How do I choose the right repeater/extender
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Thread: How do I choose the right repeater/extender

  1. #1
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    Question How do I choose the right repeater/extender

    I am currently using a L/C e3000 (firmware v 1.0.04 build 6 Dec 6, 2010). I have 3 PC's, 3 - 4 laptops, 5 cell phones, a Wii and PS3 (of course not all simultaneously) on my home network.

    The router is located in my basement (of a 2 level home + basement). It is located in a front corner and near my circuit panel. The basement is also finished and has duct work (for the hvac) in the ceiling.

    Strangely enough the laptop's have excellent reception except when in a room, that's been converted from a 3 season porch to a year round sun room. I understand this because for all intensive purposes, this is outside.

    My PC's are all using Linksys ae1000 usb wifi adapters. My pc's are also the ones w/ the "not so good reception" (quoted by my daughter)

    I have used the same win7 wireless gadget for all computers. My readings are as follows;

    Basement- 100% connection on any laptop. Wii and PS3 work magnificently.
    Main level- Any laptop 100% main pc of the house 70%
    Sun room- Any laptop 80 - 90%, however internet seems sluggish. In some cases, clicking on a link may take as much as a minute to load.
    Second level (bedrooms and office)- Here the best laptops get is 70-80%. 2 PC's 60-70% Here clicking on a link, load times, can take 30 seconds to never loading.

    I Made some change's in the e3000's settings to the following, to boost signal:
    1) I switched to channel 11 in 2.4GHz Wireless Settings
    2) In 2.4GHz Advanced Wireless settings, I changed to Beacon Interval: 75, DTIM Interval: 1, Fragmentation Threshold: 2304 and RTS Threshold: also to 2304. This has improved my performance to the readins given above, so yes they were worse before these changes.

    I started looking into repeaters and purchased a EnGenius ERB9250 - 300Mbps Wireless N Range Expander... This is proving not to be a stroke of genius The instructions say, during setup to locate the repeater next to the router. It also says the repeater can be moved after link to router. This is where the instruction become sketchy, In one case they say keep the repeatr within 3 - 5 feet but then say it can be moved to any location, as long as there are 3 bars of connectivity. In a 3 day period I have gone from 2 feet from router (with no improvement to earlier settings) to 1st level center of house with loss of link (3-4 bars [out of 6] according to laptop). I also noticed, quickly, that during power outage the erb92590 needs resetting!

    So with all this being said, please make suggestions, my guess is a better repeater? So which one? What's the best way to set up?

    I am presently looking at 2 different repeaters 1) Hi-Gain Wireless-N Dual Radio Smart Repeater model HW2R1 2) Amped Wireless Wireless-300N Smart Repeater model sr300

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Repeater at not a solid standard.

    The best result can obtain when the Chipset/Firmware of the source and the Repeater are of the same kind.

    The ready made Extenders (Repeaters) are expensive and not realty good.

    The best result is to use for both the source and the Repeater a Wireless Routers that can be flashed with the Free DD_WRT firmware, and configure one as a Source and the others as Repeater (or if more than one needed as WDS).

    The least expensive Tireless Router that work with DD-WRT is this,

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-039-_-Product

    This one is High Power unit and can be used as a very good Main Router.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-031-_-Product

    ------------------
    WDS

    The general approach that I take for Coverage issues is the following.

    The best way is to lay few CAT6 cables to central locations in the house, install Access Points, or Cable/DSL Routers configured as an Access Points ( Using a Wireless Cable/DSL Router as a Switch with an Access Point - http://www.ezlan.net/router_AP.html ), and connect them to the Main Router.

    You do not want/can not/hate/your client hate to lay Cables.

    Start with One affordable Wireless Router that can do WDS (the reason to start with WDS capable Router is that in case you need to add more Wireless WDS hardware the original Router has to support it).

    If you are lucky and your environment is conducive to get covered with one Good Wireless Router and you are done.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireles...ibution_System

    http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

    http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php...router_network

    When the main source is configured and running.

    Using a Laptop loaded with Wirelessnetview, do a Wireless survey, http://majorgeeks.com/WirelessNetView_d6102.html

    According to the signal strength reading, identify spots that have strong signal. and spot with weak, or No signal.

    Evaluate how you can cover the space and start placing WDS units.

    Additional Wireless Routers in WDS Mode (Wireless Network - Configuration Modes. ) has to be placed in spots were the signal is good about Half way to the dead spots.

    How many WDS units are needed? It depends on your specific environment (that is a good the reason to buying WDS units one at the time, try it, and decide on the Next step).

