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Thread: Wi-Fi extenders

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    Wi-Fi extenders

    I've been looking at extending the range of my Wi-Fi network, I cannot move the router easily. The current signal is weak I some rooms and drops out also it would be good if it reached the garden. There seem to be two main routes either Wi-Fi repeaters e.g. TP Link or mains borne repeaters e.g. D-Lan.

    I'd be grateful for any advice. I've read somewhere that repeaters like TP-Link slow the data rate.

    TIA

    Peter

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Peter,

    I've had good results with the mains type. My brother had his router in the basement in the far corner of the house. However, he wanted to be able to Skype, via iPad, with his sons one In Vancouver BC and the other in Brighton (he lives in Pennsylvania) when their Grandmothers (both in their 90's) come over for dinner. Of course the GM's can't navigate to the basement and the main living areas are on the other side of the house. I got him a mains set and it works just great with the receiver in the dining room they get very good coverage in the LR/DR/Kitchen & Patio. The one thing you do have to be careful is to not plug one of the units into a circuit with a Ground Fault receptacle on the circuit as this seems to cause problems and is pointed out in the documentation for the units I purchased. HTH
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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I just bought a Cisco Linksys Factory Refurbished RE1000 Wireless-N Range Extender on Amazon.com for $23.97, with free shipping. It was extremely easy to set up, and it works very well. It uses the same SSID as the router for the wifi extended area, so you don't have to deal with separate networks.

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    May be worth reading this post.

    cheers, Paul

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    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    @Peterjv

    I've used TP-Link, Devolo and Netgear 'Powerline' (ethernet-over-power - EOP) adapters in several households in the UK for years. In my experience, they either just work or they don't... and, when they do work, they appear to work very well.

    When they don't work it appears to be because a) the household wiring is very old (30+ years, corroded common earth and single power circuit for all floors) or, conversely, b) relatively recent wiring (10 years or newer) with separate RCD-protected power circuits for separate floors.

    When I rewired my house and replaced the ancient fusebox with an ELCB board I had to sink a 2-foot copper earth spike connected to it for it to work without tripping out (and subsequent certification by regulatory authority). After that my EOP adapters worked again.

    As a result I've taken to lending my TP-Link 'Powerline' adapters to friends and family wishing to extend network connectivity so they can test before purchasing their own.

    (PS - Thanks for your post... it reminded me that I haven't had my Powerline adapters returned to me since last loan!)

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2014-11-14 at 23:45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterjv View Post
    I've been looking at extending the range of my Wi-Fi network, I cannot move the router easily. The current signal is weak I some rooms and drops out also it would be good if it reached the garden. There seem to be two main routes either Wi-Fi repeaters e.g. TP Link or mains borne repeaters e.g. D-Lan.

    I'd be grateful for any advice. I've read somewhere that repeaters like TP-Link slow the data rate.

    TIA

    Peter
    During about the past 2 to 3 years I have set up "WiFi" (WLAN) range extenders for more than 20 customers, and have not been aware of any performance issues - computers connecting via the range extenders have seemed to connect just as quickly and Internet speed has been about the same as computers connecting directly to the customers' router.

    One customer's property is about three hectares (6.6 acres). They have an engineering business and are also involved with some charity organisations. Their Internet connection is ADSL through a combined modem/router (WLAN & 4-port switch built-in) in their business office which is at the front of the property.

    About eighteen months ago they were having problems with TV and laptops connecting in their home after having foil-cased insulation installed. Their home is about 60 metres South-East from their office. I installed a range-extender (RE1) in the closest room in their home, which solved the problems.

    About two months later they needed WLAN in an office in another building about 60 metres North of their business office w/ modem/router, so I installed another range-extender (RE2). About two weeks later they needed WLAN for an employee in a caravan about 100 metres East of the "another building", so I installed another range-extender which is operating quite happily "downstream" from the RE2 range-extender.

    About three months later the mother of one of the owners moved in to a "re-locatable home" about 120 metres East of the owners' home, so I installed yet another range-extender which is "downstream" of the RE1 range-extender in the owners' home. A few weeks ago they asked me to set up yet another range-extender for them, which I did, but I don't know where they are using that one.

    All these range-extenders are TP-Link model TL-WA850RE. They are inexpensive (about AU$65), and are a self-contained unit (no separate power supply).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterjv View Post
    I've been looking at extending the range of my Wi-Fi network, I cannot move the router easily. The current signal is weak I some rooms and drops out also it would be good if it reached the garden. There seem to be two main routes either Wi-Fi repeaters e.g. TP Link or mains borne repeaters e.g. D-Lan.

    I'd be grateful for any advice. I've read somewhere that repeaters like TP-Link slow the data rate.

