How Public Venues Can Make Money on Wi-Fi Offload with Google Orion Wi-Fi

Imagine you could make money, just from your business having strong, reliable Wi-Fi – At the same time as offering customers better mobile reception inside your venue.

Google’s Area 120, an in-house incubator, has recently launched Orion Wi-Fi in the US which will enable public venues like shopping centres, grocery stores, shops, restaurants, conference venues etc to offer those using a smartphone the opportunity to automatically connect to their Wi-Fi via their mobile provider, to get better reception.

Google Orion acts as the intermediary between the public venue and the mobile provider, ascertaining whether the price and the signal strength is worth giving their customers access.

Why would mobile providers want to do this for their customers?

You may be wondering why mobile providers would decide to pay a public venue for their customers to use the Wi-Fi available.

Often, public venues like grocery stores, shopping centres and conference venues don’t have great 3G/4G/5G reception for those wishing to use their smartphones.

For customers to get better coverage direct, mobile providers would have to install more masts to try and cover these areas, which of course costs money.

An easier and cheaper alternative is to pay the public venue for their customers to use their Wi-Fi. The end user’s device would be picked up by Google Orion, which performs a rapid negotiation of cost and Wi-Fi strength between the venue and the mobile provider. The device would then automatically connect to the venues Wi-Fi upon entrance giving better reception.

The end user doesn’t drop their signal and remains happy with their mobile provider.

How would this Wi-Fi offload scheme work for public venues?

This Google Orion Wi-Fi device could be the first step towards indoor wireless communication being everywhere you go. And with public venues being paid for making their Wi-Fi available to mobile providers and their customers, there is even more reason to make sure your public Wi-Fi is up to scratch.

If you are a public venue and would like to make your Wi-Fi available to anyone with a smartphone walking into your business, you would sign up to become part of the Orion Wi-Fi service via their new portal.

You would connect via your Google account and then set up Orion Wi-Fi to work with your Wi-Fi network. According to Google, it is set to work with most commercial and enterprise Wi-Fi systems including the majority of AP’s and Wi-Fi controllers.

This isn’t yet in the UK, but presumably a person entering your venue on a participating mobile provider contract would then be able to connect automatically to your Wi-Fi. They would be happy that they have a good connection, associating your brand with good reception, the mobile provider would be happy that their customer can stay connected indoors, and you as a venue would be happy as you would be paid for making it available.

Current issues with Wi-Fi offloading

There are generally two main problems with Wi-Fi offloading:

– The quality of the Wi-Fi – It’s not great if end-users are handed over from their patchy mobile network to a bad quality Wi-Fi option instead.
– Connecting – End-users may be unlikely to spend time manually connecting to a different network when entering some public venues.
In theory, Google Orion addresses both of these issues and so it wouldn’t be surprising if every mobile provider would be interested. The prospect is that this could make Wi-Fi roaming even more powerful.

Are there any negatives to using Google Orion Wi-Fi?

ne plus about venues offering their own Wi-Fi portals to guests is the opportunity to collect data and engage new people. If they were to give up this chance to collect contact details and other personal information about their guests that they could use for future marketing purposes, they would need the appropriate compensation via payment from the mobile provider.

Of course, what would be even better, is if Google Orion Wi-Fi later offered both – Guest engagement and auto-connect. Maybe that will come.

Exciting developments on the horizon for new Wi-Fi technology

With current developments in the Wi-Fi industry starting to trickle through, it wouldn’t surprise us if there was real demand for Google Orion Wi-Fi.

With the arrival of a new Wi-Fi standard (Wi-Fi 6) as well as a wider Wi-Fi spectrum (1.2GHz in the 6GHz band), it would make perfect sense to offload mobile customers struggling with indoor reception onto reliable public Wi-Fi.

We’re hearing lots about 5G, but it will inevitably have difficulty reaching all indoor users as well as indoor cellular 5G systems being expensive.
Perhaps, as Google have intimated, now is the perfect time for a paradigm shift to Wi-Fi.