    ---------------------------------
    Repeater is a private case of WDS that is good for one specific connection.

    Another type of solution is a combination Cable Wireless Bridge like this.

    You can get a router that can work as a Wireless bridge place it in a good spot closer to the source Router. It will connect to the main Router and will act as a driver-less Wireless card to one or more computers that are plugged to the Wireless Router's LAN jacks.

    This Router, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-039-_-Product

    Flashed with DD-WRT, http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Installation

    Here how to configure, http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Client_Bridged

    ---------------------
    P.S., with an elaborate Network atleast the Main Router should be on a UPS.
    The peripherals will maintain their setting even if the power is interrupted or switched off.





    -----------
    CAT5e
    Microsoft, MVP - Networking.

  3. #3
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    Thank you for your quick and at lengthy explanation. Look at these two units and tell me if I would be smart to start with these.

    Instead of the WZR-HP-G300NH, would this be better


    http://cgi.ebay.com/ASUS-RT-N16-giga...#ht_2077wt_983

    and

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...T#ht_505wt_983


    PS is it not possible to use the e3000 for either step? It's only a few months old

  4. #4
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    They are Good units too.

    I usually prefer the Buffalo as at he main source since it has High Power Wireless, thus at times it works better for large spaces.

    However the Asus hardware is very good too.

    Since the Asus N16 is on ebay bid, be aware that a new Asus + Rebate and free ship is $79.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-038-_-Product

    If you prefer the Asus use the N16 as the main Router and less expensive as Clients.




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    CAT5e
    Microsoft, MVP - Networking.

  5. #5
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    I only looked at the ASUS for both units, so they would match. You didn't mention if I could still use the E3000 as the "other" unit, using either the buffalo or ASUS as the main router.

  6. #6
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    I think that the E3200 is also DD_WRT flashable. If so you can leave it and get an Asus to do WDS.

    Changing to channel 11 helps if there other Wireless around that interfere with on other channels, otherwise it does nothing.

    Changing other transmission parameters in the Router does Not improve anything (usually they make it worse), i.e. other parameters better left at default. These other parameters meant for professional Networks when used in conduction of other hardware.

    I am not familiar with your environment, it might be that laying a Cat5e cable from the current Router out of the door of the basement and putting a second Router on channel 1 configured as an Access Point will solve your Wireless issue.

    The metal duct work probably block parts of the signal from inside the basement.



    -----------
    CAT5e
    Microsoft, MVP - Networking.

  7. #7
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    You might also consider a few of these...

    http://www.netgear.com/home/products.../XAVB5001.aspx

    Greg

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by golfnut View Post
    You might also consider a few of these...

    http://www.netgear.com/home/products.../XAVB5001.aspx

    Greg
    Well this LOOKs great, can you explain the pitfalls.

  9. #9
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    The only pitfall is the age and condition of the electrical wires in your home. I would try a few from a place that you can return them.

    It's a much more stable solution than using a repeater.

    Greg

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by golfnut View Post
    The only pitfall is the age and condition of the electrical wires in your home. I would try a few from a place that you can return them.

    It's a much more stable solution than using a repeater.

    Greg
    Appreciated. So from the looks a unit is plugged in directly to the router and then auxiliary units are placed throughout the dwelling. Is it still advised to flash dd-wrt before setting this up?

  11. #11
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    I looked at these to a point of further questions. The premise is outstanding but tell me if I'm wrong, or rather, if this can be done. If I plug in one of the units to the wall outlet near my modem, can I plug the modem into the Powerline and at the other Powerline (located somewhere in the house) plug my router in?

  12. #12
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    There is a reason to why Power line is Not a very popular solution.

    It is not stable and in many settings it does not work well.

    I specially avoid the Powerline as the main feed.

    That said you can get a pair from a vendor with liberal return policy, try and return if it does not work.



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    CAT5e
    Microsoft, MVP - Networking.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat5e View Post
    There is a reason to why Power line is Not a very popular solution.

    It is not stable and in many settings it does not work well.

    I specially avoid the Powerline as the main feed.

    That said you can get a pair from a vendor with liberal return policy, try and return if it does not work.



    -----------
    CAT5e
    Microsoft, MVP - Networking.
    Like anything, it sounds great but.... there's always a catch!

    cat5e your help is appreciated. I am looking into purchasing a new buffalo as you suggested. I think I'll flash both my E3000 and the buffalo w/DD-WRT and see if this works.

    Please look at a post I started a couple years ago before I had health issues. It may explain my situation more and explain why hard wired is difficult. http://forums.wi-fiplanet.com/showthread.php?t=10166

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