Networking & Wireless forum


Routers & Extenders & Dongles!

by ozwalt / February 21, 2012 9:44 PM PST

My business is based in my workshop, about 100 feet from my house. I have a Linksys e1000 router (300 mbps) in the workshop hooked into DSL (3 mbps), but I'd like to link to the house as well. My laptop gets a signal at the house, but nothing else does, so I know I'll have to get a wifi extender. Also, my desktop computer in the house will need a wifi usb adapter. So, my question is this: does the repeater also need to have a 300mbps capacity for compatibility sake, or can I go with something slower. My max internet speed is only 3mbps. Also, re: wifi adapters, are they as simple to use as they seem? Just buy one, plug it in, and done? Or are there compatibility issues there as well?

For the record, we'll be connecting the laptop, the desktop, 1 DVR, 1 game console, and 1 handheld game -- certainly not all at the same time.


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All Answers

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signal strength
by bill012 / February 22, 2012 12:36 AM PST

They key issue you have is
"My laptop gets a signal at the house, but nothing else does"

To work a repeater must be able to get signal in the first place to be able to repeat it. Then if it is not receiving a good signal it will just repeat that plus any other new errors you get between the repeater and the devices in your house.

What you want to try to buy is everything N. If you have anything that runs G it will slow everything else down to G. The 300m does not really matter since as you point out you only have 3m. What is important is that everything runs the same, you can run a mix but the end result will be the lowest common denominator.

The USB adapters for PC are simple to get installed. The extender is another story. You now have 2 radio networks you need to deal with. So you now have issues with SSID and encryption keys times 2.

I would only use a extender as a last resort. If you have any option to use a ethernet cable it is your best bet.

At the distance you are talking it is likely you will need to use special antenna on the extender and/or you linksys. Mostly this is just learning how antenna and AP and Extenders and routers all hook together.

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Thanks Bill
by ozwalt / February 23, 2012 6:24 AM PST
In reply to: signal strength

I believe the main problem re: the other devices getting a signal is the topography of the land and the location in the house of the devices -- not the signal strength specifically. The line of sight between the router in the workshop and the stationary devices in the house actually travels through the ground, so if I can put a repeater in the house at an elevation that has direct line of sight, I'm assuming (hoping) that the signal will bounce downstairs and link everything together. Although 100ft is certainly a long way to reach. I will indeed make sure I get all N-compatible stuff (thanks a million for the advice), and then I'll be sure to bang my head against a wall for 3 hours or so until I finally figure out how to get everything configured to communicate. Happy

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Same comment about extenders cutting transfer rate in half
by Doh_1 / March 2, 2012 4:41 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks Bill

I made a comment below and will make the same comment here, keep in mind that if you only have 3Mb/s internet download speed, one extender will cut that to 1.5Mb/s or less. Ideally it would be 1.5Mb/s, but reality always intrudes to slow things down a little more. If you could figure a way to use ethernet cable, powerline networking, or MoCA (using cable TV coax that's already installed), you could make a hard-wired connection to an access point in your house (AP) that would supply full-speed wireless for your house.

Just a thought. Not everyone knows that each layer of network extender or repeater will cut the speed that it sees at its receiver in half at the wireless transmitting end.

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Half speed
by ozwalt / March 2, 2012 9:27 PM PST

Aside from a bit of YouTubing, we won't be streaming any videos, so I'm not all that concerned about that. But, just to be clear on what you're saying: regardless of whether I get a repeater capable of 100mbps or 300mbps, my actual output would be in the neighborhood of 1.5mbps -- roughly 1/2 of my max download speed. Is that correct?

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Extender(s) and Antenna(s)
by Bob_Meyer / March 2, 2012 1:03 PM PST

I'm in the middle of solving this problem for the second time in about 8 years at my church. We have 2 buildings about 100m apart across a flat parking lot. The first time I went with stock routers, custom firmware, and aftermarket anntennas and got good signal strength everywhere I needed it, but it was a mess to keep up with. This time I'm going with a stock Linksys wrt160N router (refurbished) to provide wireless to the first floor of the main building, and two Hawking HWREN1 repeaters, one to cover the second floor of the main building and broadcast across the parking lot, and the second one to pick up the signal and repeat it in the satellite building. I have the network up and running now, but I'm going to put some bigger antennas on the first repeater to improve the transmission across the parking lot and around the main building.

It sounds like this setup would solve your problems if you have good line of sight from the shop to the house. You might not need the aftermarket antennas. From my experience the Hawking repeaters are easy to set up and almost bullet proof in operation. Our local power company was making changes in the neighborhood and kept knocking the power out. I had to go in and reset everything but the repeater. Since they are repeaters, they repeat the same ssid and use the same authentication key, whether it's WEP or WPA. The clients just connect to the strongest signal and hand-off if you move away from one repeater and closer to the other.

Bob Meyer

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Each repeater cuts the transfer speed in half
by Doh_1 / March 2, 2012 4:31 PM PST

Since a repeater is half-duplex, has to listen then re-tranmit, it will cut the speed in half for each repeater. This may not matter if you're not concerned about streaming video. If you mainly want to support internet surfing, and you don't have too fast of an internet connection anyways, it may not matter. But if you can use a cable, or powerline networking or MoCA (using cable TV coaxial cable, if it is already run) to get a "hard-wired" connection to the other building, then you can set up an "access point" (AP) in the other building which will run at the full speed of the hard-wired connection. Just depends on what you want to use the internet connection for.

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routers and extenders
by andyjames / March 2, 2012 6:28 PM PST

I have a wireless router and PC at one end of the house, and at the other end of the house (out of range of the router wireless signal) another PC on the end of an ethernet cable.
I wiould also like to use my laptop wirelessly in this further part of the house but currently can't. Is there a device which will connect to the ethernet cable or the second PC and broadcast the signal to my laptop?

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Thanks Bob
by ozwalt / March 2, 2012 9:29 PM PST

My situation isn't nearly as complex, but good information re: brand & models. Appreciate it.

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Had same problem and solved with this
by Incognito60 / March 3, 2012 11:31 AM PST

Wireless-N Wifi Repeater 802.11N/B/G Network Router Range Expander 300M 2dBi Antennas

from here

Cheap and works flawlessly. Just make sure it has same SSID, WEP,WAP and Password as master router and all go.

I liked it for its size and simplicity of use. Tried to set up other routers as slaves but could never get them to work.

This Unit is Plug and Play for $30 and just plug into spare wall power socket.

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by ozwalt / March 3, 2012 9:59 PM PST

Thanks for the lead

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