You can arrange WiFi in the garden


Wifi

When the weather is nice, the garden is the nicest place to sit. Add some color or cool down in the shade, eat outside together and enjoy the evening sun. It becomes even more fun when, like at home, you can endlessly netflix and enjoy streaming music. And that is often disappointing, because you have no or poor WiFi range outdoors. It doesn’t have to stay that way, because you can arrange WiFi in the garden.

In the summer you naturally want to enjoy a good wireless network signal not only indoors, but also outdoors. When it comes to Wi-Fi, the area around the house is often still unexplored area, where streaming media more often do not work or mobile devices switch unnoticed to 4G and therefore appeal to the data bundle. When installing the wireless network, you probably mainly looked at the network signal in the house. That had to be good, the garden was usually not thought of.

In most gardens you as a user hitch a ride on the WiFi signal that happens to be available there. The speed is often too low to really use Netflix or Spotify undisturbed and often it only causes irritation because devices do connect, but you cannot actually use the network. The latter is perhaps even worse than not having Wi-Fi, because we all keep trying. In this article we will discuss different ways to have a good WiFi signal in the garden.

Wifi and your router

An important factor in the quality of the wireless network signal in and around the home is the wireless router. This router is often several years old and lacks support for the latest standards and techniques, such as multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output technology (MU-MIMO) and beamforming. The latter two are especially important. MU-MIMO makes a router more suitable for communicating with multiple devices simultaneously, while beamforming ensures that the signal focuses on the devices on the network. This improves the signal and reduces errors, making the wireless network more usable inside, but possibly outside the home. Maybe even better suited for online gaming and media streaming.

A modern router, such as this TP-Link AX6000, supports the latest standards and guarantees a better signal indoors, but often also outdoors.

New WiFi standards

Routers with the 802.11a / b / g standard do not actually support new technologies. 802.11n was the first WiFi version with support for MU-MIMO, but it never really became usable, because all manufacturers mainly came up with their own versions due to the lack of uniform standards. And that is never a fruitful idea in network country. MU-MIMO only really came of age with 802.11ac and in combination with beamforming. Partly because of this, the newest routers have a maximum speed that is many times higher than that of older routers. Suitable devices, such as most new smartphones and tablets, will benefit from the higher speed and more stable connection with a newer router. This is important for the wireless signal at home, but certainly also outside.

Replace router

If you already have a poor signal at home, it will not be much better outdoors. Then it quickly pays to replace the router with a newer one. Unfortunately, this is not always easy. Depending on the provider and your internet subscription, you may have received your modem on loan or it also works as a modem. Grabbing the phone and complaining about the speed of the outdated device may help to get a new router sent for free.

An old cable modem router, such as this Ubee EVW3200, is especially suitable to be put in bridge mode with a new router.

Another option is to have the router put the internet service provider in bridge mode or use the dmz and then place a new router behind it. This is especially relevant with the internet via the TV cable, such as with Ziggo, where the router is also the modem. In bridge mode, the WiFi switches off, as do router functions such as dhcp, wet and the firewall, while bypassing them via the DMZ. This makes it possible to connect a new router to the old one and use its full functionality. The WiFi signal improves with the functionality and capacity of the new router.

Please note: if the old router is in bridge mode, the public IP address of the internet connection is located on the WAN port of the new router and you will also have the full security of WiFi and LAN (firewall) on that device. must arrange. You should also do that if your own router hangs in the DMZ of the router of your internet provider.

Obstacles

To improve the wireless network in the garden, it is useful to know which factors negatively affect your WiFi signal. The WiFi signal is a radio wave that loses energy as it spreads through the air. This maximizes the range of the signal, although you can improve this with a better antenna with more power. The strength of the signal from a wireless router is limited by law, among other things to prevent an unwanted race between manufacturers. They have to innovate in a different way than by increasing the wattage.

In homes, the wireless signal from the router mainly loses energy because of the obstacles in its path, such as walls and ceilings. For outdoor WiFi, think of HR glass as an important bump. It consists of several layers and has a thin metal layer on the inside of one of them that keeps the heat inside. The same layer also hinders the WiFi. Metal wall coverings, which have been trendy for several years, also have a negative impact on the WiFi signal, and the same applies to water. Fortunately, this applies especially to the water in an aquarium near the router and not to the water in the inflatable pool in the garden.

Walls are a major obstacle to the Wi-Fi signal, which therefore never extends the same distance in all directions.

2.4 and 5 GHz, and range

Modern routers use two frequency bands for the wireless network. The 2.4Ghz band is the oldest used. The advantage of this band is that the signal passes through walls and other obstacles most easily. Although this frequency band has the largest range, it also has the lowest speed. The 5GHz band is much faster than the 2.4GHz band, but has a much smaller range. The coverage problem has therefore increased with this new band rather than smaller. The easy-to-use solution that most suppliers have come up with is to work with multiple transmitters in a so-called multi-room or mesh system.

