June 25, 2012
| by Lisa Montgomery
Most people love the thought of working outdoors on their laptops and other mobile devices. Outdoor Wi-Fi is also necessary if you want to bring your internet music or video devices outside for some summer entertaining. The problem with that plan is that the router inside the house may not have the range and strength to support a solid Internet connection outside. According to Brian Watt, product marketing manager at EnGenius Technologies, access points have become an increasingly popular outdoor amenity. “We’ve seen an upswing in rural customers for use in large backyards and out buildings.” A strong Internet connection is also important for streaming audio and video to entertainment systems outdoors, which is also becoming more prevalent.
A wireless access point is commonly used to extend the range of a router. EnGenius recently announced the availability of an outdoor model. In addition to boasting a data rate of 300Mbps, it’s manufactured to withstand the elements. Although designed for companies that want to provide outdoor Internet access to their employees, Watt says it’s a well suited for residences with large back yards, as well. The ENH210EXT ($279) features two gigabit Ethernet ports, one of which can be used to connect a surveillance camera. The other connects back to the local area network.
Some important tip shared by Watt when using an outdoor access point:
• An omnidirectional antenna ensures an even coverage of an outdoor area.
• Enterprise-grade encryption is helpful, since it may be easier for neighbors, etc. to connect to an outdoor access point than one that’s indoors.
• A robust housing that’s can hold up to harsh sunlight, the cold and rain.
• Complement the access point with a client bridge. This device connects directly to an Internet enabled Blu-ray player, A/V receiver, etc. that might be located in an out building.
Check out more great outdoor AV ideas here.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.