Most people want to access the Internet from any room in the house/office and maybe even in the garden or summer house.
Although most people will want extended Wireless (Wi-Fi) access we will also look at how to extend both wired and wireless access.
If we start with a basic home network consisting of a single Wireless access point (WAP) that is part of the Wireless router as described in building a home network and shown below:
The home router is the hub of the network as it connects your home network to the Internet.
This basic configuration can be extended to provide both wired and Wireless access using a variety of methods and illustrated in the network diagram below:
Extending Wi-Fi Access
Before you go to the trouble of extending a network it is a good idea to try an get a better signal by relocating the router/Wireless access point if possible.
If we assume that the present WAP (Wireless Access Point) covers area 1 but not area 2 and our task is to extend the Wi-Fi network to cover area 2.
To extend the Wi-Fi coverage to area 2 we will need a second WAP (Wireless access point), and this second access point will need to connect to the WAP in Area 1.
There are three methods available for connecting the Wireless Access Points ( WAPs) together. They are:
- Use a WAP connected to the hub on network 1 using an Ethernet cable.
- Use a WAP connected to the hub on network 1 using Homeplug adapters.
- Connect with Wi-FI using a Wi-Fi range extender or repeater.
Using a Wireless Repeater or Range Extender
This is probably the quickest and easiest method and according to a recent survey used by over 20% of US households.
It is also the slowest and the most error prone method method.
Note You will hear the terms repeater,range extender and booster used but they are generally describing the same thing.
A Wireless Repeater takes a wireless signal and then re-broadcasts it.
This means that the repeater must be in range of the original Wireless signal.
It also usually means that the throughput is halved. However some repeaters using different bands i.e. they could use the 5Ghz band for the connection to the WAP and the 2.5 Ghz band for connecting to devices.
The repeater creates a second Wireless network which usually has a different SSID than the original network.
Because wireless devices on network 2 must go through two wireless hops this connection method is much slower than using an Ethernet extension cable or homeplug adaptors.
Extending a Wired Network
To extend a wired network you will need an Ethernet Switch.
You use a port on the Home router to connect to the remote switch using either:
- A long UTP cable
- Homeplug adapters.
This is illustrated in the main network diagram above.
Using an Ethernet Cable
You can purchase UTP connection cables of various lengths which means that you don’t need to create your own cables.
You should note that the maximum cable distance between network devices is 100m.
However you will need to run the cable between rooms which usually involves drilling holes etc.
Although this is a very low cost method it is usually not the easiest. It does however provide the fastest and most reliable connection.
See How to Wire your Home Network
Using Homeplug Adapters
Homeplug adaptors are the more flexible option than straight wiring as they can easily add network connectivity to any room that has a power outlet.
They work by using the home electrical wiring to carry the Ethernet signal between rooms.
Homeplug adapters can be used to extend both a wired and wireless network .
Generally they work in pairs but you can use more than 2 on a network. They plug into the mains socket and usually provide an Ethernet connection on each end.
You simply plug the Ethernet cables into the adapters at each end.
They can also come with built in wireless access points so that you don’t need an additional wireless access points to extend the wireless network.
Homeplug adapters with built in Wireless access points tend to be a little more expensive than standard Ethernet ones but are very convenient. Ref– Powerline networking guide
Network SSIDs (Network Name)
Regardless of how you extend the network you will likely end up with two or more wireless networks.
You can configure these networks to use the same broadcast SSID so that they appear to be a single network but this can cause problems with some devices.
On my network I use different SSIDs but the same password.
- ASUS FAQ –Why is the wireless network name (SSID) of range extender different from my Wi-Fi router?
- What happens if my neighbour sets his wifi SSID the same as mine?
The Screen shot below shows my home network with multiple Access points and Network IDs.
Extending Ethernet Ports
If you are short of Ethernet ports in any location you can use a second Ethernet switch connected to the other Ethernet switch as shown in the diagram below.
Note: It isn’t important which port you use.
