Ethernet & Wi-Fi for Garden Rooms and Offices
For an Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection to your garden room or garden office, the most secure and reliable method is to install an ethernet cable directly from your house to your outdoor building.
In our opinion, hard-wiring is possibly the best option for any garden room/office if you require a reliable and fast internet connection which is future-proofed.
If you are going to run a new electricity supply to your garden room or office anyway, why not install a dedicated ethernet cable at the same time? Out of all the options available for getting a good signal to your new building, we believe this is the best option.
We always recommend an armoured ethernet cable for outdoor use as its more resistant to damage and is screened, so you get less interference.
Likewise, Cat 6 cable is better than Cat 5 if you want to future proof your download speeds etc.
You don't really need any technical expertise from an IT professional, its simply a case of routing a Cat5 or 6 cable from the house to the room and once this is done you can either:
- connect the ethernet cable in the garden room directly into any device that has an ethernet port (i.e. a PC or laptop) or:
- install an Ethernet socket outlet in the wall of the garden room (neater) and run an Ethernet link cable from the socket to your device (router for WiFi or direct to PC for hardwiring)
We can of course install the ethernet cabling for you if required, or you can DIY or get a local electrician to do it for you if you prefer.
You may find a little technical knowledge is needed when setting up the router and the complexity can depend on the model chosen and the clarity of the instructions supplied.
Often regarded as the easiest way to get an internet feed to your garden room/office. These are relatively cheap devices and send the signal from your Router through the mains wiring in your house and down the mains power-line to your outdoor building.
Thats great in theory, but in our experience they often don't work. Its probably due to the fact that, although the mains cable is connected to your house mains, the ring circuit for your house sockets is separately fused and independent of the line to your garden room.
They probably would work if your garden room supply was taken directly from a socket on your house ring-main, but on the other hand, this is not the correct way to provide an electrical supply to your room, as it is placing extra load on the house circuit and is against regulations. We always install an independent electrical supply with its own RCD fuse to our buildings in order to comply with Part P of the Building Regulations. So, chances are, they won't work.
If however you want to try them, installation is easy. Simply plug one of the units into a nearby socket in your house and use the ethernet link cable supplied to connect it to your home WiFi hub. Then plug the second unit into a socket in your garden room and connect it to your PC or other device or your WiFi router.
The powerline adaptor lets a data signal travel through the electric wiring, but it’s still not a physical connection between your PC and your router, like an Ethernet cable is.
Consequently, even if they do work, the speeds you’ll get using them are also dependent on the quality of your home’s electric wiring. This means that if you own an older property with old wiring circuits, you may still experience the occasional drop in latency or connectivity.
If you need to rely on crystal clear connection with minimum dropouts, particularly if you are running a business from your room, you absolutely must use a dedicated Ethernet cable.
Wi-Fi Range Extenders or Boosters are another cheap alternative and may be worth an initial look as their cost is not prohibitive and enables you to prove they work without expending too much cash.
However, please note that if the signal from your existing home installation is poor, these units will not improve it as they only EXTEND the range of your signal, they do not improve its overall quality. The older your home equipment is the worse the current signal is likely to be.
Trouble is that with our buildings being so well insulated with 'Foiled' foam, this acts as a screen to any airborne signal. So they possibly won't give you a very good reception or simply won't work at all. But again, as their cost start around £20, they may be worth a punt..
A Wi-Fi PtP (otherwise known as a Bridge Kit) is similar to a Wi-Fi extender, but is more sophisticated and typically more reliable. Installation is however a little more complex (and the main disadvantage of this method), requiring two units to be affixed to the exterior, one on your house and one on your garden office.
You will require power sockets nearby to make these work, and some configuration may be required in order for the units to communicate correctly with each other, so a degree of IT knowledge may be advantageous. This video gives you an idea of whats involved:
The unit attached to your house is connected to the home network, which transmits the signal to the second device mounted on the garden building. It is essential that there is clear line of sight between the two units otherwise signal transmission will be poor or ineffective. Note that trees, shrubs or other obstructions are items which can interfere with the signal.
The real bonus to using PtP is that the range is considerably greater than that of a standard Wi-Fi repeater. This is a good option if your garden building is a long distance from your house and hard-wiring an ethernet cabling is not practical or too expensive.
Configuration can be difficult for the non-tech savvy although newer systems have the advantage of coming ready configured so you can get connected with minimum fuss. A pair of point-to-point signal boosters can cost upwards of around £150. But remember – as with all such devices you do get what you pay for...