Wifi solutions for bigger homes: what are the options?

Don't let the size of your home leave you with poor Wifi connectivity

large house with car outside
(Image credit: getty images)

If you live in a large property, you might find there are certain areas in your home where you can’t get broadband without the help of a second router, mesh Wifi system, or a Wifi range extender.

Here, we explain how these different options work, so that you can pick the right one to help you connect to broadband in every room of your property.

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Should I install a Wifi range extender?  

A Wifi range extender is a gadget which essentially catches the wireless signal from your router then rebroadcasts it around your home, reaching the areas where the signal might be week. You simply plug the extender into the wall and it should start working immediately. 

Pros: A Wifi extender is usually a more affordable option than mesh Wifi, and as it plugs straight into a power outlet, is a simple and easy way to extend your Wifi signal. 

Cons: The main downside of a Wifi range extenders is that your devices won’t switch automatically between Wifi broadcasts, so you’ll be disconnected whilst switching manually. They aren’t always idea for bigger homes, especially if you have thick walls. 

Costs: Wifi extenders typically cost from as little as £20 to more than £300, depending on how big an area you need to cover.

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Should I install an additional Wifi router? 

If some parts of your property are too far from your router for you to get broadband, you may want to consider getting a second router to reach these areas. Having a second router means that the network signal of your main router is effectively repeated, so that you can extend the wireless network throughout your home. 

Pros: If your home is wired with Ethernet ports you shouldn’t need a cable to connect one router to another.  

Cons: It’s not always easy to get two routers to communicate with each other without using a network cable, which means you could end up with unsightly wires linking them together. 

Cost: If you have an old spare router which is from the same manufacturer as your current router, then you might be able to use this without incurring any additional costs. Otherwise, you can buy a second router with costs typically ranging from around £20 up to around £100.

Should I install a Wifi mesh system?  

When you fit a Wifi mesh system, you have your usual main router which connects your modem, and then several ‘nodes’ or modules which you put in any room where there’s limited or no Wifi. These modules will have use mesh technology to communicate with the router and each other. This essentially means that you’re on one single network and all your devices connect automatically to the modules as you go from room to room. As a general rule, most homes need around two or three nodes to ensure they have fast Wifi in every room. 

Pros: Wifi mesh systems are easy to use and you can place as many modules as you want around your home, which can be especially handy if your property has very thick walls and you need one in each room. You can also manage the modules using your smartphone, so if you want to turn off Wifi access in one room, but leave it on in others, you can do so. You don’t have to manually switch to any different network to use a mesh system.

Cons: Although a straightforward way to expand your Wifi, mesh systems typically only have simple networking management options available, so you won’t usually be able to use firewall settings or individual band control as you would with a traditional router. They are also more expensive to use than extenders and you can’t plug them straight into the wall as you can extenders. 

Costs: Mesh Wifi systems typically cost from around £100-£300.

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