Using Intellicenter to extend WiFi outdoor range

MostlyCanuck

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Hi folks - my pool build was sooo delayed and opened last week. Have been diligently following TFP methodology and stopped PB from pouring all sorts of chems at startup... he was totally confused - I felt good! Big thx to all here for all the easy to follow advice.

Now to my question, I would like to install a wifi extender in the backyard to boost signal. I have an ethernet cable that runs from the Intellicenter automation to the fence on other side of yard where I am going to install the extender (gets signal from ethernet and broadcasts wirelessly across the yard). My Intellicenter uses that external dongle that comes with it to receive wifi from my router, which then connects to the Intellicenter panel via ethernet cable. Question is: is there a way to plug my secondary ethernet cable into the Intellicenter, so that it takes internet from the Intellicenter panel to send it to the wifi extender I intend to use??

@Jimrahbe @MyAZPool - pinging you both as I thought I recalled reading something you posted a while back that discussed this but couldnt find it.

Thx a lot!!
L
 

ajw22

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I am confused about some of your networking terminology. Since no one has replied let me try and get some clarity.

I would like to install a wifi extender in the backyard to boost signal.

A WiFi extender does not need a Cat-5 network connection. An extender only needs power and it connects to your WiFi and then rebroadcasts it from it's position.

I have an ethernet cable that runs from the Intellicenter automation to the fence on other side of yard where I am going to install the extender (gets signal from ethernet and broadcasts wirelessly across the yard).

Gets signal from the Ethernet how?

Do you have a Cat-5 cable that rune from a router/switch to the IntelliCenter location?

My Intellicenter uses that external dongle that comes with it to receive wifi from my router, which then connects to the Intellicenter panel via ethernet cable.

The dongle is a WiFi repeater that feeds the IntelliCenter.

I think you can connect the WiFi repeater into a 4 port switch and then connect a Cat-5 from the switch to the IntelliCenter and connect the Cat-5 that runs to the other end of the yard.

Now the question becomes what you connect to the cable at the other end of the yard. It is not a WiFi extender. You could connect a WiFi access point,

Be careful that you don't create cross channel interference between the WiFi devices that slows down your WiFi network.
 

Oswald

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Jul 23, 2021
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If you have cat5 already going from your router to your intellicenter, you could easily add a small switch to also use that to add a wifi access point. But you probably want to use that as a new wifi network for the reasons ajw22 mentions above or get a system that does a mesh network. Some of them can use cat5 ethernet to do the backhaul connection.
 

MostlyCanuck

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I am confused about some of your networking terminology. Since no one has replied let me try and get some clarity.



A WiFi extender does not need a Cat-5 network connection. An extender only needs power and it connects to your WiFi and then rebroadcasts it from it's position.



Gets signal from the Ethernet how?

Do you have a Cat-5 cable that rune from a router/switch to the IntelliCenter location?



The dongle is a WiFi repeater that feeds the IntelliCenter.

I think you can connect the WiFi repeater into a 4 port switch and then connect a Cat-5 from the switch to the IntelliCenter and connect the Cat-5 that runs to the other end of the yard.

Now the question becomes what you connect to the cable at the other end of the yard. It is not a WiFi extender. You could connect a WiFi access point,

Be careful that you don't create cross channel interference between the WiFi devices that slows down your WiFi network.
I'm probably using the wrong terminology, sorry. I found two types of wifi 'extenders' - some get wifi and rebroadcast that wifi (both input and output are wireless) and others can get internet from cat5/ethernet and broadcast wifi (input is wired and output is wireless). I was planning to use the latter as it seems more reliable.

An ethernet switch in the intellicenter is a solid idea. I also found ethernet splitters that might do a similar job. Will try what you suggested. Thanks!
 

MostlyCanuck

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one more clarification if you don't mind. all ethernet switches i found seem to need power (5V). For instance, this is what I was thin king of using: TP-Link 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Easy Smart Switch | Unmanaged Pro | Plug and Play | Desktop | Sturdy Metal w/Shielded Ports | Limited Lifetime Replacement (TL-SG105E) : Amazon.ca: Electronics

I could of course plug it into the service receptacle that is on the side of the Intellicenter... but is there a cleaner way to cut the power cord and hardwire it into the Intellicenter panel itself? And if so where?

Thanks again
 

Tcadwall0

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If you don't already have a mesh network, I would recommend skipping all of that. You can do what you are saying (as others clarified slight reminologies) but if your house is close enough that the intellicenter can pick up wifi - I think the whole area would be fine if you had a mesh satellite indoors near your pool area. I get a pretty good signal across my backyard having one of my satellites in my kitchen (close to the pool). And that signal is dual band so older automations work as well as newer devices.

--- added...
I don't see how any of what you are describing is actually better because it is wired. Which is why I am recommending the mesh.
It all bottle-necks into the single wifi to ethernet signal.
 

MostlyCanuck

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If you don't already have a mesh network, I would recommend skipping all of that. You can do what you are saying (as others clarified slight reminologies) but if your house is close enough that the intellicenter can pick up wifi - I think the whole area would be fine if you had a mesh satellite indoors near your pool area. I get a pretty good signal across my backyard having one of my satellites in my kitchen (close to the pool). And that signal is dual band so older automations work as well as newer devices.

--- added...
I don't see how any of what you are describing is actually better because it is wired. Which is why I am recommending the mesh.
It all bottle-necks into the single wifi to ethernet signal.
i do have a mesh network - indoors. but the one i have (plume) they dont make outdoor units. so i have to add a third-party extender/repeater/access point... anything that works really. what do you recommend i do?
 

