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Bridging vs repeating wireless access points

I am looking at setting up wireless access across a large are with multiple rooms.

My experience with setting up wireless access points ends with setting up 1 device. I have never attempted to setup many devices that share the 1 wifi network.

I am uncertain of the difference between Bridging vs repeating.
Can someone please explain?

Basically I just want 1 wifi network to be available across the whole area and broadcasting from all the access points (like a motel wifi network).

Can you suggest some suitable devices? (Cisco is not going to be cost effective, so if it is possible to suggest cheaper brands).
3 Solutions
rtayIT DirectorCommented:
Ubiquiti is a very good brand and cheaper than cisco.  Netgear will work also.  If you want the same wireless network to be available in a large area to mobile devices, repeating is what you are looking for.  Bridging is more for point to point applications, like connecting two buildings without using wires.  I think you are looking for a net type configuration.  You can use wireless Access Points in repeating mode for this.  if it is for inside and security is not an issue, you can use cheap wifi extenders that plug into wall power sockets.  Ubiquiti makes equipment you can place inside false ceilings and outdoor weatherproof equipment.  They both cover very large areas.  Much better range than Netgear.  

> I am uncertain of the difference between Bridging vs repeating.
Can someone please explain?

Technically, a bridge connects 2 network segments but talks only to the other side of the bridge (infrastructure) via wireless... both sides talk to the clients in their segment through the wired portion.

A repeater talks to infrastructure and client[s] via wireless, generally with no wired connection other than a power source. That effectively cuts throughput in half, since the radio can relay only 1 side of the transfer at a time.

There are various combinations of the 2, also... e.g. in DD-WRT they offer AP (access point), Client (bridges wired and wireless sections... connecting wired client[s] to a wireless router/AP), Client Bridge (can talk only to another Client Bridge), Repeater (does not talk to wired side) and Repeater Bridge (connects wirelessly to a router/AP, the 'bridge' is between the wireless and wired sections... gives wired clients full throughput; half-throughput to wireless clients).
I'd recommend Cisco or Linksys, but you did specify that Cisco was out of budget.

Linksys has products made for home environments, but many of my customers in business environments have used them for business purposes.

There are repeaters out there that claim to repeat the signal around the area, but out of the 5+ I've tried, none of them have worked well, even the Linksys repeaters.

What I'd recommend, and what I've personally done, if you really want reliability and speed:  Purchase a Linksys router, then purchase a Linksys Access Point for each location you want "repeated".  If you cannot connect them through cable (most people can't/don't), I'd recommend buying a Linksys Powerline Adapter Kit.

Basically the access points plug into the powerline adapter, which plugs into the wall socket, runs through the electric lines, which then connects to the other powerline adapter back at the router, which then plugs into the router.  It's simulating an Access Point plugged in through a cable, except it's using the powerlines.  It's a little costly, but is very reliable.
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