Rob Loos, Ledger Columnist

Today technology and home improvement go hand in hand. I can’t wait for my “smart house” to go online, but until that happens, I have an issue with my IoT—Internet of Things. So many new devices depend on a solid, strong wireless Internet signal to work correctly. Which, needles to say, our old house refuses to allow.

To say that Wi-Fi is a challenge in a hundred year old home is like saying that closet space is an issue—it’s a wild understatement. There is never enough of either one.

Considering our house was built before commercial radio became a popular feature in homes, this shouldn’t come as a big surprise, but it is a real problem.

To try to achieve some semblance of wireless service, we switched to a new provider. They encouraged us to “bundle” our phone, TV and internet services.

The deal was good, the installation was fine, but the Wi-Fi remained a problem. Everything worked when I was near the “router,” a mysterious rectangular black box with flashing green lights located in my home office, but in our living room—a mere 25 feet away—the reception was so unreliable that I couldn’t even stream the latest episode of Silicon Valley on HBO GO.

I tried the known computer tricks—rebooting my computer, rebooting the router, rebooting my subscription to Scientific American, but nothing worked. Then I came up with a foolproof plan. I hardwired the Internet from the router into my desktop computer using an Ethernet cable.

My internet speed was flying and I was exceedingly proud of solving the issue on my own—until I realized that I still needed Wi-Fi reception on my smartphone, tablet, laptop, and my wife and daughter’s various devices and computers.

I couldn’t attach an Ethernet cable to every device. What to do?

Totally stumped, I did what I always do. I called my super-contractor friend Dave. I reached him on his cell phone, as he was finishing up plans for a guesthouse in the Palisades and explained my situation.

“And why do you think I have an answer to an Internet problem?” said Dave.

“If anyone knows how to get a Wi-Fi signal though an old house made of wood, plaster, and lathe it’s you, Dave.”

He laughed.

“Have you tried a wireless booster?” Dave asked. “It takes your signal and makes it stronger.”

Sure enough Dave was right. I jumped online and found numerous “booster” options.

I now have a healthy wireless signal all through the house. All of which once again goes to prove, “If I can’t figure it out—and I know that I can’t—my friend Dave can.”

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