WiFi is great when it works well and a huge inconvenience when it doesn’t. If you run a Care Home, you may have experienced parts of your Care Home that get very weak WiFi connection, or even worse – no WiFi connection.
So, is it possible to get good WiFi coverage in every part of your Care Home you need it in? How do you do it? Well, in this article I’ll answer those questions.
How WiFi Works – the Basics
WiFi uses radio waves to wirelessly send data (emails, Care Planning info, info from websites etc) backwards and forwards to and from a device such as a laptop, tablet or mobile phone to a router which is connected to the internet.
So we’ve established the basics of how WiFi works. Fairly simple right? Now let’s look at why it may not work in the parts of the Care Home you need it to.
Why Doesn’t my WiFi Reach my Entire Care Home?
WiFi sends and receives data through radio waves from the router, to the device. Ok, so what effects these invisible waves of data that we rely on every day?
– Distance from the router
– Things get in the way, like walls
– Power of the signal given out by the wifi device
It may be one, two or all of these points causing your problem, let’s take a look at each one separately.
Distance From the Router
WiFi travels in waves, similar to sound. To explain this simply, imagine a speaker playing music – the further you move away from the speaker, the quieter it gets. Until you finally can’t hear it anymore.
Well, the same thing happens with WiFi, the further you move away from the point giving out WiFi signal, the weaker the waves become until they disappear and your device no longer picks up any waves (data).
If we take an average WiFi Router outside, the range that it’s WiFi signal will cover is just over 30 meters (about the length of 7 cars parked in a row). A bad WiFi device will be a lot less and a very good WiFi device can be 10 times better.
I’ll explain how to overcome this issue later in the article.
Things That get in the way, Like Walls
Another block to WiFi working in parts of your Care Home is are physical blocks, such as walls, that get in the way. When these WiFi waves are travelling at high speed through the air, they can be redirected, weakened or stopped dead by walls. The thicker the walls the worse it is.
Is there anything you can do to overcome this? Maybe something can be done about it, we’ll look at it in the solution section.
The Power of the Signal Given out by the WiFi Device
WiFi radio waves get weaker the further you move away from the device sending out the signal, the same way that sound gets quieter the further you move away from a speaker. But on a speaker, you can turn up the volume up and hear it at a further distance.
In the same way that not all speakers are the same volume, not all WiFi devices send out signals with the same power. You know you can get louder speakers, you can now get WiFi with more power thanks to new technology.
Here’s What Your Provider did not Tell You…
A large percentage of the telecom providers give WiFi routers out for free or very cheaply when you take their broadband.
So do you think they’re going to want to spend decent money on your free router that they’re already losing money on? Or do they want to minimise their loss and provide you with the cheapest and honestly worst router you can get? Like when you go on an aeroplane you get given those cheaply produced, free headphones that are terrible quality.
The quality of the free router you’d get from a regular telecom provider is of similar quality to those cheaply produced, free headphones you get on aeroplanes.
When I found this out and saw the impact it has on people who use the WiFi, I vouched to never provide low-quality WiFi equipment at Yo Telecom.
Instead, I researched the market to find the Dre Beats equivalent of WiFi equipment – high-quality equipment that is reliable, and powerful.
Cheap Fixes, That Don’t Work: WiFi ‘Extenders’ or ‘Boosters’
Just before we get onto the real solution to having a strong WiFi signal in your entire Care Home, I quickly want to highlight the common ‘fixes’ that I see people wasting money on so often.
There are two types of WiFi Extenders and Boosters. Wireless ones, and ones that try to send data signals through your electricity cables.
How Wireless WiFi Extenders & Boosters Work
The most common fix to your problems is the Wireless Extender. Now, this may work in very small spaces but in large buildings, like your care home, it leads to tediously slow connections that drop in and out.
Here’s how it works:
You have your router sending out a signal and then somewhere else in your building, you have a little device that picks up that signal, bounces it on and then you probably have another little device that tries picking up an even weaker signal to bounce that on and so forth.
Every time one of these bounces on a signal, the data sent gets weaker and weaker.
Here’s the problem – by the time (and distance) the WiFi Extender has picked up the signal, the data is probably 50-90% weaker than the data that left the router.
It then boosts or extends data that is in a 50-90% worse condition than when it left your router.
Then, we have another booster, extending data that is now up to 99% worse that when it left the router.
So in this example, there is WiFi coverage of the entire building, but no data travelling through that WiFi signal – pointless.
The Solution: How to get Good WiFi Signal Throughout Your Entire Care Home
So I’ve shown you what solutions don’t work, and why. Here is the solution – it takes a little investment in your care homes data infrastructure (if you don’t already have it), and either network knowledge or the help of a professional network engineer (like the experts we have at Yo Telecom).
Here’s how it works, you create a structured network of data cables from the location your main router is, to strategically located points throughout your building.
These points then have special WiFi devices connected to the data cabled network, called Wi-Fi Access Points and they send and receive WiFi signals. because they are physically hardwired into your main router, they send clean, unharmed data out. Unlike boosters or extenders.
Your professional network engineer will ensure that the signal given out by each device overlaps, and that it’s all on one WiFi SSID (the name of the WiFi Network).
So you can walk around your building and your phone, tablet or laptop will seamlessly connect onto the device with the best signal. Because all the devices are connected through a data cable or network of data cables (blue line in the diagram), the data that they emit, is just as strong as the data received and sent from the router to the outside world.
The result is a WiFi signal that reaches throughout your entire care home!
This means your staff can use iPads to access care plans no matter where they are and your residents can Skype or Facetime family members from their rooms – without the fear of cutouts.
Call Yo Telecom on 02382 146115 to get this in place in your care home today!
I recommend calling Yo Telecom and buying a WiFi solution.
A professional WiFi consultant will come to your care home and do a survey to determine exactly what’s needed for your WiFi to work perfectly everywhere you need it.
They will create and present a plan for you based on what you need. If you like what you hear, we’ll get the ball rolling on the day and get your new WiFi equipment installed and fully operational within a couple of days.
Give us a call on 02382 146115 to book in your FREE consultation and demonstration! Alternatively, you can head to our live webchat to speak to one of our expert consultants.