Q&A: Extending WiFi range

Q I wish to extend the range of my BT Home Hub WiFi to include our holiday cottage, which at its closest is only 2 metres from the walls of our house. But both are of substantial granite construction. How is it best to do this?

A Getting WiFi signals to pass through thick granite walls is not easy, and the best solution if you want to provide good access from both your house and the cottage is to have a wireless base station in each. Given their proximity, you could run an Ethernet cable from your existing BT hub to a base station in the cottage.

The latter might be an Apple AirPort Extreme (£169), which is easy to administer but more expensive than a regular wireless access point or router from Netgear or another reputable manufacturer.

A wireless range extender, which may be slightly cheaper, would be a gamble, as that needs to sit in range of your existing WiFi, and may deliver only patchy coverage in the cottage. If you have two windows that look at one another, you should be able to get a better wireless connection between stations on each sill, although those would not be optimal to obtain coverage within each building. A wired connection is cheap and much more reliable.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 28 issue 24, 2012.