June 23, 2014 by Grant Clauser
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Home networks have become a valuable part of in-home entertainment and control. The situation is the same outdoors. The problem homes can face is that Wi-Fi routers are often buried in the center of a house, so the signal has trouble reaching outside, especially if there’s a large yard. Outside Wi-Fi is important because the most common devices for controlling audio, video and lighting systems are smart phones and tablets. If your iPhone can’t connect with the control system, then you can’t turn the music up. It’s also common to set up a guest network so people spending the afternoon enjoying your cookout can log on to easily check their email or post party pictures to Facebook.
Hunter says in one three-acre property he worked on he had to put multiple Wi-Fi antennas around the outside to ensure that every inch was covered.
How to Plan
Hunter says that if you want to turn your backyard into more than just a place for the dog to wet the grass, then some early planning helps a lot. Just as with home integration, pre-wiring is crucial for outside systems. If you’re having landscaping work done, call in your integrator before the pavestones have all been placed. Have sizable conduits run under sidewalks and to all ends of the yard. Plan for speakers, lights and network connectivity everywhere, even if the immediate plans don’t call for so many devices. It’s easier, and in the long run cheaper, to wire first then add more devices later.
Check out some of these great outdoor systems:
Outdoor TV Rising Out of Custom Cabinet on Roof
Backyard Bellagio Includes Lights, Music and Fountain
Backyard is Outdoor Electronics Showpiece
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.
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