At my own home, I need access in many locations. Commonly in the back garden, and the office, to the rear of my property – but my main router is located at the front of my property.
One of the first major improvements I made was to use a few cheap WiFi repeaters within my property. This worked alright at first, but the big issue with this, was the WiFi signal was still limited.
After a few months, I put a few wired sockets into various locations around my home. This involved me moving my router (the main WiFi access point) off the cupboard by the door onto a shelf near the ceiling. The cables for the wired sockets were run under the upstairs floorboards, so the patch panel was located at the top of the wall, next to the ceiling.
The wired sockets helped the signal immensely. The TV box, PlayStation, Xbox, etc were all removed from the wireless network, and these were probably some of the more demanding applications.
I needed a few more ports than i’d ran to some locations, so I needed to use some ethernet splitters, but I also used a couple of switches.
As I’d got a few of my old ISP DSL routers lying in the shed, I also configured them to act as a switch and wireless access point. For most applications, this works great. My main router only has four RJ45 ports and by the addition of the old reconfigured router I had gained three extra ports.
The next thing I did was to get a dedicated wireless access point. This access point could be ran in a variety of different modes. Sadly, given that my main VDSL modem is my “home use” BT Smart Hub, which doesn’t allow for routing table edits, I opted to use it in a bridged wireless access point manner. This gave me increased coverage, and an additional four RJ-45 ports. Given the number of printers, NAS (Network Attached Storage), and other cabled devices I use, this was a welcomed addition. One of the biggest benefits was that I didn’t need to unplug devices from my main router so often. This led to me actually cable clipping a permanent network cable to my printer that lives atop my fridge.
My garden office is somewhat of a mix-up of wired ethernet and wireless repeater. I have a wireless repeater which has a network port access. To this, I have an access point with four network ports. This wireless repeater connects to my network, and then transmits the WiFi connected devices and wired devices signals to my main access point. This gives me a method of cutting the network to the garden when it’s not required, but it was a really simple and relatively quick method to implement my connection to the garden office. I didn’t need to lift floorboards again, or drill holes through walls. This meant that mess was kept to a minimum, and I was online initially online within a short time.
My home network uses basic equipment, and I am more than happy to recommend basic equipment if you need that. However, if you will have a more substantial need, then I am also well versed in enterprise technologies – such as Cisco and Ubiquiti.
Obviously, I know that my home network can be improved. But given that my main servers are all hosted in secure data centers, and I don’t have a need for an improved network at home… What would the point in me spending extra money be? Obviously I host my test servers, but these servers only serve myself.