Oswald

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Jul 23, 2021
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one more clarification if you don't mind. all ethernet switches i found seem to need power (5V). For instance, this is what I was thin king of using: TP-Link 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Easy Smart Switch | Unmanaged Pro | Plug and Play | Desktop | Sturdy Metal w/Shielded Ports | Limited Lifetime Replacement (TL-SG105E) : Amazon.ca: Electronics

I could of course plug it into the service receptacle that is on the side of the Intellicenter... but is there a cleaner way to cut the power cord and hardwire it into the Intellicenter panel itself? And if so where?

Thanks again
Better to just plug it in instead of trying to splice it in somewhere, IMO. All switches will be powered. There is really no getting around that. Definitely don't try an Ethernet splitter, I'm not even sure what those do exactly but switches are incredibly cheap. Buy a small one and find a place to plug it in. If you want to chain an access point off that you certainly can, just set it up as a new WiFi network with its own ssid that is different from your indoor one.
 

Tcadwall0

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i have (plume) they dont make outdoor units.
Sorry for the delay. Are you that great of a distance from your area that the plume doesn't cover? Could you place one of the plume satellites closer to the pool but still in the house?

I have a TP-Link Deco system and with the placements of my (also indoor) satellites, I cover a little over an acre outside my home with high enough speeds to stream video and still handle wifi security cameras, pool controls, etc.
 

rstrouse

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Jun 17, 2020
177
California
If you have stucco or eifs construction there is a good chance that Wifi will be confined inside the house. The signal will go through windows but not through the walls. The chicken wire in the plaster is a very good faraday cage. If you want you can add a mesh node inside a polycarbonate or fiberglass NEMA box next to the IntelliCenter, then use a wired backhaul to the mesh. This will allow your wifi to track even moving between indoors and outdoors and the box will not block the signal.
 

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gingrbredman

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Ubiquiti makes a small switch that is powered though POE, so no separate power pack needed, and can be used even if you do not have a Ubiquiti infrastructure.
The only thing is the input to the switch, must come from a POE output from another switch in order for it to power up. Not sure in this particular case if this is an option, but I have several of the Ubiquiti Flex Mini switches around the house that are powered from a other switches that outputs POE. The mini is only $30, but again, the input must be from a POE output.

I have an Ethernet cable into my Intellicenter and was going to try one of the Ubiquiti minis in the box to power a POE camera to keep an eye on my equipment pad and fence gate. The input ethernet to my Intellicenter comes from a POE switch so it should be a quick addition. I know the OP is not looking to add a camera, but if there is a chance the wire to the Intellicenter comes from a switch that has a POE out, it could work.
 

Oswald

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Jul 23, 2021
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Ubiquiti makes a small switch that is powered though POE, so no separate power pack needed, and can be used even if you do not have a Ubiquiti infrastructure.
The only thing is the input to the switch, must come from a POE output from another switch in order for it to power up. Not sure in this particular case if this is an option, but I have several of the Ubiquiti Flex Mini switches around the house that are powered from a other switches that outputs POE. The mini is only $30, but again, the input must be from a POE output.

I have an Ethernet cable into my Intellicenter and was going to try one of the Ubiquiti minis in the box to power a POE camera to keep an eye on my equipment pad and fence gate. The input ethernet to my Intellicenter comes from a POE switch so it should be a quick addition. I know the OP is not looking to add a camera, but if there is a chance the wire to the Intellicenter comes from a switch that has a POE out, it could work.
You can also get POE power injectors, so you don't need to supply power from another switch if you don't have a POE capable switch, you can just add an injector going to the ethernet to your intellicenter. Add the POE switch there.
 

MostlyCanuck

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If you have stucco or eifs construction there is a good chance that Wifi will be confined inside the house. The signal will go through windows but not through the walls. The chicken wire in the plaster is a very good faraday cage. If you want you can add a mesh node inside a polycarbonate or fiberglass NEMA box next to the IntelliCenter, then use a wired backhaul to the mesh. This will allow your wifi to track even moving between indoors and outdoors and the box will not block the signal.
i hadnt thought of that. putting an indoor mesh satellite outdoors in a nema box is not a bad idea..i'll play with that.

what did you mean by "then use a wired backhaul to the mesh" though? what is it, and what's its purpose? I thought your solution was quite elegant itself if it works because if I just add a mesh satellite/puck outdoors in a nema cage everything is wireless and easier...
 

MostlyCanuck

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Mar 19, 2021
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You can also get POE power injectors, so you don't need to supply power from another switch if you don't have a POE capable switch, you can just add an injector going to the ethernet to your intellicenter. Add the POE switch there.
thank you for sharing. this self-powered switch is way better to house inside the intellicenter. Great find!
 

rstrouse

Well-known member
Jun 17, 2020
177
California
If you already have ethernet to the location where you want the mesh node, the wired backhaul will allow you to connect the mesh node without using one of the 5ghz channels as backhaul. If you don't have it at the location then it will use a channel as a dedicated backhaul. Either way it will improve your coverage.
 

MostlyCanuck

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If you already have ethernet to the location where you want the mesh node, the wired backhaul will allow you to connect the mesh node without using one of the 5ghz channels as backhaul. If you don't have it at the location then it will use a channel as a dedicated backhaul. Either way it will improve your coverage.
got it. thank you!