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Wifi set up for old house


Sasquatch
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Sasquatch

A question for the uber IT geeks on the forum. I have some knowledge but it does hurt my brain quite a bit so go easy with the terminology and please assume I'm a right thicko.

We are restoring our new house and replacing all of the wiring. We've had a chat with our electrician about also installing a hard wired data network. This is because I'm pretty sure that we will not be able to get a decent wifi signal throughout the house. Some of the internal walls are 500mm thick. We are therefore thinking of setting up a switch at the incoming BT broadband position and then wiring from the switch to 4 or 5 data points throughout the house. From each of these points we would then set up a local wifi zone. Back in the mists of time we had a similar set up in a house and used Apple airport express devices. However, I don't think these will work with a BT router? Therefore what would be the best device to plug into each data point? I had assumed we would stick with cat 5 but I'm also aware that we could use cat 6. Not sure if there is much difference in reality? In terms of broadband availability, we  have access to superfast or ultrafast. 

Anything else I need to watch out for?

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12 hours ago, MrPin said:

If you are rewiring anyway, put cables in. Wifi and Homeplug might get interference from neighbours.

Wait. He has neighbours?

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DTMark

This is why the BT (IIRC) adverts make me giggle when they promise to 'guarantee reliable wi-fi in every room of the house'. It's houses like yours where they might come unstuck.

I presume that their solution is to supply homeplug things, as many as are needed, which will work between rooms on the same ring main. It's best to pick locations which aren't near windows.

Bearing in mind the bold promises of the advert I wonder if you should check what the solution is with then. If they will supply half a dozen home plugs for nothing then I'd be going with that :)

The adjectives related to speed don't seem to mean much - superfast is up to 80Meg down, I think so wi-fi is fine, if ultrafast is 1Gbps fibre to the home then wi-fi isn't going to deliver much more than 200Mbps no matter what you do with it.

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onlyme

If laying data cable go with latest spec - the big cost is in laying the cable and putting in outlets.

You also have the option of using the the mains cabling and routing signals through those, that tech has been improving over the years and worked for me in the past. There's a new tech G.hn that has stretched bandwidth even further and supposedly increased reliability.

Could mix and match - you might have some routes that are easy to do those and some that are a swine to do and hence expensive - maybe do what is easy and cheap and look at power line tech for other locations yo happen to need it. 

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Cosmic Apple

If your cabling anyway, get a few Unifi APs and place them in appropriate positions, if you get them from Broadbandbuyer for example you can get them with 'free' cloud controller for 3 years, or you could host your own controller. Disable WiFi on what ever crappy router you get from your provider and let the Unifi APs do all the work with one SSID.

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nirvana
On 21/05/2021 at 20:29, MrPin said:

If you are rewiring anyway, put cables in.

this! And don't forget too much WIFI fries your brain.......:S

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Sasquatch

I thank you all for your replies but I still don't think I know what I'm supposed to be doing o.O

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Andersen

The floorplan for place I'm at now is a long line of rooms with thick solid walls that cut the range of the wifi signal. The provider (BT etc) has a router in the 2nd room from one end, a cat5 cable runs from that router to a slave router (is this the right term?) located in the 2nd room from the other end of the building. It all works well, but which room you are in dictates which router will give the strongest signal.

First point would be to get broadband into your place and see where the signal reaches, then look at extending it to the low coverage areas,

If you're still doing building work, now is the ideal time to run cables or buried trunking. To pull cables through in the future, tie a "pompom" onto a string and use a hoover to suck the pompom & string through the trunking - then use that as a pull to get the cable through.

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nirvana
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Sasquatch said:

I thank you all for your replies but I still don't think I know what I'm supposed to be doing o.O

a lot of it depends on the strength of the wifi signal from your router and how far down the garden you want to go...

My router is from orange.fr......the walls are half a metre thivk but the signal still goes quite a long way, it does make you wonder what it's doing to your head....... @201phas proved that he sleeps better with his router switched off, mind you he hasn't been seen for a while O.o

Draw a plan of all your technology and what you want to achieve! Do you like music? If so you should be looking into multi-room music.....I like picoreplayer, running on raspberry PIs....WITH WIRES :P Actually I do have a wireless portable one for the garden......

