WiFi Survey & Coverage
Home Network/WiFi Survey
If, following installation of your SWS Broadband connection, you discover that your property has not-spots where devices cannot connect to the WiFi network or there are areas within your property where the signal strength from the router is too poor to maintain a stable connection to your devices or support your activity please let us know.
In a majority of cases we’ll be able to advise you of the appropriate equipment (readily available from online or high street stores) to extend your network to provide full coverage without visiting your property. If you purchase equipment at our recommendation we will be able to talk you through the process of configuring to ensure your home network operates at its full potential.
If your requirements are complex or your property particularly large we may recommend you contact a specialist company and will provide contact details for any that have been recommended to us by other customers.
In some circumstances we may suggest that we carry out an indoor WiFi survey of your property before making our recommendation. You can request a survey if you’re not sure our initial assessment or recommendation is suitable.
Indoor WiFi Survey: £78 inc VAT
Homeplugs/Powerlines, are generally purchased in pairs or kits. One wall socket is required for each unit.
Base unit: plugs into a wall socket near the router and ethernet/patch cable connects them.
Remote units (access points): plug into a wall socket where you want to extend your WiFi network
These devices use your existing electrical cabling to transfer data – they can be very effective and reliable.
Up to four remote units can be connected to one base unit.
Correct configuration required for seamless roaming – please ask us for help.
Suitable if sockets are on different ring mains through the same consumer unit.
Remote units have one or two LAN ports enabling cabled as well as wireless connections.
Provide a discrete and flexible solution as the access points can be relocated to suit changing needs.
May not work if plugged into a socket fed via a fused spur.
May not work if plugged into extension cables or multi-block adapters.
Not suitable if the sockets to be used are supplied through different consumer units.
- Cabled Access Points
Where homeplug/powerline units aren’t a suitable solution you can consider cabled access points.
A CAT5e/Ethernet cable is run from a LAN port in the router to the point where the access point is required. This is an effective solution but not suitable for everyone.
Requires cable to be run through the house – has a greater visual impact.
Once installed the access point location is fixed.
- Boosters/Range Extenders
These items plug into a socket between the router and the area where you want to extend your WiFi signal to. Some of our customers use these to great effect but we do not recommend or provide technical support for these products.
Not suitable to extend the range where there are physical reasons such as thick walls/chimney contributing to poor connectivity.
Not as versatile as Homeplugs/Powerlines.
- Complex requirements/large properties
We may decide that your requirements are beyond our ability to support, if this is the case we will happily recommend a specialist company who will be able to provide the solution you are looking for.
Home Network WiFi Coverage
WiFi Coverage is affected by many factors in and around your property as well as the devices you are using, such as phones and laptops. Here are a few key factors that may help you to get the best from your wireless network.
Please contact us if you would like advice or help improving or extending the WiFi coverage within your property.
If you extend your home network either independently or following our recommendation, even if we have provided or installed equipment, SWS Broadband provide limited home network support only. We will work with you to provide home network troubleshooting free of charge via email or over the phone. If we are unable to resolve home network issues remotely you can request an engineer’s visit, for which there may be a charge. Please see our engineer visit and charges page for further information.
- Location of Router
Your wireless router transmits and receives information from your wireless devices. Ideally this should be located as near as reasonably possible to the areas in your property where you need WiFi the most. Devices that use media streaming such as Smart TVs tend to be most sensitive to a strong signal.
For the best WiFi connections please ensure:
1. The router is located at least 60cm/2ft away from any other electrical/electronic devices
2. The router arials are upright.
3. There is at least 15cm/6in between the back of the router and any solid object.
- Walls and property size
The strength of wireless signals reduce with distance, but is also affected by absorption or reflection in walls. Sometimes this is easy to see, if the property has thick stone walls, but some types of modern insulated plasterboard or double-glazed windows can also have a significant effect on the wireless signal. If your WiFi network uses the faster 5GHz band (instead or as well as the 2.4GHz band) the effect of walls and distance is far greater. It is generally advised to use the 5GHz band within the same room as the router, as it may not work effectively through walls.
- 5G Network
If your WiFi network uses the ‘faster’ 5GHz band (instead or as well as the 2.4GHz band) the effect of walls and distance is far greater. It is generally advised to only use the 5GHz band within the same room as the router, as it may not work effectively through walls.
