Best Way to expand a wireless network


I have a somewhat basic question although I haven't found any post covering all of it. I am trying to expand the range of my wireless network (my current Netgear router does not cover all my flat). I would be interested in your opinion/experience with each of the following solution, or any other solutions you would think about:

- Additional Access point: in this case it requires a cable between the router and the new access point, not very convenient

- Wireless repeater: does not require any additional cable but is it really efficient?

- Netgear "Range Max": I read pretty contradictory reviews about this technology

- A bigger antenna: not sure it really adds anything

Any thought on these solutions? I thank you in advance Charles

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Any particular Netgear model? Wireless repeaters, range expanders, and range extenders tend to only function with a limited number of supported access points and wireless routers. Maker, model, hardware version, and firmware version would be helpful.

Also, how big is your flat? Unless you have some walls or floors between your Netgear wireless something and your wireless client, it should cover most small flats without difficulty. You may be having a problem with your wireless client and not with your router. The maker, model, operating system, and wireless card details would be helpful.

Yeah, but it works the best. You can put it on the same SSID but a different channel, and get seamless roaming. You don't have to have a wireless connection back to your Netgear router. There's no compatiblity issues with the Netgear router. It doesn't cut your maximum speed in half like all store and forward repeaters. If a better antenna doesn't do the trick, a 2nd access point is what I would recommend.

Also, you don't have to use CAT5 wire back to the Netgear. The AC power line can be used:

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Each repeater will cut your MAXIMUM speed in half. For example, if you get a 54MBit/sec connection, your maximum transfer speed is about

25Mbits/sec. If you have a local server, game machine, or NAS (network attached storage) server, you should be able to benchmark your wireless connection and actually get download speeds near 25Mbits/sec.

However, insert a wireless repeater into the puzzle and the

25Mbits/sec goes to 12Mbits/sec or less. That will be a problem if you transfer data between your own machines on your LAN. It will NOT be a problem if you only care about connections to the internet, which will be limited by the speed of the broadband connection, typically 1.5Mbits/sec to 6Mbits/sec.

One line review: In my never humble opinion, all repeaters, range extenders, range expanders, range stretchers, WDS bridges, and mesh networks, are univerally awful, suffer from compatibility issues, deterioriate thruput, cause interference, do not scale well, and are only suitable for a small number of situations where there are no alternatives.

A bigger antenna will not do anything. A BETTER antenna will do wonders. However, I can't suggest anything specific without knowning what you have to work with and something about the topology and application. Note that the antenna can be changed at both ends of the wireless link. Directional reflector antenna. Cheap, easy, and directs your RF in the direction you need it most. Try this first.

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subject line asked for the "best way" to expand your network. I suggest you first fix what you have. If that's not the problem, improve on the antennas.

Also, look into a WDS bridge. This might require replacing your existing Netgear router with one that supports WDS. This allows the added repeater to also act as a wireless bridge. There's no CAT5 or AC power line network return to the main router. You can plug PC's into the WDS bridge or connect to it via wireless and get connectivity.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

I think you need to change your wireless router.


Reply to
Mr T

My Linksys WRT54g wireless router handles my 4000 sq.ft. home just fine. Although it is in the center of the house which helps. I know you can get an improved antenna for any router, you might try that. Think before you invest anymore money into your router you might think about a more efficient one.

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Jeff covered everything, but I'll give you my experience between using additional AP's versus repeaters.

I do a lot of video work, mainly with my laptops, with the actual files stored in file servers. Moving around massive files and even working on them in "real time" isn't practical through repeaters. Like Jeff said, repeaters cut your pipe in half. To have my entire house covered, I ended up just wiring up an additional AP. Running CAT5 was inconvienent, but well worth it in the end.

For my "internet only" pipes, repeaters worked just fine. My cable internet service is "only" 5 Mbs, anyway. Even with the half-pipe through a repeater, it still works just fine. Repeaters certainly are very easy to worth with. Config and forget. The settings remain when you unplug them, so you can also easily just move them around anywhere. You'll need to do so some research to ensure that a repeater that you have your eye on will work with your router/AP though. Many use "WDS" for repeating and may or may not be compatible.

Pretty much just comes down to what your use your network primarily for: local WLAN traffic or internet?



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