Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

Remember – Wifi is line of sight and distance/obstructions matter.

I got a call from a client I hadn’t seen in a while. He said his machine was slow, especially when reading his AOL email.

The machine was way overdue for a checkup so I took it back to the office. However, I remembered that he was using a Wifi connection.  I checked the signal in the room using the Wifi Analyzer app on my android. The signal strength in the room was about -85db.

The only wifi access point in the house was in the basement. It was an older unit. The access point was on a desk. The signal had to pass through the large flat screen monitor, some of the railing for the stairs, and then some amount of dirt and foundation.   The basement was completely furnished with a solid ceiling and there weren’t any network drops upstairs.

Moving the access point would only result in a minimal, incremental gain.

The obvious solution here is to go with a powerline network. This is a solution where you plug one device into your router and wall outlet. The other device goes into another outlet and has an ethernet or wifi connection.  The cost for a pair is about $60.

This solution should increase his network speeds significantly.

There are some things you might want to consider
  • Electrical appliances can degrade performance
  • If you live in a multi family residence such as an apartment, there is a security risk in the possibility of people accessing your network through the power lines.
  • Generally, the powerline adapters have to be plugged directly into the wall outlet
  • Poor or faulty wiring may affect performance.
  • For best results both ends should be on the same circuit but the solution will work across circuits in many cases.

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