Bath and Bristol are famous for their historic buildings. But for those that live in a period property there can be some annoying downsides. For many, getting a good wireless signal around the house is a real problem. If you live in an old home that was probably built before electricity, let alone WiFi, connecting wirelessly can be a nightmare.

If this is the case, what can you do about it?

Why is an old home so bad for WiFi?

There are several reasons why older houses tend to suffer from poor WiFi penetration. To make matters worse, these factors tend to compound to create poor signal areas and even completely wireless-free zones.

Building construction is a big one. Period houses tend to have thicker walls than their modern-day counterparts. This creates more mass that the WiFi signal then has to penetrate – rather like trying to shine a light through a blackout curtain.

On top of this, older buildings are more likely to have been modified or extended over time. As a result, the thickest external walls may have subsequently become internal walls. In the worst cases this can restrict WiFi coverage to whichever room your router is in.

As well as this extra volume, old walls can often be constructed of a mishmash of building materials. In the days before proper building regulations it was often a case of anything goes. Again, a jumble of builders’ rubble in the walls will do a WiFi signal no favours.

Old homes are often not WiFi friendly
Thick walls in older properties block WiFi, resulting in poor signal coverage

Older houses defy most WiFi boosting options

Anything that relies on a wireless signal to boost the WiFi is most likely a non-starter. Even modern ‘whole home’ mesh WiFi systems will struggle in an old house without line of sight between each access point. Best case scenario is that you’d probably have to use a lot of units to get half-decent coverage.

Another option that many period homeowners in this situation try is power line adapters. These devices plug into a standard electrical socket and use the mains electricity to transmit a WiFi signal.

The problem with using them in an old house is that they rely on good wiring. Unless the building has been recently and completely rewired, signal quality through ageing electrical circuits can be patchy at best.

How to ensure comprehensive WiFi coverage in an old building

The only 100% reliable way to get a wireless signal where you need it in an older house to install hard-wired WiFi access points. This is also a great way to future-proof your home as it provides a permanent wired network infrastructure that could last you 20 years. (And possibly even longer.)

As wireless technology evolves, access points will be replaceable with newer models – without needing to change the cabling.

Obviously, as with any maintenance work on an old building, extra care needs to be taken with the installation. Older fixtures, fittings and surfaces tend to be less robust than modern equivalents. This can make cable installation tricky. However, once it’s in place it shouldn’t need to be revisited for a considerable period of time.

Installing reliable WiFi in your period home

If you’re in the Bristol and Bath area, we can help. We have considerable experience in installing wired and wireless networks in older and period properties.

Contact us today for advice and a free quote for fast, reliable WiFi throughout your home.