Please help with Linksys wireless network problems.

I have set up a wireless network in a client’s office.  I used Linksys components including the WRT54GX router and the compatible adaptor cards with the three antennas.  My problem is that the office is two stories, with lots of walls (some brick), and I have a hard time getting a consistent good signal to some of the workstations on the net.

I "chatted" with Linksys tech help, and they suggested using the WRE54G V2 range extender, but my router is a "V1", and I assume I need to download the firmware updates to use this extender.  I was also told that an additional router could be used as a repeater to expand the coverage area of the net work by one "chatter", but the second "chatter", said that was not possible.  This conflicting information makes me wary of any information from Linksys, so I thought I would get the experts opinion/s.

What wireless network equipment manufacturer (router, adaptors, range extenders, etc.) is best?  Which is best for widest possible coverage area?  Which is best for the most consistent service (workstations not dropping their net work connection)?  Is the "power line LAN" a viable alternative to wireless, and are voltage surges due to lightning strikes likely to get to the workstations and destroy the machines?  What about the "power line" net work speed?

Thanks for any help..
jpb36Asked:
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zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
for one... you will get better range with a MIMO router.  linksys is a quality brand, and they have routers running MIMO.  the advantage of linksys is that you can buy the range expander antennaes to go on the router... other routers don't offer this (that i'm aware of... i know dlink does not).  linksys also has a separate device that does range expansion.

it is true that you can set up a second wireless router to act as a range expander.  you would need to connect it to the original router via ethernet (not sure if this is a possibility for you).

i have personal experience with PoE at my home.  never had an issue with power surges or lightning effecting computers.  but you would lose the advantage of wireless by having to wire all the computers...

as for consistency, wired connections are always going to be more reliable and consistent than wireless.  wired connections are also more secure.
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Expert4XPCommented:
Is it possible to get an electrician or wiring contractor to drill or put at least one cat5 ethernet cable from the first floor to the second?  By doing that you could have another access point on the second floor and probably get better coverage.
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zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
one other note .. if possible, you want to place your wireless router at the highest point possible in the building.  the signal filters down better than it filters up.  you will get better coverage by having a wireless router placed high up.
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cjones_mcseCommented:
You don't need to upgrade your firmware in order to use the extender. I've used that extender with a V1 router and it works fine.
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jpb36Author Commented:
zephyr_hex, - Would the MIMO system require different workstation adaptor, and would the range extender work with this type?

The router is in the attic of the building... The highest point I could get to..
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Expert4XPCommented:
The object (in my opinion) is to get the transmitter as close to the other floor as possible. RadioWaves101.  That's the reason I suggested running one cat5 cable from one floor to the other.  Then you attach another wireless access point to the wired ethernet cable.  You should have improved signal coverage on that floor.
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jpb36Author Commented:
Expert4XP  > This would be a router of the same type and version number?
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Expert4XPCommented:
No, the wireless accesss point connects like a wired pc does to the switch which connects to the router.  It's just a hard wired connection and brings a new wireless access point closer to the actual user.

Simple example:  Suppose you had a 10 story building.  You would have one router going to the Internet.  You have cables from there to each floor. And on each floor you would have an access point for wireless pc's.
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zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
yes, to take full advantage of MIMO, all adapters and routers would need to be MIMO.

also, you can use a wireless access point as Expert4XP suggests, OR, you can config another wireless router to act as an access point.  you don't have to match make & model in either case....although router manufacturer's suggest that you stay in-brand.  in my opion, that's phooey.  i've never had issues mixing router brands.
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Expert4XPCommented:
Jpb36 and others -- I want to make it clear that I don't consider myself an expert in wireless networks, although I have implemented them in businesses and home/offices.  I just know from my ham-radio experience and wireless-pc experience that one antenna just doesn't always cover every square inch of a house, much less a two-story one with thick and/or brick walls.

I had one customer who wanted to use wireless from his front garage (made into an office) to back bedroom.  Garage to living room was fine, garage to back bedroom (multiple turns, halls, and walls) just wouldn't work.  All one story home.

I've also seen pictures of upside-down-half dome antennas that are placed on the ceilings in offices to provide good wireless coverage.  In those cases the antenna is actually pointing down, but the radiation pattern is throughout the office.  Kind of like a sprinkler head.

All the ideas I've seen here are good ones.  Don't forget also that the wireless frequency (2.4 ghz) is a SHARED frequency, so you have to be able to accept interferance from other wireless devices.
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jpb36Author Commented:
zephyr_hex > Does the "remote" 2nd router need to be hard wired to the first, or does it work via wireless?
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knightrider2k2Commented:
Not all routers can be used as repeaters. I have done this with Linksys 11 g products but I doubt about new products as it is not in their description. I would suggest using WRE54G Wireless-G Range Expander as you mentioned in your question.

Otherwise use two Wireless Workgroup bridges and connect one to existing LAN and other to a switch on second floor.  
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zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
jpb36
the 2nd router would need to be hard wired.
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