    TIA

    Peter
    Hi Peter,

    Yes, devices connected to a Wi-Fi repeater get 1/2 the data rate of devices connected directly to a Wi-Fi router because the repeater is transmitting/receiving with both sides of the connection.

    When locating a repeater, ideally it should be about half way between the Wi-Fi router and where you need the signal.

    Chung

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    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gadget View Post
    ...Yes, devices connected to a Wi-Fi repeater get 1/2 the data rate of devices connected directly to a Wi-Fi router because the repeater is transmitting/receiving with both sides of the connection...
    The TP-Link TL-WA850RE range-extender in my #6 post is rated at 300Mbps. In almost all cases I have seen involving home networks with ADSL or cable Internet connections through a router, the router very seldom has a data-rate higher than 300Mbps, and most have been 150Mbps or less. Most of the time the users' want access to the Internet, and are seldom concerned with transferring data between devices connected to their network. Even 150Mbps is much faster than a typical ADSL or cable Internet connection.

    In practise there is a very slight pause when a WiFi connection is accessed initially, but it is really not noticeable.
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    I am using an http://tinyurl.com/Asus-EA-N66 and am very pleased. In my 2 level house I have my router (Asus RT-N56U) is in basement area. at one corner. My bedroom i upstairs at opposite corner of the house. I had weak wifi on both 2.4G and 5G bands. I put the extender at the opening of the stairwell. If going down the stairs you would see it at the base of the wall above the opening. I know have full signal strength on both bands anywhere upstairs. This includes an iThing, Galaxy Note, Asus ROG laptop and our cell phones. I highly recommend it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    ...
    When they don't work it appears to be because a) the household wiring is very old (30+ years, corroded common earth and single power circuit for all floors) or, conversely, b) relatively recent wiring (10 years or newer) with separate RCD-protected power circuits for separate floors.

    When I rewired my house and replaced the ancient fusebox with an ELCB board I had to sink a 2-foot copper earth spike connected to it for it to work without tripping out (and subsequent certification by regulatory authority). After that my EOP adapters worked again.

    ...
    Rick, here in the states we have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs, or GFIs) in modern home wiring. Would you enlighten us regarding the initialisms you used above? What are RCD-protected power circuits and an ELCB board?

    Just curious. ~RonR

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    ...
    About two months later they needed WLAN in an office in another building about 60 metres North of their business office w/ modem/router, so I installed another range-extender (RE2). About two weeks later they needed WLAN for an employee in a caravan about 100 metres East of the "another building", so I installed another range-extender which is operating quite happily "downstream" from the RE2 range-extender.

    About three months later the mother of one of the owners moved in to a "re-locatable home" about 120 metres East of the owners' home, so I installed yet another range-extender which is "downstream" of the RE1 range-extender in the owners' home. A few weeks ago they asked me to set up yet another range-extender for them, which I did, but I don't know where they are using that one.
    Coochin,
    Thanks for the great case study on the use of Range Extenders. In the above case, you twice used range extenders "downstream" of other extenders. Are there drawbacks or other disadvantages to using a range extender off another extender? I'd not been aware you could even do this prior to your post.

    Thanks for the enlightenment. ~RonR

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    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Hi Ron,

    Sorry... I should have explained the acronyms. I keep forgetting the forum's global.

    GFCIs, ELCBs (Earth Leakage Circuit Breakers) and RCDs (Residual Current Devices) are essentially the same animal, i.e. instead of relying on an an 'earth' to discharge current safely (but which may continue to pass current), the devices break the circuit completely in a fraction of a second.

    My understanding (I'm no electrical engineer... but the local electricity board passed my work and transferred power from the old fuse-protected circuits to the new ELCB-protected circuits... so I must have done something right ) is that ELCB's are rated at different sensitivities (e.g. 30 mA for residential use) whilst RCD's don't worry about any sensitivity... they just trip on any fault.

    I should have said 'ELCB-protected power circuits in the house and an RCD-protected power circuit in the garage/workshop'.

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2014-11-28 at 15:27.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruosChalet View Post
    ...Are there drawbacks or other disadvantages to using a range extender off another extender? I'd not been aware you could even do this prior to your post...
    I didn't notice any performance issues with the downstream range extenders, and the customer has not mentioned any issues (it has been more than a year now, and I have helped the same customer with other problems several times during that time).

    Before I first set up one of these range extenders downstream from another range extender I did some googling but found very little discussion about it; most of what I found was really mere speculation. So I just went ahead and tried it thinking "it'll work, or maybe not".
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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    [Thread hijack warning]
    Where do you get a 2 foot earth spike? 1200mm (4ft) is the standard. Did you cut one in half?

    cheers, Paul

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    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    It was either B&Q or Wickes and, no, I didn't have to cut it in half.
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2014-11-29 at 18:49.

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