If you have a relatively small house, with a single router you will be able to provide wireless coverage everywhere, however, if you have a large house or have two floors, you will surely need a WiFi extender or repeater. It is essential that, if you buy a router plus a repeater, you go directly to models that support Wi-Fi Mesh technology to enjoy WiFi roaming between nodes. For example, all ASUS routers support AiMesh, D-Link EAGLE PRO AI equipment also supports Mesh technology by mixing routers, WiFi Mesh systems and wall repeaters, finally, the manufacturer AVM FRITZ! It is also one of the most recommended in this aspect.
Once we have decided if we need a single router, a total of 2 nodes (router and extender) and even a total of 3 nodes (router and 2 extenders), then we need to think about where to place them. Below, you can see the most important recommendations:
- Must place the router in a central locationif you have 2 nodes (router and extender), this is not so important, since we will have a second node that will extend the wireless coverage where the router does not reach.
- It is advisable place the devices (router and extender) with direct vision without obstaclesor at least, the minimum possible, in order that the signal does not fade quickly.
- If we have two floors, place each node on a floor, and not one below the other, but rather there is a certain angle so that the coverage reaches better between them.
- If we have external antennas in the devices, do not place all of them vertically, put some vertically and others at a certain angle to improve 360º coverage.
Finally, another very important aspect is that you do not place any object on top, below or to the sides of the router or device, not only because of the coverage that could be affected, but also because of the passive cooling of the device itself.
Setting the network name and security
In Wi-Fi networks we must configure both a WiFi network name (SSID) as well as security. In the case of the SSID, it is highly recommended that it be exactly the same SSID for all nodes, in a Mesh network this is mandatory, but if you use a universal WiFi repeater with the operator’s router, it will surely provide you with the option of « change the SSID» repeated. Changing the WiFi network name is an error, in all the nodes it must be exactly the same to have a kind of “roaming”, since the client itself will connect to the closest node to its position (the one that provides the best RSSI) .
Regarding security, today we have three possible configurations:
- WPA2-Personal: It is the one supported by all wireless devices, it guarantees good security and maximum compatibility.
- WPA2/WPA3-Personal: If a device does not support WPA3, it will connect in WPA2 mode. It is a transition method to check which devices support this new security. It does not provide additional security compared to WPA2 because an attacker could downgrade the security.
- WPA3-Personal: It is the latest security standard, all relatively new WiFi clients support it, however, hundreds of Smart Home devices do not support it, so we must take it into account.
As you can see, each type of security has its pros and cons. If you want the best compatibility then you have to set WPA2-Personal, otherwise there will be devices that cannot connect properly.
Check available WiFi channels
Another very important aspect that you must take into account is the Wi-Fi channels. Although by default the routers and WiFi Mesh choose the channel automatically based on an internal algorithm, it is highly recommended to check that the channel automatically chosen by our router is the optimal one. In order to check it, you need to scan the WiFi networks of your neighbors in order to see what wireless channels they are broadcasting on, both those of the 2.4GHz band and the 5GHz band.
The best you can do is install a program like Acrylic Wi-Fi Home or Acrylic WiFi Professional for Windows, in case of using Android it is best to use WiFi Analyzer. These programs will allow you to know the WiFi channels used by the neighbors, and it will even calculate the ideal channel for our WiFi wireless network. Of course, you must analyze the channels of the two frequency bands. You should always choose the furthest Wi-Fi channel that the closest router is using, in order to mitigate possible wireless interference as much as possible.
Check coverage and speed throughout the house
Once we have followed all these tips, the last step would be to check that the coverage and speed throughout the house is as expected. First we can check the coverage received in the different rooms of the house using the two previous programs that we have mentioned, both Acrylic WiFi Home and Acrylic WiFi Professional for Windows are ideal for this task, however, we also recommend that you give NetSpot a try, which allows us to upload our floor plan of the house.
To check the speed, the ideal is to do it on the local network using jPerf2 or iperf3, in order to do the tests on the local network and not depend on our Internet connection. It is possible that we only have a contracted 300Mbps fiber connection, but the WiFi network is faster than this, so the best thing you can do is check the speed on the local network, so as not to depend on the operator and the contracted speed.
As you can see, with these 5 important recommendations you will be able to create a new WiFi network at home with guarantees that it will work perfectly for you.