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Advice needed to improve home WiFi coverage please

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kkjmckay
Newbie
Posts: 3
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Registered: ‎25-01-2021

Advice needed to improve home WiFi coverage please

Hi everyone,
I'm at my wits end and hope someone can please help me?

I have ASDL broadband and a Plusnet 2704n router. Our broadband speeds are pitifully slow at 3.8 Mbps download and 0.71Mbps upload (with various providers, not just Plusnet) I think it's because we are rural and a fair distance from the exchange.

Our house is an old steading conversion - longer than it is wide, (100ft x 30ft) single storey with the added bonus of an occasional 2ft thick internal wall.
My router sits roughly in the middle of the house in the office (where the phone master socket is) and the sitting room is at one end. I have an ethernet cable from the router which comes into the sitting room and plugs into the back of the smart TV. It occasionally freezes/lags/drops connection.
The WiFi coverage near the router is okay, but I have 4 kids with various WiFi devices and I know this will affect performance.

How can I get better WiFi coverage in my whole house, or even just the sitting room? Can I plug the ethernet cable into something instead of the TV to act as an extender?
Now that we're home schooling it's become apparent exactly how bad it is and the kids are frustrated, I'm frustrated and feeling a bit lost as to the best thing to do...

Any help or advice is much needed and appreciated - I know I need to buy something, but don't know if I'm best to get a new router and/or extenders and don't want to spend cash on something that won't help.
I know there are internet technical geniuses here and I'm hoping that you'll come to my rescue without baffling me with too much tech-talk!
Thanks in advance!
11 REPLIES 11
jab1
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Re: Advice needed to improve home WiFi coverage please

Fix

Welcome to the forums @kkjmckay . I'm not one of the technical geniuses, but I may be able to help a little. The first thing I would suggest is that you invest £20-£30 in a BT HomeHub 6 from that well-known auction site. The 2704N is not the best for wireless range, and given your description of your home and its' location, I'm surprised you get anything, TBH.

I'm afraid with that connection speed, even using an ethernet cable to the TV, the HH6 won't make that much difference - there just isn't enough 'oomph' in the signal to work effectively.

Do you need internet coverage in other areas of your house - if you do, given thick walls &c, we may have to look at Access Points, but trying the HH6 first will give us a guide.

John
Baldrick1
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Re: Advice needed to improve home WiFi coverage please

@kkjmckay  Welcome to the forum.

A Smarthub 6 will certainly give you better WiFi. They cost about £20 from an auction site. Setting instructions are here. https://community.plus.net/t5/My-Router/Using-the-BT-Smarthub-6-on-a-Plusnet-Account/m-p/1587673#M85...

This will also give you some ideas regarding other options available  https://community.plus.net/t5/Tech-Help-Software-Hardware-etc/Distributing-Data-around-Larger-Proper...

dvorak
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Re: Advice needed to improve home WiFi coverage please


Moderators Note


This topic has been moved from ADSL Broadband to My Router

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corringham
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Registered: ‎25-09-2015

Re: Advice needed to improve home WiFi coverage please

I think you have two separate problems:

1) slow broadband

2) poor Wi-Fi coverage

Fixing either on its own won't solve the other problem.

I have a large house with thick stone walls in places, and I have great Wi-Fi by using Ubiquiti PoE access points in the loft at each end of the house - I can recommend them, but they aren't cheap. In fact I cover the house, my garden office, outbuildings and 2 acres with just 4 access points. Other brands may work as well, but I haven't tried them.

However, even that solution would only mean you have access to slow broadband everywhere,

For faster broadband, first check whether FTTC is available (I'm guessing not), or whether any Altnet's  or WISP providers are active in your area (again I'm guessing not). Then check 4G - I used Three for a while, but now get 80Mbps down, 25Mbps up using EE and it costs less than Plusnet ADSL used to. All the main mobile providers offer unlimited data packages these days - prices vary, and availability and speed depends on your location.

