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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    Extending the range of my wireless router

    From most parts of my house my Blackberry Playbook tablet works fine off my NetGear Wireless-N 300 router but not from my TV room, where I sometimes want to connect the Playbook to my TV. I wonder how I can extend the reach of the router?

    My house is not large. It's shaped like an L, so that router is about 21 ft along the East-West axis and 30 ft along the North-South axis from the TV room. That makes the actual distance the signal has to travel (let's see the square of the hypotenuse ...) about 37 ft. That doesn't seem like a long distance. But since the router is in the basement, the signal has to go through a ceiling plus two exterior, concrete-block walls. It appears that's too much for it.

    Is there anything I can do to fix this situation? A better router? A repeater? I understand that repositioning the router to a more central area of the house would help, but to move my whole computer desk and paraphernalia ... I shudder at the thought. Can I move the router separately from my computer and cable modem? Just looking at the connections, it looks like the router and the cable modem are joined by a very small cable. Or maybe I can relocate the modem and router to a more central location, leaving my computer where it is?

  2. #2
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    Probably the easiest option would be to simply use a wireless access point as a repeater. Some manufacturers offer specialized hardware, which they call wireless range extenders, and that is another possibility.

  3. #3
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    The new Netgear WN2500RP would be excellent for you. Easiest and best wifi extender out there. I know. I test them all.

  4. #4
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    Hi

    I'll piggyback on this thread instead of creating a new one because the WN2500RP is a device I am considering. But before going ahead with the order I just want to make sure I can't do better with a slightly different option.

    Some years ago I wired our home so that there was an ethernet port available in each room. I work at home and most of the hardware is in my study, which is in one corner of the house. That's where the DSL line comes into the house and that's where the network hub resides. We thus have a wired network (using static IP addresses for all the fixed devices) and, using the wireless option on the modem, wifi access on the same network (using dynamic IP addresses for all the phones and newer wireless-enabled devices).

    The corner location is irrelevant for the wired network but in the worst possible place for the wireless signal, so I want to put a repeater somewhere in the house. The WN2500RP would do the job if I located it centrally (ideally in the loft/roof space, although that would waste some of its features). But it appears to me that an even better option would be to connect something like the WN2500 into the wired network point located in the farthest corner of the house and provide a stronger wifi signal from there. The benefits would be the strongest signal in the particular part of the house where we spend most of our time (for our phones, etc.), and also - if the device had extra wired ports like the WN2500 - it would allow the TV and gaming consoles to plug directly into them as permanent connections (currently we regularly connect and disconnect them which is a pain).

    I can't see if the WN2500 would allow this setup - the wireless signal in that far corner is probably not adequate for it to pick up reliably, and if it was, I wouldn't be looking at a repeater at all :-)

    The WN2500 is a good price for what it would provide, but if I can do better for not much more that would be my preference. Any good advice out there?

    Thanks
    T

  5. #5
    3 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by aquatarkus View Post
    But it appears to me that an even better option would be to connect something like the WN2500 into the wired network point located in the farthest corner of the house and provide a stronger wifi signal from there. [...] I can't see if the WN2500 would allow this setup - the wireless signal in that far corner is probably not adequate for it to pick up reliably
    You're already wired to the farthest corner, so you just need a wireless access point, not a repeater.

    Both types of devices transmit a wifi signal from the far corner of the house so you can connect wifi devices to them, but the difference is in how they tie that wifi signal into your existing LAN. A repeater would try to connect through the air all the way back to the wifi transmitter at the modem. An access point simply feeds the signal right into the wired jack it's plugged into.

    Use a wireless access point to add a wifi transmitter to a location from which you already have wired coverage. Use a repeater to add a wifi transmitter to a location from which you don't have wired coverage.

  6. #6
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    Add my 2 cents here.
    Can use any wireless router. I use old left-over ones.
    Put the wireless router in the center of the service area, or in the most open area (least walls and blocking metal panes).
    Connect the WAN(!) port of the router to network wiring. That's it!
    The extra wired ports on the router can be used for wired networking too.
    The wrieless router will DHCP all wirelessly connected devices. Or you can use static addresses.
    The added benefit is that the wireless network is separated from local wired network, in case someone breaks in via wireless.
    The bad: The wired PCs cannot access and do administrative work on the router, because they are on the WAN side. Some router allows WAN access when a port is open. The Tomato firmware I use in the Linksys wrt54g router allows that. You can always temporarly bring a wire to the router for admin work.
    On the other hand, if you wire the cross-over wired port (uplink port) of the router, instead of the WAN port, the wireless and the wired are all linked as a single network. In this case, advise to diasble DHCP from the wireless router. Or selectively let it DHCP a restricted non-conflict range.

  7. #7
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    Just wanted to say that I have a wireless repeater and set up was very straighforward. Hardest part was extending power to it as it's in my shed and effectively bounces the signal back into the house after crossing the courtyard in a V-shape (don't ask - I have a very complicated piece of architecture).

    I did invest in high-gain antennae for the repeater which helps the signal strength for a few dollars.

    On a separate angle, I have also successfully used "network through the mains" technology, terminating in a wireless access point. Not as cheap as a re-used router but cheaper than rewiring the hosue with ehernet cable. Search for "devolo" (other brands are available).

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    Netgear WN2500RP

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    As per jmessman, I would endorse the (New?) Netgear WN2500RP, cost $89. I just installed it a few days ago. Doing the physical install (ie., finding an out-of-the-way location which has an electric outlet close by) took longer than setting up the wireless connection. Just find a central location where your router signal is decent, locate the netgear 2500 at that spot, and you should be able to extend your router signal to the furthest corners of house. The software has an option that will improve signal strength and speed.

  9. #9
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    Just another possibility

    This is totally different than the other posts but might be a good alternate solution. You can install the cable modem almost anyplace in the house that you have cable service, Such as near your TV and then place your existing wireless router there. You could then purchase a pair of Powerline Ethernet Adapters to feed the ethernet from the router location back to your desktop location using the power wiring in your house. There are several manufactures of these devices and the run in cost from about 50 to 100 bucks for a pair.

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