You can read more about it on the Google Orion Wi-Fi website here.

What’s The Difference Between 5G and 4G?

Wondering exactly how 5G is different from 4G? As the UK begins to embrace 5G technology, this is a question that more and more people will be asking.

There are actually many differences between 4G and 5G, but in this blog we’re just going to cover the main ones which will affect us the most.

1. What’s the difference in speed between 4G and 5G?

As with many technological advancements, one major difference between 4G and 5G is speed. 5G is much quicker than 4G – It is the fastest available form of cellular connectivity. Current real-world speeds of 4G are around 20-40mbps. In contrast, likely real-world speeds for 5G will be 300-500mbps, with theoretical speeds of up to 1Gbps. That’s a pretty big difference.

This is welcome news to those who have slow internet or connectivity problems – The new high speeds brought to us by 5G will make it a quick solution for many.

2. Will there be an improvement in latency when using 5G?

Commonly referred to as ‘lag’, latency is another improvement that 5G brings. Depending on signal strength, the typical latency of 4G is between 10 and 50 milliseconds. 5G will be more like 1 millisecond, or possibly even less. That’s quick!

But what does this actually look like in real terms? Well, imagine you are browsing the internet on your phone. The latency (or lack of) on 5G will mean that normal websites will be super responsive. What about video streaming on demand? 5G means that 4K video will become the norm.

3. When will 5G be available to me?

5G has actually been around in some places since last year (2019) when the initial 5G masts were introduced and turned on. Some users in London, Cardiff and other large cities were able to roam 5G zones.

However, 5G masts come at a high cost, as do other 5G technologies, so the rollout across the UK has been slow. 4G has of course been widely available for a long time, but the availability of 5G is slowly being increased across the UK so more consumers and businesses will start to be able to take advantage of the increase in speed and power. Those outside larger UK cities will have to remain with 4G.

4. Is the technology behind 4G and 5G different?

Perhaps it’s obvious, perhaps it’s not, but there are actually major differences between the technology behind 4G and 5G.

Due to 4G being commonly available for a while, the technology behind it and thus the hardware and devices available have had the chance to be refined. This means that the costs associated with this are lower.

As 5G is so new, the hardware to use it such as modems, masts and antennae are much modern and thus, more expensive.

As with most technological advancements, it’s inevitable that we will get to the stage of 5G that we are currently at with 4G, where it will be more cost-effective and les pricey. This isn’t likely to happen for a number of years however. The more that mobile phone manufacturers out 5G modems into their devices, the more 5G will be used and the more widely available it will become.

5. What are the differences in wavelength between 4G and 5G?

So far, the power and speed of 5G is making it sound pretty great, with only availability and price being a slight stumbling block. But it’s not as perfect as it seems. Whilst 5G is undoubtedly a great advancement in cellular and connectivity technology, there are some things to consider.

In terms of wavelength, 5G is very different to 4G in terms of varation and versatility. What’s different about 5G is that it has a few different variations of wavelength, from low-band to millimetre wave.

Low-band 5G – This might be the slowest form of 5G, but it can travel long distances. Low-band 5G is the most similar wavelength to 4G.

Mid-band 5G – This is the ideal in-between: A slightly faster form of 5G and the most common form of 5G transmission. It’s a bit of the best of both worlds – It provides pretty high speeds, but can also cover a medium size area with minimal masts.

Millimetre 5G – This is by far the fastest form of 5G, but it comes with its limitations. Millimetre wave might be able to achieve high speeds pf up to 1Gbps, but in order to achieve this it requires line of sight to the device. This means that there would need to be 5G masts on every lamppost for this to be effective – Something that will cause the rollout of this technology be very slow, and very costly.

Of course, this is rather different from 4G, which although has a smaller range of wavelengths and not as versatile, but far cheaper for mobile operators to roll out.

