There was a time where the internet was a luxury and you were very fortunate to have it at the office and at home. However, the reliance on technology has evolved to the point where we expect the internet anywhere and everywhere we travel. It isn’t surprising that more and more homeowners are looking to get internet in a garage, even one that is detached from the rest of the home.
How do you get internet to a detached garage? Well, there are a variety of solutions so read below to find out which strategy works best for your situation.
Troubleshooting Garage Internet Connectivity
There is an ever growing desire to have internet connectivity wherever you are in the house, including in the backyard and garage.
You can take your smartphone or tablet anywhere with you so having a reliable wireless signal is essential. You may be the type of person that spends a lot of time in the garage while checking sports scores, news, reference instructional videos, etc.
Unfortunately, the garage – especially one that’s detached from the rest of your home – is notorious for having an unreliable wireless signal. Wi-Fi has a tendency to hit or miss inside a garage. Why? There are a number of potential reasons:
- The network hardware is in a poor location.
- The network and router settings are not correctly configured.
- Network hardware you are using is outdated.
- Firmware on network devices have not been updated.
- Other electronics are interfering with the wireless signal.
You also have to account for the building materials of both the garage and the rest of the home. Homes that have extra thick walls and floors make it more difficult for a wireless signal to get through seamlessly. Furthermore, garages that are built of metal, concrete, or brick can obstruct the signal even more.
Improving Your Garage Wi-Fi
The bottom line is accessing a high speed internet connection from a distant room, especially one detached from the rest of the structure, is a challenge. Wi-Fi signals lose their strength with distance when obstacles like walls stand in the way.
Thankfully, there are some solutions to solving the dilemma of poor internet connectivity. A few of the solutions are basic and cost effective while others will set you a little back with the wallet. Here are the three most common options for extending your internet connection to a detached garage:
- Run a long Ethernet cable from the router to a distant computer, like in a garage. It will force you to have to bury the cable under the ground, therefore building a trench. However, the connectivity is not always improved drastically by running it to a detached room.
- Install a Wi-Fi range extender in the detached garage. Another alternative is to buy a second wireless router and configure it as a repeater of the same wireless signal from the home.
- Install a powerline networking kit. The kit includes a bridge which goes into an Ethernet port of the router as well as switch unit that goes into the distant computer.
It is worth mentioning that none of the above solutions are bullet-proof. Each option presents some types of issues and it’s possible that the wireless signal won’t improve. However, it doesn’t hurt to try considering all three solutions are relatively inexpensive.
Upgrading Hardware & Configuration
Before you buy any range extender or powerline networking kit you should first make sure you have the proper hardware and Wi-Fi configuration. Both of these solutions are simple to test and won’t cost you anything but a little time.
Tech junkies recommend to upgrade your router or modem every 3-5 years because technology evolves so quickly. Therefore, if you know your router or modem is older than three years then it may be time to invest in a newer, more modern device.
You can also try moving the older router/modem to another part of the house. Generally you want the router as close to the middle of the home as possible. It provides the greatest signal strength to all of the rooms in the house, but usually it doesn’t do much for detached garages or backyards.
Secondly, you should look into the Wi-Fi configuration. It isn’t always the fault of the hardware. In fact, tinkering with the Wi-Fi settings can potentially improve the performance in a garage.
Most new routers provide 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless frequencies. You can try switching between the frequencies to see if the performance is any better in the garage. If not, you can always switch back the settings.
Wi-Fi extenders are more effective for improving the connectivity in a detached garage than trying to move the router, buy a second router, update the hardware, or change the configuration. Extenders are also sometimes referred to as a repeater, booster, or relay. If you hear these terms at an electronics store then know that it basically means the same concept.
Wi-Fi extenders, as the name implies, stretch the reach of the wireless signal from the router. What is cool is that you can actually apply more than one extender in order to expand the Wi-Fi range.
Extenders vary in terms of performance. The quality of the antenna and processor makes some devices more effective than others. Wi-Fi extenders with dual radios or routers have the greatest performance ratings.
You also need to make sure the device is compatible with your router. If it features intelligent roaming capabilities then you can expect a better performance inside a detached garage.
Powerline Network Adapters
Powerline network adapters are generally sold in a kit. The adapter connects to the electrical circuit of your home through the primary router/modem. Then, it transmits the signal through the electrical circuit.
Installation is surprisingly effortless even though it sounds complicated. All you need to do is plug one adapter into the power socket of your router as well as connect an ethernet cable. Then, you plug the second adapter into an outlet in the garage. Lastly, you run an ethernet cable to whatever device you are looking to connect to internet access.
If you prefer not to have the second ethernet cable go directly to your device you also have the option of pairing the second adapter to another router.
Powerline network adapters are effective and not terribly expensive. However, performance in the detached garage can vary depending on the quality and age of the home’s electrical wiring as well as distance from the original powerline adapter.
Connecting Internet To Your Detached Garage
There is no black and white answer when it comes to improving a wireless signal inside a garage, especially a structure that is detached from the rest of the building. However, by upgrading the hardware and configuring the settings, you can possibly get a quick fix. If not, considering trying out a Wi-Fi extender or powerline network adapter.
Before you setup your internet connectivity in your detached garage, you’ll want to consider upgrading. By upgrading your garage to a two car or a three car garage, you’ll have more space to fit your motor vehicles. Upgrading to a bigger size garage will give you the flexibility to turn your garage into a garage yoga studio, a man cave, or a she shed. There are no shortages for what you can do with a bigger size garage.