Questions about wireless range extenders

snailcat used Ask the Experts™
I need to extend a wireless network in my house and had a few questions about setting up the networks, cons, etc.

I am not in a situation where I can run additional wiring.
I have a belkin b/g/n router with my network with a variety of devices connected--dvrs, pcs, mobile devices, blu-ray, etc.

1.  I understand that the speed through an extender/repeater will be halved.  Does that affect just those devices using the extender or every device on the network?
2.  Will a device using the extender be able to access a device using the primary router?  For example if I have a few dvrs will they be able to see each other?
3.  In order to get all devices to communicate how do I set up the extender network in terms of specific settings, etc?
4.  Any recommendations on specific brand/models?

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1. Any wireless device has a fixed bandwidth. If an 802.11g radio can pass say 24 Mbits/s of data that is the maximum in and out so if it is acting as a repeater then you can only pass about 12M through it.
2. If you use WDS as the technology to extend the network then it operates at MAC layer and everything appears as one network.
3. If using WDS you need to be very specific about whether it is supported by the device. Is there a WDS config screen on your Belkin, for example, or is it listed as supported in the spec sheet.
4. For highest chance of success use identical kit - same model / brand for WDS repeating.

Have you considered using powerline networking to extend via the mains to remote wireless access point.

If this is for home use, have you considered powerline?  I use PowerLineAV (200mbs max).  With powerline, it's a function of distance from the unit that is connected to your router, but I have a setup with three powerline adapters, 1 connected to the router and two remote units plugged into wall sockets elsewhere in the house.  The most distant unit is at the far end of the house (probably 80 or 90 feet away, but farther in terms of wiring distance) and it gets 65mbps.  The closer unit gets about 85mbps.  While this is well under the theoretical limit, in practical terms it still works fine for me.

If you want wireless from such a setup, you can just connect a small router and use it as an access point, or you can go with a PowerLineAV device that is wireless instead of wired.  It would then provide a wireless access point.  I have tried that, but there was too much reduction in speed, so I have gone with the wired setup.

It takes all of 10 minutes to set up, is relatively inexpensive, and works well.  If, like me, most of your networking is Internet, then any speed greater than your Internet connection speed will work fine.

Here's a link to some of the equipment:

1.  a repeater halves the BW, some extenders do not (i.e. )
the repeaters afect the bandwith of the clientes connected to them and when using the repeater feature.

if you care about link quality stay away from non-wired WIFI repeaters, WDS etc.. they really do not work very well.
Top Expert 2014

All wireless repeaters halve the available bandwidth.  This is because the technology is half-duplex, so while the client is talking to the repeater, it then has to wait for the traffic to be relayed to the base, and therefore the conversation takes at least twice as long.  Sure, you will be able to connect the repeater to the base at 54Mbps (depending on the standard) but you will never get anywhere close to that.  You have to bear in mind that the radio throughput is always more than the data throughput, so you can expect around 22Mbps data throughput on a 54Mbps wireless link on a good day.  Add a repeater and that becomes 10Mbps at most for clients connecting to the repeater.

To get the most bandwidth, and better coverage I'd go with what profgeek says, and use Powerline.  It's what I do at home and it works a million times better than repeating the signal.

All wireless repeaters halve the available bandwidth.
- not if they have two radios, like the one pmasotta linked to.


Thanks to all who commented.

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