Now that I have the router up and running, it’s now time to decide where the best place to put it. Since we moved into the house, the router and modem have been in close proximity to the main computers here. That is, in the addition off the main house in the back of the property. For whatever reason, it’s really been the place that we spend the majority of our time, year in and out. Which is weird sometimes, considering it’s a 3 1/2 bedroom house, on two stories. We don’t have children, so 2 1/2 of the bedrooms have become de-facto storage space.
Getting back to the issue though, our WiFi setup has been incredibly wrong since the beginning. If you consider how WiFi works through a router, the antennas send out a signal in all directions, as long as you have them pointed in the correct configuration. The old D-Link router I had for the past 6 years had an omni-directional antenna, in that it was encased inside the housing and wasn’t visible.
Most routers have the ubiquitous 3-4 (or nowadays more) antennas and most people (me included…yes guilty) leave them in the standard up position without even considering that they can be directed where you want your WiFi signals to go. By all that I understand, generally you want your router to be in the middle of the action, where you spend the majority of your time, so that you can get the biggest bang for your buck in terms of WiFi coverage. Otherwise, you’re going to have to invest in things like Access Points, repeaters, even possibly a second router to adequately cover your house and property. Of course, it’s not as simple as that (it never is, right?) because in most instances you don’t just have a router, you have to consider where your modem is, whether it’s fiber, cable or even DSL (I’m guessing satellite is probably similar, but I’ve never had a satellite Internet downlink).
In my case, the modem sits next to the router. When we upgraded to fiber 4-5 years ago, the installer asked where to put the modem. At the time, I had thought probably it would have been a better option to put it in the middle of the house, near the west facing exit door, but our computers are here in the addition, where the router would be. The house was built in the 19th century (1838), so it wasn’t designed with electricity in mind, let alone hi-speed Internet connections. Consequently, when the house was wired sometime in the 1950’s (I’m guessing based on the age of some of the outlets) there wasn’t a lot of thought put in to where those outlets needed to go. So it was very haphazard. Over the last 20 years we’ve been upgrading outlets as needed, because the very idea of re-wiring this house might end up costing us more than the property is valued at. Too, to do a proper re-wiring, one needs full access to walls and such, to pull wire. So we’d have to basically demo the interior to a degree that makes my eyes water. Most people’s houses it wouldn’t be an issue because drywall isn’t all that expensive. Plaster on the other hand? Double your price estimate. Or triple it. There aren’t many qualified plasterers these days. Believe me, I know.
As of right now, my plan is to put the modem and router more central to the middle of the house and run either Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable back to the addition to a switch so both of the desktops can be hardwired to the router. Hopefully that will assist with the remainder of the house being covered by both the low speed WiFi (2.4 ghz) and the higher 5 ghz connection. After I’ve had it connected and running for awhile, I’ll give another update.