The summer is coming. The sun is shining. The Wi-Fi in your garden isn't very good. Oh dear. Best extend that Wi-Fi signal then! Here's how to extend Wi-Fi to reach into your garden for working-from-home summer greatness and Wi-Fi music-streaming BBQ party fun-times.
This Wi-Fi extender guide for your garden offers simple tips, from router setup to hotspotting, through to physical kit purchases to improve your home's Wi-Fi reach through a number of possible device fixes: from the best hotspots and best routers to the best Wi-Fi extenders and best mesh network systems.
1. Quick fix: Change router band
This tip will very much depend on the router that you own. Most modern routers run on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands (with Wi-Fi 6E and forthcoming Wi-Fi 7 furthering those available bands). Most routers are intelligent enough to auto-select or switch between these bands for best results.
However, if that's not the case you may wish to force the router to use 2.4GHz instead of 5GHz. Although the lower frequency band isn't as efficient with data, its wavelength works better over longer distances, so is ideal for extending Wi-Fi in your garden. Especially if you can reposition your router so it's by the access to your garden, or at least closer.
Turning your router off and back on may reset the optimal bands it is using (classic off/on trick, as ever). Otherwise find the card on the back of your router that contains the IP address. Type this number into a web browser to open its settings, then select the desired 2.4GHz band. Note: this may result in poorer in-the-home connectivity, but you won't care if you've got your feet up in the garden, eh?
Router doesn't cut it? The best affordable router 2022 is the D-Link R15 (pricing in widget below). Or check out our best wireless routers guide for some of the mightiest and speediest options available today.
2. Buy a Wi-Fi extender
Wi-Fi extenders do exactly what the label says: extend your Wi-Fi network. They're best used in large homes, really, but could help push Wi-Fi into your garden too, if positioned correctly.
Wi-Fi extenders are designed to be simple to setup and use, which is their real big sell. You rarely need to worry about calibrating them or tweaking obscure system settings: it's simply a case of plugging in, getting them onto your existing Wi-Fi network, then letting them get on with the task.
For our money the NetGear WN3000RP is the best option on the market right now (pricing in widget below). You can plug it directly into the wall near your garden access and help project that signal strength across your lawn and beyond. Or check out our best Wi-Fi extenders guide for even more affordable options.
3. Buy a Powerline adaptor
Powerline adaptors are a fascinating idea: these plug-socket devices use the electrical cabling in your home's walls to extend your Wi-Fi throughout. You plug one in by your router via Ethernet, then position the additional devices where you want Wi-Fi to be delivered – whether via Ethernet to a device (such as a TV) or wireless at that source.
If you've got a garden office with electricity and want to extend the Wi-Fi to reach there then it's a plausible solution that's cheaper than going all-in with a point-to-point system. It won't result in the best possible speeds as per the router, but if you've got a good connection at source then it'll be more than good enough.
We find TP Link's products super reliable, but they can be a little pricier (see widget below for the Powerline AV2000), although you can source far cheaper ones too. Just make sure you've got a plug socket near to your garden access to project that signal out to those patio tables and chairs.
4. Setup a mesh network
This solution is a little more 'all in', but setting up a mesh network is well worth it for the home all year round, in addition to extending the Wi-Fi into your garden or, indeed, garden office.
Investing in the best mesh Wi-Fi network products will ensure your Wi-Fi connectivity is the fastest it’s ever been. This means no blind spots, so you can have an uninterrupted connection whenever and wherever you need it – including in the great outdoors (not the wilderness, mind, this garden Wi-Fi extender method does have its limits).
There's a fair bit more setup required to get a mesh network to play nice with your existing router, but once it's done you can position the relevant extenders anywhere you please. That includes without wires, so reaching the end of your garden with an additional satellite is possible – even if you choose to do that later down the line.
Of all the options listed in this extend your garden Wi-Fi guide, however, mesh networking is the priciest solution. It's also the best, in our opinion, as you get what you pay for. We think Google Wifi is a great solution for many (pricing widget embedded below), but if you want something even faster and fancier then check out our best mesh network guide.
5. Tether to mobile
If you can get a 3G, 4G/LTE or even 5G connection in your garden space on your mobile phone then a potentially useful option is to simply turn on Wi-Fi Hotspot or Personal Hotspot on your Android or Apple device. Doing so is easy, too.
For Android swipe down and locate the Wi-Fi Hotspot (or similar name) in the settings, tap it to activate; you'll need to press-and-hold to reveal the hotspot settings, including the name of network and the password.
For Apple go to Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot or Settings > Personal Hotspot and you'll be able to Allow others to join; within these settings are the same useful options to change the network name and password.
On your laptop or other Wi-Fi device it's then as simple as connecting to that Wi-Fi hotspot, just as you would connect to the internet in your home: click the Wi-Fi logo in your Windows or Mac taskbar, locate the network, tap in the relevant password, and away you go.
A word of warning though: data isn't always free. Some plans will limit your monthly allowance, others may charge for use over a given amount. So this bonus tip shouldn't be something to rely on time and again, especially if you're streaming heavier content, such as making long video calls and such like.
6. Buy a portable hotspot
Although buying a portable hotspot isn't the best long-term solution for most people to extend Wi-Fi in the garden, it does offer additional benefits: if you ever travel – whether for work or pleasure – then you can take a hotspot device with you and browse when abroad too. Typically you can't use your personal mobile phone won't permit hotspotting when overseas.
Portable Wi-Fi hotspots act as your own personal Wi-Fi network. Some are even SIM free, such as the Urozetta Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot (pricing in widget below): when you get to a new country, you just open up the companion app on your phone and pick the data plan offer you want to go for.
So if your home garden becomes a hotel balcony for a week, or the outside steps of a convention centre where the Wi-Fi costs a small fortune, that's almost like working from a garden overseas really. This is the best solution for that.