Perhaps the common approach to this will be to introduce the mid-band 5G into wider areas, with city centres having a few millimetre wave spots.

6. What will the uses of 5G be compared with 4G?

Hands up if you use 4G in your everyday lives… Yep, us too. We know too well how useful it is, and what we use it for whether it’s browsing, streaming or making video calls to colleagues, friends and family (we’ve done enough of that over the past few months to know how valuable it is).

Everything that has been possible with 4G, will be furthered more by 5G. The IoT (internet of Things) will benefit from 5G through smarter and more efficient connectivity for smart devices.

Due to 5G having a better internet connection that 4G, it will also mean that 5G could be used as a fixed line alternative in some scenarios. This means that homes or businesses that struggle to get fibre broadband lines could use a 5G router instead.

Hopefully this blog will have explained the biggest differences between 4G and 5G, and what we can expect from this technology over the coming months and years. There’s no doubt that it offers increased speed and power – Let’s see if the price and availability follow suit.

Wi-Fi Predictive Surveys, Heatmaps and Why It’s Important

What is a Wi-Fi Survey and why do you need one?

Well, the simple answer is that it is the foundation for any professional and effective Wi-Fi installation. It takes an expert in the Wi-Fi field to get it right, and it acts as the start of any wireless LAN design.

If you’re thinking that a Wi-Fi predictive survey is something we have saved and just fire out by email to all of our prospective clients, you would be wrong.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all, and is very much tailored to each unique client and their environment.

So where do we start?

The first stage in Wi-Fi design is a predictive survey.

At this stage, the walls are drawn in on the maps and the AP’s (access points) are placed.

A prediction is then made via a Wi-Fi heatmap that shows the projected coverage based on the walls of your premises and the placement of the AP’s. This can then be communicated to you in a report.

 

What’s a Wi-Fi heatmap? 

A Wi-Fi Heatmap is a visual representation of the way radio frequency (RF) power is broadcasted.

The ‘hottest’ areas, where the Wi-Fi strength is the strongest, is seen on the map in blue. It gradually bleeds out into light green.

Wi-Fi heatmaps demonstrate how our model will allow consistent levels of RF power from each AP to the end users. There are no grey areas on the map – Any areas identified as ‘grey’ and therefore not receiving a consistent level of RF power would be rectified prior to presentation to the client.

One of the main outputs from a predictive survey is a Wi-Fi Heatmaps – They are an excellent tool for illustrating how successful our Wi-Fi design and model will be.

Once this stage is completed, you would be provided with a custom report on your individual environment, including any Wi-Fi heatmaps as well as analysis of any possible issues we might encounter.

 

How can we be confident that a computer model is accurate?

A pre-install survey also complements this stage by carrying out onsite tests with an AP. This enables us as the Wi-Fi designer to test the building fabric and check that our model of your environment (in the predictive survey) is going to work. If any adjustments need to be made, e.g. if some walls are thicker than others, these can then be made in the predictive model.

After both these surveys have been carried out, we can then be confident that the model is ready for installation and any cabling can be put in.

 

Why carry out a Wi-Fi survey with Geekabit?

Here at Geekabit, our Wi-Fi experts and engineers have the experience and knowledge to identify the needs of your wireless network and design the best option to meet them.

  • Every network and environment is different – Knowledge, expertise and experience is necessary to identify any issues on site and design a wireless network that will be reliable and effective.
  • We are meticulous and methodical in our approach, ensuring that our design and model will meet your needs and satisfy end users.
  • We don’t advertise our services and rely on word of mouth. This means we will always go above and beyond to make sure our clients are happy.

If your Wi-Fi isn’t currently up to scratch then a Wi-Fi survey might be your best option and prove a worthy investment. The only way to ensure a reliable wireless network that supports your business operations is to design it to your unique specification.

