If you want wireless coverage in all four corners of your large home, estate or fortress it may be time to look into a good long-range wireless router. Outside of budget considerations there are a number questions to ask yourself when looking for a wireless router for a large home:
How large is your home?
What is your home made of?
How many devices do you have?
Do you have WiFi devices that can cause interference?
While it’s true distance can gradually eat up a wireless signal in a large home; things like concrete, metal, and water can stop a wireless signal dead in its tracks – even in a small home.
There are a number of ways to maintain your signal strength in a large home. The first thing to try is a good old-fashioned long-range wireless router. Once you get past the 2500 square foot mark it may be time to start thinking about other solutions such as extenders, Powerline, or mesh.
Extenders – It’s a simple concept – you set up an extender on the edge of your wireless signal where it will pick it up and amplify it to remote corners of your home. Nice in theory but they don’t always work. Even if they do work the extra hop can cause you to lose as much as 50% of your bandwidth.
Powerline – Powerline involves adapters that use the electrical wiring in your home as network cabling. Powerline beats a weak WiFi signal but is not as stable as ethernet. It can be affected by the type of wiring in your home and certain appliances can alter the current in your wires which, in turn, can interfere with your network signal. You never know with Powerline until you try it.
Mesh – Mesh is probably the best solution for larger homes. There are a number of great mesh products out there. Mesh can also get expensive pretty quickly and will be the topic of an upcoming video.
Long Range Wireless Routers – For now we’re going to focus on brute-forcing it with a powerful wireless router with high gain antennas, lots of speed, and technical innovations such as beamforming and MU-MIMO.
Back in the old days a wireless router basically spewed out its wireless signal in all directions. If it was able to connect with a wireless client great. If not – oh well. A technology called MIMO was developed which was able to bounce multiple signals off of various surfaces which would ultimately find their way to their destination thus expanding coverage.
This worked great for one device at a time, but once you had several devices things started to slow down. So MU MIMO was developed which is basically MIMO for multiple clients. It sends a signal to all devices at once which allows all those devices to connect simultaneously.
This technology is like the difference between an old-fashioned network hub and a modern network switch. It’s so efficient it allows wireless clients to run at their maximum speeds without slowing other devices down.
Another advancement called “beamforming” is becoming commonplace in wireless networking devices. What being forming does is instead of just randomly sending out radio waves all over the place it kind of locks onto a wireless device and focuses its signal on that device. The device sends transmissions back to the source which allows the source to track the location of the device even as it moves around.
The combination of MU MIMO, beamforming, AC speed, and high-gain wireless antennas allows for powerful wireless routers which can cover longer distances than an old wireless N router or 802.11AC Wave 1 router ever could.
QOS stands for Quality Of Service. It allows you to prioritize the traffic on your network. Using QOS video and gaming sessions can have a higher priority than email and surfing sessions. With standard QOS you do this manually by selecting the traffic and devices you want to prioritize. Dynamic QOS recognizes different types of traffic and devices on your network and prioritizes them automatically.
Adaptive QOS Is a simplified way to priotoritize and catagorize your network traffic. For example you can prioritized Gaming traffic over Websurfing using a simple list or drag and drop interface. The router will then automatically detect the different types of traffic and prioritize them accordingly.
Max-Stream is a Linksys technology that allows certain Max-Stream compatible devices to extend the range of your wireless network with “mesh-like” seamless roaming. This requires your clients to be 802.11k (Seamless roaming) compatible. Many phones and tablets meet this standard. The Linksys AC5400 EA9500 is an example of a router that supports Max-Stream.
Dynamic QOS requires little to no user intervention. The QOS engine automatically gathers information about the type of traffic on a network session including the application and the types of devices connected and automatically prioritizes it to optimum levels.