Need to Expand My Wireless Range

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by coxhaus, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. coxhaus

    coxhaus Senior Member

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    I need to expand my wireless range. I have a very long house. My current wireless device is a Cisco WAP4410N wireless device with no problems. I like running my wireless separate from my router. It makes networking easier in my opinion.
    I was thinking of buying a second wireless device. I would like to have a network where I can walk around my house without losing connectivity. So I don’t want separate SSIDs. I plan to connect both wireless devices to cat5e. I have heard you can use the same SSID and a different channel to gain a larger wireless network. Is this a good way to go? Are there any down falls to doing this?
    Should I just buy another Cisco WAP4410N?
     
  2. stevech

    stevech Part of the Furniture

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    usual way is to add a WiFi Access Point (AP). There are purposed APs for sale, or any WiFi router can be re-purposed as an AP at much less cost.
    Lots of info on that among these forums and the main web site.

    Connect the AP to the router using
    • CAT5 cable
    • MoCA (see forum here)
    • HomePlug/AC wiring (see forum here)

    SSID: some prefer to use a different SSID on each AP and the router. This permits a person to choose the SSID for the "closest" device - since WiFi clients usually choose otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  3. coxhaus

    coxhaus Senior Member

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    I want to be able to roam around my house without losing connectivity so I think I want the same SSID. What is the best way to do this? For two APs do you have to run a mesh network? What would be the cheapest mesh network products?
    I don't feel like it is covered here so I am looking for answers.
     
  4. remixedcat

    remixedcat Senior Member

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    I would go the AP route if you can run cable in your house without it being a trip hazard... LOL...

    Some routers can become APs... however some have issues doing that and they freak out.

    You can set the SSID to be the same on the AP and that should work fine.

    I did it for my Amped Wireless AP20000G and I had the name Pinkiepie for my main network and Derpy for the guest network on both the AP and the router and it worked fine.

    The coverage is awesome on the AP20000G as well... it's very easy to setup and it actually configures itself and you can be online in like 30 seconds. I would change the SSID name and the key for that as soon as you can though. it takes literally only 2 minutes from first connect to configuring your custom SSID name and key and being fully online. Easiest AP setup ever.
     
  5. stevech

    stevech Part of the Furniture

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    No mesh.
    Here's the well known problem with consumer WiFi devices: As you move from coverage area A to coverage area B, the client device (laptop, handheld) is not required nor will it usually choose to switch to the stronger signal from the WiFi device in area B. Most devices have logic that says: If I have an adequate but sub-par signal, I'll stay with it. When the signal quality falls too much, I'll look for a better signal on the current OR other channels. Some products choose first-heard, some choose more smartly.

    That's why there's a recommendation to use a different SSID for each AP and that differs from the WiFi router. All these SSIDs are stored in the client device as valid, and with the decryption key (which can be the same for all your SSIDs). Then the user can override and choose which SSID to use and thus which AP to use. This is the work-around for consumer WiFi products that rarely if ever choose "best" signal among those for which the client device has the decryption key.

    It's pretty hard to avoid a few seconds of disruption during the change-over, to same or different SSID. If you were streaming while walking, it's 50/50 if that stream's TCP control connection would fail and need reconnection by you.'

    Remember too... the signal FROM the client TO the AP/router is as important as the reverse direction. Rarely is that from-client signal strength displayed on routers. And it can be the weakest-link.


    Enterprise WiFi has means to make all this transparent, and do best-signal choice. But this is proprietary to each vendor (Cisco, Aruba, etc) - - Because the IEEE 802.11 and WiFi standards don't define how to implement roaming.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  6. coxhaus

    coxhaus Senior Member

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    So I guess you are saying I should not use the same SSID with consumer equipment. If I go to pro gear how much are we talking and what would I be looking at equipment wise? I really do not want separate SSIDs.
     
  7. remixedcat

    remixedcat Senior Member

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    You're talking at the very least 300-500 per AP and then 1000+ for the WLAN controller.
     
  8. coxhaus

    coxhaus Senior Member

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    I guess before I spend $2000 I will try using 2 consumer APs with the same SSID and see what happens. If I buy pro gear what brand and models are we talking about? I think I would prefer Cisco or Juniper since I was Cisco certified years ago. I have been retired 5 years and don’t want to start over.
    It sure seems like there is a big market for 2 or 3 APs linked together. The manufactures are missing out.
     
  9. coxhaus

    coxhaus Senior Member

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    I was just reading about the Cisco WAP321 cluster support for up to 8 devices. Has anybody run this? Is it fast? Is it stable with multiple APs?
    Any down sides to a WAP321 cluster?
     
  10. remixedcat

    remixedcat Senior Member

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    Please give the consumer routers a try and let us know how that goes.

    If that does not work out you may try your solution, however there are cheaper brands then Cisco if you look around.
     
  11. coxhaus

    coxhaus Senior Member

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    Would you give me a few brands and models to look at? I am open to non Cisco brands. I just don't want to have to learn a new CLI IOS to install a mesh wireless system.
    I just bought a TP-LINK TP-ER6120 router to run in front of my Untangle firewall.
     
  12. stevech

    stevech Part of the Furniture

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    Using a generic WiFi Router as an AP save a lot of money.
     
  13. remixedcat

    remixedcat Senior Member

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    Extreme networks and Motorola are good business class solutions that are cheaper then cisco.
     
  14. stevech

    stevech Part of the Furniture

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    In enterprise grade WiFi, perhaps Aruba is CIsco's largest competitor.
    But for even high-end residential- their stuff is overkill (Cisco Aironet and not Linksys).

    Engenious is good, IMO, as they're backed by a major semiconductor owner.
     
  15. coxhaus

    coxhaus Senior Member

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    I just added another WAP4410N wireless device to my house. I now have 2 units on opposite ends of my house. One WAP4410N is on channel 6 and one is on channel 11 both with the same SSID and security. The laptop and iPad both connect on either end and I can walk to the other end of my house without dropping a connection. I have not tried VoIP as I do not have a need for it on my wireless. It sure is nice to have strong wireless coverage over my entire house. I don’t know why I did not do this sooner.
    PS.
    Both units are connected on ethernet back to the same switch.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  16. stevech

    stevech Part of the Furniture

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    right.. 1+ APs for more coverage. Connect APs to the router via cat5 or MoCA or HomePlug/power line.

    Mesh networking is NOT the way to go. Nor is "WDS" a.k.a. range extenders.
     

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