WI-FI boost

I need to strengthen the Wi-Fi range for outdoor cameras. is there a preferred product for this application? thank you

1 Like

It is going to depend on what is compatible with the WiFi Network you already have in place if you are looking to add onto what you already have, if it is scalable at all. So many different possibilities. It will also depend on your physical setup for the space if you have wired LAN or have to use wireless. Lastly, it will depend on how thick your wallet is. It can get downright PRICY!

1 Like

There are many ways to do this, and they each have their pros and cons.

The quickest, cheapest, and easiest way is using a Wi-Fi extender. This is a simple device you plug into an outlet and set it up via an app to extend your Wi-Fi. It will create a separate network, separate SSID, etc. this is fine for a one off thing like a single cam that’s far away, but it introduces a lot of latency, complexity, and can lead to instability. The main con is that your phone will not switch between your router and extender very well. If you only use it for the cam it should be fine.

The best way to do this is use a mesh system. Wyze sells one, and so do many other companies. This will definitely be a more expensive solution, but it is a good investment. This will make your network faster and more reliable, and you can easily add more coverage without causing any of the above issues. Mesh networks are the future, but as I said before they are definitely a bit more pricy.

If you plan on expanding your smart home in the future a mesh network is probably the way to go. Strong Wi-Fi is EXTREMELY important in modern smart homes.

2 Likes

i have 150 mbs service. the cameras get wifi just not enough. only 1 bar. takes a while to load the cameras. I want to install it outdoors with solar. i panels. the router is in the house. i have 1 and 1/4 acres. service is wired directly to the router via a hole drilled through a wall. the back of the property where I want the cameras is about 5 feet higher than the house thank you

I am going to assume you know the pattern that a Mesh WiFi system will give you. (Sort of like overlapping rings.) And that’s what I use. Works okay because most of my stuff surrounds my devices. However, my pickup sits on the street (side street actually and it has a Wyze v3 in it. The distance is 90 feet. And no power anywhere to add another mesh node. Then a friend showed me this. A WiFi Extender, but recent tech.
Most extenders pre-date mesh systems. But this is newer tech. Look at the range on most extenders. Whatever their range is, take that number and derive the square root to find its distance from device to furthest device.
This one satisfied my problem because distance is 100 feet. Pickup cam’s signal is 2-/2-3 bars nearly all the time. I placed the extender in my garage, at the point closest to the truck.
You can find a refurbished on and save a few dollars. And you can also send it back to Amazon if it doesn’t help. Worth a shot.

thank you this will solve my issue

I am running a 3 Node Mesh on 200mbps fiber service.

I tried extenders in the past, however they proved ineffective. They just didn’t have the power and bandwidth speed I needed because they were all wireless backhaul.

My house is old. It doesn’t have network LAN wiring. So, the extenders were just wireless relay stations for the main router and they weren’t strong enough.

I replaced the whole kit & kaboodle with a 3 Node Mesh system where each node is a full blown WiFi router and not a rinky dink extender. They all still have to be on wireless backhaul since I’m not running LAN cable. But, they don’t drop cams and streaming is quick.

3 Likes

Not a networking expert but I’ve tried a thing or two over the last 5-plus years to optimize my WiFi. I have an older tri-level house which seems to block or attenuate WiFi signals drastically. Biggest improvement I got was from placing my router as high and as central in my house as possible. Luckily I was able to find a run of internets tube (coax cable) to my upstairs 3rd bedroom, so I could place both the router and cable modem there. Also, not sure if this is just a myth, but I oriented by antennae straight out, rather than straight up.

I also got a couple of cheapo AC750 range extenders and set them in the corners of my house. They have a “high-speed” mode, where you can choose to run it with either a 2.4 -OR- 5 ghz signal. I used the 2.4 mode with the presumption that as most of my smart devices (including my Wyze devices) run on 2.4 ghz, this setup both provides a better signal for them, -AND- takes some of the load off the 2.4 GHz signal from the main router. (Not really as the RE’s still have to connect to the router, but they do so over the 5 ghz band which is not as crowded or loaded.)
BTW to address one of the points that IEatBeans made in his excellent post, I do have my RE’s setup with the same SSID as my router signal, for the very reason he mentioned, so that my phone and other portable devices can switch seamlessly. (But then they should be able to do so anyway even with different SSID’s, once you join your phone to both SSID’s.)

