Even with a fantastic NBN or ADSL internet connection to your premises, getting adequate WiFi coverage can sometimes be a challenge.
So if your WiFi isn’t performing as you want it to, what are some of the options to fix it?
𝗪𝗶𝗙𝗶 𝗘𝘅𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 (𝗮𝗸𝗮 𝗥𝗲𝗽𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿) ❌𝗗𝗢 𝗡𝗢𝗧 𝗥𝗘𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗗❌
Lots of people use WiFi extenders, but we don’t generally recommend them. They rarely work as promised and they often make your WiFi performance worse. They’re popular because they’re cheap, easy to install and heavily (falsely) advertised as a quick fix.
A WiFi Extender is a small device that plugs into a power point. It’s about the size of laptop power brick, and generally has one to two small antennas. A typical house would usually need 1-2 Extenders.
Despite what their name suggests, WiFi Extenders don’t actually extend your router’s WiFi network.
They pick up your existing WiFi signal and boost it (which is good in theory), but at the same time they create a whole new network within your household (which is bad). And depending on the brand, they might create two new networks e.g. 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz.
The creation of one or two new networks can cause all sorts of challenges:
- If the new network/s use different SSIDs (network names) then you will need to manually switch between networks as you move through the house.
- If the Extender uses the same SSID as your router, it relies on your device (phone, laptop etc) to automatically switch between networks as you move around the house. However your device is not smart enough to know which network it should switch to, based on signal strength.
Garden variety Extenders are notorious for degrading you signal strength by up to 50%. This is usually due to having only one aerial that needs to contend with both the incoming signal from your router and the outgoing new signal.
Even with newer and more expensive models that have dual aerials and make use of MIMO (Multi In Multi Out) technology or MU-MIMO (Multi User - Multi In Multi Out) technology, you can still run into issues with roaming between multiple networks.
𝗠𝗘𝗦𝗛 𝗡𝗲𝘁𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸 ☑️𝗦𝗢𝗠𝗘𝗧𝗜𝗠𝗘𝗦 𝗥𝗘𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗗☑️
A MESH Network is a better option than using WiFi Extenders. It’s a perfect solution for many homes, although if you are producing large amounts of data traffic it still might not perform the way you hope.
A MESH Network is a similar concept to having a number of WiFi Extenders in the house, except MESH devices (let’s call them nodes) can be battery operated (therefore placed anywhere) and are MUCH more intelligent than WiFi Extenders.
The MESH nodes communicate with each other via WiFi to create full coverage throughout your home. As you walk through your home the nodes intelligently hand-off your device’s WiFi connection between each other, giving you seamless use wherever you go.
If you add or remove nodes the MESH Network automatically adjusts/configures itself to accommodate the change. It comes with an easy-to-use network management application for your phone or device and offers simple integration with smart home devices i.e. Google home and Alexa. There is some basic configuration needed at set-up but it’s fairly easy to do.
While MESH Networks are great, they’re not perfect. Anything that interferes with your WiFi signal – e.g. common things like brick walls, steel mesh, concrete slabs and radio transmissions from typical household devices – will interfere with the performance of your MESH Network. Therefore a MESH Network will suit some houses but not others, depending on construction materials, appliances and similar.
𝗣𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿 𝗟𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗪𝗶𝗙𝗶 𝗔𝗱𝗮𝗽𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘀 ☑️𝗦𝗢𝗠𝗘𝗧𝗜𝗠𝗘𝗦 𝗥𝗘𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗗☑️
Power line WiFi adaptors are small devices that plug into power points. They use your existing household electrical circuits to transmit data, and do not require hard wired data cables.
Each adaptor comes with two parts – one plugs into your router and the other to a power point near the location you want improved WiFi.
The adaptors are quick and easy to install and you can DIY the set up. They're relatively inexpensive and generally perform well.
On the downside, they're not configurable, and the quality of the brand as well as your electrical wiring can affect their reliability.
𝗪𝗔𝗣/𝗪𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗔𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗣𝗼𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 ✅𝗨𝗦𝗨𝗔𝗟𝗟𝗬 𝗥𝗘𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗗✅
Wireless Access Points, or WAPs as they’re commonly known, are small devices (nodes, usually in the shape of a disc, a bit like a smoke detector) that are HARD WIRED back to your router. They are placed at different points in your home – typically on the ceiling - to genuinely extend your WiFi signal through the house.
