Me and my network.

Now as anybody who knows me will confirm I like to fiddle with things and hopefully make things better than they were, though I will be the first to admit that things don’t always turn out that way.

Now take the WI-FI network I have at home. It is, for want of a better description a bit of an overkill.

The house we live in is not exactly large and we can, if required about cover it WI-FI wise with just a single router, the signal is a bit weak in some places but for what I want it’s perfectly useable, if only from the fact that both my two Mac computers and the wife’s Windows laptop are all hard wired. In the case of my computers I can’t see the point of using WI-FI to cover a distance of less than six feet.

So let me explain the kit I have in use.

The main router is a BT SmartHub, which, from reviews seems to either loved or hated in about equal measure. To supplement this I have a BT HomeHub 5 and an Apple Extreme Base station both being used as wireless access points that I can also plug ethernet connections into as well.

The BT HomeHub 5 is in the front spare bedroom which is the wife’s refuge/crafting room. It’s connected to the main router by two TP-Link powerline adaptors, they work very well.

In the back spare bedroom which doubles as my office we have both the SmartHub and the Apple Extreme. I also have two unmanaged Gigabit 5 port switches as well. This means there is no shortage of Ethernet sockets to plug stuff into.

Into the Apple Extreme I have my HP Laserjet printer connected with the Apple Extreme via one of the Gigabit switches to the SmartHub and this is networked across both the Mac’s. The wife has an inkjet printer plugged into her computer just for her use.

The SmartHub, the HomeHub 5 and the Apple Extreme all have two WI-FI access points running , one each on 2.4GHz and one each on 5GHz. They all have separate SSID’s. I connect my iPad, and phones on 5GHz to either of the access points in the office. The wife’s tablets and phone are connected to the HomeHub5 in her craft room again on 5GHz. The wife’s phone also connects if required to the Airport Extreme. The only kit we have using the 2.4GHz band are my Kindle and the wife’s iPod. 2.4GHz is very congested in the locality and I can normally see between thirty and thirty five access points on that band. 5GHz is getting busier though it’s currently nowhere near as bad.

In the office I also have a four drive Synology NAS which is plugged direct into the Smarthub and accessible by all computers on the network and also when out and about via the marvels of remote access over the Internet.

That is my network, it works extremely well, WI-FI range is good, and I can see the wife’s phone connect to the network automatically as she gets off the bus at the end of the Cul-de-sac. This means that if she uses her phone when at the bus stop in the morning she is connected to my network still and gets a decent speed and of course does not use any of her bandwidth allowance.

I have tested the range of all three units with them located in the same spot, this I did before putting the network together. The best for range on both bands is the Airport Extreme with the Smarthub a bit behind in second place and the HomeHub 5 in third place.