Extending Ethernet Cable
You can extend an Ethernet cable using an Ethernet coupler like the one below.
You can also get a cable with female connection as shown below
The connecting cable category (5,6,7) should match or be better than the existing cable female socket to match your cable.
Extending with an Ethernet Repeater
The maximum cable distance between networking devices on an Ethernet network is 100m.
However this can be extending to approx 300m by using an Ethernet repeater/extender. Most of the ones available today appear to be PoE repeaters.
With PoE devices you can connect remote devices like IP cameras without the need for installing a separate power supply. See PoE for beginners
Extending Using a Wireless Bridge
This is an ideal method of extending your network to an out building without having to run Ethernet cables.
It uses a line of site wireless link between two wireless bridges. At the remote end the bridge connects to the remote network.
Take a look at the TP LInk NE300 (affiliate link)
If you are worried whether or not it will work for you take a look at the reviews. I have taken a screen shot of a few below:
Wi-FI Mesh Networks
These are also relatively new systems that aim to provide Wi-Fi access in larger homes.
They comprise 2 or more Wi-Fi nodes that work together to offer a single Wi-Fi network (same SSID).
See Home Wi-Fi Mesh Systems- Quick Overview
Wireless electrical power sockets are a new introduction to the market and function as wireless repeaters.
They are convenient because they don’t consume a electrical power socket. Here is a picture of a UK socket.
Common Questions and Answers
Q-Can I use an old Wi-Fi router to extend my network.?
A- Yes but it will need to function solely as an access point. This PCworld article describes how.
Personally I’m not keen on this as the setup is convoluted, easy to get wrong, and it is not possible on all routers. Wi-Fi access points are cheap it is easier to get a new access point.
Q-Can I extend my home network with another router?
A- Yes but a router is the wrong choice on a home network unless you want two separate networks. A network switch is the better choice and the easiest. Using a router would involve setup that would require a very good knowledge of networking, and sub netting in particular. See 2 Routers on a home network
I often get asked questions via the ask Steve page and thought it would be useful if I included the questions and answers here as they might be applicable to your situation. I have removed names to protect the identity.
Case Study 1 – Bad Wi-Fi
Question- Hi Steve, I have just moved into an old house in a rural location. Because of very poor WIFI over the land line and poor router signal coverage in the house (thick walls etc), the previous owner installed an EE SIMM based router linked by CAT5 to a ceiling mounted EnGenius EAP150. Apparently this has improved things (download speeds of 15 MBPS and 3.3 MBPS for uploads when close to the EAP), but the the signal does not go very far and dropped connections and lack of connection are a frequent pain. Using Netflix and a couple of mobile phones seems to cause loss of signal very easily, I guess this is a capacity issue? Can you make any suggestions on how to address these problems please? E.G Can I use signal boosters around the house to strengthen the EAP signal? Do I need a better WAP/EAP device? Are there other alternatives?
Answer – I would try using homeplug adapters you can get them with Wi-FI access points. Get a pair and put one next to your router and move the other wi-fi homeplug around the rooms to make sure it works as there could potentially be wiring problems. If that works ok you can always add additional adapters.
Reply – Many thanks for your suggestion. I bought some TP-Link power-line adapters and they work really well.
Related Tutorials and Useful Resources:
- Wi_fi and Wireless networks for Beginners
- Setting up a Homeplug Power Line network
- Power Over Ethernet (POE)
- wifi-booster-repeater-extender- What’s the difference
Thanks for all this info. I am building a UTP lines to each of the bedrooms from the internet access point and router located in the living room. My question is that some of these rooms may require more than one ethernet port (SmartTV, Computer, Gaming Console, etc). Where is the best place to put the internet switch(es)? Should I have one next to the router and run more UTP throughout the house or run one UTP to each of the rooms and have an internet switch in the room that needs more than one ethernet port?