WAPs have as much or more in-built intelligence as MESH devices and can be substantially configured to suit your preferences.
They communicate to each other and your router via dedicated data cables instead of WiFi or electrical circuits, making them much more stable and reliable than Extenders, MESH Networks and Adaptors.
WAPs also have stronger signal and better bandwidth for handling more clients or heavy streaming loads (YouTube, Spotify, TV etc).
Some great information here, but I feel that wifi extenders still have their uses. I currently have one halfway between our home wifi router (at one end of the house) and the solar PV system controller board/panel out in the garage (at the other end of the house), so that it can communicate with the Envoy Enlighten online system, which my phone app can then hook into and show me how the solar panels are performing.
I get asked this all the time. It's difficult to answer because every situation/house/request is different.
That said, here are some indicative (not absolute) price ranges for common electrical jobs across Sutherland Shire / Sydney, based on quotes I’ve seen from other tradies, comments I’ve read in renovation forums, and of course my own pricing.
Replace existing power point (GPO) with new power point - install only $20 - $40 - supply and install (basic GPO included) $30 - $60
Install new power point - install only $90 - $150 - supply and install (basic GPO included) $110 - $160
Replace existing halogen downlight with LED - install only $40 - $60 - supply and install (basic model lights included) $50 - $70
Install new LED downlight - install only $80 - $100 - supply and install (basic tri colour lights included) $90 - $120
Replace existing light or ceiling fan with new ceiling fan (cost of fan additional) - install only $150 - $180
Install ceiling fan in new location (cost of fan additional) - install only $200 - $250
Mount TV on wall (cost of mounting bracket additional) - mount with cables visible $150 - $200 - mount with cables hidden in the wall $220 - $280
Install new data point / relocate NBN connection -$120 - $160
Remove existing and install new electric oven - $120 - $160
𝗕𝗨𝗧 𝗜𝗧'𝗦 𝗖𝗛𝗘𝗔𝗣𝗘𝗥 𝗢𝗡 𝗔𝗜𝗥𝗧𝗔𝗦𝗞𝗘𝗥!
Yes, you can often get trade services cheaper on Airtasker. It's an easy way to access tradies who are trying to establish themselves, are prepared to work below typical trade prices and who are from out of the area (where rates might be a bit cheaper) and prepared to travel. Local tradies might also jump on and offer a cheaper price if they have a gap in their schedule or similar. However, Airtasker takes a hefty fee from the tradie (15-25%) so it's less and less attractive as a place to source work. There are also plenty of horror stories - you can't communicate with the tradie until AFTER you've assigned them the job so it's hard to get proof of qualifications etc. My advice is to proceed with caution, do your research, make sure they're licensed, make sure they have insurance etc.
𝗪𝗛𝗔𝗧?! 𝗜 𝗣𝗔𝗜𝗗 𝗔 𝗟𝗢𝗧 𝗠𝗢𝗥𝗘 𝗧𝗛𝗔𝗡 𝗧𝗛𝗔𝗧!
Large companies with big overheads tend to charge more. I’ve seen quotes for $175+ GST to install an additional power point in a new build, at the variation stage (e.g. before the build has even commenced). This is usually because the big company (builder) adds a margin on the smaller company (electrical) who is using subbies who need to charge GST etc. These costs all get passed on to the customer. It pays to shop around and to know what a fair market price is, so that you can negotiate.
𝗦𝗢 𝗛𝗢𝗪 𝗗𝗢 𝗜 𝗙𝗜𝗡𝗗 𝗔 𝗚𝗢𝗢𝗗 𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗗𝗜𝗘?
A good tradie who knows their trade and is committed to quality and customer service can save you a mountain of headaches. A dodgy tradie can leave you stressed and facing big bills.
We’re doing a big renovation and using a lot of tradies. We’re also pretty new to the area so we don’t have a lot of connections. By far the best way I’ve found to source reliable, quality trades is:
• Ask on local FB community pages, people are pretty generous with recommendations. Also check with local architects as they generally know good from bad.
• IMPORTANT! Based on those recommendations, google the tradie and check for reviews from all sources – Google, FB, other. Don’t just rely on local recommendations without checking people out.
• Educate yourself on what you need so that you can ask the tradie the right questions
• Trust your instincts, if you don’t get the right vibe, move on. I can't stress this enough.
You can also visit Services NSW to make sure your tradie has the right license and insurance, and to find out whether they have any complaints against them. ... See MoreSee Less