Network extenders

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Old 07-26-18, 01:02 PM
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Network extenders

I need to extend the coverage of my home network throughout the house. Currently have dead area. Please contrast the use of "Wifi range extenders" with Powerline adapters with wifi.
 
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Old 07-26-18, 03:01 PM
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Powerline adapters can work quite well. However, for them to work properly, both outlets (source and destination) have to be on the same "side" of the 240VAC line. Most homes have 240VAC coming in. The normal 120VAC at the outlets is obtained by one of the 240VAC lines and the neutral. The house is wired such that approximately 1/2 of the house uses one of the 240V lines, and the other half uses the other 240V line. If you know that both powerline adapter outlets are on the same 240V line, it will work well. If you don't know if they're on the same line, it's a crapshoot whether it will work properly or not.

WiFi extenders introduce delay and can reduce speed. Since WiFi speed is dependent upon signal strength (among other things), if you place the repeater where the signal is weak, you'll get a reduction in speed even though the signal strength from your device to the repeater is good.

If you can run an ethernet cable to (or near) the dead area, you can add a second router configured as a repeater. The advantage is that, since the second router has a wired connection, there's no signal loss, so it's very fast. That's how I have my home configured. My modem & main router are at one end of the house. I ran an ethernet cable in my basement to the other end of the house and connected it to an old router that I configured as a repeater. I get excellent signal strength and speed anywhere in my house.
 
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Old 07-27-18, 04:40 AM
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Thank you for the comments and information. If I can determine that the plugs are on the same leg of electrical wiring, can I use the powerline adapter and to wire ethernet cable to a new router? How do I configure a router to be a repeater?
 
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Old 07-27-18, 06:33 AM
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Some routers come with a wireless repeater mode built in, you just have to select that mode. However, most routers don't come with that feature. To turn a "normal" router into a wireless repeater, connect the incoming Ethernet cable to one of the LAN ports, not the WAN port as you normally would. Change the router's IP address to something different from the primary router. For example, if the primary router's IP is 192.168.1.1, make the repeater 192.168.1.2. Finally, turn off DHCP on the repeater (primary router assigns IP addresses). I set the SSID and passphrase to be the same on both routers (primary & repeater), then the transition from one to the other (as I'm moving about the house) is seamless.
 
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Old 09-06-18, 04:48 PM
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Definately NOT powerline adapters.... You can actually use an old router to do this by seting it up as an access point (but a network cable is required to another router connected to your network). some routers have a repeater function already bilt into the firmware and some routers can be "updated" or converted into a repeater with open source firmware (DD-WRT is proably the most user friendly for beginners and has a large list of compatible routers. I would recommend a repeater if you don't want to bother with converting an old router. Powerline adapters can be very slow and unreliable. The wireless ones are probably ok, the only issue is that they are often plugged in low to the floor or behind furniture etc.... So I recommend a router with the repeater options built in, versus a dedicated repeater....
 
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Old 09-06-18, 04:54 PM
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Bob has this down to a science here. Great post Bob. The only thing that I can add is that you NEVER want both "Access points" to be on the same channel. So you may want to manually set each one to its own dedicated channel, recommended 1, 6 or 11. If both are on the same channel you will get very anomalous results and find the experience to be a lesson in frustrating madness. Some routers will know to automatically set the channels correctly but most don't have a very good ability to discrimiate or discern the proper channel.
 
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Old 09-06-18, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jameswil
I need to extend the coverage of my home network throughout the house.
1) Wired connection to access point is best,

Newer gigabit routers get ethernet at nominal 1,000 megs, with WiFI G/N is 54/meg 300 meg.
Older Westell 327W routers will work at 100 megs and
I have gigabit from house to converted barn/office. You can buy specially made G/N access points online, but I've found that "last year's router" works, I use a red Mi424WR router for this, takes a bit of google searching to find the right settings. I also have a pair of Westell 327W DSL routers, the later versions support WPA2 and give you 54 meg G wifi.

2) Wired via HD coax cable (MOCA) is 2nd best. Runs around 175 to 500 megs nominal depending on which version. I have this from one section of a stone farmhouse to another stone addition using an older MI424WR black router. Works nicely. If you have a MOCA router, you simply add a splitter and have the router beside an existing coax box. Again, you have to wipe the routers memory and spend time googling the setup.

3) Powerline is a close 3rd to MOCA, because powerline depends on the setup. Some are 100 meg, others 300, others 500. I have used powerline adapters with old Weestell 327w DSL routers, works well.

4) Wifi extenders should be double antenna/double wifi, so you can dedicate 1 antenna to receiving, and 1 to rebroadcasting, BUT you need a place where there's still a good signal. I've used a Linksys (blue / black double antenna) router running DD-WRT firmware to span ~100 feet between house and office, but switched to gigabit class outdoor ethernet strung between buildings like a clothesline.
 
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Old 09-06-18, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Solarsails
The only thing that I can add is that you NEVER want both "Access points" to be on the same channel. So you may want to manually set each one to its own dedicated channel, recommended 1, 6 or 11.
Also -=>
Set all the router SSID's to the SAME NAME, but DIFFERENT channels.
I turn off SSID so the wifi is dark.
If possible, disable options for "down grades" that preserve compatibility to WiFI B.
Newest routers have built in WiFi 4G/ 5G and a "guest channel",
I highly suggest putting anything that doesn't need file-sharing access to the home network like phones or tablets onto the home 5G Guest network.

You'll want to sketch out the lay out a sheet of paper with the router, devices etc.

I also HIGHLY recommend that you use fixed IP addresses for any repeaters, and block the first 10 ip addresses by telling the DHCP service to start isssuing IP addresses at eh, 192.168.1.10 or so-
That way (using FIOS IPs)

Main gigabit router is 192.168.1.1
Second MOCA router/access point is 192.168.1.2
Third gigabit router access point is 192.168.1.3
Fourth 327w access point router is 192.168.1.4 (needed to stream music while mowing lawn

Similarly, network printers, network storage devices, network cameras, and smart-phones repurposed as wireless HD cable boxes can be given fixed IP addresses,
and you don't have to spend time figuring out all new IP addresses each time.
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 09-06-18 at 07:28 PM.
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