Thanks so much!
there really isn’t a best way. I would put multiple connection points in a room if it is convenient to do it. The reason is that you think a connection point on a wall is the way to go and then the wife rearranges the furniture and it isn’t.
I have TV connection points in every room of my house and not one is where it should be, but the previous owner thought they were ok there. The problem with an existing setup is that it takes a lot of work,money and disruption to change it.
Whereas when you are doing it initially it is quite easy to do.
Hope that helps
I want to link my access point to my existing router as entension and without cabling, how do you advise me.
The easiest way is using homeplug adapters
I have just moved to a house with ethernet ports wired into the walls on each floor. As the floors are concrete, I’m assuming that these ports might allow internet to be extended across each floor of the property. Would it be possible to use these ports to create wifi on each floor? And if so, what do I need to purchase to plug into the ports on each floor (would I need a separate router on each floor? or is there some other extender or similar?)
Rob you need a wireless access point on each floor which plugs into Ethernet.
However these would give you separate SSIDs so if you moved from one floor to the next you would need to connect again.
This is not a problem and it is what I use.
You can get MESH Wi-FI that gives your roaming and a single SSID. However to take advantage of your Ethernet ports you would need a mesh that has Ethernet backhaul as most have Wi-Fi backhaul.
Mesh systems are more expensive than just standard access points which are about £20 each
These articles may help.
I really appreciate how easy make everything to understand. I’ve got a different challenge. I have our main house and a separate detached studio where I office. For a few reasons, I had to get 2 different ISPs. I use Google WiFi (have a mesh network in the main house) and a single google wifi in my studio. The are named and built separately – one for studio and one for house. Things like cable tv and hulu apps don’t think they’re the same “home” point which causes friction. I know it possible to create a single network so Hulu thinks it is the same network? I also have a printer in the house but I have to go to the house if I need to print (rarity). Thoughts – or do you have a post already?
How is the studio connected to the home?
I am trying to get internet from my home to my barn. I have a netgear nighthawk C7000 in the home office
I also have 100M of direct bury Cat 6 that goes from the garage to the barn. I have a decent wireless signal in the garage from the C7000 and power available.I would prefer not to have to run UTP from the office to the garage. How do I do this?
I found these wireless bridges which I would try as they seem meant for the Job. They are new to me so I haven’t tried them but I will do some more research. If you do try them would be grateful for feedback
thanks Steve, providing more granualarity
– the 100M direct bury cat 6 runs from the garage to the barn. I need help in selecting a wireless access point for inside the barn that connects to the Cat6 and compatible with Netgear C7000
– second is I need selection help inside the garage where the direct burial cat 6 terminates. I was hoping to find a 2 function product that could both receive the wireless signal emitted from the Netgear C7000 that is in my office and have this product plug into the cat 6 direct burial to have enough power to run 100M to the garage. Again compatible with Netgear C7000.
I want to avoid having to hardwire UTP from one of the switchports on the C7000 in the office out to the garage.
Does that make sense else how can I send you a sketch
In the remote office you just need a Wi-FI access point and an Etherent switch. If you don’t need ethernet access then plug the WAP directly onto the cable.
Great tutorials, many thanks.
I have installed my own network. At front of the house The BT line comes in and that is where the BT Homehub is. The wireless strength isn’t sufficient to get a reliable reception at the back of the house, so I ran an Ethernet cable to a 5 port switch at the back, which has 2 WAP’s connected. I have a 2.4G which just connects to the IOT devices, lights, Alexa and so on, I thought it a good idea to set them up on their own WAP. Then another dualband WAP which we use for working from home, studying, and general surfing. These all have separate SSID.
We also have a wireless printer, which can be wired if needs be. Where should that go if we are to access it from any network? Due to its location we can’t connect it wirelessly to the homehub. Your suggestion appreciated.
It can go anywhere as they are all on the same network provided they all connect back some way to the home router.
You should see all of your devices have an IP of 192.168.1.x
We are trying to extend the wi-fi from the house out to the garden room. We have tried portable extension boxes which work but are not reliable. Can you recommend any ideas or companies who could help please?
