Improving Wi-Fi connectivity in the home


Image: By BiztechAfrica
Improving Wi-Fi connectivity in the home

By Ross Griffiths, Product Manager at Nology

The connected home is the home of the future, as video streaming, Internet television and increasing numbers of connected devices become a reality in South Africa. However, while Wi-Fi is often the most convenient method for home users to distribute connectivity through a home, there are several issues that are commonly experienced when using wireless that can prove frustrating if they are not correctly addressed.

Dead spots are a frequent issue, where certain places in homes experience very poor or no wireless reception at all. This happens for a number of reasons, mainly related to the format and layout of the home itself. Areas that are too distant from the wireless router may experience poor reception, as may areas that are located around corners and behind walls.

Double story home configurations also present problems, as obtaining connectivity on both floors can prove challenging.

These configuration issues are caused by inherent limitations in wireless technology itself, in that Wi-Fi penetrates mainly horizontally instead of vertically and is usually unable to penetrate more than six bricks. Homes with concrete floors between levels will experience the problem of dead spots to a greater degree, because of the same limitations.

General interference from wiring within the house and common electrical appliances such as microwaves and other electro-magnetic devices may also cause interruptions in signal which can affect the speed and quality of wireless connectivity.

It is also useful to bear in mind that even when dead spots do not occur, the signal will become weaker the further away from the wireless router the user is.  As the signal penetrates through the house, transfer speeds will drop and connectivity might become unstable.

Placing the router carefully to ensure maximum penetration and coverage is one option, but this is not always practical, since the placement of routers is often dependent on the location of the fixed line entry point into the home. Although problems are still common, even with the Wireless-N technology having greatly improved the Wi-Fi penetration distance, Wi-Fi remains the most convenient option, as it allows mobility and does not involve the huge cost associated with laying Ethernet cables throughout an
existing building.

To remedy this many people turn to stronger antennae and tools such as boosters and repeaters to improve the strength of signal, but this will not always help with penetration and transfer speeds. However, solving the wireless dilemma in the home does not involve a lot of complicated equipment or huge cost. It is in fact a simple task which can be dealt with quickly, easily and cost effectively.

Ethernet over power adapters enable the user to create a broadband network using existing electrical wiring, which allows Internet access to all the rooms, since electrical wiring typically runs throughout the entire house.

Ethernet over power adaptors have several advantages, including maintaining constant speeds due to more stable connectivity and eliminating dead spots, since additional devices can be easily added wherever they are required.

This technology also eliminates the problems that occur in multi-story buildings, since the electrical wiring runs between floors.

Installation takes a matter of minutes, since the adapter simply needs to be plugged into a power outlet and connected to the master device with the push of a button, creating an instant network connection between the two. This is a far more cost effective solution than running Ethernet cables through the house, while providing the same benefits as this fixed connectivity would with all of the advantages of wireless.

Ethernet over power devices are also completely portable, requiring no fixed installation, and so can be easily removed should people wish to move homes or rooms. They also provide more functionality than a standard access point, because they allow both wired and wireless connectivity, using Wi-Fi or by plugging devices such as Internet televisions and set top boxes, that typically need a stable connection, straight into the Ethernet port on the device.

Who would have thought that your electrical wiring could provide the ideal 'conduit' for Ethernet networks, extending and enhancing your home network?

Harnessing the potential of your existing power lines in your home through an Ethernet over Power device is an innovative way of ensuring your network speeds are not degraded, dead zones are never a problem and connectivity is as close as your nearest wall power socket. 

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