Please bear in mind that both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz connections operate at greater speeds than the bandwidth capacity of your connection, while 5GHz is promoted as faster than 2.4GHz in reality there is often no discernible difference when using.
- Device type and compatibility
WiFi works across thousands of different types of devices but they all follow industry standards for communication and security.
Some older devices may use a security protocol which is not supported by your router and you may not be able to establish wireless connection. Some older devices may not be compatible with the latest security standards used by your router. For example, older equipment used the 802.11 A, B and G protocols, whereas newer equipment is built to use 802.11 N and AC protocols.
If you find that older devices cannot connect to your wireless network you can:
1. Consider replacing this equipment with newer units
2. Change the protocol standards on your router or
3. Cable the device to the router.
- Signal strength/connection quality
If some devices have a poor connection to the router and some a good, the router will spend a disproportionate time re-sending information to the weakest device, reducing the capacity for all others. Extending or improving your WiFi network can restore capacity to all devices.
Sometimes a connection can be improved by just adjusting the position of the devices.
- Not-spots and weak signal – extending the WiFi network
Some properties will have areas where the WiFi network is not available, fades out or is too poor for devices to maintain a steady connection.
Homeplugs/powerlines, cabled access points, mesh systems etc can be an effective means of improving coverage and providing seamless connectivity throughout your property but it is vital that they are configured correctly or they can cause lower speeds and reduce reliability.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like advice or guidance on the most appropriate equipment for your circumstances. If your requirements or the solution required is complex we are able to conduct a WiFi survey (£78 inc VAT).
We prefer to carry out a WiFi survey following installation of an SWS Broadband connection, ensuring the recommendations we make are based on the correct equipment and placement of routers and existing extenders etc.
- Dropouts and disconnects
A unique IP (Internet Protocol) address to each device connecting to the your router – all communication between the device and router is tagged with the issued IP address, thus ensuring that when you request facebook on your phone, netflix on your TV and emails on your laptop the correct data is delivered to the correct device.
Some devices are better than others at communicating with the router and adopting the IP Address allocated but when a devices uses an IP address that isn’t recognised or expected by the router IP Address conflict occurs and some or all of your devices may lose their connection to the router. A reboot of the router can often resolve this issue. Carrying out IP address reservation in your router can greatly reduce, if not eliminate device dropouts.
Which? reports that over 20% of broadband customers regularly suffer from unexplained dropouts and disconnects – we estimate that the majority of these incidents can be resolved with IP address reservation.
- Channel number and channel width
Generally, wide channels (40MHz) or higher have the highest data capacity and therefore can send or receive data faster. However, wide channels are also more likely to overlap with other wireless routers if nearby, which creates interference that reduces speeds. Sometimes a narrow channel (20MHz) can therefore give faster real-world performance.
- Security and data encryption
Always ensure that your WiFi network has encryption enabled. The best levels of encryption are based on standards known as WPA or WPA2. It is not generally advised to use the older WEP encryption method. Please note that some very old wireless devices do not support WPA.
- Interference from other sources
Some non WiFi equipment is permitted to transmit data on the 2.4GHz WiFi band and can cause interference or reduced performance on your WiFi network.
This equipment can include baby monitors, DECT cordless phones, X-Box controllers, some alarm and door entry systems, microwave ovens and Zigbee remote controllers (used by some smart lighting and audio visual systems). It is generally recommended to locate your router and wireless devices as far as possible from this type of equipment.
- Expected speeds
Speed and bandwidth are terms which are often used interchangeably but there is a difference; speed is the rate at which data transfers between your device and the internet whereas bandwidth is the capacity of your connection, in an ideal setup your speed and bandwidth will match.
Many routers claim speeds of 150Mbps, 300Mbps or higher data rates. These are theoretical maximum based on controlled laboratory environments. Real world speeds are generally less than 50% of these headline speeds.
The speed of your internet access is limited to the bandwidth of your broadband package. As an example, if you have a 30Mbps package, you will not be able to download data from the internet faster than this.
Your bandwidth is shared between the users and devices connected to your home network. Therefore, if say a PlayStation game is being updated at the same time as an Apple update and a movie download, they will all share the overall bandwidth at the property and your connection may therefore appear slower than the headline package speed.