Move the router

In addition to the technology in the router, the location of the router also influences the wireless internet in and around the house. How many walls does the signal have to pass before it reaches the garden? Or are there so many that the signal doesn’t even reach the garden? In many cases, the wireless router is the only access point in the house and is centrally located to provide the house with good WiFi, not the garden.

An obvious solution to get a better signal in the garden is to move the router towards the garden. That works: indeed the garden will be better within range of the router and the quality of the signal will increase. Apart from the challenge that it can be to connect the router in its new place, moving also affects the Wi-Fi coverage in the house. Parts of the house that were already further away from the router or separated by more walls will now lose signal. That’s not handy.

Often the location of the router is fixed and a mechanic has connected the device there because the signal enters the house there. That point, technicians speak of the infrastructure peripheral point (isra) or subscriber takeover point (aop), is fixed and is often an unfavorable place for the wireless signal, such as a meter cupboard or corner of the house where the coax, telephone whether fiber optic cable has been brought in and the modem has been suspended. However unfavorable the current location of the router is, it is possible to bridge considerable distances with a network cable, which often makes it possible to relocate the router or take it outside in good weather.

For a few tens you buy a long network cable and in good weather you take an old router into the garden as a temporary access point.

Design issue

There is still a reason why the router is not always in the best place, but is tucked away in a meter cupboard or behind a sofa. That is that not every router is a jewel for the living room. Routers are usually clumsy, black and sometimes also equipped with a large number of large antennas. They also guarantee a colorful visual spectacle with all the flashing LEDs. Only recently, and especially from the makers of the multiroom or mesh systems, attention seems to be focused on a quieter and better design in the interior.

Old router as an access point

Multi-room or mesh systems combine multiple transmitters into a smart system, which you can configure for all transmitters at once. The downside is that they are not cheap. If you want a cheap solution, see if you have an old router that can also be used as an access point. That is the most ideal: all router functions are switched off and with a few clicks you have an extra transmitter in the network. You can connect the WAN port of the second router to the LAN port of your primary router. If the router does not support this, disable the dhcp server of the second router. Connect a LAN port on the additional router to a LAN port on the existing router.

As for the wireless configuration, there are some options. You can configure your own WiFi on the second router. You can also deploy the same network as on the main router. Both are possible and have pluses and minuses. Let the second router use a different channel from the main router to avoid conflicts. Depending on how smart the devices you connect to the outdoor Wi-Fi, you will have to connect outside separately. A seamless handover in which a smartphone automatically switches from one transmitter to another is often difficult in practice.

Some routers offer the option of being used as an additional access point.

More channels

If it is not possible to move the router to the garden, another solution is needed. There are several solutions for this. They all have one thing in common, at least one transmitter will be added. This can be an extra router, whether or not in the role of access point, a separate access point or a WiFi mesh system that combines a router with one or more access points. Wifi mesh systems in particular have become popular in recent years. Almost all Wi-Fi mesh systems work with an app for configuration and management and when you walk through your house you always connect to the access point with the strongest signal.

Orbi is a Wi-Fi mesh system from Netgear that is easy to configure and use via an app.

Power supply via PoE

The advantage of a multiroom system like the Orbi is that it uses one network ssid within which you as a user can move freely. If you walk in from the outside or vice versa, the devices you carry with you effortlessly switch from one transmitter to another. Unfortunately, Orbi does not support Power over Ethernet (PoE), so an electrical outlet is always required. In addition, the outdoor satellite must be within reach of the Orbi network. This limitation does not apply to the use of a separate outdoor access point, which you connect via a network cable. If the access point supports Power over Ethernet, then no further connection is required apart from the network cable, provided it is connected to a suitable PoE switch.

Powerline

If you have a noose contact in the garden, powerline is also an option. This system uses existing power lines as the basis for the network signal. This always requires at least two powerline adapters. One connects you to the router via a network cable and you plug it into a socket, while the other plugs it elsewhere in the house or garden into a socket to make a network connection or WiFi access point. According to the specifications, a set of powerline adapters can make a network connection up to 400 meters away. In any case, the signal via the domestic power network extends further than a network cable can.

An obstacle in the application of this technique may still be the connection going over different flow groups. Often a washing machine has its own group and also for lighting and equipment in a veranda or garden house is usually laid out as a separate group. In the worst case, no connection is possible at all in such a case, in the less severe the connection is not stable. If this problem occurs, move the powerline adapter that is connected to the router through the house and try to get a good connection through another outlet. The network signal does not have to come directly from the router. Connecting to a network switch elsewhere in the house is also quite possible.

Powerline adapters use existing power lines to move the network signal. Models with a built-in socket are practical to use.

Powerline with WiFi

There is a huge range of powerline adapters and more importantly, the better ones are increasingly becoming real network devices and are extensively configurable. Anyone who has ever made a point-to-point connection with two early powerline adapters will be amazed at the possibilities. Each powerline adapter has a network connection, so you can connect a wired access point to it. There are also powerline adapters with built-in WiFi technology, which allows you to provide the entire house with a multi-room WiFi system with a set of single adapters. What is still limited is the range of weather and water resistant adapters for outdoor use. An exception is the Devolo Outdoor WiFi Powerline Adapter BEGA.

