WIFI In the garden office

Getting internet down the garden shed can turn your summer house into a home office, a place to send the kids or just create somewhere to escape to and still get things done.

By Mark Stringer

Published 2/17/2021

A garden shed used to be storage for the gardening tools, but more and more people are turning these into summer houses or home offices. 

Getting out the house

Converting a normal shed is certainly possible; but in the last few years small shed like buildings with a leisure or office use in mind have been coming to market. Designed for comfort they have features like insulation, real windows and draft proofing. 

Once you introduce facilities such as water and electricity you create an inviting space which might just be a place to relax, a games room or man cave but more common we are seeing these as a place to work. 

Having a workspace in an outbuilding if a perfect way to achieve the boundary that you need to separate it from your home life, and of course can be a much quieter and distraction free place to work.

Enter the internet

Being internet free may be desirable creating that distraction free environment but it also opens up possibilities. 

But how do we do this?

Your Internet Service Provider only gives you connectivity, typically they give you a router as well to get you going but you're not limited or restricted to that and you can expand your Computer Network to meet your needs. 

This is exactly what we need to do, were going to expand your network to include your summer house.

Just remember,you need to ensure that you stay within the terms of service given to you by your ISP so utilising your own internet in the home office / garden may be permitted but renting out your summer house to guests and charging for wifi access wouldn't be. 

Simple options

There are some simple ways you can and achieve your goals of being able to watch streaming TV down the garden..

Range ExtenderI would generally recommend against range extenders but one in the right place could give you just the boost you need. 
PowerlineSince you probably already have electric running to your summer house using a powerline adaptor could work.
Move the routerMoving the router is a nice simple way to improve coverage as you need it. 
Temporary ethernet cableAs long as you're not too far running out a long cable as and when you need it might just work for you. (although not recommended)

Caution…

If you have other people in your house also using your WIFI, don't be tempted to reposition your router. You might get enough coverage to be able to connect in your summer house. But this may cause performance and reliability problems as different users try and connect to it.

And these still cost money and as they can't be guaranteed or suitable for long term solutions it may end up being lost money.

So Lets get clever..

How would we do it if you wanted to do it properly, in a reliable, robust and secure way….

Run an ethernet or fibre cable

External ethernet cable is readily available, with direct bury or armoured options available. A fixed wired solution is always the most reliable with minimal chance of failure.

It is always important to use the right type of cable as they are designed for different situations which might mean using optical fibre, which is sometimes the better option. You could for example be affected by distance or potential electrical problems that fibre being light based avoids. 

External Access pointIf you're close enough a dedicated external access point will not only give you access in your summer house but in the whole garden.
Wireless Bridge

This is a clever term for two devices that talk to each other wirelessly, one is at your house the other is at your summer house, any Internet traffic is passed between the devices much like cars crossing a bridge.

You will need a dedicated access point at your summer house / shed but this is a great solution where power is available but you don't want to run additional cables.

This technology is tried and tested with many options available. Oh and speed not an issue.

What is my go to…

The situation matters immensely, such as physically where are the buildings; but first you want to consider your network as a whole. This may mean you want to connect the same way in the house, the summerhouse, the garage or wherever you are. Imagine starting a zoom call in the living room then walking out the house, down the garden path to the office, all while talking to the other person with no interruptions. 

Then how do you get between the two? that depends.. 

Mark Stringer

Getting into technology was almost guaranteed for me, my interest started when I got my very first computer a ZX81 with the 16K ram pack… It still amazes me that the modern phone out classes those early computers. At heart I’m a problem solver, before I even finished by GCSE’s I had a summer job where they needed custom light units, you couldn’t buy them, so we made them. Fast forward and I gained an honour’s degree, a bunch of Microsoft certifications, and years of expertise working in the city of London. I started ENIAC Solutions in 2019 focusing my knowledge on networking, WiFi and cyber security.