Are wireless range extenders really a viable solution?
Posted on 2007-03-30
I don't have a real specific question, but I have tried both a DLink and a Linksys range extender, and neither one work satisfactory. Is this technology simply problematic? There does not seem to be many vendors out there who make range extenders, but the way they appear to work (or don't work) is very odd.
In one scenario using the Linksys, after letting the computer try to connect to the wireless network for about 10 minutes, it finally connected and worked for about half an hour or so. Then, the internet just stopped working all together. I reset the device, waited another 10 minutes for the computer(s) to finally connect and they worked again fine for another short period of time before they stoped working all together. It just doesn't seem to hold the signal, or broadcast it out very consistently. The location of the range extender was good, as I tested the source signal strength with two different laptops and they both worked fine in te location I placed the RE. In addition, when the range extender was working for the short periods of time, the internet was very fast and performed nicely...just didnt' last very long and had to constantly reset the RE.
In another case, I had the range extender only about 20 feet from the source wireless router, and was simply trying to get slightly better coverage in a particular bedroom of the house. I setup the range extender properly, even called the useless (and I mean useless) tech support which verified everything was setup fine. Since range extenders don't seem to broadcast a separate network name, (and I wish they would so I could tell what device I am truely connecting too), the range extender only seemed to block out all internet access...even though my laptop claimed I was connected. I could be standing right next to the source router, and whenever the range extender was plugged in, all internet access ceased.
I guess the bottom line is, is this technology just not yet up to par? I mean, I work with computers and technology every day, but these range extenders just seemed complicated, problematic, and never a viable solution. I shoudln't say complicated really, as the setup is pretty simplistic. As I said, I tried two different makes and models, and tried them in three different home applications (3 separate homes). Only once could I get it to work...and that was only occasionally.
I think my only option in all the scenarios is to run a cat5 cable out to another part of the house and use an access point. I have had good success with access points, but they are much easier to configure and setup...and they can have their own SSID so you know what you are connected too. Running wire in most homes is not an easy thing unfortunately.