Sorta kinda works; I have one on my exterior wall, and outside is a (different-branded) battery outdoor camera. It’s notoriously bad for WiFi connectivity, but in this setup I’ve had no issues with it, except when using the microwave oven. Even then it’s only for a few minutes and then it reconnects (assuming it ever disconnected).

I had also used a power line range extender to try to feed WiFi to my garage, but it was N300 (if even that) and because my garage is detached (about 30 ft behind the house), it still attenuated significantly. The key is that the “transmitter” and “receiver” have to be plugged into outlets which share the same side of the panel to work best. I found the range extender itself seemed to provide just enough internets to the garage; I’m not doing heavy streaming out there.

I’ve found no compelling reason to invest in a costly mesh router system. And I “only” have 200 mbps cable internet for $35/mo which has been more than enough for me.

BTW, contrary to popular belief, 5 GHz is not necessarily “faster” than 2.4 GHz. It has the advantages that it is in a less-crowded bandwidth, and is not affected by RF interference from microwaves, motion sensors, machinery, electric motors, etc. However 5ghz doesn’t travel as far as 2.4 GHz, and if I remember correctly, doesn’t go as well through walls, floors, doors, or other obstructions.

P.S. - Whatever solution you use, please do not forget to change the administrative/ login ID & password on your router, range extenders, mesh system, etc. The pre-programmed ones are so generic they are just asking to be hacked.

3 Likes

Impressive, and a lot of old school. Let me suggest two things that I think will help, but you will need to try to see if it matters. Best part, cost no money.

  1. IF you have that 3rd floor router sitting on a table or desk, move it. Think about, the signal must go through the wood/metal of the table/desk. Yes, I saw, you have the antenna sticking out vice up. Good idea. Is it extended out beyond the end table/desk. If I were you, I would mount it on a side or wall someplace where its got nothing impeding the signal.
  2. This is really old school. Back 25+ years ago when some of the very first routers were sold, specifically Linksys made a 300 meg with one port. Linksys made almost the first router available to the home market. Long time ago. We found that we could improve the “cone” of the signal by using a sheet of aluminum foil as a “backsplash” to reflect the signal toward the majority of our devices. I’d add a sheet (use your judgement to determine how much larger than 20"x12" and make it sort of like a roof above the router 8-ish+ inches above the router using it to reflect the signal going down towards 2nd/1st floor, as it doesn’t do much good for signal to be going up toward your ceiling. This is really old school and it used to make a difference for us in those early days. People are gonna laugh and dismiss it. But I think its worth an effort. Best of luck to you.
1 Like

Thank you! Sometimes the old ways work the best. I’d rather try these small / fast/ cheap tricks before just giving up and going to a mesh system.

I maybe should post a photo; my router is on the top shelf of my 3rd bedroom closet (that room because it’s most central), with a box under it. So (by coincidence, not by design :slight_smile: ) it’s at least a few feet above the level of any devices used upstairs. I could maybe go a bit higher but then I’d need a stool to reach it, on those rare occasions I need to fiddle with it.

I like that “foil ceiling” idea, I may try that, no harm in doing so. There’s an opening panel to the attic just above that so maybe I just wrap foil around that. It’s probably about 8 inches or so above the router.

One other thing that helped me a lot when I was first diagnosing network signal strength - there’s an app called Analiti, which works on Android and also Amazon Fire Stick. It gives LOADS of useful wifi info such as channel strength (dBm), frequency, “link speed” (which is kind of a measure of capacity), proximity to other SSID’s (I found the neighbors’ wifi was somehow causing a lot of interference, so for a while I made sure to choose a different channel), Net Analyzer is another good app; it’s available for iOS and will give some useful info, but is much better on Android, as it gives the channel & frequency, link speed, and signal strength.

1 Like

Yes, This is the way.

1 Like