A strong, fast Wi-Fi connection has become a standard expectation for hostel guests around the world. But what can you do if you don’t have great coverage throughout your building?
Hopefully someone here in the forum is a tech wizard who could shed some light on the pros and cons of various internet solutions.
I have looked into some of the options available to me locally to boost my signal in some dead areas around my hostel. Here are some of the solutions that I have found (described as I understand them – please correct me if I’m wrong!)
Range extenders – small plug-in units that receive the signal from your current router and pump it back out again
Pros: They’re cheap. You can put them anywhere you have an electrical plug.
Cons: Connection speed can be significantly reduced, especially when a lot of guests connect to the same one. They have to be placed close enough to the main Wi-Fi source in order to have a solid connection. Mine frequently drop the signal or stop working completely.
Repeaters – a more robust version of a range extender that received and rebroadcasts the current Wi-Fi signal
Pros: better connection speed and range than most range extenders
Cons: they need to receive a strong signal from the main Wi-Fi source in order to be the most useful
Internet access points – basically additional routers that are wired back to your internet source
Pros: can provide the same wireless speed and strength as your main router for other parts of the building
Cons: You need to run an Ethernet cable from each access point back to your internet source
Powerline adaptors – a pair of small devices that will send internet through the electrical wires in your building
Pros: Easily send internet anywhere with a power point on the same electrical circuit without running extra wires, even if the Wi-Fi signal doesn't reach that spot
Cons: signal can only be sent through the same circuit – if you have different circuits for different areas of the hostel this method won’t help you
Wireless mesh network – a series of individual nodes placed around the building that all communicate and cooperate to transfer data through the network to provide Wi-Fi
Pros: the connection to guests’ devices can be handed off from one node to another as they move around the hostel. The network will try to determine the fastest way to connect each guest’s device with the internet.
Cons: buying enough nodes and constructing the network can get expensive
What other options are out there that I haven’t mentioned? Does anyone have recommendations for any one of these solution over the others?