Wifi Rage Extenders

Posted on 2011-10-19
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I am looking to buy a new home wifi router and I am sold on the linksys E4200 but I need some better coverage in my house.

I saw this on the linksys site
they are called range extenders. is this just another word for a repeater?

I have always understood that a wifi repeater increases range but cuts speed in half? Is this Correct?

looking for recomendations.
Question by:ATL74
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution

    There are 3 primary ways to extend a WiFi signal. Better antenna, amplification & another WiFi AP (either wired or wireless).

    Better antenna is usually the best way to go. The disadvantage of that route is radio behaves much like a light bulb. To increase the signal (brightness) you have to focus it. Instead of shining everywhere like a bare light bulb, you focus it in a particular direction with a flashlight. It gets brighter (stronger signal) in a particular direction, but darker everywhere else. a 1dbi antenna has a footprint of a perfect sphere. If you move up to a higher db omnidirectional antenna, it gets squished to look more like a pancake (not so good if you want to get signal on a floor above or below the antenna). A good antenna not only increases the signal output int it's footprint, but also rejects foreign signals not in it's footprint. That makes it a much better citizen in the radio world, not cluttering things up with interference.

    An amplifier makes the antenna put out more signal. However the WiFi receivers at the far end of the connection are still putting out a relatively weak signal that might not make it all the way back to the antenna. You can amplify weak those signals, but amplifiers introduce noise which is bad. Amplifiers tend to pollute the RF spectrum and are discouraged by FCC regulations.

    Another node in the form of a repeater or another access point is probably the best method for you. If the repeater is broadcasting on the same frequency & channel or with only 1 radio as an access point and again for the back-haul (connection back to your main AP), it will use a little over double the available bandwidth. Once to send from the device to the repeater, and the same amount of bandwidth over the same spectrum from the repeater to the AP. A little more than double will be used due to overhead 'n stuff.

    If you have 2 radios in the repeater and they are using different frequencies (5ghz or 2.4ghz) or different channels, they should not interfere with each other. There will be a little slow down due to the work the repeater has to do, but it should be relatively minimal.

    Those Cisco devices you link just look like repeaters/extenders/bridges, which mean about the same thing in this context.

    Author Comment

    So the units that I posted a link to will cut the speed and throughput in half?
    LVL 8

    Assisted Solution

    I think it only has 1 radio, but am not 100% sure. So yes, it will most likely cut available bandwidth in half.
    LVL 44

    Assisted Solution

    by:Craig Beck
    Any Access Point that extends wireless coverage by wirelessly connecting to another AP will reduce throughput by at least 50% (usually more due to security and authentication methods).

    The most effective way to extend coverage is to add an additional AP which is connected to the network via a wire.
    LVL 8

    Assisted Solution

    If you have 2 or more radios on different channels or frequencies you would not necessarily get the 50% degradation. Most cheap extenders only have 1 radio though.

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