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Mapping your wifi network

In my earlier blog post about powerline networks, I noted that our wifi range extender didn't seem to work in our extension. I haven't been sure. In theory, using Wifi Protected Setup (WPS), the extender had the same wifi name and password so I couldn't tell whether our wifi devices were connected to the extender or the wifi router/base station.

On a rainy ANZAC Day I thought I'd look for an app to help me map my wifi network. Within seconds I came across the Telstra Wi-Fi Maximiser app.

This app enables you to import or sketch a floor plan, then take spot readings of your wifi network. It then turns those into a heat map.

In the example below, after marking the location of our 'gateway' (commonly called a wifi router), each target spot shows where I took readings inside and outside the house.

This map shows our second floor, with the gateway on the ground floor.

The plans made it clear that there are network coverage issues in our living room and on our first floor. So I tried three more times to use WPS to set up our TP-Link AV500 range extender in the living room, where it is behind the TV cabinet.

Unfortunately I couldn't get it to work using WPS, so I've reluctantly instead used it to set up a third network.  The following plan shows the updated Telstra Wi-Fi Maximiser results with updated readings in the living area and back verandah.

The yellowish reading near the centre of the room is taken next to a column full of steel and electrical cables, which probably interferes with the wifi network. The range extender has fixed our wifi issues in the living room including fixing our worst dead-spot in the corner of the kitchen.

If you are looking for a new wireless router and need a range extender to cover a large area, then you should also consider mesh networking. Mesh networks use a separate wifi channel to communicate with the base station, leaving your regular network free for use by your devices.

The Telstra Wi-Fi Maximiser app also has many other useful functions, including speed tests and ratings for different types of wifi use.


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