Best location for wireless router in 2-story home?

The cable company (Comcast) is coming out next week to install broadband. I have decided to install a wireless router -- partly so they don't have to pull cables into the upstairs home office and partly so I will have portability for my laptop.

Does it make much difference where the wireless router goes?

We have an average-size 2-story house. Can it go on the first floor?

The current cable (for TV) comes in under the house and then goes up through the floor to the first floor rooms. There is a study on the first floor with a closet that would be a great place for the wireless router. Would that work?

If there are signal problems, I am willing to put in repeaters or whatever.

Does the wireless router need to be away from other electronic devices such as TVs, VCRs, TiVos, etc? I was thinking about putting a spare computer in that study for the grandkids to use.

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House was built in the 40s. Standard 2x4 studs, sheetrock, stucco exterior.

We do have two different 2.4GHz cordless phone systems. We are also doing some remodeling and I was considering getting some kind of a wireless video system to send the TiVo output from one room to the new adjacent exercise room.

No concrete or sheet metal in the walls.

You mean I can get the wireless router now and do some testing without it being connected to the cable?

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Yes. Rule of thumb is by number of walls and construction type. One wall is usually not a problem. Two walls is somewhat difficult. Three walls is next to useless. If you have aluminium foil backed insulation in the walls, it won't work. If your house is made from concrete or steel (you live in a jail), then it won't work.

Average size for what area? Do you have some aversion to supplying numbers?

If you expect coverage between floors, the major limitation is the construction of the floor. Modern houses often install insulation in the floors for sound deadening and environmental isolation. If it has aluminium foil backing, you will have problems. Again, count the number of walls (including the floor).

Also, the vertical antenna found on most cheapo wireless router does not radiate very well straight up or down. Try to get a router that has two antennas (for diversity) and set one vertically for the first floor, and the other horizontally, for going up to the 2nd floor.

No. That would be the absolute worst place to locate a wireless system. The radio part needs to be in the middle of the area where the computers are located and as close as possible. Burying the wireless is not a great idea.

I always recommend a more complex and expensive solution. Comcrash will be supplying you with a cable modem (Motorola BitSuffer). Buy an ethernet router (non-wireless) and locate these almost anywhere you find convenient. The closet is fine as long as there's ventillation. Then, buy either a wireless access point or a wireless router configured as an access point. This should be located in some optimium RF location, as high up as possible, as clear of obstructions as possible, and going through as few walls as possible. There will be one CAT5 cable between the ethernet router and the wireless device.

Think about using WDS type routers as repeaters. There are also wireless bridges that use the power line for interconnection.

I can see a bit of junk on my TV coming from the wireless at a distance of about 1ft. 2.4GHz cordless phones are fatal. Same with some microwave ovens, 2.4GHz wireless security cameras, and anything else that operates on 2.4GHz. Take inventory.

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Jeff Liebermann

Got it. That's a great idea.

Any recommendations on wireless routers? I am willing to pay for reliability and usability. This is mainly for business use so I need it reliable.

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It can make a big difference.

Doesn't mean much. What sort of construction etc etc.

Maybe. :)

Shouldn't make much difference with those although if you have video senders, 2.4GHz cordless phones or similar then you could have problems.

Sorry to sound vague but that's life with wireless, it's a weak signal to start with, if you can get the router pretty much central and you don't have concrete or metal lined walls then you could be ok.

Easiest way is to get the router first, then place it at different parts of the house and see what sort of signal you get from a laptop at various places around the house.

When you're happy, that's where to put the router and that's where the cable guy needs to go.


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David Taylor

Sure. The only bit that the cable connection will give you is internet access.

Go ahead and play with the router location. You might also want to connect a PC to it and do a ping between the two machines as you move around.


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David Taylor

General consensus from this group will lead you to the Linksys WRT54G; rock solid and with 3rd party customisable firmware, you can't go wrong with it.

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Almost. Some routers are rumored to get annoyed and eventually lock up if they don't get a DHCP address assigned on the WAN side.

I haven't had this happen to me, and I always configure routers before connecting them to a WAN, but it has been said.

If you run into trouble, you might set some static address for the router. woudl work, as long as is _not_ the same as your LAN side of this router.

You can set it back to dhcp, or automatic, or PPoE, or whatever it's supposed to be, when you actually hook something on the WAN side.

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