Wireless Device to expand network range

Posted on 2011-10-29
Last Modified: 2013-12-27
This is for a customer, I fix PCs and MACs for a living. I have not been onsite yet.

Customer has Linksys WRT600N router in basement and many wireless far ends (Laptops both PC and MAC and 2 original iPads and iPhones (4 and 4 S) and ipod Touch's . Connection on 2nd floor is problem; on first floor no problem except for ipod Touch's. However he has ethernet cables in walls from basement near router to many rooms including to 2nd floor rooms.

Hence will THIS work. Get SOME wireless device (Wireless Access Point (WAP), or Wireless Repeater or Something else  that is NOT a router) and place it in 2nd floor room and connect it to router in basement via ethernet cable in walls. Then devices on 2nd floor connect to the new device and those on first floor connect to router in basement.

PROBLEM For WAP solution: Amazon writeup on Linksys WAPs says their function is to provide wireless capability for a WIRED router. That is NOT what I want !!! Essentially what I want is devices closer to WAP on 2nd floor connect to it AND devices closer to router in basement connect to it and the single router in the basement does ALL the routing.

AGAIN a WAP may NOT be the right solution here.

Questions Please answer ALL or as many as you can:

 Can what I want be done ?

WHAT TYPE OF DEVICE will do it. (Not a model number but just a category of wireless device)

Does the Wireless Device need to be the same brand Linksys as the router ?

If router is WRT600N (W-N) capable and my idea works will the wireless device **ALSO** be W-N capable  (for longer distance connections or greater speed at shorter distances).

Note: the original iPad is NOT W-N capable. And I doubt the iPhone or iPod touches are either. The laptops I do not know the answer as I do not have the model numbers yet. But if I can put a 2nd wireless source on the 2nd floor it becomes irrelevant as even W-G would probably work as the distance from the device to the closest Wireless source will not be far.

NOTE: This is a LARGE HOUSE, assume that horizontally the floors are large.

Final question: If your solutionn will fly, please recommend a particular Linksys model (or compatible other brand) that will work well with no bugs and easy to set up. It can be more expensive as my customer is wealthy.

NOTE; Please do NOT suggest Netgear WireLine solutions because that technology REQUIRES that electric plugs near router and far end Netgear device (connected via electric wires in walls of house) be on THE SAME SWITCH BOX OR FUSE BOX and in a house this size it is unlikely the electric plugs in the basement and on the 2nd floor will be on the same box. And in any case if they are on the same box, I already am familiar with that technology. It just seems to me that I should take advantage of the ethernet cables in the walls.

Question by:mgross333
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    You can often turn off the Linksys WAP router function, just un-check the router option.

    Author Comment

    CyberDave1 and all EE wireless experts

    First question HERE is WHAT category of device will do what I want, ONLY after answering that say anything about a particular device type

    CyberDave1:I am not talking about WAPs that ARE routers. I mean the WAPs that are NOT routers so there is nothing to turn off. Ex. Connect a WAP to a wired-only router and now we have wireless and the wired router still does the switching between the PCs.
    NOTE: The above is NOT what I want because my router is also wireless and is ONLY provided to make clear the potential WAP solution is for NON-ROUTER WAPs.

    But again, I am far from sure the WAP is the solution. How about a Wireless repeater or "amplifier" on the 2nd floor connected via ethernet cables in walls to router in basement as an example. Would that be what I want  based in the original question above.

    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    What you want is a WAP. Repeaters are OK and do extend the range of a wireless network but wireless speed gets cut in half as a result. Because the client has ethernet drops on the second floor wireless access points will work best because they connect to the router via ethernet.

    The Linksys WAP610N should do the job in this instance because it provides Wireless N even though its ethernet connection to the router is only 10/100

    One review on the Linksys product page sounds very relevant to your client.

    "Have Ethernet cabling in your home but want to easily expand your wireless range with an existing router? This is the product to do so. Have another Cisco wireless router in basement and have the WAP610N two levels up and on the other side of the house. Requires cable back to router. Excellent coverage now no matter where I go in my 7000 square foot house."

    Author Comment


    THANKS for your post.

    bloodygonzo: and other EE wireless experts: QUESTION; Does the WAP have a separate SSID of its own, so the customer has to MANUALLY connect to its SSID when on the 2nd floor and MANUALLY connect to the router SSID when on the first floor (or possibly some devices have the option to connect to the STRONGEST signal (not sure about that))
    does it have the same SSID as the router and it gets that SSID from the router when it connects to an ethernet cable from the router to the WAP on the 2nd floor ?

    THERE IS MORE TO THIS QUESTION THAN MEETS THE EYE. The point here is HOW does it solve the problem in a bit more detail. Because the PCs and Apple i-devices have rules (probably different) about what they connect to. Is it that the SSID is the same for WAP and router (and hence the encryption key is the same and already stored in each far end device) BUT all these devices look for that SSID with the strongest signal ???

    i.e I am confused about the details. If one SSID for both WAP and router will that NOT confuse the end point devices and possibly lead to an error message like "duplcate SSID's". And if the WAP has its own SSID then do the devices have to MANUALLY choose the WAP SSID when on the 2nd floor. In the latter case we have a solutuion but it is hardly elegant or easy to use for my customer.

