extending wireless range

Posted on 2012-09-04
Last Modified: 2012-09-10
What is the best way to ensure strong wireless signal in a large home.
I am trying to help a friend and his house is over 5,000 square feet and he needs to keep a strong wireless signal over 3 floors.  He is currently using some low end linksys bridge to try to repeat the signal but it's not working very well?

Question by:FREDARCE
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    Expert Comment

    This has been an excellent product in my opinion for these kinds of setup.
    LVL 21

    Expert Comment

    by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
    Don't think we are meant to recommend specific brands here, but what your friend needs is a set of WAPs that "hand off" the signal to the device as it moves from area1 to area2.  In this way he can move about and not lose signal.  There are many such, but without knowing more about the construction and distances it would be impossible to recommend.  Suggest you search the net for such and call a few vendors.
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    Expert Comment

    If there is cat5 cable running in the walls, it would be better to add a 2nd AP and not use a repeater.
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    Expert Comment

    A late-model wireless N router (I'm using a Netgear WNDR3400v2 that gives great coverage) and accompanying WIFI cards will probably make a big difference. An upgraded wireless N repeater or two can cover any dead spots.
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    Basics: height and obstruction.

    Make sure it's placed high enough for all floors to be fed due to the nature of the signal.
    Make sure, it's not in close proximity to any other sources of 2.4 GHz like a cordless phone or the microwave. try using alternative wavelengths.
    Make sure, there are no concrete or metal walls or objects that will reflect signals away.
    You could even try the DIY parabolic antenna to boost signal coverage.

    Author Comment

    Actually,  the wireless router is in the basement and we need to feed all the floors above.  Does that make a difference?
    LVL 20

    Assisted Solution


    The signal is sent out in a dual conical fashion. Think of the number 8.

    So the lower signal is totally wasted as the device is in the basement.

    try moving this to the middle floor and then get back to us.
    LVL 44

    Accepted Solution

    Running Cat5e in the interior walls would be my preference, and give the best results.
    Then, as zunder1990 noted, place more access points connected to the original router via ethernet cable.

    You can convert a router to an access point by connecting the cable to one its LAN ports and disabling its DHCP server, by the way. Because the manufacturers sell so many more of them, wireless routers are cheaper than dedicated access points.

    2nd choice would be powerline adapters, which convert existing outlet wiring to network wiring, with the signal modulated and riding thousands of megahertz higher than the steady 50/60Hz frequency at which the mains run.

    Netgear XAVB5101 kit
    ZyXEL PLA4205kit
    Linksys PLSK400 kit

    You can connect as many of those as you need (well, I think the technical limit is 128... but I don't see why you would ever need more than a dozen), and just one of the single to single kits should provide proof of concept and performance.

    3rd choice would be a wireless bridge, and 4th choice a repeater.

    Full disclosure - I am a licensed electrician, but I don't expect to be hired to install the cat5e, which is what I believe would provide the best long term solution.
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    Thanks for the grade, good luck.

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