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The Audiohouse, October 1 2021

Taking Wi-Fi Outdoors

Delivering great Wi-Fi coverage both inside and outside of the home starts with a good network design. Certainly, high-quality, enterprise-grade routers, switches, and wireless access points (APs) contribute to a network’s performance, but if the selection and positioning are flawed, poor connectivity and coverage will result.

Let’s take a look at some best practices to address home network coverage for the outdoors in Indian River County.

A Roadmap to Exceptional Exterior Networks

Given all of the environmental factors that can affect Wi-Fi performance—landscaping, trees, weather, varied elevations, water features, neighboring networks, and the sheer size and scope of the property, developing a networking blueprint for the outdoor space is often trickier and more complicated than for the inside of your Vero Beach home.

Whether it’s adding and repositioning access points to deal with bigger bandwidth demands, finding and fixing weak connection spots, or implementing heavier cybersecurity measures, the home network is healthier than it’s ever been, thanks in part to good design integration practices.

And while it may be relatively simple to add an access point to an indoor space, trenching new cabling into an established yard is a disruptive and costly endeavor. Getting it right the first time is critical.

Start with a Site Survey

The rise of outdoor living is driving the demand for better outdoor connectivity, not only for streaming audio and video content, but for controlling security cameras, door locks, pool pumps, lighting, motorized gates and more.

When we meet with you at your Vero Beach home we will ask a series of questions to better understand how you will be using your Wi-Fi. We will take notes of locations of large rocks, outbuildings, walkways, hardscaping and landscaping features, elevation changes — anything that could impede signal transmission.

Also this time we will also identify places where APs could be mounted — light poles, gates, the eaves of the main house, and other structures. This will serve as the map for the AP layout and network design.

Define Coverage Zones and Specify Applicable APs

Most customers do not need nor want Wi-Fi coverage on every square inch of the property. By focusing Wi-Fi energy at specific predefined area, the network will perform better and signals will not escape into neighboring yards

For example, a long driveway from that utilizes a Wi-Fi connection to control lights and door locks requires a strong, consistent signal from the property entrance to the front door, but signal bleed into adjacent areas could pick up interference. Similarly for walkways to beaches, sidewalks around swimming pools, etc.

A sectorized AP, which is engineered to direct Wi-Fi signals in a long, narrow beam does the trick in these situations. Because the transmission path is well defined, signals travel further with minimal degradation than Wi-Fi transmission by an omnidirectional AP.

Sectorized APs are ideally suited for long, narrow Wi-Fi corridors, but they can also be configured to provide wide coverage. You’ll just need multiple units strategically positioned.

Another benefit: They’re great for parties. While typical residential outdoor APs can handle 10 to 20 clients, sectorized APs, originally intended for use in stadiums, allow a much higher number of clients to connect simultaneously. Access Networks APs can handle from between 512 to 1024 clients depending on the model of the outdoor AP.

Mother Nature's Interferences

Finally, we should consider the impact of environmental and landscape conditions on the network coverage. We understand that seasons change. Trees that might have been bare when we initially designed the outdoor network may later be in full bloom. Likewise, newly planted baby trees will someday become tall and full of foliage that could interfere with your coverage. We consider these conditions Mother Nature’s interference.

It is important to factor in natural changes to your property and any future home improvement plans to preclude issues later. This last step to ensure a quality outdoor Wi-Fi experience for years to come.

The Audiohouse offers custom indoor and outdoor network design. Contact us today to schedule a site survey of your home or exterior space.

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The Audiohouse


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