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Wireless Networks Thread, Home Wireless Network in Technical; I have a two-storey house with the main pc downstairs and three laptops that are used all over. I placed ...
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    Home Wireless Network

    I have a two-storey house with the main pc downstairs and three laptops that are used all over. I placed a wireless router (Brand X) upstairs in an open area between the bedrooms and the signal is nice and strong. But downstairs and in the backyard, the signal is weak.

    My questions:
    1. Can I buy an access point/range extender/repeater from a company other than Brand X? Or do the router and access point/range extender/repeater have to be from the same company?
    2. Does the access point/range extender/repeater have to be physically connected to the router? If not, do the two need a direct sight-line to one another?
    3. One more - Why do some wireless routers have one antenna, some have two, and some (like mine) don't have any?

    Thanks.

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    chazzy2501's Avatar
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    They all have two anntennas for diversity but some have internal anntennas that you don't see. You can buy any g standard access point and have it repeat the signal from the first one. The AP setup for repeating will only need power no other network access. The repeater will however need to be in good range. If the original wireless router has any proprietary wirless crud that may need to be disabled in order to get the repeater to work.

    EDIT: Forgot to mention that you will need to plug the second AP into your network during the setup but once configured to repeat it won't.

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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    The other option is (if you're able) is to run a CAT5 between 2 wireless routers, leave one controlling all the DHCP / Gateway stuff, and the other one just use it's Wireless. Set it to the same SSID with the same authentication method and make sure it's IP is a free one on your internal IP range (either by having it served up by the DHCP server on box 1 or by making it static and ensuring that it's outside of the scope for the DHCP on box 1 so you don't get conflicts) and that would then work ..

    I have a Sky BB connection at home. The master socket is a bit out of the way so I have 2 WAP coming off from it. The sky box handles all the DHCP etc, but the 2 other WAP handle the WiFi coverage for the house (I have the Sk WiFi turned on too for good measure, but it's got a 2ft stone wall between it and most of the things accessing it).

    EDIT:
    So whilst no is the answer for the linking of the 2, hardwired connections between points are always better than radio ones, so for reliability if your signal is that weak, you're better to have it wired ..

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    smithson83's Avatar
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    1. It would be better to have a like make/model, esp' if your current AP supports WDS or similar for setting up distributed wireless networks (so they act as one instead on fighting each other), but in theory providing you set them up with different channels (eg AP1 ch1, AP2 ch11 etc) then they should be ok. The problem would come when you sit in a place where the signal strength is similar from both AP's, you will start jumping from one to the other.

    2. They don't have to be physically connected to each other in terms of a cable from one to the other, but they have to be connected to the same network in some respect either Wired or Wireless (Some AP's have more than one Aerial that can be set up differently, eg one for the Wireless Bridge and one for client access)
    2a. If you cannot setup a bridge for any reason then a Powerline adapter for Ethernet over mains cabling may be an option, effectively turns your home mains electrics into a wired network. Then you can plug of a pair in near your existing AP and one downstairs to plug your new AP into.

    3. As for No. of antenna/aerials etc, most 54Mbps have one antenna as thatís all they need, N Spec APs tend to have at least Three, and some (that appear to have non) have internal antenna.

    WDS (Wireless Distribution System not Windows Deployment Service)

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    Thanks for all the help.

    I've already looked into running the network over the electric lines - but that won't work as I cannot be sure which phase is in each outlet.
    So I have the Netgear N Standard wireless router (no external antennas) upstairs which covers the whole second floor fairly well. I have the main downstairs pc (hidden in a backroom office) connected using an HPNA3.1 converter over the phone line. Since I cannot physically connect anything to the router because of its location, I'm going to purchase a Netgear repeater today.

    I just hope that by playing around with its location (downstairs), I'll be able to get a strong signal for all downstairs rooms and the backyard. My house isn't that big (80 sq/meters per floor) so I don't think it should be that big of a deal. I've also read that repeaters cut bandwidth by half, which I hope won't be too bad, as I have a 10 MB bandwidth.

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    Steve21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rphox2003 View Post
    So I have the Netgear N Standard wireless
    The other option is trying a lower band, 802.11n isn't always best for going through walls (Yes I'm sure there will be debate/opinions, but from experience :P)

    Steve

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    smithson83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve21 View Post
    The other option is trying a lower band, 802.11n isn't always best for going through walls (Yes I'm sure there will be debate/opinions, but from experience :P)

    Steve
    That's a good point, if your willing to cut the bandwidth to 54Mbps you could try forcing 802.11g, just as an option to try before you start spending money.

    EDIT: Maybe even switch to 802.11a if you can and have a lot of other 2.4Ghz equipment in the house which can interfere with 802.11g (baby monitors, cordless phones etc)
    Last edited by smithson83; 5th July 2011 at 09:13 AM.

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    Again, thanks for all the help.

    I decided to go with the Netgear router and repeater - and from the same supplier - just to keep things simple. The only problem now is that I was under the impression that switching between the two would be seamless. But I've found that I have to manually connect to each one depending on where I am in the house. When I'm downstairs (with either cellphone or laptop) I have to choose to connect to the repeater, and when upstairs I have to manually switch to the router. Obviously, the signal downstairs via the repeater is much stronger than leaving the connection via the upstairs router.

    I just thought the stronger signal would automatically take over. Is there any way to make this happen?

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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rphox2003 View Post
    I just thought the stronger signal would automatically take over. Is there any way to make this happen?
    I have a number of crossover points in my houses setup for the WiFi and it's pretty seamless between them. It will generally stick with the one point unless there is a huge advantage to it picking up on another one (like the signal is 3x the strength or something) but even then I've noticed that some devices in my house pick up on a particular router even though there is a stronger signal closer by.

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    So I take it the only way to test it is to get far enough away from one device so that I lose the signal, but remain close enough to the other device to see if I automatically connect? Other than that, is there any special cfg considerations to look at?

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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    I've done nothing special with my home setup other than make sure that the SSIDs all match up, the passphrase is the same for each and that each is on a different channel. Other than that, I have my main sky one as the host for everything (DHCP, DNS, etc etc) and then the other 2 have their own IP address from the Sky Router .. works well ..

    Of course, if you're using an extender then you need to make sure that it's setup correctly, but outside of that, yup, it's pretty much walk around with a WiFi device and see how the browsing goes.

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    How do I check if the SSIDs match. A technician talked me through the setup up. I know that the router is "called" Home and the repeater is called Home_EXT. Both have the same passphrase. What do I need to look at?

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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    The SSID is the name of your wireless network (so for instance, mine at home is HF-WiFi). Each of the access points therefore is broadcasting the same name for the Wireless network (so my Sky Router I've changed from the SKY****** to being HF-WiFi, my 2 x Netgear Routers (well 1 Router 1 WAP) both are broadcasting HF-WiFi - the only difference between the Wireless Broadcasts is the channel number (I think I'm using something like 1, 7 and 12).

    Basically, for your own network you should only be able to see 1 name wherever you are. If you're seeing 2 names (and you know they're both yours) then you will need to change one by going into the configuration page for each point (which you normally get at by entering the IP into a connected computer).

    Within the Wireless Settings (or Possibly Security Settings as you have NetGear stuff) you will find the Wireless setup and where you enter your passphrase in, there will be a box for SSID (or Broadcast Name) - these need to match up.

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    chazzy2501's Avatar
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    On your WiFi Device (Probably only a windows laptop tho) you can set roaming aggressiveness (may have different names) this is usually in the driver options.

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