Resolved Question

Options for strengthening home wifi where reception is poor

Mar 23, 2020 11:22PM PDT

Hi.

Our modem/router is located near one end of our house, and the wifi signal at the other end is patchy and slow. We have Ethernet ports at both ends, so the problem only involves wifi-only devices (iPads and a MacBook Air, which has no Ethernet port).

What's the cheapest and most effective option to get better wifi at the other end of the house if we'd like to use an Ethernet port in that area? Do we need to buy a second router/modem (assuming it's possible to connect two to the same network)? Can wifi extenders take their signal directly from Ethernet? Is there a cheaper/better option?

Also, if all the available ports in the router/modem are currently occupied, are all ethernet switches more or less equal in performance (assuming we'll need to connect another device), or are there some brands to avoid/look for?

Some people say wifi range extenders can be difficult to configure and don't deliver great speeds - is that correct? If so, I'm hoping there's a way of avoiding using one.

Many thanks for your help.
Jim

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Best Answer

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What I use.
Mar 23, 2020 11:57PM PDT

Is a router configured as a WAP. Routers can be had for as low as 20USD so this is a simple cheap option.

Even cheaper is to move your current WiFi router to it's rightful location which is the center of the house.

Other questions: Ethernet switches are usually 100 megabit and rarely vary in performance.

WiFi range extenders cost the same or more than a WAP or a router as a WAP. I don't consider them good solutions.

Post was last edited on March 24, 2020 9:27 AM PDT

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Any minimum specs for second router?
Mar 24, 2020 12:27AM PDT

Thanks for your reply - sounds like a great option. Will I benefit much from getting a more recent router (such as 802.11ax or 802.11ac standard), or is there any advantage in matching the standard of our existing router (802.11ac)?

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I like the higher end gear.
Mar 24, 2020 9:31AM PDT

A few weeks back I installed a spanking new WiFi 6 router. it's the Netgear Nighthawk AX which seems to be solid and fast. I haven't had to reboot it as it just works. The other router in the home is from the ISP which is not WiFi 6 so my answer is no need to match.

But it does mean that you may have to pick and choose WiFi channels when you set it up for best performance.

There are some hundreds of routers out there but I can't guess your budget and market you are in. Here I use Woot.com, Amazon and Newegg. I suffer from overchoice at times.

Post was last edited on March 24, 2020 9:46 AM PDT

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Change routers manually, or automatically?
Mar 24, 2020 5:02PM PDT

I'm guessing I'll need to manually select which router I want to connect to as I move around the house? Or can both routers be configured to "look like" the same access point to my portable devices, and automatically connect devices to the stronger signal? (Not sure if this even makes sense.)

I think our budget is a bit below the Netgear 6 range (Australia's tech prices are inflated both by the poor exchange rate with the USD, plus local market gouging) so I'll probably be looking at something less expensive.

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Doesn't work for me (rollover.)
Mar 24, 2020 5:52PM PDT

If you want rollover you go for a mesh system. At the time I felt mesh was still in beta testing so I go for normal (?) routers. What I do have as an advantage is that I can centrally locate my WiFi router so there is never a coverage issue.

Since my phone and PCs automatically connect I rarely find myself choosing which hotspot. That is except when I was testing out the setup to see which was better and if I had it nicely tuned.

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Answer
Options for strengthening home wifi where reception is poor
Mar 25, 2020 9:54PM PDT

The most inexpensive way to solve your problem is to connect wireless router to your existing router using an Ethernet (Cat5) cable

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Answer
Relocate Router
Mar 28, 2020 11:13PM PDT

The most inexpensive way to get better Wifi reception is to relocate your router to a more central location in your home. Likely, you will notice a big improvement in Wifi reception and speed if the router is at a more central position. You may have to do some rewiring. However, it is the best means of getting better Wifi reception at the end of your home's inside area.

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