Good luck.

kkjmckay
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Registered: ‎25-01-2021

Re: Advice needed to improve home WiFi coverage please

Thanks for your reply John @jab1 , I'll get one and try it.
Great links @Baldrick1 they'll be handy for setting it up!
@corringham thanks for your time. Unfortunately there's no fibre here and mobile coverage is patchy to say the least..... 4G only available outdoors (in a Scottish winter that's not happening lol!) So I'll try the BT router then look at extending the painfully slow broadband from there.
I'll report back...... hopefully with good (better?) news 🙂
corringham
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Re: Advice needed to improve home WiFi coverage please

With suitable external antenna - e.g. MikroTik LHG LTE6 Cat6 4G outdoor router - you can get sometimes get good signals in places phones struggle to get a signal, so I wouldn't rule 4G out completely.

gleneagles
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Re: Advice needed to improve home WiFi coverage please

Would a TP link improve WiFi coverage...?

I accept it will not improve the speed.

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Longliner
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Re: Advice needed to improve home WiFi coverage please

It should ... our old house has concrete block walls which bother my rotary hammer never mind wifi signal. We have two Devolo powerline extenders which cover 1100sq ft pretty well. Speed does suffer, 35Mb at router becomes 27Mb via the Devolo at the other end of the house.

Copper compresses with age and I found that most of the screw connections in our three-pin sockets required almost a turn to tighten them into full contact although we had no flickering etc before tightening. Loose connection can't help the signal. Don't forget to turn off the mains before setting off with your screwdriver!

markhawkin
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Re: Advice needed to improve home WiFi coverage please

@kkjmckay 

There are things that could be tried but are

a) Possibly complex

b) Potentially reasonably expensive

Thoughts in order:

1) I assume you have done everything possible to get the best performance from your ADSL connection (filtered faceplate and also tried the speed pugged into the "test" socket in the BT master socket)

2) When I had ADSL the thing that broke it most was oversubscribing the uplink (home -> exchange) with things like OneDrive syncing etc. A better router would allow some prioritisation of traffic but this is quite tricky to set up and get right. It was uplink saturation and things stopping working that drove me to get "fibre" rather than the download speed on ADSL.

3) Some kind of wireless repeater at the TV end (with a hub built in) would at least enhance coverage there.  

4) Get a SIM for each physical mobile network and see what the real performance is standing outside. Once you have identified the best performing see what data deals are available on that network.

5) Then get some kind of router (or possibly a spare phone) for the mobile network and try it in an optimum indoors location (say near a window).

6) With the correct router it is possible to balance traffic between (say) a mobile network and ADSL. This also can be complex to set up and get working.

7) Whatever you do for mobile data ensure you are not exposed to massive costs if you use a lot of data as mistakes will happen.  

Cool A second phone line with another ADSL service might not be the worst idea either....

 

 

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Simon_F
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Re: Advice needed to improve home WiFi coverage please

Another alternative might be to to buy a couple of "ethernet over power" adaptors. eg. as described here https://www.techradar.com/news/networking/powerline-networking-what-you-need-to-know-930691

I bought some cheapish** tp-link ones from probably eb(ay/uyer). One unit connects to the modem/router with ethernet, and then the other(s) can be plugged elsewhere around the house. Those other ones can have multiple ethernet ports and/or wireless. The wireless can be cloned from the main router with the WPS button so they are fairly easy to set up.

**By cheapish, I have found I need to switch off/on occasionally, say, once a fortnight. No idea why, but otherwise they seem to solve the problem for us.

kkjmckay
Newbie
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Registered: ‎25-01-2021

Re: Advice needed to improve home WiFi coverage please

Thanks to everyone for your advice!

Quick update: I have got the BT hub set up (the link with step by step process was invaluable!) and it seems to be more stable than the Plusnet one so far (it's still early days) and I bought a TP-link wireless access point and have installed it in our living room.
The WiFi coverage is now great, albeit with the slow broadband. I've priced mobile broadband and satellite internet but it's fairly expensive and since we've never known fast internet speed, for the time being we'll stick with what we've got.
Thanks again 🙂👍