You might be wondering why you can’t just get a copy of the design software and design it yourself. If you have the knowledge and expertise that might well be an option, however as you’ve landed on this blog asking why you need a Wi-Fi site survey then it may be a fair estimate that you’d be better off leaving it to the experts.

It’s not just about inputting information into a computer and getting the perfect model out. A we said above, the predictive survey is best done alongside the pre-install survey where this model is tested and if needed, refined. These surveys together ensure that a computer model will work in the real world.

Want to call in the experts for your Wi-Fi survey?

You’ve come to the right place. Here at Geekabit our Wi-Fi experts have the knowledge and experience to help you to design your Wi-Fi network for the best coverage possible.

Don’t put up with sub-par Wi-Fi any longer and get in touch today.

 

New Remote Support Service and Cloud Hosted Ubiquiti Controller

Looking for a remote support service for your Wi-Fi needs? Interested in the benefits of a Ubiquiti UniFi Controller but don’t want the on-premise device?

Here at Geekabit we are pleased to announce some new services to our Wi-Fi repertoire. We are now offering remote support options as well as Geekabit-Cloud hosted Ubiquiti UniFi Controllers. Remote support will be provided both through a reactive service and a proactive monthly plan. We also offer cloud hosted Ubiquiti UniFi Controllers to negate the requirement for a Cloud Key or constantly connected on-premise device.

For more information on both of these services, read on.

 

Remote Support

When you have a hosted Ubiquiti Controller, or can provide access via remote desktop, we can diagnose many issues with your network without having to visit your business or home.

This enables quicker diagnostics, as well as potentially quicker resolution depending on the issue.

 

Geekabit-Cloud Hosted Ubiquiti UniFi Controller

 Use the Geekabit-Cloud to host your Ubiquiti UniFi Controller and you can take advantage of the following benefits:

  • There is no need to have an on-premise device attached
  • There is no need to invest in, and maintain, a legacy Ubiquiti Cloud Key or Cloud Key Gen2
  • It will be automatically upgraded with the latest controller software
  • It is a fully managed and automated server with https SSL certificate
  • You will have full remote access to the Ubiquiti UniFi Controller from anywhere
  • We charge a small amount per month as opposed to the initial large investment in hardware

 

Proactive Monthly Plan

 As part of our monthly plan, you can enjoy the following services:

  • We constantly monitor your Ubiquiti UniFi devices for downtime, current data usage, traffic usage and latency issues
  • We check for access points and other UniFi devices dropping out or disappearing
  • We check for created alarms
  • We check for number of connected clients on each AP and whether this is too many for optimum performance
  • We check for when there is an update to the firmware available on devices
  • We check the number of guests attached to the network
  • All of the above actions produce a notification which can then be sent via email or Slack to your defined administrators
  • You can then choose to have daily, weekly or monthly PDF reports sent you via email

If you would like more information on our monthly plan and the above new services of Remote Support and a Geekabit-Cloud Hosted Ubiquiti UniFi Controller, get in touch with us today.

How Can Wi-Fi Help Businesses Survive Covid-19 – A Case Study

 

Let’s be honest – Covid-19 has a lot to answer for. Not only has it stopped many businesses in their tracks, but it’s also altered the way in which these businesses can get back to work due to social distancing.

 

The amazing thing about all of this, however, is the resilience and innovation shown by these businesses – Determined to make necessary changes and come through this pandemic in a strong position.

 

We’ve worked with a client over the past few weeks who are the perfect example of exactly this. They knew what they needed in order to weather the Covid-19 storm, and we had the Wi-Fi expertise to find the solution to their problem.

 

The Client:

 

The Colour Factory are a hub of 6 professional artists who work together out of a studio in Winchester. They have a vibrant programme of art courses run by these resident artists, producing imaginative community and educational projects.

 

 

Client Issue:

 

Their current internet was a poor BT connection where broadband upload speeds barely made 1Mbps.

 

Due to social distancing regulations, they were unable to continue offering art tutorials in person, and therefore needed to move these onto Zoom. In order for these to work well, they would need 2.5Mbps per tutorial.

