Boosting Wi-Fi Signal in home - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-11-15, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
 
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Boosting Wi-Fi Signal in home

If anyone has some good suggestions with experience I would appreciate any feedback. I recently moved my 2Wire Bell modem/router to my basement as this is where I set my office up.

Signal strength dies down in the far end of the house on the 2'nd floor and a little on the third floor.

I have been offered many suggestions from the stores but not sure which route to take that does not involve running wires through home. Here is what I have been told or researched:

- Buy a wireless range extender for 2'nd floor...but these can be hard to hook up and unreliable...maintaining 2 networks
- Power line network. Move my router back to 2'nd floor and purchase two of these power-line adaptors and hook up computer downstairs directly to 1 of them with CAT 5 cable?
- Move router to 2'nd floor and buy a new USB Wireless N card instead of using my D-link wireless adpator on my old laptop (will likely get a new Apple Desktop soon.) Not sure if I should use the Apple AirServer products
- Synch 2 seperate routers (access points), however, this is hard and unreliable.
- Purchase a new more powerful N router and hook it up to the 2 wire since these are much more powerful.

Ideally I would like to have a wireless router in my entertainment room on the second floor since them my PS3 could also get a better connection to it. I would then be able to use my IPAD in this room which is the one room that has the worst connectivity.

Any help appreciated.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-11-15, 01:29 PM
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The best route, by far, is to run Ethernet cable to all devices. Hardwire is far superior to anything.

Next up would be: Adding an access point, going Powerline or a more powerful N-Router.

If you can't go wired, I'd put the Wireless Router in the center of the house on the second floor and put a wireless access point on the main floor which should improve reception in the basement

Getting an access point means you still have just one wireless network.



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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-11-21, 10:32 AM
 
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yup, I'd look at running at least 1 ethernet run to the topfloor and add a wireless ap up there

should give you full coverage
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-11-21, 11:47 AM
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I have everything wired but appreciate that it isn't always easy or desirable. I see some likely scenarios.
1. Move the wireless router back to the second floor. Use Powerline or CAT5e/6 to the basement. (An unmanaged switch and CAT5e/6 could be used to connect devices in the basement.)
2. Simply repositioning the router location in the basement could improve reception at the far end of the second floor.
3. Switch everything over to wireless-N.
4. Turn off the wireless on the basement modem/router and use CAT5e/6 or Powerline to feed a wireless router/access point on the second floor.

It is desirable to keep everything in the office wired, especially if there are networked devices such as printers.

At 20 I had a good mind. At 40 I had money. At 60 I've lost my mind and my money. Oh, to be 20 again. --Scary
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-11-21, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Any help appreciated.
You might consider a repeater. The Asus WL-330gE portable access point can be configured as a repeater, but it doesn't do 802.11n. They're not too expensive and you may find them on sale.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-11-21, 01:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JamesK View Post
You might consider a repeater.
aleksh, the OP, said in the first post:
Quote:
- Buy a wireless range extender for 2'nd floor...but these can be hard to hook up and unreliable...maintaining 2 networks
A range extender is the same as a repeater.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-11-21, 02:46 PM
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For my house, I invested in a structured cabling system to get two Cat6 in every room, but that's not desirable or practical for everyone. I got into this practice when i lived in an urban area where I was competing with no less than a dozen wifi networks in range, which is guarantee for trouble.

Now that I live on a rural property, i no longer have wireless congestion, but I still opted to wire the house. It's the best solution.

I do maintain a wireless network for my iOS devices, and the best thing to do there is to get above grade. Nothing saps a wifi signal like Earth!
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-11-21, 09:52 PM
 
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Is there an external antenna connection on your existing AP/router? If it's a 'screw on' antenna, you can get an omnidirectional antenna which will provide a substantial signal gain. It may require an adapter or adapter cable depending on the fittings on the antenna and AP. A 4 or 5 dbi gain antenna can make a huge amount of difference in coverage.

