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A guide to extending Wi-Fi inside and outside of your home
Whether you’re trying to speed up your Wi-Fi connection or access it from your garage, yard, or shed, the methods for extending your Wi-Fi range are generally the same:
Knowing which methods to use and when will help you understand how to extend your Wi-Fi range, hopefully without spending too much money on upgrading your internet plan or buying more devices.
There are a few steps you can take to extend your Wi-Fi signal inside your home and get more out of your internet service:
Extending your Wi-Fi range outdoors may require an outdoor access point, depending on how far you need to extend your range. The average Wi-Fi range is 150 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors. Taking your router outside is not recommended. Unlike an outdoor access point, some of which can cover up to 800 square feet, most routers are not built to withstand inclement weather.
Be mindful when purchasing an outdoor access point. Each has its own maximum speed at which it can transfer data. For example, if you have a gigabit plan and purchase an access point with a maximum speed of 300 Mbps, you will only be able to get speeds up to 300 Mbps when connecting to that access point. In other words, even a high-speed internet plan could give you slow internet service if you're bottlenecking things with your wireless access point!
You could also use a mesh network, but mesh networks can cost more than outdoor access points. Like routers, most mesh networks are also not built to withstand harsh weather.
Getting a Wi-Fi signal through a single wall is hard enough, but getting it through two external walls into another building is just impractical. Even if you can get a signal, you’ll likely be dealing with frequent Wi-Fi connection issues.
A better way to extend your Wi-Fi range between buildings — as counterintuitive as it sounds — is to use an Ethernet cable. An Ethernet cable is more reliable than a wireless signal, but you will need to make sure it’s properly protected.
Use wire covering or other materials to protect your cable(s). It’s best to find one made from a more durable and flexible material like PVC.
Using an additional router is a popular option to extend and/or boost your Wi-Fi signal, especially if you need Wi-Fi in your garage or another building. In these cases, what you’re really doing is turning the second router into an access point or a wireless bridge — it’s a great way to save money and avoid cluttering your home with new devices.
You’ll need to assign your second router a new private IP address that’s within the range of your current router’s IP address, as well as turn off or change its DHCP settings to make it an access point.
Your router’s default private IP address should be printed on a sticker on the device. If you’ve changed the default IP address or if the sticker has worn off, you can find the current IP address using one of the following methods:
The fastest way is to use Command Prompt.
To access and change your old router’s settings, visit the manufacturer’s support page. Each router has a specific procedure to change it to an access point, so be sure to follow the steps properly.
If you’re trying to extend Wi-Fi inside and/or outside your home, the first thing you should do is make sure your router is in a central, decluttered location and that it’s using the 2.4 GHz band. Extending your Wi-Fi range is necessary if you have dead zones around your home or areas you frequent, but don’t confuse extending your range with increasing your speed. If you experience slower speeds in one area of your home, using a device like a mesh network, an old router, or a range extender can give you a stronger connection.
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