 

With 6 artists, possibly all working at one time, they needed a reliable and stable upload capability of at least 15Mbps.

 

Geekabit Solution:

 

We knew that a 4G service would be a strong option for their location. We installed and set up a 4G antenna, providing a strong Wi-Fi signal that enabled their artists to broadcast Zooms across their 1000m2 campus.

 

It was also important for them as a business to keep their well-established landline number. We were able to maintain this via a 3rd party partner who carried the number across to the same 4G service.

 

The Results:

 

They are now getting a 95% perfect signal from their local telecoms antenna.

 

In the client’s own words – “The experience you brought to the problem has saved The Colour Factory this year! Now the stage is set for The Colour Factory to master the new challenges of socially distanced zoom workshops.”

 

If your business is relying on strong, reliable Wi-Fi to come out of this pandemic still standing, then get in touch with one our Wi-Fi experts today.

 

Brazil: “Wi-Fi 6 is an alternative to 5G”

Will Wi-Fi 6 be an alternative to 5G?

Brazilian telecoms regulator ANATEL certainly thinks so. In May, Brazil started taking steps towards making the full 6 GHz band available for release for unlicensed use. Last month they said in an interview that the 6 GHz band in particular will be an alternative to 5G.

In April the Federal Communications Commission (an agency in the US that regulates radio, tv, wire, satellite and cable communication across the United States) released 1.2 GHz of new spectrum to Wi-Fi in the 6 GHz which spurred on international momentum for 6 GHz Wi-Fi. And now, Brazil l become only the second country to follow in the US’ footsteps.

Brazilian regulator Anatel is showing strong support for Wi-Fi 6 and the case for 6 GHz Wi-Fi, and are quoted as saying

“Wi-Fi 6 can potentially become an alternative to 5G – Wi-Fi is the most popular way to access the internet and it is the most democratic way of bridging the digital gap in Brazil.”

Over the next couple of months, it is expected that the next regulatory step will be made by issuing a document with proposed technical conditions for releasing the 6 GHz Wi-Fi band. Reports state that it’s unlikely a final decision will be made on 6 GHz Wi-Fi before 2021.

What about the UK?

It is entirely possible that the UK and other parts of Europe will release parts of the 6 GHz band to Wi-Fi before then – In particular the lower 500MHz part of the spectrum.

However, Brazil will still be only the second country to release the full 1.2 GHz of spectrum.

Brazil has a population of approximately 210 million, so if telecoms regulator Anatel make a positive decision then the market for 6 GHz Wi-Fi could exceed the current US market by about 25-30%.

Brazil currently ranks fifth in the world for internet users:

  • 150 million Brazilians are active online
  • 30 million fixed broadband connections (which is less than 50% of households)

Wi-Fi 6 as an alternative to 5G? Definitely watch this space.

 

How many access points do I need and what type?

The world might have changed, but the demand for Wi-Fi hasn’t. If anything, the demand is even higher! And if you want a happy workforce when they return (if they haven’t already), or satisfied guests and customers, then you’re going to need fast and reliable Wi-Fi.

People tend to link the impression and success of a brand or business to how well their Wi-Fi works, and employees don’t want to return from working from home to find that the office Wi-Fi is worse than at home. Now is so not the time to have unreliable, patchy Wi-Fi.

Does your wireless system need deploying, or upgrading?

This can be a daunting task if you’re not sure what you need or what you’re doing. You may just decide to call in the experts (our Wi-Fi engineers work out of London, Hampshire and Cardiff, just FYI) or you may decide to work it out yourself. In which case, you’ll probably read on.

Wireless networks are a system of products that rely on one another in order to be successful. You might have one really great product, but that’s not going to do you much good if the rest are sub-par. The most successful wireless systems consist of having all of the right components, working seamlessly together.

