Wi-Fi + Old Houses = Painful

27 Mar 2024 | ~2 minute read

Since moving to our 200 year old converted barn, we've had nothing but problems with our Wi-Fi signal. Here's the saga...

Living in a 200 year old stone barn conversation means one thing...thick walls. Really thick walls. The walls in our house range from 60 - 90cm (2 - 3 feet) thick and they're made of pure stone. No internal cavity, just stone. All the way through.

This means that Wi-Fi signals really struggle to penetrate between rooms. Add to this the fact that we live in a small village, so there's no fibre to the premises or anything like that. So the internet coming in is relatively slow, and the signal can't get around the house either.

It's a lose/lose situation.

The current solution

I bought 2 sets of 3 TP-Link mesh nodes, meaning we have 6 of them scattered throughout the house; 3 upstairs and 3 downstairs.

Being the wonderfully thorough person that I am, I knocked up a simple (not to scale) layout of our home:

Ground floor layout
Ground floor layout
First floor layout
First floor layout

The bedroom and snug to the left of the house are right above the kitchen, and between floors there's only wooden floorboards, some insulation and plasterboard. So the signal penetrates upwards relatively easily.

The problem is getting from one end of the house the other. The signal has to penetrate at least one of these really thick walls between mesh nodes. This means that the Wi-Fi signal around the house is anything but stable.

At the router we get 70mbps, but in the lounge (assuming the signal manages to stay up) we usually get 2mbps. On a really good day, we will get 5mbps at that end of the house. So when my wife and I sit down in the evening to watch a bit of TV, there's usually lots of buffering involved.

Pretty shit, I think you'll agree.

The new solution

I'm utterly sick of the shitty Wi-Fi around the house. We're currently in stage 2 of our renovations (post on that coming soon), which means there's no carpet upstairs at the moment.

So I thought, fuck it I'm gonna move the ADSL socket to the utility, run cat 6 cable up the wall and under the floorboards upstairs, then pop out 3 of them along the ceiling downstairs.

I'm then going to attach 3 UniFi PoE access points, which have a much stronger signal than the mesh I currently have.

This hopefully means that I get a bit more speed down the other end of the house. But more importantly, the Wi-Fi should be stable because they will have a gigabit wired connection direct to the router, rather than relying on a Wi-Fi signal having to penetrate ridiculously thick walls.

We'll see...

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