A few weeks ago I told you that some faster Internet options will likely be available in Loreto Bay before the end of 2021. If you missed that post, read Internet Options in Loreto Bay Today and Tomorrow. For most homeowners, getting fast service to the casa will not mean you get great service everywhere within the casa. Today I’ll talk about a variety of devices and cabling you may want to consider if you want to get great WiFi coverage in your entire casa. I’ll provide Amazon US links to each device. This makes it easy for you to purchase at the best price Amazon offers. I do receive a tiny commission if you buy using these links.
If you have service from Telmex, they provide you with a WiFi router. It works, but it will rarely be able to provide a signal that gets to your entire casa. Our houses are constructed with a lot of rebar and concrete and it is difficult for signals to penetrate walls and especially to go between levels of the casa. For that reason, it is imperative to have something on each level of the house delivering a signal. The best solution is a mesh router system. These come with two or more nodes that you place in different locations.
The best mesh systems have a dedicated wireless channel for the nodes to talk to one another. If you want the best possible connection between the nodes, they also allow a wired connection. I recently purchased the ASUS ZenWiFi AX Tri-Band Mesh System. I have the main node connected to the Telmex router (upstairs) directly and the other node is connected wirelessly (downstairs). If I could measure directly from one to the other, they might be 25-30 feet apart. There is just issue of the thick floor and a wall between them.
Once I have fiber installed, I may decide to connect the two nodes with a cable and I’ll discuss cabling options a bit later. For now, they work well with our pitifully slow service. By having a mesh system, I have the same SSID and my devices automatically connect to the strongest signal. For those who don’t understand SSID, it is the WiFi name. Something like “MyCasaNetwork” or whatever you choose during setup. Since installing my system, I’ve continued to tweak the settings to give me even better overall performance.
If you want to look at some other mesh networks, I’ll list two others below. While I have not worked with either of them, I’m positive they’ll do a better job than the Telmex router alone.
When you look at mesh systems, you’ll notice they do tend to have a higher price point. Quite simply, that is because they contain more than one router. For those who want a lower-priced option, a WiFi range extender could be the option. They aren’t as seamless as a mesh system, but they can get the job done. Below are three of the best options.
Now let’s look at some other things that could be helpful in allowing high-speed Internet to work throughout your casa.
Ethernet comes in different speeds and having an old, slower part in the mix can slow down everything to that speed. If you bought wiring or a switch years ago then it likely was a “10/100” part. Meaning that it supported both 10 Mbps and 100 Mbps. At the time, those speeds were awesome and we had no complaints. Computers have gotten faster and fiber optic can offer at least “gigabit” connections in some locations. So that old equipment and wiring will mean you can’t get the full speed. For those who go with some of the slower Telmex fiber optic plans, this won’t be a limiting factor for your Internet connection.
Most WiFi routers have a built-in switch. That may be all you need. I have a wiring closet where Internet is distributed throughout the house (this was typical in early Founders casas) and it has an ancient switch. So I got a TP-Link 5 Port Gigabit Unmanaged Ethernet Network Switch so that one potential slowdown can be eliminated. I’ve got two more of them in rooms of my casa to split the signal and connect multiple devices. If you need a much bigger switch, look at the TP-Link 24 Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch.
Next up are the Ethernet cables. If you have Category 5 cables, they can only go to 100 Mbps in theory. Yes, sometimes they will go faster, but you shouldn’t count on it. To learn the nitty gritty about Ethernet cables, check out Are you using the right Ethernet cord? Based on that info, getting Category 6 cables is probably your best bet going forward. Below are links to several different lengths of cable. If you need more than one, those pages do sell them in packs as well.
- Amazon Basics RJ45 Cat-6 Ethernet Patch Internet Cable – 3 Feet
- Amazon Basics RJ45 Cat-6 Ethernet Patch Internet Cable – 5 Feet
- Amazon Basics RJ45 Cat-6 Ethernet Patch Internet Cable – 10 Feet
- Amazon Basics RJ45 Cat-6 Ethernet Patch Internet Cable – 14 Feet
- Amazon Basics RJ45 Cat-6 Ethernet Patch Internet Cable – 25 Feet
- Amazon Basics RJ45 Cat-6 Ethernet Patch Internet Cable – 50 Feet
One challenge may be replacing wire that is already in the walls. In our casas, the best answer may be to run wire from a window on one level to one on another level. This would require drilling a couple of holes through the window frame. Not ideal, but not the most difficult thing to do (and hide). Below are links to two outdoor cable options. The first includes RG45 connectors while the latter would require installation of connectors after putting the cable in place.
Some of these pieces are easier to replace than others. But they are the building blocks that will allow you to get the fastest speed to all of your devices throughout your casa. In the next post, I’ll cover a wide variety of smart devices that can be used to automate your casa and much more.