One of the most common questions our Wi-Fi experts are asked (apart from ‘how do I get my Wi-Fi to the garden’ – lockdown life) is what is an access point, what type do I need, and how many?

Unfortunately, if you’re going for this alone, there’s not a ‘one solution fits all’ answer to this, but we’ll try and outline the most beneficial information as possible. At the end of the day, we want the best result possible for your end users – Whether it’s your employees or customers.

  1. How many end-users can each Access Point support?

Firstly, there are different types of access points – The ones you use at home are different from those you would use in a business setting. Enterprise grade AP’s are what we would use for non-residential settings. As well as providing higher client thresholds, they also offer other capabilities such as intrusion detection and prevention, spectrum analysis and load balancing.

These types of AP’s can thus handle more devices, provide security and make performance adjustments in real-time.

It’s important to look at the design of an AP, as there are unfortunately many that are now outdated. A lot were created for coverage as the most important factor, however since then people have started to carry multiple devices at any one time. With 2-3 devices per person, an AP’s ability to handle many devices impacts how your network performs.

When planning your wireless system, it is essential you plan for capacity – BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and the IoT (Internet of Things) means that there is an ever-increasing number of devices that will try to connect to your network.

  1. What type of access points do I need?

When shopping for devices, you will find there are literally hundreds in use that are AC certified. All of these devices would benefit from wave 2 AC access point deployment.

This type of AP are a great choice due to their increased reliability, faster speeds and better support for high density areas.

Just in case you are wondering what the different is between wave 2 AP’s and wave 1, wave 2 have 3 other main features, other than speed.

  • MU-MIMO
  • 4 spatial or data streams
  • 160 MHz channels

That’s really interesting, but what does it mean for your business? Well, with the right design in place (did we mention that our Wi-Fi engineers have expertise in Wi-Fi surveys, design, and installation?) wave 2 AP’s can offer better performance whilst actually using few access points. This helps boost productivity, efficiency and user satisfaction. All of which should be top of your list at the moment for getting your business successfully back on it’s feet.

There are, of course, many additional factors that can impact the performance of your new access points – If something still isn’t quite right once your deployed your network or upgraded devices, give our experts in London, Hampshire or Cardiff a call.

  1. How many access points do I need?

Unfortunately many people think that Wi-Fi problems will be solved by adding more access points – But too many AP’s can actually be as bad (possibly even worse) than not having enough.

The number and placement of access points is dependent on the environment and WLAN design. You don’t want an under-engineered design but you also don’t want one that’s over-engineered. You’re the Goldilocks of the Wi-Fi world, and you want your network just right.

You might have already found yourself some free software that boasts DIY network design – But be careful! Without the Wi-Fi expertise of an experienced engineer, it can be difficult to get it just right even with software to guide you. Design is important, so do get in touch if you run into difficulties.

So what’s next?

Wi-Fi has become as important to us as electricity. We rely on it and take it for granted – And just like a light that won’t switch on, we really notice when it’s not there or flickering on and off.

Whether you are about to deploy a new wireless network, or are upgrading your current one – your access points will play a huge part in how successful it is. You don’t want frustrated end-users – Whether they are employees or clients. This all comes down to how well your wireless network has been designed. For Geekabit’s expert advice from our experienced engineers, get in touch today – We can survey, design and install reliable and secure Wi-Fi networks for your business.

What’s new in the world of Wi-Fi: Smart Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6 and Cloud Management

The Wi-Fi world is always a-buzz with new technology – Just because the whole globe seems to have been at a standstill, doesn’t mean that developments aren’t still being made.

The last couple of weeks we’ve seen a steady stream of reductions in lockdown restrictions meaning more and more businesses are returning to normal (albeit a somewhat ‘new normal).

Here at Geekabit we are certainly picking up the pace and starting to get back to regular work from our bases in Hampshire, London and Cardiff. The UK is waking up and our Wi-Fi experts and engineers are ready for it.

