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How do I expand wireless coverage, beyond a single access point's range, to encompass a large house (or office).

Posted on 2004-09-09
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Location Description:  Large, long 3-story home with massive "thick wall" construction.  Large backyard with swimming pool.
Computer Locations:  (1)  WinXP system on 3rd floor, far left side of house.  This location has the cable modem.  (2)  WinXP system on 1st floor, middle of house.  (3)  Win98SE system on 2nd floor, far right side of house.  (4)  WinXP notebook roaming the backyard pool area.
Current Configuration:  System-1's computer is hardwired to a Linksys 4-Port Router/WAP.  System-2, using a wireless PCI NIC, is at the EXTREME edge of coverage but does maintain a signal.  System-3, also using a wireless PCI NIC, is beyond the current wireless zone of coverage.  System-4 should be free to roam anywhere (inside or backyard).
Goal:  To expand the existing single zone of wireless coverage such that any and all computers (in-house and backyard) can obtain a connection to the networked resources of each other (files & printers) and can also share the cable broadband connection to the internet.
Additional Comments:  Existing Linksys hardware does NOT have to be utilized.  Any and all items can be replaced.  Due to structure and appearance considerations, hardwired connections between system locations would not be feasible.  Specific notes to a particular manufacturer's product/model# and configuration comments for each item would be preferred over a generic answer.

Can this be done?  THANKS!

Jim
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Question by:JimBillyJoeBob
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Expert Comment

by:Yan_west
ID: 12015924
Yes you can, you can add up additional access point to you network. You can also add up a range amplifier on your existing linksys wireless router...

http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?grid=33&scid=35&prid=608

"You can also use the Wireless-G Access Point as a kind of "cable-less cable" to connect remote areas together. Maybe Shipping is all the way across the warehouse from Receiving. Or maybe you want to set up a home office in your detached garage. With one Wireless-G Access Point in the garage and another one in the house, you're connected at 54Mbps – with no cable to run."

This would to the trick.. the guide, and everything is also on this page..
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Yan_west earned 250 total points
ID: 12015956
Oh, and btw, just discovered something new.. check it out.. seems even better for your setup..

Wireless-G Range Expander
http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?grid=33&scid=38&prid=629
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by:emilbus20
emilbus20 earned 125 total points
ID: 12019911
Hi your problem can be easily fixed.  
Here is a site with some great products.
http://www.wisp-router.com/
Check out the antenna section and you can find some range extenders at some fair prices. You can even drop them a line as they are very helpful.  
http://www.wisp-router.com/index.php?cPath=43_63_48
I think one of those antennas will boost your signal so you have no prob around the house and will make sure your not sending the signal to the neighborhood. I think its also best to put the Access point at the lowest point as well, so if thats possible maybe you can reconfigure your setup. Hope you get some ideas outta this. Thanks
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by:Focusyn
Focusyn earned 125 total points
ID: 12021025
These "range expanders" etc they seem to be talking about in these articles are in technically correct terms "repeaters."  If you want to google or do any serious online shopping, use something like wireless repeater as your key terms and you'll get greater number of results.  additional access points must be hard wired to your initial access point via cabling, and will require IP addresses etc.  The major downside to that other than the wiring is that your mobile computers will have to disconnect from one and connect to the other when roaming between signal coverages.  With a repeater, the a signal is grabbed from the air and amplified over an extended range, and roaming between the origin access point and repeater locations is seamless to the PC.
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Expert Comment

by:Focusyn
ID: 12021043
oh and FYI, if you're on 802.11b, www.justdeals.com has some D-Link DWL-800+ access points, which have repeater mode built in, for about $33.  Youre not likely to find any true repeater cheaper than that.
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by:emilbus20
ID: 12021461
The antennas are just more powerfull antennas that attach to your existing access point.  Much stronger than the ones that come with the linksys.
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Author Comment

by:JimBillyJoeBob
ID: 12027823
I understand that I can expand, to some degree, the coverage zone by utilizing better antennas or by using a repeater.  What I'm still unclear on is the limitations for the use of repeaters.  Can more than one repeater be implemented into the wireless structure to create a "string of overlapping, seamless connectivity zones"?... or is this a one shot deal... ie., add a single repeater(max), re-examine the new zone of coverage and hope it reaches the areas you want (because it just doesn't get any better than that)!?

Imagine that the wireless router's zone of coverage was in the shape of an oval (like an egg).  My hope was that there would be a device (a repeater?) that when placed such that it's own zone of coverage overlapped the router's zone, they would sync themselves together and we'd now have an expanded zone.  Then, if that new coverage area were still insufficient, another (and another and another...) such device could be added to further expand the zone of coverage.

The logical end result would be seamless connectivity for a roaming device (notebook) or any stationary device (desktop with wireless card) in as large a zone of coverage as would be needed for that particular location.

I hope this clarification helps explain more of what I'm looking to accomplish...

Jim



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Expert Comment

by:Yan_west
ID: 12028058
People have used it in this fashion, yes. If you have a big house, you could install one per level..
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Expert Comment

by:emilbus20
ID: 12028569
Yeah you can repeat as much as you like. Awhile back I had to set up my bosses wireless at his home. I used a belkin AP in t he basement, but the signal was too weak upstairs so i put a ap/bridge in the living room. Bridge in living room received signal from basement AP and regenerated it upstairs.  Was a little bit of a pain to get setup but I talked to tech support and they walked me through it.  The AP in the lving room was basically a repeater and the signal was full strength in the whole house and was fine in the back yard as well. Just another option for you.  
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Author Comment

by:JimBillyJoeBob
ID: 12061715
I really didn't get the depth of answer I had hoped for.  I suspect that I was at fault in that my description did not adequately express my intent or desire in terms of an answer.

I do appreciated each of your efforts to respond with your comments and have divided the points as 250 for Yan_west (first to respond, each time) and 125 each for the emilbus20 and Focusyn.

Again, my thanks!

Jim

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