Chances are quite great that you will want to use the internet in your garden office, and you can obviously make use of your houses wifi network and cordless telephones, the problem is that the heavily insulated walls of a garden office and the fact that garden offices are normally situated someway from the house can mean the signal is weak or intermittent but there are ways of overcoming this.
The obvious solution for a reliable internet connection is to run a Cat5 cable from your router to your garden office, it would make sense to do this at the same time as connecting the garden office to the mains electrical supply as the cable would need to be buried in a deep trench.
You may only realise you have a weak wifi signal once your garden office is fully installed and there are several retro fit options:
The Home Plug system is a two part system, one part connects to your router via an Ethernet cable and is plugged into a 13amp socket, and the second part of the system plugs into a 13amp socket in your garden office, Home Plug boosts the signal by transferring data down the electrical system. Home Plug systems come with wired and wireless connections, which you choose is dependent on your needs. This system does not offer the speed and security that a cabled network offers but is a useful option.
The antenna on your router works in an omnidirectional manner, meaning it sends out signals in all directions, if you want to increase your signal in one direction you could consider swapping the antenna with a directional model and aiming it towards your garden office.
You could buy a booster unit for your router which amplifies the range of the wifi signal greatly; some models suggest a 600% increase in signal strength can be achieved.
If you are considering a repeater you should choose the same brand as your router. A repeater bounces a signal from the router to the repeater to your computer extending the range the signal can travel greatly.
Upgrade to N technology
N-range networking is the new standard in wireless technology and you should consider upgrading to an N-range router. N-range technology works on a multiple input multiple output system meaning the router uses more than one antenna to transmit data; this is an improvement on older systems which just used one stream at a time to transmit data. N-range networks also transmit data at a faster rate making them ready for the future demands we place on such systems.
Many garden offices come with a telephone point, this is connected to your main phone supply (in the same trench as the electric cable) meaning that your home phone line can have an extension in your garden office, this will be a more reliable connection than using cordless telephone extensions whose range may be effected by the distance of the garden office from the house and the heavily insulated walls.
Future Proof – designing today for your future needs
You may be focused on what you need from your garden office today but it is worth taking some time to work out what your future needs for your garden office might be – what communication systems will we be using in the future? It’s worth burying a communications channel with your electrical supply large enough to take the communication cables you might need in the future, include a draw string in the channel so that it is easy to pull cables from the house down to your garden office.
Don’t forget the door
There’s nothing worse than waiting in the house for a parcel when you should be in your garden office but you can’t hear the door, the solution is to connect you front door bell to the garden office, this can be done quite simply at the time of installation by including a bell wire in the communications channel and having a bell in the garden office. If your garden office is less than 100m from the house you can use a wireless doorbell, this consists of a button on your door and a ringer which you plug into the mains supply. If your garden office is further from the house why not consider a doorbell /intercom system these consist of a button which when pressed rings a wireless telephone which allows you to talk to whoever is at the door, some options will dial a mobile phone so you can talk to whoever is at your door no matter where you are.