WiFi Range Extenders

Jan 31, 2019

Most Generac Air-Cooled standby units now come with built-in WiFi.

A wireless internet connection is required for automatic activation of the generator and for MobileLink remote monitoring to function properly. If you haven’t yet learned about either of these features, please read our previous blog post on the subject:

Whether or not the generator you’re installing is able to communicate with your customer’s WiFi network depends on the distance (and obstacles) between the generator and your customer’s WiFi router or hotspot.

The router sends a wireless signal to all devices within range.

What is a WiFi Router?

Wireless routers are commonly found in most modern homes. They are hardware devices that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) use to connect wireless devices to their customer’s cable or DSL networks. A wireless router combines the networking functions of a wireless access point and a router. A wireless network is also called a Wi-Fi network.

WiFi “hotspots” come in many shapes, sizes, and types.

What is a Wireless Hotspot?

A “hotspot” is any area within which a device (such as a smartphone, or tablet) is able to connect to a network wirelessly. More specifically, the term is usually describing the range of a wireless router, or some other device, such as a standalone wireless access point (pictured), a mobile hotspot, or a WiFi repeater/extender.

Click the image to enlarge.

What is a WiFi Extender?

A Wi-Fi range extender is a type of wireless repeater used to expand the reach of a wireless network. The device is situated somewhere between a wireless router or wireless hotspot and a device that is not close enough to receive acceptable service (such as a WiFi-enabled automatic backup generator).

Assessing the Range of a Wireless Hotspot

One easy way to test the range of a wireless network is by using a smartphone. Simply connect to the customer’s WiFi network (you’ll need their network name and passphrase to do this), and walk over to the area you plan to install the generator.

If you pull up the WiFi settings on your smartphone, does the network status indicate that you’re connected? Can you load a webpage on your phone’s web browser? If so, you probably won’t have any trouble connecting the generator to the customer’s WiFi network.

If you can’t connect to the customer’s WiFi network, you may need to add a WiFi extender to the mix.