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DrewJ's avatar

How do I boost a wifi signal to my backyard?

Asked by DrewJ (368 points ) November 9th, 2012

Hi. We have a guest house in our backyard that we rent out. We have our internet modem and wireless router in the main house at the closest possible position to the back of the house near the guest house but the wi-fi signal in the guest house is VERY bad. The person we’re renting the place too is VERY inconvenienced and we agreed to provide internet so I’m in a jam. You have to cross a little creek to get to the back guess house which makes it hard to run a wire. I have been looking online at ways I can boost the signal so that the guest house gets it well and I have read about wi-fi repeaters but it is unclear to me whether the wifi repeaters need to be hardwired into the modem. Is there any method that exists that can take the very weak signal and just make it stronger I the guest house? Without a wire being ran?

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13 Answers

DrBill's avatar

running a wire will give you the best reception, If you want to do it wireless it depends on materials in both buildings, distance, natural obstructions (like trees), etc.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

How do you get power to the guest house? Get a powerline network if you can.

DrewJ's avatar

Thanks @DrBill I would like to avoid running a wire if I can. I know the wireless connection in the back house depends on materials and obstructions but right now there currently obstruction consist of 2 walls, a tree, and about 15 yards. The back house does get SOME signal but it is obnoxiously slow. I am basically asking if there is something I can buy that sits inside the back house and takes the weak signal and makes it stronger. Does this exists in the world?

@Tropical_Willie That looks awesome but I think I have to run a wire right?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The guest house has lights and electricity, the same wires are used to carry the Ethernet signal. Just need a wall outlet at the router/modem in the main house and an outlet in the guest house to plug the adapter for the renter. I have run Ethernet Cat 6 in my house with WiFi for the laptops. Almost put in a powerline system but had the electrician run Cat 6 upstairs.

Buttonstc's avatar

Try researching the term “cantenna”. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Some sites include DIY diagrams and instructions. Others have a kit for sale.

DrewJ's avatar

@Tropical_Willie So the Ethernet signal is ran through a power wire? I can’t imagine how that would be possible. Or do you mean and ethernet wire is still ran through the wall, it just run parralel to the power cord and comes out of each socket.?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@DrewJ There is a adapter that plugs into the outlet ( 110 volt ) at one end this is plugged into the router / modem by regular computer wire and on the other end another adapter is plugged into the outlet at that end and Ethernet wire is connected to the adapter to computer.
The reason the call it powerline network is that it is sent up and down the household wiring.

DrewJ's avatar

@Tropical_Willie That. Is. Freaking. Awesome. Thank you so much for telling me about that. However, I did some research and it sounds like people have a lot of complaints. It sucks up a lot of power usage and is effected by large appliances? I will really consider this but I guess I just want to try soemthign else first.

@Buttonstc Thanks for the suggestions butI don’t really want to make something and the ones being sold don’t look like they are for sale anymore.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@DrewJ Check the reviews some are more effected by appliances than others. Must use the same brand of adapter on both ends.

jrpowell's avatar

I live in even worse conditions. My room is detached from the house and about 60 reet away and a metal building is between the house and my room. My signal was shit but I did a few things to help significantly.

On my iMac the signal was faint using the built in card.

So I bought a alfa AWUS036H USB adaptor for wifi. The antenna was crappy on that so I bought a better antenna for it. The antenna is a TL-ANT2408C.

I got a pretty big boost from the combo. Probably about a 400% increase in signal strength.

You can also look into getting a router that supports external antennas like the Netgear N300. You can then plug a antenna like the TL-ANT2408C into that. Going that route would help drastically for under 100 bucks.

And I would try changing the channel on the router. If there are a lot of wifi signals that can help too.

Rarebear's avatar

What about a wifi booster?

jrpowell's avatar

@Rarebear :: In my experience wifi boosters tend to increase latency which for some things can make it worse. Youtube might be a bit better but Facebook will be worse.

Seriously, a 30 dollar 8dBi antenna on the router or the computer will do a lot to improve the signal.

My antenna is perched on the big gulp cup.

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