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Maximum Range Router

by mvdyk03 / December 7, 2006 10:53 AM PST

Alright, here's the situation. My father-in-law has a gigantic (and that's not an overstatement) house. His office (where the router is located) is on one side of the main floor. He got some crummy Scientific Atlantic or some such router that doesn't work worth a crap and a really crummy signal is received not that far away on the same floor. Rather than replace the router, he got a repeater that we placed roughly in the center of the house. The problem with that system is that 1/2 the time our laptops connect to the repeater (which results in a great signal) and 1/2 the time they connect to the router (which results in a crummy signal); we determined this by looking at the MAC addresses of the devices to which we were connecting. Anyway, we don't really want to go through the set up hassle of configuring everyone's laptops to connect just to the repeater and "block" the MAC address of the router, so we're looking to finally go to the source of the problem and replace the router.

We don't want to do Pre-N or Draft-N (or do we?) because the name of the game here is compatability with a number of different types of laptops (some Mac, some PC) and maximum possible range and throughput. We are looking at the Linksys WRT54GX4 (the Wireless-G w/ SRX400). Is this our best option or are there other, better recommendations? Will the MIMO work in a mixed-mode environment with this router? How about with whichever ones you suggest?

Thanks, in advance!

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Regarding connecting to the wrong WAP
by linkit / December 7, 2006 7:13 PM PST
In reply to: Maximum Range Router

I was able to give a wireless router one SSID name and the connected repeater another SSID name. It worked and now I can tell which is which.

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Pre-n/MIMO
by linkit / December 7, 2006 7:26 PM PST
In reply to: Maximum Range Router

All the Pre-n/MIMO routers I have seen lately are compatible with wireless-b and -g. Many receive rave reviews for distance and speed. The bonus is realized even if connecting with a standard wireless-g network adapter.

Netgear RangeMax routers have been getting good reviews (time to Google them).

I try to avoid repeaters when I can because they can be a pain to configure, lower wireless throughput, and sometimes limit the encryption and other security you can employ. I aim for better wireless routers and/or run the network cable for a WAP.

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You could try
by samkh / December 8, 2006 12:00 AM PST
In reply to: Maximum Range Router

to force a stronger signal all over the house with the Linksys, but why fight physics when you could make it work for you? Instead of placing the router in office room, buy a wired router (cheap) to replace it, send the signal to any room with a pair of HomePlug adapters and use your existing wireless router as a WAP.

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Thanks for the input so far!!!
by mvdyk03 / December 9, 2006 12:01 AM PST
In reply to: You could try

We thought about that. The house is wired with ethernet jacks in every room. So, we though about moving the modem down to the room where the "source" for all of the house wiring is and then having it feed every ethernet jack that way. Then we could just plug the router into an available ethernet jack in the middle of the house and go that way. That would solve the problem caused by having the router on one side of the main floor. The problem with that is two-fold. First, it doesn't fix the fact that the router he currently has is a POS, so we'd still need to upgrade the router (on that note, is there really going to be a noticeable difference in terms of range and throughput between the Linksys Wireless G SRX400 and one of the Pre-N routers like the Belkin? Or will the SRX400 be fine, do you think?). The second, and more important problem, is that my father-in-law has ALS which makes getting up and down stairs kind of a chore. So, in the event that the modem and router ever need to be power-cycled (I love how we make up fancy names for unplugging stuff), we'd like to have both the modem and router (a) together in the same spot and (b) on the main floor. So, I don't think we're going to do that.

I guess my real question is this: Should I expect the Linksys Wireless-G SRX400 to perform roughly as well as the Belkin Pre-N? And, of the available routers, are any notably more effective in terms of throughput and range than these two? As between the two listed above, if they're roughly equivalent in terms of performance, I'm pretty committed to Linksys products; I've owned a number of them and two things in my experience are universally true: (1) they can almost never be set up "out-of-the-box" and without a firmware update and/or a call to tech support, but (2) once they are set up, they work like a dream. So, is the Belkin Pre-N *that* much better or should I expect it to perform pretty much on par with the SRX400? Also, is there a "better" third or fourth option?

Thanks all for your input, it's been very helpful!!

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House is wired--that's an important detail !!!
by linkit / December 9, 2006 2:00 AM PST

With that being the case, I'd never use a repeater/range extender. Use a dedicated WAP instead.

PREFERRED:
If I had ethernet jacks in every room, I'd use those to connect to the network. Why? Wired is faster, no 2.4GHz interference, no wireless security issues, et al.

PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE:
Another option is to use any broadband router (wired or wireless) as your main gateway to the Internet and DHCP server, and then just plug a dedicated WAP into any ethernet port that is centrally located to where wireless is needed. If you want only one WAP broadcasting in the house, just disable the wireless broadcast on the wireless router, but keep it enabled on the dedicated WAP.

Internet ---- modem ---- router ---- WAP > > > wireless computers

KEY:
---- wired
> > > wireless

As far as brands go, I like to use all network hardware from one company if I can. This limits problems and makes for easier tech support calls. Netgear RangeMax broadband routers are another product line to add to your list of MIMO/Pre-n routers to consider.

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I agree
by samkh / December 9, 2006 4:29 AM PST

with your preferred alternative.

As far as wireless technology, I wouldn't buy any N products until 802.11n is ratified. Costs too much with no guarantee of upgradability. My recommendation is buy MIMO now (much lower price) and buy N after ratification. The total cost will probably equal one pre-N device now.

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