Take a look at the outdoor waps(access points)
You want one that supports POE (power over Ethernet) unless you have a convenient outdoor power source.
The router/switch needs a POE port or you can use an adaptor. Take a look here
I’ve recently done this, you need to run a cat5e cable from the back of the router to the garden room and buy an access point. This will give you full WiFi in the garden room. It’s all doable yourself with a bit of planning and patience.
I have a modem/router provided by our local cable provider & I would like to extend existing wifi. out to my metal clad garage 150′ away. I already have a coaxial cable connecting the two buildings & would like to use that cable to install another router in the garage. Is that possible using a coaxial cable?
No it isn’t. If you have a power feed a homeplug adapter with wi-fi might work but you would need to try it.If you have the bale in a duct you could also try running an Ethernet cable to it.
Great site. Hope you can help…
I have a work desktop currently about 6ft from my router and use an ethernet cable as cannot connect to desktop wirelessly.
i want to set my desktop up in either the bedroom (1 floor up) or in the cellar which is an old stone cellar…i looked at the plug scernario but wondered a) if that would work or b) there’s another solution
I would go for the homeplug option. If you choose one with Wi-fi then you have the best of both worlds.
When extending the wifi network (wired): In your diagram you have a switch between the main router and a slave router. Is this necessary/preferred? I have a main wifi router that offers wifi in one residence, and it is connected to a slave router (DHCP off) in another residence via a Cat5 cable (~100m long) which also broadcasts wifi with different ssid/password. I keep having troubles with wifi via the slave router. Sometimes it is ok but more often it is super slow and unreliable. Would adding a switch like in your diagram help?? Thanx
In your case the router is acting as switch so using a switch shouldn’t make a difference. I would guess it is the cable length that is causing the problem. To test it bring the slave router to the same location as the main router and connect it with a short cable and then connect to it and test the speed. If it works ok then it is your cable.
Brilliant article thank you! Moved into a large old house and encoutered a lot of noise on the line causing intermittent dropping. Had an engineer move the socket in the hopes it cuts out the cause of this interference. Only issue is this has killed wifi signal in the living room, thankfully the house is networked, so I will buy a WAP to plug into the living room socket. Only sad thing is that my PC is on the wrong side of the room to hardwire it, I think i’ll have to make do keeping it on wifi.
We are planning a new build house, two floors and approx 400 sq metres floor space. Internal walls are either 6-8″ concrete (ICF) or concrete block, and ground floor ceiling is concrete block and beam. How best to provide coverage? BT cable will enter the garage, at periphery of house. First question is should we keep master socket (and router) in garage and connect to central switch via CAT5e, or use telephone extension cable from master socket to site router centrally? I suppose the answer to that then affects how we provide coverage throughout the house. One suggested option is to run CAT cables to all rooms, and some advise putting several CAT points in every room, wherever you think you may need a connection in future. Otherwise we could use WAPs and home plug adapters to extend network. I believe that the wired connection is faster and more reliable, but many CAT sockets do we need? Or is a hybrid solution of wired and wireless most practical? I’d be grateful for any help. Thanks.
Because you are doing a new build I would go for a cat 5 connection in each room or at least on each floor.
If on each floor then try to get one each side of the house.
You can plug a wireless access point into the connector to give Wi-Fi coverage on each floor.
As you said if you do find you need an Ethernet connection in a room that doesn’t have one you can use home plug adaptors.
Generally cable is used for backbone connections were it needs to be fast.Most peripherals use Wi-Fi and most can only use Wi-Fi.
So plan first for the backbone that is the most important and don’t forget storage rooms as this is often where you want to place equipment so it is hidden.
As a side note My house came with TV sockets in almost all of the rooms however none of them were anywhere near were my wife wanted a TV.
