Extend WiFi to a garden or office

With more and more people working from home, it’s increasingly common to have a converted barn, garage, summerhouse or out-building being used as a home office. Often people come to us saying that the WiFi range from their router just won’t reach the office.

You’ve probably tried relocating the router to the windowsill nearest the garden, pointing it towards the outbuilding, but often you can find this still won’t provide a stable wireless link to the external office or it suffers annoying wireless drop-outs, or can even adversely affect the wireless coverage in the house.

What’s the solution?

Let’s assume you have an external office in a summer house approximately 30 meters away from the house, which already has power but no internet connection. The house already has Broadband a connection with a WiFi router in the hallway. The garden office has two PCs, a network printer and you would also like to use a laptop and iPad wirelessly in the office. You can’t get a signal in the office from the WiFi router in the house but you want to share the broadband as no-one wants to pay for another line – right!

Well, the simplest way to do this is with a WiFi point to point link. This means you have a dedicated WiFi link between your house and the office providing maximum data-throughput with no drop outs. At the office end, you’re presented with an Ethernet connection which can be connected to a switch to provide connectivity for all the desktop PCs, printers etc and to a WiFi access point to provide WiFi for your iPad and laptop. Happy days!

What is a WiFi Point-to-Point link (PtP)?

WiFi Point-to-Point links consists of a pair of outdoor WiFi access points that face each other. One of the external facia of the house, and one on the garden office. This link runs on a completely different frequency to that of the house Wi-Fi, so it doesn’t cause any interference or affect the range in any way.

Is it hard to install?

No, it’s easy to install but it may require a bit of drilling. Simply mount one of the bridges on the outside of the main house and the other on the office building, the higher the better. The unit on the side of the house needs to be connected via an Ethernet cable to the WiFi router.

For ease of installation you can always use Homeplugs to provide a physical Ethernet port where the cable enters the building rather than moving the router. See Homeplugs for more info.

At the office side, you have exactly the same setup. The other WiFi Point-to-Point link is mounted on the building and a single Ethernet cable runs from the unit into the office delivering your connectivity, only this time the wireless singal is now converted back to Ethernet, via a cable into a Ethernet switch or even an access point to provide a local WiFi hotspot in the office. Some WiFi access points have additional Ethernet ports so you can plug in other wired devices if you need to.

Don’t the outdoor access points need power?

Yes they do, hence the need for power in the garden office. However, if there are no power points close to where the external unit will be mounted in the main house, it’s not an issue because most of the Ubiquiti outdoor access points can be powered via PoE (Power over Ethernet) as the units come with PoE injectors. This means power for the units can be delivered via the Ethernet cable from inside the house.

What if I need WiFi in my garden office?

Once installed, the link connected to the garden office will present an Ethernet connection. Plugging a network cable into this will bring the connection into the office and from here you have several choices. Connect to a switch for multiple wired devices, or connect to an access point to provide both wireless and wired connectivity.

Extending WiFi to an office isn’t difficult or expensive. With a multitude of WiFi links to cover range, speed, size, and pretty much every scenario, it’s certainly the way to go if you want to work in that garden office come rain or shine.