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment


    Below is an excellent write up that describes in great detail what you are asking. Long story short, each WAP will have the same SSID, encryption key, and encryption protocol. Wireless clients will automatically select the AP with the strongest strength behind the scenes without notification or intervention to/from the user.

    Author Comment


    Unfortunately that link raises four questions. Could you Please take the time to respond to each but ESPECIALLY (2), (3) and (4) below. And (4) is the one of greatest importance because off the top of my head I do NOT know how to do that unless I call Linksys tech support and ask for 2nd level support (as first level usually knows less than me and getting to 2nd level is often a 1/2 hour battle).

    (1) "... it wants, and will pick whichever one suits it needs best (usually that means whichever one shows the highest signal strength). "

    Please note the word "usually" in that quote. What if the device does not choose what to connect to that way ? I may just have to try this out and see but I do not like the word "usually" there. Maybe I must go into the wireless settings of each device and select that option but frankly with iPads, iPhones and iPod touches and various laptops, some PC and some MAC, that is going to be a job.

    (2) "Give both APs the same network name (SSID), the same security type (WPA2-PSK recommended), and the same wireless security passphrase."

    Does that mean that the WAP does NOT automatically do that when connected for the first time to the router ?  It appears that that IS what it means.

    Please confirm that hence I **MUST** configure the WAP to do all the above things to be exactly the same as for the existing router.

    (3) "Channel is one key setting you do want to vary from AP to AP in a roaming (multiple AP) 802.11 network. To maximize bandwidth, leave your APs to automatically select the channel to use,"

    OK, sounds like THAT is ANOTHER thing I have to configure OR is that generally the default for Linksys wireless source devices (i.e for all wireless source devices) PLEASE REPLY.

    (4) "If you have another device on the network, such as a broadband home gateway, providing NAT and DHCP service, then put both APs in bridge mode (turn off NAT and DHCP service). ..........I call this out because I've seen people make the mistake of leaving NAT and DHCP enabled on both their APs,"

    Well the router-modem combo (modem from ISP) (or a FIOS gateway if they have Verizon FIOS) already does DHCP and NAT, we can be sure.

    So HOW DO I "...put both APs in bridge mode ". Is that something I need to do on BOTH the router (or FIOS Gateway) and the WAP or just one or the other.Now he said "both" above BUT now see what he says farther down in that same paragraph.

    "Have the more "upstream" AP (the one that's closer, topologically, to your broadband modem) do NAT and DHCP, and make sure that the wired Ethernet connection to the other AP comes from the first AP's LAN port. Also make sure that the "downstream" AP is in bridge mode"

    Oh now it looks like set the WAP to bridge mode (and how do I do that?) and not do that for the router or gateway. DO YOU SEE WHY I AM CONFUSED ABOUT QUESTION (4). Regarding (2) and (3) I believe I can figure that out as they are the kind of thing I do when I set up a new router. But (4) is something I have never done before.

    And AGAIN the first question in (4) is DO I SET BRIDGE MODE IN THE WAP **or** THE WAP **AND** THE ROUTER **OR** just the router. Please respond at the least to THAT question and then maybe from the online manuals for the router and WAP I can find the bridge mode setting to use in the device admin utility .

    LVL 4

    Assisted Solution

    Sure thing. (1) I am not sure why he used the word usually, but I imagine that if a wireless device has ample signal while on one access point it will not switch to an access point that may be closer because the threshold has not dropped low enough for it to search for a better access point.

    (2) Yes you will need to configure these settings using the admin interface on the access point. It will be very similar to configuring wireless on a wireless router. (If you know the settings you can pre-configure the access point before going to your clients house so that when you arrive it can simply be plugged in.)

    (3) The channel is another setting that needs to be changed manually. More than likely it will default to 6 on the router and so you can configure the WAP to use a different channel in the Admin interface when you are configuring the SSID and encryption settings.

    (4) You do not need to make any changes to the existing wireless router. The WAP will not have the option to be a DHCP server so you will not have to worry about this. This setting will only come into play if you are using a second router as an access point. This is where you would put that router into bridged mode. The WAP is by default set to receive its IP from an upstream DHCP server which would be the existing router.

    The User manual for the WAP610N on page 3 and 4 has a good description of what exactly you will need to manually configure.


    Author Comment


    Thanks for your detailed answers That answers all my questions. I will assign points after I do onsite and your recommened part and instructions work.

    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    you could always use a Cisco 1131AG and configure it as bridge.  This it will be considered an large wireless network across all floors.  This unit also comes as POE unit so you do not require a power outlet just a simple poe switch.  Dlink makes an 8 port gig switch for around $243.00.

    Author Closing Comment

    Solution failed and WAP not seen by any PC or MAC until I set the channel numbers to be different in WAP and router. All other wireless settings were copied from router to WAP.

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