Are you going to utilise IoT for anything? the internet of things but also known as IoS....the internet of shite xD

Actually some of it is very good, you can build an Arduino controller and have Home Assistant water your garden for you, monitor security cameras etc

Edited by nirvana
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goldbug9999
Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Sasquatch said:

I thank you all for your replies but I still don't think I know what I'm supposed to be doing o.O

You have one of these fitted where your modem/router is going to be located:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/rhinocables®-Ethernet-Faceplate-Network-Various-CAT6/dp/B00ESDVTLY

Each of the 4 ports is then wired to a single socket version in each room where you need to connect devices.

Where you need multiple connected devices in one room you can use a switch/splitter to "fan out" the single connection for that room the individual device e.g.   https://www.amazon.co.uk/TP-Link-TL-SG105S-Ethernet-Lifetime-Warranty/dp/B07HP5TN4S If you've got more than 4 devices in a room that need a network cable give yourself a slap and get a life (or just get a switch with more ports).

You could also put a wireless access point in the room as well either directly into the socket or into one of the switch port if you wanted to mix wired and wireless in the room. 

Edited by goldbug9999
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spunko

My house is very old, and right in the middle of it is a Faraday Cage (an old brick inglenook that is up to 4ft thick). I had to set up a mesh network which cost about £400 altogether but will probably cost less now. Look for 'Tenda' on Amazon. You will need to effectively boost it around the house.

I had an electrician wire up CAT6 cabling and am partly using that too, it's probably a better solution.

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onlyme
3 hours ago, spunko said:

My house is very old, and right in the middle of it is a Faraday Cage (an old brick inglenook that is up to 4ft thick). I had to set up a mesh network which cost about £400 altogether but will probably cost less now. Look for 'Tenda' on Amazon. You will need to effectively boost it around the house.

I had an electrician wire up CAT6 cabling and am partly using that too, it's probably a better solution.

Hence my suggestion of a mix, old houses in can be a swine to route fixed cabling, so best bang for buck is to route from point to point where you can (including the essential entry point where the route is positioned per @goldbug9999's suggestion, then where necessary revert to other methods. Sods law is that a lot of time the exact location of where you put individual faceplates is not exactly where you want them in the room anyway and patch cables get in the way, the user has a phone or tablet so needs wifi anyway.

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Guest 3
Posted (edited)

Our landlord doesn't want me running Ethernet cables all round the house, so I use gigabit homeplugs, and they really are excellent. 

One into the router in the kitchen, one with three ethernet outputs in the front room for the TV, Freesat box and Blu-ray player, and one in my man-cave upstairs with two outputs fed into 2x four port switches, all of which are currently used. Yes, I am that sad.

They are rock solid for video streaming. Wi-fi is shit on the standard 2.4Ghz channels as we are in a terraced house and all the neighbours have wi-fi. Many are operating on either the same channel, or overlapping channels as there are only 13 of them to share. 

One trick if you are having wi-fi problems with neighbours on the same frequency is to use the 5Ghz band if your router and devices support it. My BT home hub does, and I run 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks side-by-side.

The disadvantage with 5Ghz is it doesn't travel as far as 2.4Ghz, and walls attenuate it more. But it should handle more data throughput if you can get a good signal.

There are two other advantages to using the 5Ghz band.

1. Fewer people use it.

2. Most UK equipment defaults to 5Ghz band A, but if your router supports band B (BT homehub 5 does) then you will find using that can give you even more of a clean wi-fi signal advantage.

Not all devices can access Band B - my Amazon TV box and Roku will only use band A up to channel 56 - but my tablet, and my wife's tablet and her smartphone can access Band B. The two video boxes that can't are hard-wired via the homeplug.

I have set my router to always use channel 100 on the 5Ghz band rather than its "smart" setting, and the wi-fi experience with streaming video is much better than on 2.4Ghz.

Both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz are synched to the same SSID and password on my router, so more modern devices and legacy devices can coexist transparently. You can set-up separate SSIDs and/or passwords for the two networks if you want, but I found that only confused visitors to the house. 

