I want to offer Wi-Fi to my guests as well as the ability to watch TV. Our guest house is not wired for any of this and the signal from the main house won’t reach. So I’m trying to understand how pocket Wi-Fi works. Is it possible to buy the device and leave it in the guest house and allow guests to use their own phone service to connect? Does that make sense instead of using my own phone which would not be there. Not sure if that matters. The other issue is I’d like to use the signal from the Pocket Wi-Fi and connect it to some kind of Roku or Hulu or Netflix or something going where they could watch TV as well. The TV is in there already but nothing shows up on it yet. Wish I had the tech skills but if someone could help me out here that would be awesome. Thanks so much!
I don’t know what country you are in so it’s not really possible to give specific advice regarding mobile wifi devices.
In Europe, you can buy a data SIM that can be topped up as when required, although given the cost it’s not really suitable for high bandwidth stuff like streaming movies or TV shows.
Far better to work out how to get a signal to your Airbnb property utilising the existing connection.
We have several of these at strategic points throughout our building, and so far it’s been working well:
Thanks so much. I’m in the US. I wonder if the SIM method works here.
Why not just call your cable provider and have them run an additional line out to your “guest house”. That’s what we did. Cost - $0 from Comcast. We have the basic minimum cable service, but offer a sector of Netflix marked “Cabana” for guest use.
For WiFi, what works best will depend on how far away the guest house is from your house and what is in between. Here are some suggestions:
- Setup a repeater or range extender in the guest house. This is the cheapest solution and will have by far the lowest performance. It may or may not work well enough for TV streaming.
- Setup a mesh WiFi solution with a dedicated backhaul. A dedicated backaul is where there is a dedicated wireless signal between your router and one or more satellite units and each of the satellites can connect devices with standard WiFi signals. An example is Netgear’s Orbi line of products. These can work very well, but placement is key.
- Run a wired Ethernet cable from the router in your home to your guest home and in the guest home, setup an wireless access point. This is the most reliable solution and would even allow you to create a WiFi network specifically for your guests. Running a cable is potentially the hard part.
- Have your local Cable or Telephone company run a dedicated cable or phone line to your guest house and setup dedicated service in the guest house with it’s own modem and WiFi router. This will completely isolate the guest’s network, but it’s the most expensive because you will have a second monthly internet bill.
How far of a distance do you need to reach>?
I am not sure if this answers your question but maybe give you some ideas. My guest area is downstairs so still gets a signal but it is weak. I use a booster (WiFi repeater) down there, there are lots on the market. I have an Apple one but that is because I was int he Apple garden for a while but have now broken free, it will still work for others. Enough bandwidth so they can stream. I also have a Comcast dongle from the tv so they can use that which is easy if they have the app which takes about 5 minutes max to dowload and set up if they don’t. Also Appletv but it is more complicated and expensive. The Comcast dongle means they can stream from their own Netflix account or I provide a password to mine (I can have 2 users inc me). The other advantage of Comcast is if they have another streaming service other than Netflix they can use their own. I get the feeling most people have at least one these days.
The original poster said “the signal from the main house won’t reach.” This means simply adding a WiFi extender/repeater won’t work well, if at all. Placing both the WiFi router in the main home and the Wifi extnder in the guest house in ideal locations might make it work, but the chances are low that it will work well. It’s worth a try, though, because it really is the cheapest thing to do.
I have a MiFi (pocket wifi or mobile hotspot) for myself. My service is Verizon. The device is 2" x 3" x .5". It could very easily “grow legs and walk away” with someone - I would not consider leaving it for or loaning it to guests. It cost something like $250 to buy it from Verizon on a plan. $15/month to run it. And I do not have unlimited data - someone that streams would have my 10Gbs it used up within hours.
I have another MiFi for sprint. I got it off amazon for $50, and used it with “Ting” where you pay for only what you use each month.
Oh, yeah, the original subject mentioned MiFi. Unfortunately, they all have some kind of mobile data plan, which means a somewhat hefty monthly service charge with a limited amount of data. They’re all on the order of $100/month for 20GB, except the Verizon service paired with Comcast XFinity which is $45 for “unlimited” but throttles after 20GB so video streaming may not work after that. 20GB just isn’t enough data to let multiple guests do video streaming for a whole month.
You might be surprised how effective they can be Brian. Our place is 250 year old Spanish house spread over 500m2 with walls almost 75cm in places. These walls just soak up wifi signals, it’s a serious pain.
We’ve got five of the TP Link repeaters strategically placed over two floors and so far it’s working as well as a €100 solution could be expected to. No complaints from guests yet!
Eventually I’ll install a hard wired network and both apartments will have their own individual access point, but for now the repeaters are doing their job.
I’ve no idea what the limitations are in respect of distance, but I can still get a (pretty weak but usable) signal in a bar 60m away in our street.
I currently work as a software engineer for a company developing network processing and WiFi chips for whole-home gateways (modem + router + wireless access point in the same box) including some Comcast XFinity devices in the US and Liberty Global Horizon devices in Europe, so a surprise is unlikely.
You can find tons of info on the internet about why range extenders don’t work well and it mostly comes down to sacrificing throughput for range. The main problem for @Maureen1 is that the signal “won’t reach” the guest house. We don’t exactly know what Maureen means, but for an extender to work, the signal does need to reach. It doesn’t mean an extender won’t work at all, though. That’s why I said it’s worth a try because placing the router and extender in near ideal locations might work, and here’s some tips if you want to give it a try.
Start off by making sure your equipment is new. You want a router and extender that supports 802.11ac (sometimes just called “AC”) or the brand new 802.11ax (sometimes called “WiFi 6”). The biggest reason you want one of these is because they support 2 frequency “bands” 2.4GHz and 5GHz. What you want is for the extender and the router to communicate with each other using one of the bands (most likely slower 2.4GHz since it has better range), and as many clients as possible to use the other band. If your main router supports only the older 802.11n standard, the throughput is likely going to be very poor.
For placement, connect your WiFi extender to a 50-100ft extension cord and move the extender around the guest house to try to find the best signal. At the same time, get a 50-100ft extension cord and 50-100ft Ethernet cable (or coax cable) and move the router around in the main house. If that’s not practical, use some common sense by putting them physically closest to each other. The ideal locations would be the router sitting right in front of a window that faces the guest house and vice versa for the extender. Locations near the ceiling and/or on the 2nd story are usually better, too. Another thing to remember is that the best placement for the router to communicate with the extender might not be the best place for the router to communicate with the WiFi devices in your main home.
When you’ve found the best placement, then test your throughput. At a bare minimum, start up two high-def TV streaming clients in the guest house, then try 1 in the guest house and 1 in the main house. But that probably isn’t good enough. Remember that you are sharing the WiFi network in your main home with your guests, so make sure it can support the experience you want to provide for both your guests and yourself at the same time. Also keep in mind that depending on where you live, the signal quality and throughput may change at different times of the day and over time due to interference from neighboring WiFi networks.