If you are looking to extend your Wi-Fi to a second location and a Wi-Fi booster just isn’t cutting it, you may want to consider a long-range Wi-Fi network that uses an antenna. Long-range Wi-Fi networks are the most cost-efficient way of extending your Wi-Fi signals to locations outside your home.
Long-range Wi-Fi networks are mostly used to extend Wi-Fi to outdoor spaces, like on a farm or a large backyard, or to another building, such as a garage, barn, guest house or office building. In fact, long-range Wi-Fi networks have the capacity to provide Wi-Fi access miles away.
What are the different types of long-range Wi-Fi networks?
There are four types of long-range Wi-Fi networks. Two of them are used inside the home, known as indoor Wi-Fi extenders, and the other two are used for long-distance Wi-Fi access outdoors.
Indoor long-range networks
Wi-Fi boosters and mesh networks are the most well-known long-range Wi-Fi networks and these are the two indoor long-range Wi-Fi networks.
Wi-Fi boosters, also known as Wi-Fi extenders or range extenders, are used in larger homes that contain rooms that are far away from the main router. The Wi-Fi booster, therefore, is placed in the areas of the house that do not receive a strong enough Wi-Fi signal.
A mesh network, on the other hand, is great for solving spotty Wi-Fi issues. With a mesh network, there are multiple nodes placed around the house that receive Wi-Fi signals from the central node that is connected to the modem. Any device connected to the Wi-Fi will seamlessly switch from node to node as it moves around the house. This way, each device is always connected to the strongest Wi-Fi signal.
Outdoor long-range networks
Outdoor long-range Wi-Fi network
An outdoor long-range Wi-Fi network is most similar to a Wi-Fi booster; however, it is specifically designed for further distances you might find when outdoors. This product is ideal for areas that lack any cell service in the area and you are looking to extend Wi-Fi access around the area. Outdoor long-range Wi-Fi networks are also common in campgrounds or RV parks.
Long-range point-to-point Wi-Fi network
Long-range point-to-point Wi-Fi networks are less common than indoor Wi-Fi networks for residential customers because most people do not have two locations they need to extend Wi-Fi to. However, for those who are looking to extend their Wi-Fi a far distance to multiple buildings and want to avoid purchasing a second internet plan, a point-to-point Wi-Fi network is a great solution.
Although both point-to-point and outdoor Wi-Fi networks rely on antennas to extend Wi-Fi access, they differ in function because the outdoor Wi-Fi network is for outdoor spaces and the point-to-point Wi-Fi network is for extending Wi-Fi to other buildings.
Both outdoor and point-to-point Wi-Fi networks require outdoor Wi-Fi antennas. However, the equipment required for these two Wi-Fi networks differ slightly.
Outdoor long-range Wi-Fi network equipment
- Outdoor Wi-Fi access points
- Ethernet cable
Outdoor Wi-Fi access points are required for extending your Wi-Fi range outdoors. All access points have antennas on them that must have a clear line of sight to the area you want to cover so it is best to mount your access points up high, such as on a pole or on top of the roof.
In addition to your access points, you will also need an Ethernet cable to connect your Access Points and router.
Point-to-point long-range Wi-Fi network equipment
- Directional antenna
- Wi-Fi booster
- Second router
- Ethernet cable
In order to connect another building to Wi-Fi, you will need a Wi-Fi antenna placed on top of the roof of your main building, a Wi-Fi booster and a second router. The Wi-Fi antenna should be placed facing the second building and there should be a clear line of sight to that building.
You will then need a second router placed inside the second building that is attached to a Wi-Fi booster using an Ethernet cable. In some cases you will need to purchase an antenna for on top of both buildings, but generally you will just need one.
Choosing an antenna
There are two antennas to choose from when setting up your long-range Wi-Fi network: a directional antenna or an omni-directional antenna. A directional antenna is for when you want your antenna facing in one specific direction, whereas an omnidirectional antenna is designed to send signals in all directions.
The benefit of the directional antenna is that you will be able to send Wi-Fi signals a greater distance in that one direction. An omni-directional antenna, in contrast, is able to send signals in multiple directions but not as far in distance. Generally, outdoor Wi-Fi networks are best for omni-directional antennas and point-to-point Wi-Fi networks are best for directional antennas, but this is not always the case.
If you are looking to extend your Wi-Fi range beyond your home, there are ways to do so that are much more affordable than purchasing a second internet plan. For both the outdoor and point-to-point long-range Wi-Fi networks, you will need a fair amount of additional equipment and good line-of-sight to the area you want to send Wi-Fi signals to.
Before investing in these options, therefore, make sure installing a simple Wi-Fi booster won’t solve your problem first. Sometimes that’s all you need even for extending Wi-Fi to a guest house, garage or backyard.
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Written by:Ari Howard
Associate Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content
Ari is an Associate Writer for the Allconnect team. She primarily writes about broadband news and studies, particularly relating to internet access, digital safety, broadband-related technology and the digital d… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content