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Range extender recommendations

Posted on 2014-11-17
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Last Modified: 2014-12-11
Hi,

I need a range extender in the $100 price range, with detachable antennas. The area I'm trying to reach is above a ceiling with plenty of metal in it. I tested and need at least 8db antennas to get 2 bars of signal.

I already tried with a TP-Link TL-WA830RE, but looks like I got a defective unit (see here for the thread).

Can you recommend, from personal experience, a reliable repeater that fits the requirements?

Thank you.
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Question by:Dan Craciun
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Paul Struik earned 125 total points
ID: 40447799
Hello Dan,

I have to disapoint you because range extenders are bad. I have tested a few at home (linksys and netgear). The signal you get from the range extender to the client devices is not the best but that's not the biggest problem. Because range extender mostly have one attenna they have to send and recive over that atenna what halfs your throughput. And thats just for starters because they even do much more damage to your throughput.

I tested mine thru a ceiling with concreet and metal, straight above each other. The link between both is very instable, i wouldnt even try. Your best option is to drill a hole and place an accesspoint on the second floor. This opinion is also bassed on work experience configuring multiple bridges but that where profesional accesspoints and no repeaters.
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Author Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 40456990
I'm not really interested in high speed. Just that it is possible to check email on the attic.

What I'm really interested in is stability. A 1 Mb stable connection is plenty.

For business use I would not consider range extenders, except outside, on open fields. But for light home use I think they're an acceptable choice when the wife/mother/etc says: no more wires.
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Assisted Solution

by:carlmd
carlmd earned 125 total points
ID: 40457093
Have you considered a power line adapter?

You can look at amazon.com for a selection and ratings.
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Author Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 40457178
Yup. Tried one, but could not connect. Looks like the attic is on a separate circuit.
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Assisted Solution

by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
Rob Jurd, EE MVE earned 125 total points
ID: 40466364
Not to get to far off topic but I was also under the impression that circuits had an impact on power line technology but they don't. It's the length of cable between the two adapters that's the issue.  I found by having one adapter as close to the fuse box as possible within reach of the router, it would connect to the other adapter on the other circuit.
Looping with electrical circuits could be different where you are (I'm in Australia).

I've also used that exact repeater without much luck. However, matching the brand of your router is by far the best way to go.
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Assisted Solution

by:engeltje
engeltje earned 125 total points
ID: 40466788
Indeed, lots of metal will not give you a riliable connection.
What you could do is use a Wireless A Bridge. A works on the 5GHz band and is better suited for going through walls. The signal will however not reach as far as a BGN but that should be no problem.

The bridge consists of 2 devices, connection to each other as a cable does. Only Wireless.
By using the A band on 5 GHz, there would be a more stable connection.
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Author Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 40472002
I've exchanged the (not working) TL-WA830RE with a new one (hopefully working). Will do some tests on Monday and update with the result.
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Expert Comment

by:engeltje
ID: 40482721
Good luck!
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Expert Comment

by:Rob Jurd, EE MVE
ID: 40483887
I suppose no news is good news :)
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Author Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 40493890
Nope. Tried the new repeater, with the same results.

And after some emails exchanged with TP-Link support, either I'm incapable of configuring a device by following a step by step guide or that device only works in very specific configurations.

But since I could not make it work even with a TL-WR841ND (same brand of router and repeater), from where I stand this repeater model is broken.

I'm going to close this and continue to hunt for a working repeater.

Thank you all.
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