There are many reasons to share an internet connection from one building to another. Projects such as garden offices, garage conversions, annex buildings, granny flats, shed workshops, portable offices, and connectivity for holiday accommodation, to name a few. All require robust, stable, and secure internet connectivity. WiFi can also be extended to outdoor areas to reliably access the internet from your garden patio, driveway, pool/bar area, or hot tub location. If you are looking for solutions to such problems, read on. Depending on your situation, a resolution may require one or a combination of the technologies discussed in this post on how to extend Wi-Fi outdoors to the garden studio.
Trends in Working from Home
As more people shift towards working from home, outdoor garden offices have become increasingly popular. However the convenience of working from your garden poses new challenges, one being how to get a stable internet connection over distance and past obstacles. In this blog post, we will discuss the best ways to extend Wi-Fi to your outdoor garden office.
What to Consider
The best solution for your outside building connectivity project depends on several factors. For example, distance to your outbuilding, continuity, and quality of the connection. Is the internet required for a purpose where dropouts and lag can be tolerated or is the garden studio used for a home office or online gaming where low latency and fast speeds are paramount? Let’s look at the pros and cons of the 4 best ways to extend WiFi to your Garden Studio, annex building, garage conversion, or portacabin. Further in this post, we will also look at the solutions that are not recommended and the reasons why.
Power Line Adapters
Power line adapters use electrical wiring to create a network by plugging them into your electrical wall sockets. This is a simple way of extending your network. However, there are limitations as to where you can extend internet. If the garden building is on the same ring main, then power line adapters are more likely to work. Due to the ease of installation, it’s the lowest-cost option. If you’re not too concerned with occasional dropouts and don’t need a reliable connection all the time. This is the best solution if you’re on a budget and a solid connection is not imperative.
Hardwired Ethernet Cable
Hardwired Ethernet cable with a wireless access point is a very reliable method of getting fast and secure WiFi reliably to your Garden building. It is guaranteed to distribute the internet at speeds and quality similar to the speeds received straight to your router. The outbuilding should ideally be less than 100 meters away from the router for optimum throughput and cost efficiency. Opt for a wireless access point to enable the seamless hand off functionality. This means where you have a correctly configured network. Your phone or tablet will automatically connect as if you were in your home. With this solution you can also utilise WiFi calling, handy if mobile signal is a problem.
To install Wi-Fi in your garden office, use good quality external grade Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable. The correct cable needs to have a solid copper core with the right type of plastic sheath, to protect it from the rain and UV. This will not only give you the fastest most reliable throughput but will also provide a solution to connect your garden office to the internet for durability and longevity.
Point to Point (PtP/P2P) or Wireless Bridge
It is possible to share wifi over long distances with PtP or multi-point network bridging technology. It works like a long-range WiFi extender for outdoors. A basic system requires a sender and a receiver, these devices need to be positioned high up, usually attached to a building or pole. A clear line of sight is required between the sender and receiver. The signal will be adversely affected when there are obstacles such as trees or buildings.
This solution is useful if you wish to share internet between cabins located long distances away from each other. A more complex system can be implemented in a holiday park where you need to distribute internet from the main source or hub to many lodges or caravans. Many businesses, campuses, hospitals, and apartment complexes use Point-to-Point WiFi Bridge systems because they can offer a lot of flexibility in terms of bridging and spreading an internet connection from a single source of internet.
Point to Point systems delivers fast internet, without too much loss of bandwidth and latency from the main hub. However, they are not as fast as a cabled solution. They are reliable delivering a good quality of service. One of the downsides to this system is that there is a single point of failure so if the main sender goes down then all of the others will lose internet, it doesn’t happen very often but should be considered when selecting a suitable solution.
4G or 5G with Unlimited Data SIM
You can insert a SIM card into a mobile router or a 4G/5G router. If there is no sim slot you could check to see if it supports a USB dongle that can accept a sim card. Also, you will need a compatible mobile data plan from a mobile network operator that has good 4 or 5G coverage in your area.
This can be a good solution if there is no way of getting an Ethernet cable or there is no clear line of sight for PtP bridging. For this solution to work you will need good mobile data coverage in the location and don’t mind a monthly cost for the unlimited data sim. This is also slightly less reliable as the bandwidth is dependent on the availability and quality of mobile signal in your area and can vary at any given time.
Internet Connectivity to Portable cabins
Depending on the location of the temporary office, distance from the main internet connection obstacles in-between and the ability to route an Ethernet cable. Its possible to implement one or more of these solutions to connect portable offices to the main network. Providing a robust and stable connection capable of supporting multiple users for an office set up.
Extend Wi-Fi to your Garden Office
Long-range Wi-Fi Extenders and internet boosters also known as mesh systems are not recommended as a way of reliably getting Wifi in the garden room. Mesh WiFi Extenders don’t typically boost the signal very well through walls, these systems also struggle to send the internet over enough distance to provide a usable connection outdoors. You could spend a lot of money on the system and there’s no guarantee of a continuous or stable internet connection once you have invested your money buying the kit, so for these reasons, it’s best to give the mesh/booster systems a miss.
All things considered, the best way to get WiFi to your garden office building depends on your requirements. Are cable routes available and is the outbuilding less than 100 meters away from the router? Where there is a cable route, a hardwired cable will deliver the fastest, most reliable, and cost-effective internet connectivity for one or more end users. Where the building is over 100 meters or you would like the users to connect from multiple locations dotted around a large area, then a PtP wireless bridge would be a good choice, providing near full throughput from the router.
If you require internet in your garden bar, hot tub area, driveway, or for WiFi calling if your mobile cellular signal is poor. Outdoor access points can be used to solve these problems, but only viable if these areas are close to the main building. Where a temporary or lower installation cost solution is required a mobile unlimited SIM will give a decent internet service. Providing there is good 4 or 5G in the area and the odd dropout or service slowdown can be tolerated. The most budget-friendly but high-risk solution is power line adapters. However, be prepared that once you have made the purchase and installed them, the connectivity may not be fit for purpose or work at all. Depending on your home’s electrical wiring. They can provide an unstable solution that may not be reliable enough for remote working or gaming. Buying a WiFi Booster for your garden or extending the WiFi using a mesh system is not recommended, in our experience, they just don’t amplify signal well over such distances and they don’t perform well at getting a good Wi-Fi signal to penetrate walls.
I hope you have enjoyed this post on How to Extend WiFi to your Garden Office . If you would like further information, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Check out our website, drop us a mail or give us a call.
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