As others have suggested, run hard ethernet wiring wherever possible - keep wireless for you mobile devices. I have cable throughout the house, but need wireless for my notebook and other RF equipment like barcode scanners and such that I support for my company.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-11-21, 11:23 PM
 
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Is there an external antenna connection on your existing AP/router? If it's a 'screw on' antenna, you can get an omnidirectional antenna which will provide a substantial signal gain. It may require an adapter or adapter cable depending on the fittings on the antenna and AP. A 4 or 5 dbi gain antenna can make a huge amount of difference in coverage.

As others have suggested, run hard ethernet wiring wherever possible - keep wireless for you mobile devices. I have cable throughout the house, but need wireless for my notebook and other RF equipment like barcode scanners and such that I support for my company.
I would agree with adding external antennas. If you have a router that allows you to assign Tx & Rx to each antenna, I would recommend running an Rx antenna up to your second floor (generally, the Tx from the router is not the issue, it's the lower strength Tx of your devices that is). I did this with my Linksys (running DD-WRT) and it's an awesome improvement.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-11-21, 11:34 PM
 
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I had similar problems in my home - modem and router in one corner of the basement and my daughter's computer in her bedroom on the opposite side of the house on the second floor. She was frequently loosing her connection; sometimes at very important times, like when she was completing university homework online.
So I purchased the "Netgear AV+ 200 Powerline Ethernet Networking Adapter Kit 100MBPS W Extra Outlet and Noise Filtering". One of the best "tech" type purchases I have ever made. With Shaw High-Speed Extreme, I average about 13 Mbps download speed in the basement at the modem and router and my daughter is always over 10 Mbps in her second floor bedroom. I'm considering purchasing another for my son's PS3 located on the main floor.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-11-22, 12:45 AM
 
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I bought Netgear XET1001 powerline adapters for about $54 shipping in for two refurb units on eBay for a friend.

She had the wireless router in the furnace room (all metal enclosure, must not be great for signals), so to move it to a more central location I bought the adapters and they work great. The router now sits in the middle of the house while the modem is in the basement. They can be moved around, including right by the Blu-ray player for updates when necessary.

I am considering some for myself. It beats running wire, especially if you are not staying in the same home for long. The units I bought are 85 mbps units and they operate well. In my house, my switch is only 10/100, so I'm only losing about 15% of the speed for such and easy solution. All I need is about 20 mbps for video, so in my case it's all good and it works in any room.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-12-01, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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Wi-Fi Signal and options with imac

Thanks everyone for the great advice. One more question. I just purchased an imac...would buying the Airport Express or extreme help my situation and also give me more networking options for ipad, itunes, printers etc?

Not sure if I need the Airport Express, Extreme, or Back-up?

I think this may be best instead of running wires to a recently fully finished basement. I really screwed up. I should have had the guys install all the wires when it was exposed. They did do the cable and phone but no CAT5. Oh well.

Any help from mac users out there would be appreciated/
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-12-01, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
 
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Wi-Fi Signal

I also wanted to mention that I do not think the antenna extender is an option for me as I am using a Bell 2wire router/modem and it does not have an antenna like other routers. Thanks again.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-12-01, 11:49 AM
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I took delivery of an Extreme today to replace a Linksys 610N. I believe the 610N is highly regarded but I was occasionally having issues with dropped signals as it has to deal with 10+ competing WiFi networks. I'm hoping when I turn on the extender functionality of my 2 Expresses the issues will go away. I'll let you know how it goes.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 2010-12-01, 12:16 PM
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In the Apple products, you want the Airport Extreme. However, you do not need an Apple product. There are other wireless N options that will work as well. Cisco, Linksys, Dlink and Netgear all have highly rated routers (depending on who you ask.) Prices are dropping so sales and rebates are common. List prices remain high on the dual band models but they provide the best range and throughput.

A bit dated but offers a balanced perspective - Wireless Routers: Reviews

At 20 I had a good mind. At 40 I had money. At 60 I've lost my mind and my money. Oh, to be 20 again. --Scary
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