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Updated 3/9/2005

Home Networking - Test Locations

We have tested HomePlug and Wi-Fi networking at selected locations in our home. This page shows the test locations on the three floors of our house. We used nineteen locations for the Wi-Fi tests; fourteen of these (1 to 3 and 5 to 15) were also used for HomePlug.

House Construction

Our house is built into a hill, with two floors facing the front and three facing the rear.

The house is a fairly typical 30-year-old "two-story colonial"; an addition with a "great room" and a garage was added at the left end about five years after the house was built. Construction is the typical U.S. wooden "stick" style: walls are constucted of sheet rock over 2x4 wood studs, floors are 2x10 wood joists with hardwood floors and sheet-rock ceilings.

An atypical feature of the house construction is a steel support beam between the main floor and the ground floor, running left to right across the original (right-hand) part of the house, equidistant from front to rear. This is shown in red on the diagrams below.

Heating and air conditioning run through sheet-metal ducts concealed by the ceilings and walls. One of the main ducts runs adjacent to the steel support beam toward the rear of the house.

The top of Dave's desk (location 16 on the ground floor) proved to be one of the worst locations in our Wi-Fi testing. Although it is not far from the access point (location AP on the main floor), the path between the access point and this location includes two walls, a floor, the steel support beam, and a main heating duct. Each of these obstacles creates attenuation in the wireless link.

Floor Diagrams

Each of the following diagrams shows one floor of our house, with the rear of the house at the top of each diagram.

The middle floor of our house is the main floor from the street side. The main floor is the lower floor when viewed from the front (see a picture of our house from the front) . It includes our living room on the right and a "great room" on the left. The stairs go down to the ground floor from left to right, and up to the upper floor from right to left.

During the Wi-Fi tests, the access points were all located at location AP on top of the couch in our study. We also tested Wi-Fi at three outdoor locations: 17 on a table on our rear deck; 18 on a bench in our front courtyard; and 19 at our mailbox, at the street and well off the diagram to the lower left.

The bottom floor of our house faces down the hill, and includes Dave's office and our server room. The ground floor is built into the hill in the front, and opens to the rear. Dave's office faces the rear, and a small "server room" is near the center front. The furnace room is on the far right front. The stairs go up to the main floor from right to left.

During the HomePlug tests, an outlet at location 1 was used for the "master" adapter; this outlet is a short distance to the main electrical panel EP in the furnace room, located at the lower right.

The outlets in the server room at 2 and 3 are close together but on different electrical circuits. 3 is a circuit strip that drives all of our networking and communications equipment.

The top floor has our bedroom and Sandy's office. The upper floor includes Sandy's office; a room that doubles as a guest bedroom and an office for our assistant; and the master bedroom. The stairs go down to the main floor from left to right.

The outlets in Sandy's office at 5 and 6 are on different electrical circuits. Outlet 5 is below Sandy's desk and the test computer was placed on the floor; outlet 6 is above the desk where the test computer was placed.

Please see our "home movie" for a tour of our house and a description of how we use our network infrastructure.