Isn't everything wireless these days?

The problems

We hear this one a lot. Like, a lot. From clients certainly, builders, architects, everyone we meet... it's reasonable if you're thinking the same.

It's still a 'no' though. Sorry.

Think about it like this:

Things have changed

• We rely on our connected devices far more than we ever did.

• Many more things in our homes are connected than they used to be.

• Everyone in the family has a lot more connected things than they used to.

• So do all your neighbours.

And you start to see the problem.

Houses haven't really changed

In Bristol and the West Country there's a lot of stone in the older houses which really (really) doesn't help - stone and concrete make perfect wireless blockers.

The other problem is metal - steels hold up our extensions and knock-throughs, foil-backed plasterboard and insulation, metal back boxes for the sockets - these create Faraday cages which block wireless really well.

Your router is in the wrong place

I bet it's at the front of the house. Mine is too. So in other words, you're giving the people walking past and a couple of cars great wi-fi coverage, but it doesn't get as far as the kitchen, garden, or upper floors.

The solutions

1. Sort out the wireless

The best, super-reliable solution is to have several wi-fi access points throughout the building - these are just wi-fi aerials, connected via ethernet cable back to the central router. The better access point systems are 'active' - in other words when you move about, the system hands your device over to the best aerial.

Depending on the size of the home, we sometimes need two, often three or four, and the most we've ever used on a residential project was seven.

In older houses with high ceilings and beautiful historic plasterwork we don't want to chase cables between floors. Instead we can run outdoor grade Ethernet cables - concealed behind downpipes this is very low impact indeed. The other 'sneaky' solve for larger projects is a false drainpipe full of cables. A drainpipe is such a common sight, no-one even notices.

Sometimes you really can't run cables - although we'd always prefer to - and nowadays there are 'mesh' systems which talk to each other wirelessly as well as talking to your devices wirelessly.

Mesh networking isn't quite as good, as robust, or as fast - it can't be, because some of the available radio bandwidth is used up getting the points talking to each other. You will also need more aerials than with a wired system. However if you really don't want to - or can't - touch the finish anywhere in your building then we're happy to help with this too.

Our preferred mesh networking solutions are 'wired and wireless' - so if things don't work as well over mesh as we wanted, we have somewhere to go.

2. Wire everything that doesn't move

This is just common sense. No matter how much wireless gets better, wired is always much faster - and doesn't clog up the wireless bandwidth for other stuff. So for everything that isn't meant to move about - desktop computers but not laptops, plus your TVs, set-top boxes, streamers, printers and games consoles - always use a wired connection.

Gamers will already know that a wired connection is snappier and more responsive, which makes a big difference when things get competitive.

And by wiring up all the fixed things, the performance of your mobile devices gets a lot better too.

If you've got a problem with your Wi-Fi, we can help - please get in touch.

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