On our most recent IoT Podcast, Ryan called into the IoT voicemail hotline with a Wi-Fi question. He lives in a condo with a detached garage and is hoping to get a better wireless signal out to where the car is. Ryan is wondering if a mesh network or a network extender is the way to go.While we don’t know how far away the garage is, we have some suggestions that might help.
We don’t recommend network extenders because mesh networks use newer, better technology. And they create one contiguous network, unlike extenders which create separate networks that work together.
A strong Wi-Fi mesh network may do the trick, depending on the distance to the garage. Ideally, placing a mesh access point from the condo near the wall or window closest to the garage is the best chance of success here.
I’ve had good range outdoors with the Eero 6 Pro units I recently reviewed. However, Stacey recommends the Orbi brand in this particular case as they’ve tested well for signal strength over distance and because Orbi has an outdoor mesh network extender. Depending on the HOA rules where Ryan lives, this unit could be placed outside on or near the garage to create a larger mesh network between it and the condo.
The downsides are that this outdoor unit costs $350 alone. You have to also purchase a compatible Orbi mesh network router. It’s possible that just having a good mesh network with proper placement could work but again, it depends on the distance you’re looking to cover. We recommend trying a good mesh network first before splurging on an outdoor satellite device.
Another option from Ubiquiti is the $89 airMAX NanoStationM but it may be overkill because it’s really meant for Internet Service Providers. These boast a range between 10 and 15 kilometers and create a point-to-point network. Be prepared for some heavy duty configuration steps though because again: These are aimed for business that provide network and internet services.
We’d suggest going the more consumer friendly route of Orbi gear if possible, but at least this is another option. It could be useful for people who have acres of space and want to bring network connectivity to a remote barn, shed or other area, for example.
To hear Ryan’s question in full, as well as our discussion on the topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast below.