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12000 sq ft home - need strong wireless signal throughout the entire home plus back yard.

Posted on 2008-11-12
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One of my clients is asking for a wireless network in his home.  Right now he is using the wifi router that came with his broadband service.  The signal is poor and can't be reached on one end of his home.

Please advise on a wireless solution that will provide excellent signal strength.  Money isn't much of a concern....but don't tell me I need to spend 8 grand either =)

Also, we can't run ethernet cabling anywhere in the home.
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Question by:sknoll84
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Expert Comment

by:bhessel
ID: 22946318
I would use two wireless access points:  Centralize the first and use the second as a relay.  If there is a lot of copper run throughout the house you may need an extra relay point as the copper kills the signal.

I'm a linksys guy myself, here is a link to describe.

http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Product_C2&childpagename=US%2FLayout&cid=1130267578138&pagename=Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper&lid=7813845678B42
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Johnjces earned 1000 total points
ID: 22946352
The dimensions of the house would help a bit as if it is more rectangular than square, that could make a difference.

I use D-Link DWL3200AP devices. They have good power are very rugged and reliable and you would use two of them at least in this sized house. One of course wired and the other set up as WDS with AP, which is a wireless bridged/access point configuration. In this setup you would have to have them both on the same channel and kep the same SSID.

http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=396

They have POE which makes it easier to place them in places where AC power isn't handy.

Anyway, it is easy and they are good.

John
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Author Comment

by:sknoll84
ID: 22952627
I have tried those Linksys range extenders and they are horrible!
I am looking at the DLINK DWL-3200AP.....but does anyone else have any further suggestions?

I'm all about boosting excellent signal strength through the home without running any cables.
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Author Comment

by:sknoll84
ID: 22952897
Also, will the DWL-3200AP work well with a crummy 2wire router that came with the AT&T DSL service?
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Expert Comment

by:Johnjces
ID: 22953410
It should as along as the router has a good Ethernet for you LAN side. Now if your router is that crummy, your bandwidth will not improve, but by using good access points you will at least have a good signal.

And some real cheap DSL and cable modems are just gateways and will only allow one connection at a time. So make sure that it is a full router with NAT so that multiple users can use the Internet simultaneously. Are you DSL?

You can get good DSL routers from SpeadStream, D-Link and NetGear. Still have several NetGear DSLs stil going strong 24/7 - 365 for several years. Did have one crap out however.

There are a bunch of APs out there.... NetGear, Buffalo, Belkin, Cisco, SpeedStream a Google will reveal a lot of makes.

I have used Cisco, D-Link and NetGear. All worked as they should. Cisco was a bit tempermental, NetGear is OK and the D-Link 3200's that I recommend have been very good.

Everyone has a preferred hardware and you will get a lot of opinions and results.

John
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Author Comment

by:sknoll84
ID: 22954003
Yes this is AT&T DSL with a 2WIRE 2701HG-B router

Do I need to call AT&T and find out if this is supported or do you know if this supports NAT?  Why is NAT necessary?
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Expert Comment

by:Johnjces
ID: 22954138
NAT or network address translation, is a mechanism through which computers on an Intranet using non INternet IPs, like 192.168.0.1 also known as non Internet routable and Class C Address types, to access the Internet simultaneously.

I have no knowledge of that device, but a quick google search shows it uses NAT but it could be a one to one NAT meaning it will get an IP from AT&Ts pool of addresses.

I have never used any gateway/modem or router supplied to me by the Telco or cable company.

Do your customers in this huge house have any wired PCs? If so, I would still use two DWL3200AP's and get a D-Link DSL WIRED router such as the DWL2540B. Wire it to one of the APs, and use WDS with AP on the other. Plug your wired PCs into the router and I think you'll have a better nad more secure system.

John
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by:Johnjces
ID: 22954193
Ya know, the 2Wire you mentioned is an "intelligent" gateway and a wireless one at that. and whatver intelligent means.

I believe you will have to do some changing to get things to work well.

To continue to use that device, you will have to buy a range extender of some sort (repeater) and that can be flakey.

It would appear your client has the funds to do things right. I would AND if I could, even though you don't want to, or maybe just can't, I'd wire up the two APs. It's simply better! But f you can't, you gotta wire one up in my scenario and you will have a good system, IMHO.

John
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Author Comment

by:sknoll84
ID: 22954553
update:  customer has decided to run lan to every room in the house, including lan to the dlink ap's.

so a nice lan connection to the aps will provide stellar signal strength for wifi laptop connectivity through the home and backyard.

if i gave you an open budget what would you do?  also, would you use the existing 2wire or buy a new dsl modem/router?
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Expert Comment

by:aleghart
ID: 22954794
On my own budget:

Homerun 2 network cables (or more) from every room to server/media closet.
Pull additional cables at same time (coax, etc).

Install my own router with backup circuit.  For instance, FIOS+ADSL or ADSL+dial-up.

Install WAPs at strategic locations.  If possible, use POE units to reduce electrical wiring needs.

My house is nowhere near 12,000 sq.ft., and I'm doing it on a "normal" middle-class budget.
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Expert Comment

by:Johnjces
ID: 22954878
I would get a D-Link DSL WIRED router such as the DWL2540B. Good DSL router, so far. I just put several in service and no problems. They are handling a lot fo traffic wihtout problems. The D-Link has four Ethernet ports and if you need more just add a four or eight port switch and a short jumper from one of the router ports to the switch.

How many rooms? Drops?

I charged ~ $100 a drop which included Cat5e cable, (up to 300' of non plenum cable), Cat5e jacks and plugs, low voltage boxes (rings) for the wall plates and wall plates too. It was plus or minus depending upon the access down the walls and attic or crawlspace access. Fireblocking in greater than 8' walls added a lot more to my price as we then needed to cut drywall.

You are on the right path! The homeowner is wise. Do it right, do it once.

John
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Expert Comment

by:Johnjces
ID: 22954975
aleghart hit it right on the head! There is nothing better than a backup cable and running anything that might be needed in the future.... even some speaker wires.

Have a look at some structured wiring enclosures. Might help and Home Depot and Lowes "usually" has some in stock and  other components, punch down blocks etc that can make things pretty neat... and hidden.

John
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Author Comment

by:sknoll84
ID: 22956697
here's the plan:

run cat5e to all rooms in the house, leading to a switch that's plugged into the 2wire router
install three dlink access points, all wired back to the switch - all running off a/c power

this should provide some killer signal strength around the entire property

thanks for everyones suggestions.  i guess i'm only concerned about these dlink ap's.
i don't have anything against dlink, but this guy is asking for the best....i do think these dlinks will be the easiest solution for him to troubleshoot himself if necessary.
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Expert Comment

by:Johnjces
ID: 22956731
I don't work for Dlink, but I use about 8 of them in a hotel and four of the dlink outdoor APs  (2700) at our RV Park and have had no problems. I am most pleased. The DWL3200AP's are plenum encased and true business class. Now, that's not to say that a bad one is not out there but I am pleased. If you want great outdoor coverage, look at the DLink DWL-2700AP. These are designed to be out in the weather.

Now, if he wants 802.11n, the Dlinks I like are only B/G. BUT for internet access at 1 to 8 MbS, an N router won't make any difference and if you can get the range they claim out of them. That has been the number one Q here on EE; problems with 802.11N range not being good.

Anyway, hope we helped, good luck and don't forget to close out the Q.

John

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