A word to the wise
Like many frustrated users of WiFi devices from laptops to mobiles, I have several dead zones around my house that would not receive the wifi signal from the router. Mine is the latest Virgin Media model which still failed in certain areas.
The ground floor was fine for all devices, on the first floor one bed room was fine, but the reception in the other two varied from none existent to erratic and frustratingly slow, turning streaming video into more of a trickle, and in the loft extension, just dream on.
I spoke to one of the ‘Help’ people at Virgin who did all the usual remote checks and declared the service to the router was fine and any problem was internal and suggested re-positioning the router if things didn’t improve.
No surprise, things didn’t improve. I was back on the phone to Virgin Media the following week. Fortunately the person I spoke too was more sympathetic to my plight, having experienced the problem himself, and advised that relocating the router (costing £99) was no guarantee to a WiFi happy house. What he suggested was to install a WiFi Extender.
So off to Amazon I went. There are literally hundreds of extenders to choose from, available for as little as £10 to +£100. Fortunately the guy at Virgin recommended TP Link as it was the make he uses. I plumped for the TP-Link TL-WA854RE 300. The reviews on Amazon were pretty encouraging, and at only £23 it wasn’t going to break the bank if it didn’t do the business.
Getting it out of the box was the hardest part of installation. Setting up was relatively easy once I’d found out where the WPS was on my router. Most routers have a button with WPS next to it. I couldn’t see one on mine, so I had a look at my model on the Virgin Media website, alas where they said the button was, it wasn’t. For those using a Virgin Media Router, the WPS button is on the front, and is an inverted button with the Virgin logo. Once I’d found it, it was plain sailing.
1. Plug the extender into a power outlet near the router and switch it on. Wait for the extender lights to start flashing.
2. Push the WPS button on the router and then the extender.
3. Relocate the extender to a power point near the poor reception area/s
On the model I bought you do lose the use of a power point, but for around £10 more you can get one with an integrated power socket.
You can use multiple extenders around the house to reach those hard to reach places. And, I suppose there’s no reason why they shouldn’t work in an office environment.
Wish I’d discovered the WiFi Extender sooner, would’ve saved a lot of ear bashing from my daughters and lots of calls to Virgin Media.
TP-Link TL-WA854RE 300 Mbps Universal Wall Plug Wi-Fi Range Extender/Wi-Fi Booster (WPS function, Easy Configuration)
The TL-WA854RE is designed to conveniently extend the coverage and improve the signal strength of an existing wireless network to eliminate “dead zones”, help users maintain an existing wireless network and vastly improve the network’s coverage. With 300 Mbps wireless 802.11n speeds, it is ideal for smooth HD video, music streaming and online gaming.
Range Extender mode boosts wireless signal to previously unreachable or hard-to-wire areas flawlessly. The miniature size and wall-mounted design make it easy to deploy and move flexibly.