 

Crowded 2.4Ghz band. 

WiFiAnalyzer(9937).thumb.png.1ca7a63c6adadef24a88e6960a0c2547.png

 

5Ghz band. Band B starts at channel 100, and I'm the only one there...

WiFiAnalyzer(7838)a.thumb.png.71175d3577d9fb0376b700d8741faf34.png

 

XYY

Edited by The XYY Man
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Guest 3
Posted (edited)

Oh, and using Band B has another possible advantage in that it is allowed a higher maximum legal power output than channels 36 to 64 - which means greater range. Maximum power is 1000mW on channels 100 to 140, as opposed 200mW on channels 36 to 64.

I don't actually know if my BT router boosts the power using these channels as that is not the reason I am using them, but there is no legal reason why it can't. 

Now this bit is important. 

Channels 149 to 161 - known as Band C - are allowed a further boost of the radiated power to 4000mW. Or 4 Watts if you prefer it that way.

But you need a licence to use those channels legally, and they are not supposed to be used indoors, but rather as range extenders for devices that are outside the building, and not for boosting you indoor signals.

I think the yearly licence costs £50 and you might need a specialist router, but I don't really know.

I've achieved the interference-free result I wanted by shifting to channel 100, so I can't comment with any authority about any results you may or not get above channel 140 if you are using it legally...

 

XYY

Edited by The XYY Man
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Guest 3
Posted (edited)

Also, even if your router can operate at the maximum legal power output levels, that doesn't mean your phone, PC or tablets can.

The router can be as powerful as it likes, but if the device trying to connect with it is limited to a certain Wattage - which for production cost and battery-life reasons I am guessing most will be - then you might not get that much of an improvement in the usable distance from the router. Some improvement for sure, but not as much as you might hope for per Pound-note spent.

As I've said, my use of Band B is not to solve a distance and/or a thick-wall problem - as due to the small size of the house I don't actually have either of them to worry about - but to solve a wi-fi interference problem from the equally diminutive properties nearby. 

And as a solution for that specific issue, it is very fit for purpose...

 

XYY

Edited by The XYY Man
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nirvana
3 hours ago, spunko said:

@The XYY Man what app or program did you use to analyse your GHz bands / interference (posted above)?

methinks probs an android app...quick google, pretty sure that's an app called 'wifi analyzer'

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sarahbell

We hard wired our house whilst they were doing the electrics, Got some fancy switch box thing up here so my computer is hard wired in to the internet. 
 

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Wire the house up with Cat 6 cable while you can and the electrician is in. You don't need to run all the cables from where the BT line comes in, find a central place (cupboard under the stairs even and put a central switch there).

For wifi use one of the mesh systems and that will allow you to keep a consistent name across the house with devices moving from hub to hub as you walk round. 

 

 

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nirvana
Posted (edited)

this is an interesting vid, watch it....he does mention wifi right at the end but it's good for education, nonetheless :)

 

Edited by nirvana
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Harley
Posted (edited)
On 23/05/2021 at 21:48, Sasquatch said:

I thank you all for your replies but I still don't think I know what I'm supposed to be doing o.O

I have an old thick walled house.  I installed CAT5e.  I looked at CAT6 but could not see the cost benefit.  I used external grade cabling externally as easier.  I also used this system internally so have phone and satellite outlets too:

https://www.screwfix.com/p/lap-modular-rj45-ethernet-socket-white/51057

Tip:  Don't skimp on sockets!

I also have wifi and data over the mains.  But fixed wiring is best.  Still have several hundred metres unused because it was cheaper in bulk!

All run off a network hub connected to a router connected to a modem.  All apart (so located where best!) via the cabling with negligible performance loss.  You may want PoE if you will want to connect ethernet based CCTV, etc.

I bought the right tools for connecting the cables - wire stripper's, push downs, and a tester.  Made things far easier, especially the tester!

I used trunking on the vertical cable runs outside, terminating them with rounds where the cables go into the wall.  Looks a lot neater.

Edited by Harley
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