We make it our business to keep up with what’s new in the world of Wi-Fi so here’s a quick overview of a few of the latest announcements when it comes to Smart Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6 and cloud management applications.

  1. EE launches 3 new hardware units as part of ‘Smart WiFI’ service in the UK

Telecommunications giant EE have released their ‘Smart WiFi’ service through new affordable router and extendable discs. Although not Wi-Fi 6 compatible, the range includes a portable ‘4GEE WiFi mini’ unit which provides Wi-Fi services through EE’s 4G network.

The choice to keep this newest offering affordable means staying at Wi-Fi 5 rather than moving to Wi-Fi 6, but does mean it only costs £10 per month for 18 months, for all 3 hardware units.

  1. Spain’s first Wi-Fi 6 product launches from Telefonica

Last week Telefonica released their ‘Smart WiFi Amplifier’ which is Wi-Fi 6 capable – Their first Wi-Fi 6 product, as well as the first of its kind in Spain. This cleverly designed little unit can double up as either your primary AP (by using your Telefonica home gateway to load the existing network configuration) or as a repeater to extend Wi-Fi coverage to all areas of your home.

In their press release, Telefonica explained how the unit will deliver up to 4 Gbps (which is 5 times the speed of previous generation Wi-Fi) as well as offering 30% better coverage.

  1. RUCKUS Cloud management platform released from CommScope

There might not be much going on in the enterprise Wi-Fi world what with everyone largely still working from home, but that doesn’t mean that developments can’t still be made. CommScope (also known as Ruckus) have launched their new Cloud management platform for enterprise and carrier Wi-Fi.

The newly released RUCKUS Cloud is an AI-enabled platform for Wi-Fi network management by managed service providers and enterprises. It provides network health monitoring, remote client troubleshooting, AI-based analytics and much more by supporting both wired and wireless infrastructure.

 

You might be asking if you need any of these? Especially if you’re getting your business back on it’s feet, and don’t want patchy Wi-Fi to let you down at this crucial moment of bouncing back. Our expert Wi-Fi engineers cover the UK out of London, Hampshire and Cardiff – Get in touch with us today for any Wi-Fi issues you may be experiencing.

 

 

Image from EE.

How do I get Wi-Fi in my garden?

Maybe you’re working from home and desperate to soak up some sunshine (between thunderstorms) whilst typing away on your laptop. Or perhaps you’re escaping the chaos of family life by working from the garden shed. Either way, you might struggle to keep your connection stable on a Zoom call trying to use your existing Wi-Fi outside.

Here are our top tips for getting reliable Wi-Fi in your garden, without stealing your neighbours (you’ve still got their password from last years BBQ haven’t you?)

  1. Access Point
    Our first recommendation would be to run an ethernet cable out to the garden area and install a new access point. There are other options (see below) but this would always be our preference and recommendation when being asked how to get Wi-Fi in your garden.

    2. Is your router in the best place?

You could also try moving your existing router. If it’s situated at the front of the house, perhaps in the front room by your smart TV or telephone, then it’s likely that it’s signal won’t reach your back garden. Consider where you access the internet the most, and whether you could move your router to a different location that would work for both the house and the garden.

3. Extending your Wi-Fi range with a repeater

If the range of your router won’t reach the garden from a suitable location inside the house, then there are ways you can extend it. A repeater is one possible solution.

By placing a repeater in range of the garden, you can make your Wi-Fi go further. It’s cost effective and easy to configure, but works by mimicking your existing network and creating a new one. This means you would have to manually change the connection on your device when you move between the garden and the house. This option can also half your bandwidth, resulting in slower internet speeds.

4. Extending your Wi-Fi range with an extender

By using an extender, you can extend the range of your router by plugging it in at a position where it will provide coverage to your garden. An extender is cabled and takes internet signal direct from the router and emits it from a better location. Despite being slightly more expensive and a bit more complicated to configure than the repeater, our resident Wi-Fi expert says, “one of the biggest benefits of an extender is that it is connected using a wired connection, so there is no need of a wireless signal to operate it. This also means that the bandwidth stays at its full potential.”