Great information you have here Steve. I have been doing a lot of research here lately over extending my internet service. I live on a farm and my mother, just bought a mobile home and moved next to me. What I want to do is fix it so she can use my internet. Streaming movies, surfing the web, playing games on her tablet. She is about 300 feet away from me. I can get a weak signal at her front door, but when I walk in I loose it all if I’m not in the window. What is the most best cost efficient way to get internet to her?
Personally I would go for a direct cable and terminate it on a Wireless access point in the mobile home.
The access points are about 20 pounds.
You can get terminated cable but I have only seen it in 50m length but a bit more searching and you might find 100m.
Longer cables you will need to terminate yourself. This kit here has the crimping tool and the connectors
Hope that helps
I’m so glad I found your website. I’ve been struggling with the BT HomeSpot devices for the last 12 months to provide both an ethernet connection and wi-fi into a granny flat that my in-laws live in at the back of our house. Some times it works but more often than not it doesn’t. I use the RJ45 in the Homespot for onward connection into the shed where I use a turbo trainer for my bike that links to an online cycling platform – this is essential for my training so I need to get it sorted before the bad weather kicks in. I’ve been trying to find a local broadband engineer to come and fix me up with a network that will perform properly but nobody is interested. Now I’ve read your article I think I understand why, its something I should do myself!
So im just looking for some reassurance for my plans. I’m going to buy a 40m length of external Cat 6 cable and run this from my BT Hub to a new Wireless router in the granny flat, mainly in soft ground but i will put it in plastic conduit. I will then use one of the RJ45’s in the router to provide a hard wired connection to my computer in the shed, which is about 30m away from the granny flat and I’m assuming the router will also provide wi-fi in the granny flat. Could I also have an IP phone so that the in-laws have there own phone rather than using ours?
Does this make sense? Also what sort of router should i buy – theres a huge range and costs are £30 – £500!
Thanks in advance.
Glad you find the site useful.
Your solution sounds good. I have a cable linking my basement to the second storey that I put in about 20 years ago before homeplugs were available. It works fine.
What you need in the granny flat is a wireless access point not a router. You only need 1 router which is the BT one which connects to your phone line.
Access points are cheap around 20-30 pounds
However you are probably better with a combined access point/switch
again around 20 -30 pounds.
There is no need to spend more than about £40 on one.
Yes you could use an IP phone in the granny flat but they don’t appear very popular as most people use a mobile.
Brilliant thanks Steve. Would the WAP have a RJ45 outlet for my hard wired connection to the shed?
If you go with the wap/switch then yes. Here is one here
It is out of stock but that is what you are looking for. If you look at the back of the device a WAP has only 1 ethernet port whereas the combo has several usually 4.
Again you could go for a switch and a wap as separate devices and wire them together.
I would guess that you already have wireless access points from BT if so use the cable to connect to an ethernet switch and the switch connects to the access points.
Send me a sketch of your proposed setup and the devices you currently have and I will outline your options.
Use the ask steve page to send it
Hi Steve, great article.
We have an extension to our house behind a very solid brick external wall, and the only way I could get a Wi-fi signal in the room, or connect my BT vision box, was by using BT Home hotspot 600, whiCh worked fine for 15 months. It then started to only work erratically, even though my BT homehub 6 is fine and provides a strong Wi-fi signal in other parts of the house. I replaced the Hotspot 600 but get the same erratic (or no) signal. Do you have any experience of what might stop these powerline systems from working? I dug out my old Comtrend Powergrid 9020s, which BT had supplied me years ago when I first signed up to BT vision, and they seem to work OK, but of course don’t provide a Wi-fi signal.
If it was working for so long and has stopped working then it is probably that something in your home wiring has changed or you have added a device that is causing lots of noise or maybe a neighbour.
The good news is that the old ones work so I would get a cheap Ethernet wireless range extender/switch like this one.
Its sold out but you should find something similar.
When we built this singe story house we ran broadband to several points in the house, such as my wife’s “desk” in our open plan kitchen and to another point in the open-plan dining area to allow a hard wire connection to a Sonos amplifier, which drives in-ceiling speakers in our living/dining space.
