Outdoor Wifi

The COVID 2020 work from home life marches on and the weather here in Seattle has been nice, so I wanted to be able to work while sitting outside in our backyard.

The problem though is that the WiFi reception in our backyard sucks, so I needed to fix it if I wanted to dial into video calls and not have slow networking. Our house was built in the 1920s and it has plaster walls which I think have a wire mesh substructure. WiFi reception was a huge struggle in our house until 2015 when I got hip to Ubiquiti UniFi equipment. Their system allows for multiple wireless access points that mesh into one network. The inside of our house is covered with two access points: one in the basement near the front of the house and one upstairs near the back of the house.

The backyard was covered but was spotty, if I video chatted with someone the signal would drop, I couldn’t stream video, ping times were all over the place. With UniFi the answer is easy: add another access point! They have an outdoor model that can be mounted in a variety of ways, so I ran a cable out of the basement into the backyard (which included some gross crawlspace crawling), up the side of the house, and mounted the access point under the awning.

One great thing about these access points is that they use Power over Ethernet or PoE which makes it so you just have to run an Ethernet cable and data and power are provided. I have two of these UniFi switches that provide PoE for the access points.

Here’s a graph of my network:

graph TD; I((Internet)) CB([Cable Modem]) USG([UniFi Security Gateway]) BS([Basement UniFi Switch]) BA([Basement Access Point]) FS([Furnace Room Switch]) UA([Upstairs Access Point]) OA([Outdoor Access Point]) classDef ap fill:#000,color:#FFF class BA,UA,OA ap subgraph Basement I-->CB; CB-->USG; USG-->BS; BS-- PoE -->BA; BS-->FS; end; subgraph Upstairs FS-- PoE -->UA; end subgraph Outside FS-- PoE -->OA; end

I can now enjoy the weather and sip some coffee on the deck while working or streaming some video!