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Need to extend range of WIFI signal, a few questions.


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#1
DjFonti

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Hello all.

I am pretty tech-savvy but my experience with networks is limited to setting up modems/routers and connecting devices to them.

I have one room in my house that does not receive the WIFI signal from my router. This has never been a problem until recently, now I need a wireless signal in there.

I've a read a fair amount on how to do this and am a little lost, and was hoping someone could guide me to the easiest/cheapest/most effective way of doing the following:

1) Getting a wireless signal in that room
2) Only having one network, as in, if you were to recommend setting up an access point or another router as an access point (think I'm correct here?), then any devices connected wirelessly only have the one (the existing) SSID to search for. It wouldn't be ideal for me if I was downstairs and my laptop connected to one signal and then upstairs it tried to connect to the other. In the interests of stability and consistency, ultimately I want the same signal around the house but just extended so that it reaches the room without the signal.

I hope this makes sense, like I said networking is a little bit over my head, and I hope you can help.

Appreciate any responses, many thanks :thumbsup:
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#2
3quilibrium

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Hi DjFonti,

A relatively cheap and easy way to extend your wireless range could be a strategic placement of your wireless router/WAP. It's usually recommended to place the device in a central location, since the signal will broadcast in multiple directions in a circular fashion.

If strategic placement is not an option, you could purchase a wireless repeater. This device will connect to your current wireless network, and then re-transmit the signal to cover more range and reduce attenuation. The repeater would be placed closer to the room that you're having problems with getting signal.

Let me know if you have further questions.


Regards,

3quilibrium
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#3
DjFonti

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Thanks for the reply.

Unfortunately, moving the router isn't an option. I moved it today to a location where a repeater would be placed to test the signal in the blind spot. It worked fine, with signal strength fluctuating between 'excellent' and 'very good'.

So, could I use a router as a repeater? I have an old router that still works. I found this relatively simple guide and was wondering whether there any problems with it? It sounds fairly easy and exactly like what I want to do. According to it you can set up the repeater with the same settings as the main router to allow you to roam with a device and have it stay on the same connection.

http://www.labnol.or...-network/19716/
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#4
3quilibrium

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I think that article explains turning an old router into a wireless access point by plugging into a main router. Which is different from your situation.

What you want to do is extend the range of your current wireless network by turning the old router into a "repeater".

You can accomplish this if your old router supports being flashed with third-party firmware such as dd-wrt, which would enable your router to become a repeater.

http://www.dd-wrt.co...reless_Repeater

If the router doesn't support this firmware, you can purchase dedicated repeaters from a retail/electronics store that sells wireless repeaters.
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#5
DjFonti

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Right, I'll have to see if my router supports that. What is the difference between and access point and a repeater then? Sorry for the daft questions!

EDIT: My old router is a D-Link DSL-2640R, I can't find the DD-WRT firmware for this. Does this mean it can't be used as a repeater?

Edited by DjFonti, 21 March 2012 - 02:38 PM.

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#6
3quilibrium

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DjFonti,

If that model of router is not on the compatibility list on the dd-wrt website, then the router probably doesn't support that firmware.

The difference between an access point and a repeater is that an access point needs to plug into the network with a physical ethernet cable. What an access point essentially does is turns your wired only network into a wireless capable network. Clients that want to connect to the network with their laptops would hop onto the wireless access point. A wireless repeater just re-transmits the signal of an existing wireless network to cover more of an area and reduce attenuation. Attenuation is the nature of a signal to degrade over a certain distance. Think of it is yelling in a valley and hearing your echo gradually disappear in the distance. The repeater would connect to your current wireless network using the SSID and wireless key.
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#7
DjFonti

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Again, thanks for the info.

Are there any disadvantages to having an access point as opposed to having a repeater? And is having a router that can be flashed DDWRT firmware the only way to turn a router in to a repeater?
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#8
3quilibrium

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A repeater works well if you're just trying to expand the range of an already existing wireless network. An access point is used to turn a wired only network into a wireless capable network. Repeaters only work well when re-transmitting the signal from a single existing wireless access point, however, trying to use a repeater on a repeater will not give you very good results, in fact, it might not even work at all. With a wireless access point, the access point connects to the network using a physical ethernet cable, but then clients connect to the wireless access point to access the network. If you think about a college campus that has wireless access, they probably have several access points scattered around the campus, but to the average user, it looks like one contiguous wireless network, and perhaps one device that's broadcasting the SSID.

You can purchase dedicated repeaters from the store. Using dd-wrt is just a way to repurpose an old wireless router as a way to make it become a repeater, but there are dedicated repeaters sold in stores. Hopefully that clears things up.
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#9
DjFonti

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Thanks for the information.

So if I create this access point, do all devices bypass the router signal and just use the access point? I ask, because I am looking to ideally use the router I have instead of buying a repeater, so I am looking to explore the implications of having an access point. Connecting it via Ethernet is fine as I already have cable run to the point where the new device is going to be.
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