While I have the modem in my home office, close to my computer and my other Sonos hardware, I now use a tablet more in these others part of the house, so I am considering ways to enhance wi-fi distribution.
So is there a device that I can use these broadband connections to boost wi-fi in these other parts?
The easiest way is to use hompelug adaptors with wi-fi on one end like these.
Steve can you clarify your own home arrangement please and roaming within your house.
You say you have power line wifi access points on each level and I take from your earlier screenshot you have a unique SSID for each access point (?). Do you therefore have to manually switch to each access point as you ascend through your house to get the strongest possible signal; otherwise won’t your mobile device stay preferentially connected to the last access point, even if it is of poor signal strength?
That seems to be the frustration in my house, overlapping network zones and having to manually switch our devices (tablets, phones, laptops) as we roam across our house.
I have two access points one on the first level and the other on the third.On the first level I also have wi-fi range extender as the walls are thick and solid.
The access points are linked by cat5 cable as I’ve had this arrangement for about 15 years.
I use homeplug to connect a BT vision box to the network.
The access points have different SSIds but it doesn’t really affect me as I use a desktop.
Everyone on the top 3 floors uses the same access point and the coverage is good.
The first level is rented and so it is effectively separate anyway so I don’t need to roam.
Everything you say is correct. If you want roaming then you need to go for a wi-fi mesh but make sure that they can all interconnect.
For example my first level is solid concrete and I get a very weak signal from the first level to the second so It would be difficult to get a mesh unless I could like the mesh access point via cable (homeplug).
Hope that makes sense
These are very helpful tips. I would not have ever thought of extending home and office network by myself until I read your step by step guide. Now I think the I can do it by self and save money.
Hi I have two range extenders set up using the same main router : these are netgear range extenders – though they seem properly set up an unable to locate one of them – I believe it’s using the same extension name for both . How do I separate the two extenders ? Would be grateful for any advise
I found a manual for netgear online. You can change the SSID name of the extender in the Wireless settings.Below is a snippet of the instructions
Extender Wireless Settings
You can use the Wireless Settings screen to change the network name (SSID) for the
Extender’s network and to set up wireless security. If you do not change these settings, the
network name is NETGEAR_EXT, and the network is open (no wireless security is set up)
Change it to NETGEAR_EXT2 and see if that works and let me know.
I am moving to a different location and my network will not be able to be configured the same as it is now.
On the most upward level will be my office where I will have a computer, two printers and internet based phone . Additionally on that level , there will be an HDTV with Roku device, tablet and cell phone.
On the level below that comma will be a laptop, Ring wireless doorbell, and cell phone.
On the level below that will be, a laptop, tablet, 4K TV with Roku device, Ring wireless doorbell, and cell phone.
On the level below that will be, laptop, c HD TV, and cell phone.
The levels are separated by 7 steps, cso it’s not a full “floor” it’s split level. There are coaxial cable plugs in every room of the house. I’ve never had cable and I don’t know if these are live or not. I’ve always just had two floors with a very basic simple wire / wireless set up with AT&T that was like a souped up DSL connection. I’m just having a hard time imagining in my mind what it is I need and where and how I go about using (or not) all of the coaxial cable outlets in each room. I don’t want to spend $100 a month on cable bills (and if Iknew how and which cords to cut, I’d be a cable cutter for sure)! There must be a simpler way to go. Obviously, I could use some guidance. Thanks, Pat
Never had cable but I can only assume that it is for cable TV. However it might also provide your Internet access.
You need to check if your area has Internet access via fibre, DSL or just cable.
I have a 4 storey house It is also wired with normal TV sockets (not cable TV) in each room which I don’t use. I use a wireless access point on each level.
The access point connect to each other using powerline adaptors and one of the access points is also my DSL router.
Depending on the structure you might get away with an access point on each other level.
Hope that helps