5. Mobile Tethering

If your smartphone has good reception outside, then you can use its Wi-Fi hotspot and tether that to your laptop or other device to use its connection. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the data you use will come off your monthly allowance, and if you go over it can be rather a costly mistake.

So there you go, some of our top tips on how to get Wi-Fi in your garden so you can enjoy the summer sun whilst working from home!

If you’ve tried these options and still no joy, don’t be afraid to call in the experts!

 

 

How Geekabit Will Operate as Covid-19 Secure
Lockdown is loosening and businesses across England are starting to wind those cogs in anticipation of going back to work.

Here at Geekabit we’re doing just the same. As businesses and offices start to reopen, we want to make sure that we are ready in the wings for any Wi-Fi network design, installation and support needs for your business.

The country needs businesses to bounce back, and we don’t want anything as simple as Wi-Fi to be standing in anyone’s way.

The most important thing for us to be able to start operating again is safety and ensuring that we are Covid-19 Secure. Below are the steps we will be taking, in accordance with government guidelines, to make sure that we can offer Wi-Fi help across England from our bases in Winchester, London and Cardiff.

The basic steps we will be taking to work safely amid Covid-19 are:

 

  1. We will carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

Before we head back to work, we will be carrying out a risk assessment to ensure the safety of our workers and clients. This will include assessing the risks of any visits or installation works we need to carry out on client sites. Any initial face-to-face meetings will be carried out via zoom or similar.

If you are starting a phased reopening of your businesses or introducing staggered shifts, perhaps any Wi-Fi needs you have could be addressed prior to this starting to ensure minimal personal contact between our engineer and your staff.

  1. We will follow cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures

When on site, we will follow the handwashing and hygiene guidelines put in place by that business on a case by case basis. Any equipment and tools of our own, plus bits of Wi-Fi kit we are bringing with us for installation, will be cleaned prior to working on site. Whilst on site, our engineer will wear a face mask, and will wear gloves whilst working.

  1. Working from home

Such is the nature of our Wi-Fi business, that we are unable to operate completely remotely. However, wherever possible, we will carry our prior meetings and consultations in regards to Wi-Fi needs via zoom or other appropriate communication systems. When it comes to Wi-Fi installation or other needs that require our presence on site, we will follow all other guidelines.

As above, if you currently have a large proportion of your business working from home, now could be a brilliant time to sort out any Wi-Fi issues at the office.

  1. We will maintain social distancing of 2m, where possible

Wherever possible, our engineer will maintain 2m between them and staff members whilst visiting your workplace. We will adhere to social distancing measures such as following one-way systems and anything else that business has put in place.

Where it is not possible to follow these guidelines, for example, an area of installation requires our engineer to be close to a workstation or running a cable opposite to a one-way system, we will request that staff keep clear of this particular area during a certain time period.

Again, the less workers on site the better whilst certain work is being carried out. If you are needing a Wi-Fi site survey, need some access points installed or physical ethernet cables laid, then this could be the best time to do it with minimal disruption to your office.

  1. If we cannot be 2m apart, we will endeavour to manage transmission risk in collaboration with the client

If there are instances where it isn’t possible for our engineer to remain 2m apart from staff, we will endeavour together with the client to do everything practical to manage the transmission risk by:

  • Thinking about whether a particular activity could be done when less staff are present.
  • Keeping any essential activity time as short as possible.
  • Using screens or barriers to physically separate our engineer from other people.
  • Requesting the reduction of number of staff members on site whilst Wi-Fi work is being carried out.

 

In addition to all of that, our expert Wi-Fi blog will be back up and running from this week – Full of tips and advice on all your Wi-Fi woes!

If your business is currently working towards being Covid-19 secure, and you want your Wi-Fi sorted before your doors properly reopen, get in touch with us today.