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How to improve/extend wireless signal/coverage inside large apartment?


I have to imprive wireless inside large apartment which actually consists 3 apartments located on 65th floor in Manhattan. Initially my customer was with old cable modem with wireless part which came from TimeWarner Cable, but it was very old and signal was bad - they can get wireless just 30 feet away. So, I replaced it with new wireless router, TRENDNET TEW-633GR which improved wireless coverage, but now enought. The apartment is large, and because they are 3 apartments, very long as distance. Thanks God, they don't need wireless on every room, but I should cover at least a half. Hard wiring is not an option, I have to find another solution.

My first idea was to use powerline adapter and add additional AP somewhere in the middle where my clients library is and his office, but from my experience it is not reliable solution - it might work and then need restart. Also, some home appliences can interfere greatly.

Another way might be wireless extender. I found some models - LINKSYS WRE54G (which support only WEP which is not good in terms of security, my customer will have constatntly visitors and just friends with laptops), BELKIN F5D7132 (WPA/WPA2), D-Link DWL-G710 and so on...

So questions:

1. do you think that wireless extender will help me cover 2-3 more rooms located at least 100 feet away from wireless router?

2. can I use more than one range extender, and in this case will it affect maximum speed (I've red somewhere that with one extender actually I can expect just a half of regular speed which I can get if computer is connected directly to wireless router). If I put wireless router somewhere in the middle of apartments (don't know where actually outlets for cable TV are located, one is in the kitchen, second one is in guest room where the modem is right now and third one is in the library which is located somewhere in the middle of apartments) and put 1 or 2 extenders on both ends, whill it work and what will be the speed in this case? And will all of them use the same SSID as main router?

3. I know I can try some antennas to improve the transmission/reception, or use them with range extender/router, but maybe there is another way to get wireless internet here? I'm not talking about expensive Cisco equipment, they are not going to pay for it, should be something less expensive. My existing router is with 3 antennas, maybe I just need to replace 1 (or maybe all 3) antennas with omni-directional (like D-Link 2.4GHz Omni-Directional 7dBi Indoor Antenna) and it will be enought?

Please note, library is about 100-130ft from both ends of apartment and it is located in the middle, there are some walls and pieces of art in the rooms. The router is currently in the guest room on very end of all three apartments and I will move it in the library.

Lets fing the right solution together. Thanks.
Watch Question

trendnet's website says the antenna on your AP are fixed. Are they? Or do they come off? Is there no hard wiring in the apartment, network, not cable?


No, there is no hard wiring at all, just regular coaxial for about 5 TVs.

I'm not sure about antenna's on Trendnet, probably you're right and they're fixed, just looked at pictures found in Internet... So I guess we should forget antenna upgrade on  Trendnet router... But we still can consider antenna's on expander(s) or second wireless router if there is an option to use second wireledd router with existing one to extend coverage.
I would recommend the range extender or better yet, two more access points. One on either side of the apartment and one in the middle acting as a bridge (bridging mode) to connect the other two. The wireless signals will cover the middle of the apartment because of the WAP in bridging mode.
Question: If you put the current WAP at one end of the apartment does it's signal reach the center of the apartment? What are the walls in this apartment made of? Concrete/Cinder block? Drywall? What's the distance (approx) from one end to the other?


Right now wireless router is on the end of apartment (in guest room) as I said on my initial post. Then there is very large and long living room (in form of rotated "L") and then is the library. On the end of living room the signal is OK, but in the library is almost impossible to detect my SSID (but another encrypted networks are awailable :-)). The building is about 100 floors, but I have no idea what the wall's material is. The distance between one end of the apartment where the router is to the library - about 120-150ft, two walls and some furniture and art.

2 stuknhawaii:

so, your idea is to put one additional router in the middle (remember, I told that I can move existing one there) and 2 range extenders on the ends, right? How then the new router will be connected to network if there is no network cable? Similar to range extenders? I will definitely need brands and models of devices capable for this setup.

Tried with range extender, the coberage is worse than just with the original router. Finally found solution for this particular job - Trendnet router in the library (most important room) just one wall away from large living room which is not covered on the end with signal from this wireless router but I put second one (Linksys WRT-54GL with DD-WRT firmware and high power settings for output signal) connected to main Trendnet router using Xincom Power X-plug Ethernet adapters. I have two SSIDs, but second one is used mostly by guests so it's fine - no files or services to share.

But still not sure what is the best solution... Anybody with real life experience with Cisco equipment? Maybe they can offer better coverage and stronger signal?


2 stuknhawaii:

How can I connect two access points to one wireless router? You said first one will be in bridging mode in the middle of apartment, and second one will be on the end. How many SSIDs I will have in this case? Will users switch over AP with highest signal when users move from one room to another similar to cell phones?

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