When it comes to your home or business WiFi, there are so many options it can seem a tad confusing. People tend to think bigger is better, and while sometimes that is the case, how do you know what is actually "bigger"? Hopefully this article will clear things up for you a little bit.
First of all, you should understand that WiFi is just a wireless radio signal, and just like with all signals, the make of your home, objects in the way, and placement of your router is crucial to the proliferation of the signal. How does that effect you? You are likely to find more dead spots in rooms with lots of mirrors or reflective surfaces (like your bathroom).
Usually, when you find a dead spot in your home you think of one thing. "My router isn't big enough." While it is probably true that you need better hardware to cover your home with great WiFi signal, not all expensive routers are created equal. If you walk into your local big box electronics store (not mentioning any names here) they will likely try to sell you something like this.
And while it looks fun and impressive, this is not likely to fix your dead spots. Why? Because it is still distributing signal from the same spot, with similar power, and has to move through the same obstructions in your home. Your network still looks like the picture below.
So whats the solution? I am so glad you asked. Instead of buying a bigger, badder router, why not just buy more of them?
The Access Point Solution
Access points essentially break down your wireless router into two parts: Routing and Wireless Access. This helps you create an even distribution of wireless signal in your home by providing multiple locations from which your devices can communicate with your router.
The bottom line is that if you struggle with bad WiFi coverage, you should buy an access point system. But which one? There are so many brands out there, and so many technologies. Here is a break down of the two rival access point technologies and a recommendation for both.
Mesh networks allow you to quickly deploy an access point system in your home with no wires. This is a big draw for folks who have little attic access for new wiring, or just flat out don't want to mess with it. Mesh networks are easy to install and can drastically improve internet experience in your home.
There are plenty of options to choose from, but we have two recommendations.
1. Google WiFi - Google has an extremely user friendly interface, solid firmware, and overall, great performance. If you utilize any of their other Nest brand smart home devices such as Nest Thermostat or Nest cameras, the most recent version release integrates seamlessly with those systems. But even if you don't, Google WiFi is a great option.
2. TP Link Deco - TP Link has similar features to Google WiFi, but at a lower cost. Obviously it does not offer seamless integration with Nest products, but the network performance is just as good. The best part is that Deco is a much lower price, making it more affordable.
Wired Access Point Networks If you can run off of a wire you should. The unfortunate nature of wireless technology is that sometimes inexplicable things can happen. You cut your odds of that happening by having your access points wired together. This reduces latency and provides for more general network stability. Obviously if you have no attic access to run wiring this is probably not a good option, so keep that in mind.
We really only have one recommendation for wired access points.
1. Ubiquiti Unifi AP-AC Long Range - This product has incredible range and performance. We have deployed it more times than I can count, and it almost never breaks. You can plan on putting it in and forgetting about it. The disks mount on your ceiling and look similar to a smoke detector, so the units are out of sight, out of mind. If you do not know how to run and terminate Cat5e or Cat6 cable you will need a professional installer. If in the Central Texas area we can do this for you, or you can find any network or security company that can provide these services for you as well.
If you have any questions about these solutions we are always happy to help. Give us a call at (254) 777-5222 or email email@example.com for details!