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Wireless Signal Extension

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Darfuria, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. Darfuria

    Darfuria Active Member

    I have a client who lives in a big house - well, a castle... - and the wireless performance there is just ridiculous. They literally have about 6 phone lines, each with an Internet connection and a router. So, naturally I want to both cheapen and improve this somewhat, because connection stability is rubbish.

    What I'd like to do is have a decent router in a central location, and then just use wireless extenders to improve the signal in various wings of the building. Is chaining extenders together something that's possible? If not, what's the best solution?
  2. Rigel Kentaurus

    Rigel Kentaurus Well-Known Member

    Every time you extend the signal you can expect to drop the quality of your connection (think about 50%), that would make chaining two of those a really bad idea, the person that is at the end point would have a terrible time trying to open almost anything.

    For a place that big, the correct solution would be having one router, but several access points. You would need to distribute the access point in such way to get a decent signal until you get 100% wireless coverage. The only detail here is that the access point would need to be connected to ethernet, meaning, you would need to do some work for getting UTP cable to all of those access points.

    With this topology you would have a central router, a cable going from the central router to say, 6-8 access points, and then each access point providing an area of coverage. If cabling is not an option, you are better off with the 6 lines really, with 802.11 you will not get decent coverage after certain distance even if extending.

    You could also get high power antennas, most non-commercial, big routers would have more power than the cheap ones providing you with a wider area coverage, still there is a limit. Take into consideration that the thicker the walls and the longest the distance the worst performance you will get.
  3. Darfuria

    Darfuria Active Member

    Thanks for your advice Rigel.

    Cable isn't really an option - the client isn't into it.

    What're your thoughts on using a WDS setup, or connecting the router to the access points via a homeplug connection?
  4. Rigel Kentaurus

    Rigel Kentaurus Well-Known Member

    WDS might actually work, provided you would be cutting in half the performance of the wifi network, but that might be ok depending on the use of that. Definitely bridging might prove much better than repeating even if you end up needing additional hops for each transfer. You would need some work to find the sweet spot for the distance between the access points / routers but you might end increasing the coverage. Since WDS is rather new you are in the hands of whatever manufacturer you buy the hardware from, and certainly I would not expect them to play nice between each other if you have different hardware.

    Another issue you might run into is that, if they have right now 6 phone lines each with their own connection, and you turn that into one, you might have a bottleneck to reach the outside world, depending on how they use the bandwidth

    I have never used homeplug so I cannot comment on that. That sounds like a good alternative to cable also.
  5. Darfuria

    Darfuria Active Member

    Does wifi performance really suffer that badly, even when using a WDS system (thus having access points instead of extenders)? As the Internet connection speed here is relatively slow, would the decrease in wifi performance be forgivable, given that the wifi speeds would still exceed the ADSL speeds quite considerably? Regarding hardware, I was simply going to go for a bunch of Netgear hardware, since I'm familiar enough with their products.

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