet throughout the house is the obvious answer. But running wiring inside the walls is not my forte, and the estimates I received were a bit steep for a freelance writer’s salary.
Instead, I decided to try two far less expensive options for extending Wi-Fi throughout the house: boosters and extenders. A booster replaces or augments the antenna on your router with something more powerful — or more directional. An extender, which you place in a room that gets a good signal, picks up one Wi-Fi network and broadcasts another — it essentially creates a chain of Wi-Fi transceivers.