WiFi Signal Restraints
Most offices will have ethernet wiring throughout the space, eliminating most of the need for WiFi in the office. However, certain cases will require a WiFi connection such as laptops or phones that are used by mobile employees and/or visitors. Residential locations will also typically need WiFi for many devices used by the residents. But there is one major limitation of wireless networks.
The current WiFi technology has difficulty with both distance and obstacles, and having needing to overcome both in your location can be quite the headache. However, there are a few things that can be done to provide a stronger signal to places that need it.
Wireless Range Extender or Repeater
The most typical thing most consumers attempt first is to purchase and install a WiFi range extender / wireless repeater. These devices can be easily programmed to pick up a WiFi signal and amplify it. Ideally this will create another point of strong signal that can be better received around a corner, or further the distance the signal can travel.
The problems with wireless extenders normally result from having to boost an already-crappy signal. Another issue with these devices is that they tend to be simple and have very little programming within them, which makes it hard to troubleshoot issues if something goes wrong.
Powerline Ethernet Adapter
A better option is called a Powerline Ethernet Adapter. These are devices that plug into a power outlet and an ethernet cable and function in pairs or sets of three. On one end, the device will be attached to the main router on the network. The other device(s) are then plugged into power outlets at other locations, and their ethernet connection is made to another router that is setup as a wireless access point.
The powerline ethernet adapter is used as a substitute for running ethernet cables through the structure of the building. It functions by using the existing power wiring in the walls as a medium for sending data from one adapter to another. In most cases, these devices function fairly well, with decent reliability and speed. However, there are certain cases that will limit their viability as a solution.
Ethernet Cabling and Wireless Access Point
The best solution possible would be to run ethernet cables from one location to another. In this case, the ethernet cables would be used to attach another router or ethernet switch in a different location, just like the Powerline Ethernet Adapter, but the ethernet cable will provide the most reliable connection with the best speed.
A wireless access point is either a router with certain functions disabled, or a specific piece of hardware that connects to an existing network and sends a WiFi signal that can be connected to. In order for devices to switch between access points as they change locations, the access point must be configured with the same WiFi name (SSID) and password. If the name and password differ and the device moves too far away from its initial connection location, it will have issues switching over to another access point without interrupting the network connection.