Update on WiFi access points

Yep, they work! We now have around 60Mb/s through WiFi rather than the 5Mb/s we had previously! I have replaced both of the old TPlink 801ND.

When we originally moved into the property, we were on a slow broadband connection so the bottleneck was the broadband connection and not the WiFi access points. Now we are on Superfast Broadband, the bottleneck isn’t the broadband anymore, but the access points. It was time to change.

The property is large so we need multiple WiFi access points to ensure that every room is covered. Because we have ethernet access points everywhere, it is straightforward to install individual WAPs connected to a central switch. There is no need for an expensive Mesh network.

Plus, these new access points look much neater than the old ones!

New WiFi access points

Well, with the Corona Virus lockdown in full swing, it is time to get on with those jobs that have been hanging around for a while.

Next up: New WiFi access points.

While trying to fix an issue with a laptop on our wired network yesterday, I spotted that a number of devices connected to our network switch were connected at 100M rather than 1000M. In fact, this was the problem with the laptop connection – for some reason it was connecting at the slower speed. Anyway, while fixing that problem, I noticed that there were a number of other devices connected at 100M.

The Loxone mini server was one. No great drama there as the throughput is going to be low. But the WiFi access points were also showing up as connecting on 100M rather than 1000M (gigabit connection). Well, a quick look at the specs for the access points (TPLink 801N) did indeed confirm that they only support 100M.

When we moved into the property, we were on a slow broadband connection (just about 8Mb/s download) so the WAPs connecting at 100M wasn’t really a problem. However, in 2018 BT’ Infinity became available and our connection suddenly stepped up to around 60Mb/s download and 15Mb/s upload.

Time for some new ones! The existing WAPs have been installed since 2014. You can still buy them for around £30, but after 6 years I don’t think they really owe me anything.

In terms of replacement, I was looking for something with a gigabit connection to the network. Plus something that looked half decent. I settled for a TPLink AC1350. I have been happy with the original TPLink, so I decided on a simple upgrade for a faster, better looking unit.

I have bought one unit which arrives tomorrow. If it works ok, we will need a second one. But let’s just try one to start.

TPLink AC1350
New WiFi access point – TP Link AC1350

Why do WiFi access points look awful?

Answer: Because no one in the design process cares what they look like.

Having spent a fortune renovating (including re-wiring) a property, I need to install a couple of WiFi access points to make sure that WiFi is accessible in all parts of the building.

Trouble is they all look awful – most are white/grey plastic boxes with one or more aerials.  They are plenty of examples to choose from, but few, if any, that look half decent.

Their design seems to be a hang-up from corporate offices rather than something than anyone would want on display in their home.  As a result, most of these access points end up getting hidden away in cupboards, under the stairs, or anywhere else that they won’t be seen.  Ironically, these positions don’t really help propagate the signal, they perform better out in the open.

Isn’t it about time that designers had an input into the appearance of the technology that is fast becoming part of our everyday world?

Who would want to stick this on their wall and look at it everyday?  And if that wasn't bad enough, there are some flashing lights on it to make sure that you don't miss it!

Who would want to stick this on their wall and look at it everyday? And if that wasn’t bad enough, there are some flashing lights on it to make sure that you don’t miss it!

OK, so this one looks like a smoke alarm.  It is one method of disguising it, but it isn't exactly attractive.

OK, so this one looks like a smoke alarm. It is one method of disguising it, but it isn’t exactly attractive.

Probably the best we are going to find.  I will strip it apart and spray the outside case so that it matches the wall colour.  It will be a bit like the pottery uplighters that you can paint the same colour as your walls.

Probably the best we are going to find. I will strip it apart and spray the outside case so that it matches the wall colour. It will be a bit like the pottery uplighters that you can paint the same colour as your walls.