Boosting Wi-Fi Signal

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Old 12-31-13, 09:41 AM
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Boosting Wi-Fi Signal

We seem to have issues with Apple products and wifi connectivity in our house. We have a total of 4 devices upstairs and the Ipad and macbook air really have a hard time to keep the signal. With the macbook air I have to flip back and forth between my 2.4 and 5.8ghz for the laptop to reconnect. My cable modem and my Wi-Fi router are downstairs since I do most of my work downstairs. I have a cat6 that goes from the router downstairs to a computer upstairs. Would putting another Wi-Fi router at the end of that cat6 re-boost the Wi-Fi signal or actually I would need a repeater? the thing is I have a spare Trendnet Wi-FI router that's been laying around in a box for over 2 years and I have no use for it. If that works great otherwise I would have to spend $100 on a repeater.
 
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Old 12-31-13, 10:19 AM
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My buddy got some sort of deal that plugs your wifi into an electrical outlet... then anywhere in the house if you plug a transmitter device into any outlet, it will transmit your wifi from that source. I don't know what its called but it sounded ingenious. He's now got wifi in his detached garage that's located quite a ways from the house, which is awesome.
 
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Old 12-31-13, 10:30 AM
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I think the second router will work, but you will probably have to make it a separate network from the one the first router is providing.
 
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Old 12-31-13, 03:56 PM
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An Amped Wireless 2400 would pick up the wifi signal from downstairs & give you 5 wired connections from there. Since I couldn't run a cat6 from the landlady's router, I use the Amped 2400. I can connect more machines than I'll ever need.
 
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Old 12-31-13, 10:10 PM
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Sounds like you need a second WiFi router upstairs configured as a bridge. Check the Trendnet device's documentation to see if it can be configured as one. The fact that you've created a bridge doesn't change individual areas of coverage per se but it establishes two separate areas of coverage which are connected by the rj45. Worst case, you can always create a subnet with it but subnetting requires more IT smartz than a simple bridge.

How To Turn An Old Router Into A Wireless Bridge
 
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Old 01-01-14, 07:05 AM
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My first choice would be to try moving your existing router to a more central location. Even moving it to the top of the desk, or to the other side of the room may help. Or strangely enough, moving it upstairs may work for both areas.

If moving the devices around doesn't work, you can try the multiple access point solution. I've had very little success with it in general to be honest though except when using all Apple devices. I was able to wifi a friend's large house using multiple Apple Express access points and the setup was rather painless. To me, it would be worth the $100 for a new Apple AirPort Express since the setup will be MUCH easier than with your existing router.

Just my experience though... your mileage may vary
 
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Old 01-01-14, 10:56 AM
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Zorfdt makes a good point. The best option usually is the simplest one. Besides moving your wireless access point to a more central location, it's also a good idea to position it as near to the ceiling as possible. Most of the metal stuff around the house -- which is less "transparent" to a radio signal than wood and sheetrock -- is nearer to the floor than to the ceiling.

This might sound far-fetched, but since you already have the hardware on hand, I'll mention it anyway. Just because the GUI on your Trendnet WAP doesn't support bridging (and we haven't yet established that it doesn't) doesn't mean the hardware doesn't. There are (free) 3-party firmwares that were created specifically to grant the device's owner access to functionality that the manufacturer didn't see fit to include in the GUI. The two most prominent are Tomato and DD-WRT. I don't think Tomato has anything but DD-WRT supports several Trendnet models (full list here).

Flashing firmware is a pretty simple operation, but it isn't isn't completely without risk. There is the odd chance that the transfer will fail, or some other unforeseen problem might arise, leaving your WAP nonfunctional. The adjective they use for such a device is "bricked," with obvious implications.

That said, I've been running DD-WRT on all my WAPs for several years. In fact, I won't buy a new WAP until I've checked with DD-WRT to confirm they support that device (which also means I never buy the latest hardware, because it takes them a while to gin up the firmware). That's how much I like what it does for me. When I replaced my G-band WAP with an N-band, I reconfigured the G-band device to a bridge (something I could not have done through the OE firmware) and stuck it in the garage to give me better coverage on that end of the house.

The reason this 'hacked' firmware works so well is that the chipsets in a WAP are dirt cheap to manufacture, and they get better "economy of scale" by installing the same electronic guts in as many devices as possible, covering a wide range of prices. In the cheaper devices, they only install a firmware that gives you, the owner, control over the basic features. The functionality is still there, but they expect you to have to buy the high priced spread to gain access to it.

The guys who are writing these 3-rd party firmwares have no profit motive (the firmware is Linux-based, so they're part of the "Software should be free" open source movement). Their chief motivation is in gaining control over every last feature the hardware will support, even stuff the manufacturer doesn't offer at any price. They disassemble them and plug in with something called a 'jtag' cable, which lets them communicate directly with the chipset to determine everything that it can do. Then they (attempt to) incorporate control over all those functions in their 3-rd party GUI.

In many cases this means giving you functionality that the manufacturer doesn't offer even on their top of the line models. The controls offered are as intricate and sophisticated as those in the big-bucks commercial routers and switches, so they're definitely giving you enough rope to hang yourself. I still don't have a clue what 95% of the settings its GUI offers do. But it's there if I ever decide it's something I want to utilize. Truth be told, that's one reason the original manufacturer didn't include all this functionality to begin with. Because the average PC user isn't very tech-savvy, and they're sparing their customer support staff from a lot of grief. The guys who write the firmwares host online support forums but are not directly obligated to support it.

One of the controls DD-WRT will give you lets you turn up the volume on the transmitter. Literally. Control over the transmitter power. Which isn't necessarily something you'd want to futz with, because turning it up could burn out your transmitter (it's the equivalent of overrevving your engine; more power with accompanying increased risk of catastrophic failure), and because of the way radio signal propagates, it doesn't provide as much improvement as you might think, far less that 1:1. But they give you access to the control, just because they can.

Anyway, the 3-rd party firmware is one option if you want to try to use the hardware you already own, but its GUI doesn't offer that feature. And if you brick it, ...well, ...it was only gathering dust anyway, right?
 

Last edited by Fred_C_Dobbs; 01-01-14 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 01-01-14, 11:21 AM
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The OP is complaining about internet access. I don't think all his devices need to communicate with each other. I think that setting up two independent networks will serve his purpose of getting Internet access to the upstairs.
 
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Old 01-01-14, 02:39 PM
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I hooked up the second router gave it another name 'upstairs" and it's working fine now I have the main router 2.4 and 5.8 and the upstairs router at 2.4Ghz On average I have about 80 to %90 signal strength around the house unless I'm right beside the WiFi routers
 
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Old 01-01-14, 06:54 PM
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Good to hear it worked out for you! As Fred mentioned, sometimes easiest is best!
 
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