The Outdoor WiFi Powerline Adapter from Devolo has a 4.5 meter long cable with which you can use the access point far into the garden.

Enough choice

No barbecue needs to run in silence this summer, nor can relaxing on the lounge sofa in the garden without Spotify or Netflix. The number of options to have good WiFi outside the house and to be able to use it fully is large and sufficiently mature to use now. Moreover, it does not have to be expensive. Those who do not feel like spending a lot of money on this can often achieve a much better signal in the garden with existing hardware and some interventions in the cabling. If you really want perfect and fast wireless coverage, a special outdoor access point is the ultimate solution.

Mesh for outside – Netgear Orbi Outdoor

A feature of these multi-room WiFi systems is the ability to add additional satellites for better WiFi in the attic or shed. What was missing for a long time were outdoor extensions, but these are now also available for the Netgears Orbi system. If it is within range of the Orbi network, the RBS50Y can simply be connected to the access point via the Sync button or via the Orbi app to the existing Orbi system. Because the RBS50Y is usually outdoors and suspension material is included, the coverage of the WiFi in the garden increases significantly.

Orbi uses an additional 1700 Mbit / s 5Ghz network for communication between the satellites and the router. This is the backbone for all real network traffic. Smartphone and tablets connect to the satellites via the user-configurable WiFi. The performance is therefore very good and comparable to the excellent Orbi RBK50. There are also disadvantages. For example, the Orbi Outdoor does not have LAN ports like all other Orbi satellites, so it is not possible to connect devices to the satellite with a network cable. Most importantly, the RBS50Y can therefore not optionally be supplied with network and electricity via PoE.

The Orbi RBS50Y is a weatherproof satellite for Netgear’s well-known Orbi system.

Netgear Orbi Outdoor (RBS50Y)

List price

269 ​​euros
Website
www.netgear.nl/orbi
8 Score 80 Score: 80

  • Pros
  • Weather resistant
  • Works perfectly with existing Orbi set
  • Stable WiFi connection
  • User friendly
  • Fasteners
  • Negatives
  • No LAN ports
  • price
  • No PoE

Outdoor AP – Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC Mesh Pro

An example of an access point for outdoor use is Ubiquiti’s UniFi AP AC Mesh Pro. This 802.11ac access point can be placed or hung anywhere in the garden wherever the network cable can go. Not only does this allow for a much greater distance to the house (Ethernet supports a maximum of 100 meters), a wired backbone offers more speed and stability than the same connection via a wireless network. Depending on your client, speeds of 400 Mbit / s are perfectly possible.

The UniFi AP AC Mesh Pro is part of Ubiquiti’s Unifi series products. This is a comprehensive network system with separate firewalls routers, switches and access points that can be configured and managed via one central management station with an associated app. It is especially popular with users with a semi-professional interest in networking. The management software is free and can also be installed on a nas or Raspberry Pi, but Ubiquiti also offers its own management stations with the Cloudkey Gen 1 and Gen 2. Ubiquiti also has other access points that can be hung outside.

Unifi AP AC Mesh Pro is an access point that can be powered via Power over Ethernet, so that no separate electricity connection is required.

Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC Mesh Pro

List price

199 euros
Website
https://unifi-mesh.ui.com
8 Score 80 Score: 80

  • Pros
  • Weather resistant
  • Integrates with existing Unifi network
  • Stable WiFi connection
  • Fasteners
  • Power supply via PoE
  • Negatives
  • price

Powerline – devolo Outdoor WiFi Powerline adapter

The devolo Outdoor WiFi Powerline adapter BEGA is equipped with a very robust 4.5 meter power cable. This allows the powerline adapter to be connected to a socket in the house or in the outside wall of the house and yet the access point to be placed well into the garden. The dark housing has no visible LED and buttons, they are all hidden under a lid. This ensures that the unit becomes completely invisible in the garden. If the network signal is tapped outside under a roof, a regular powerline adapter would also suffice. In all other cases, this Devolo is a solution.

In combination with another Devolo adapter (this is always necessary because the Outdoor unit has no network connection) and especially the Devolo Home Network app, the Outdoor unit can be quickly integrated into an existing powerline network. You can create a separate WiFi network, set up a guest network, but also “clone” an existing regular WiFi. The security options meet all needs and optionally the WiFi can be turned on and off according to a schedule. Only downside is the speed, count on about 50 Mbit / s. In practice, this is more than sufficient for streaming media in the garden, but less quickly than the other solutions.

The Outdoor WiFi Powerline Adapter from Devolo is waterproof and unobtrusively designed, but lacks the possibility to be mounted or hung somewhere.

devolo Outdoor WiFi Powerline adapter (BEGA)

List price

169 euros
Website
www.devolo.nl/dlan-wifi-outdoor
7 Score 70 Score: 70

  • Pros
  • Weather resistant
  • Integrates with Devolo powerline network
  • Stable WiFi connection
  • User friendlyv
  • Negatives
  • No LAN ports
  • No confirmation options
  • Speed
  • Second Devolo powerline adapter required (not included)

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