Extend wifi range

Hi; I have a wireless network at home, and am having trouble connecting on one system:

Router: D-Link DI-720U (single radio) is downstairs next to the cable modem

Computer 1: Wireless PCI card in desktop: D-Link DWL-G520 with remote omni antenna. This pc cannot connect reliably to the router

Computer 2: Dell notebook with D-Link DWL-G650 pc card: This computer connects reliably to the router from the exact same location as computer 1.

Computer 3: Desktop with D-Link DWL-G520 pci card. Connects reliably.

Computer 1 and 2 are at the greatest distance from the router.

I need to extend the range of the wifi in my home. I believe there are a number of repeaters on the market, but I am wondering if there is any way I can use another D-Link router to act as a repeater, or at least a better antenna. This second router is a D-Link DI-624. It has only one radio, so it probably cannot be used as a repeater. I am thinking that if I could somehow configure this router same as the one downstairs, and connect the desktop computer to one of it's LAN ports, I might be able to use it as just the wireless link. It may have a better radio than does the pci card.

Sounds too wacky to work though. I think I really need either a wireless repeater, or a much better antenna!


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If I read your post right, you say that you have a spare DI-624 wireless router?

If so, then might as well use it upstairs.

Yep, you can use your DI-624 wireless router as just a wireless access point (WAP). Wireless routers are basically wired routers that happen to also have a built-in WAP. To use it as just a WAP, you bypass the router by connecting your upstream to one of it's LAN ports and disabling the DHCP server.

The DI-624 isn't capable of repeating. Even if it were, I wouldn't advise to use it in a "repeater mode". "Repeating" cuts your bandwidth in half. If your traffic is mainly just internet (and you don't have a T2+), then half the pipe is probably still going to efficient (you'll get more latency though), but if you do a lot of LAN (computer-to-computer file transfers), it is going to be ugly.

It is better to get the upstream data into one of the LAN ports, somehow.

You can either:

- Most obvious, run cable to it going from one of the LAN ports on the router downstairs to one of the LAN ports on the DI-624. Not the most convienent approach.

- Do what I'm doing with one of my additional WAP's: use a wireless-ethernet bridge to connect the two. The bridge is basically just a cable replacement for doing the same thing as above. The bridge would act as a wireless client connected to the downstairs router and would be connected to one of the DI-624's LAN ports. This essentially gives you a "repeater", but without cutting the pipe in half.

- There are ethernet animals out there that make use out of your house electrical wiring. One gets plugs in an outlet next to the downstairs router, while another gets plugged next to the DI-624. Both have ethernet ports. I've never used any of these, so don't know about their bandwidth limits. May be worth checking out though.

Once you get upstream data going into one the DI-624's LAN ports, if you want to be able to roam around with a laptop or other device, set the DI-624's SSID and channel to the same as the one downstairs. I use mainly D-Link stuff and I'm able to roam around with laptop and PDA's fine. They automatically re-connect, seamlessly, to whichever WAP is stronger...

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If you have a removable external antenna, why not get a better antenna. I am not to sure just what the DI-720U has for an antenna(s) but I would guess maybe a 2db gain. Perhaps getting and using an antenna with say 5 or 7db gain will do the trick.

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You could add a simple reflector to the router, and in your example, another to the client antenna. If you get some signal at the PCs now, this could give you substantial boost. Omni antennas are not the best for point to point communications. A reflector is somewhat directional, but broad enough for me to use throughout my house.

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EZ-12, printed on photo paper for thick stock, with aluminum foil glued to the sail, provides a substantial boost in signal.
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The signal with the reflector is not only 13dB stronger, it's more stable.

If you want to experiment more with the bare omni antennas, remember that the pattern is shaped like a donut on low gain omnis, increasingly flat on higher gain omnis, becoming like a pizza rather than a donut. In either case, the beam is off the broad side, not the point, of the antenna. You want the router and client antennas parallel to each other.

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