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Best way to extend signal without using a wireless repeater

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by adambean, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. adambean

    adambean Occasional Visitor

    Nov 19, 2012
    Summary: With my current setup, I have a weak WiFi signal and I can not move my router. I want to have a secondary wired device in my office to broadcast my WiFi signal off of that has LAN ports.

    I currently own a WNDR3300 and am having a difficult time obtaining a good signal in certain areas of my home. My router is isolated in the basement, wall mounted. I have all my wiring done to a single termination point so moving it is out of the question. I have a wired connection to each of the key areas in my house (office, living room and bedrooms).

    I picked up an ASUS RT-AC66U to replace the WNDR3300 and it bumped my signal a tad, but not enough to warrant the price. I'm assuming at this point that it's a combo of being wall mounted, in the basement and in a corner that is messing up my signal; however there is no way to change it at this time.

    Ideally, what I want to do is to have a second router/extender/repeater/whatever in my office with LAN ports. I wired ethernet to every room and have a hard wire to my office desktop. This would be a great spot to drop a second device and wire my desktop from here while leveraging the wireless signal from the middle floor vs. the basement.

    I tried a WN2500RP and while it saw my WiFi, it would not connect. More importantly, I don't want a device that extends my signal from an existing weak wireless signal and would instead prefer to have a wire into this secondary device and broadcast from there being that I have the wiring in place to support this. On top of that though, I need to have at least one more LAN connection from this device to support my desktop and hopefully other devices that I may work on within this area. Yet when I look into extenders/repeaters, I seem to only find those that simply pick up an existing wireless signal and boost it from there.

    What I did for now was keep my WNDR3300 in the basement as the primary router and turned the AC66U into a repeater. The signal is great and I'm getting relatively good speeds (much better than before); however this drives a few questions.

    1) Will I really gain the benefit of n/ac by using this second router as a repeater vs. replacing the primary router?
    2) Will using the more powerful router as repeater degrade my signal in any way?
    3) Historically I've always used NetGear; however these new ASUS routers appear to be quite popular (primarily the N66U). I just now ordered the R6300 to compare the two; however is there a clear cut winner between the two? I'm not going to go through anything above and beyond testing signal and download speeds between the two and I'd prefer to listen to an expert. I've read quite a few reviews and it seems like ASUS is usually the winner, but not all the time.
    3a) Any downside to mixing and matching ASUS and NetGear if I stick with the ASUS?
    4) Being that ac is not yet final nor are there really any good (cheap) adapters/cards ready, I won't be using it for quite some time. Is the extra $50 really worth it between the A66U and N66U (or the WNDR3700)? I'm fine spending the additional $$ if it will help future proof me.

    I'm open to suggestions, but to recap what I'm looking for:
    - A second device that I can wire an ethernet connection to from my existing router
    - Broadcast a wireless signal from this device
    - Have multiple LAN ports off this device

    In the end, it seems like the best bet is to possibly have two A66U's, but for $400 and not having any current N or AC devices, this seems like a tad overkill for simply trying to achieve an extended wired and wireless network.

    Thanks so much!
  2. devnull

    devnull Regular Contributor

    Aug 18, 2012
    Since you have a spare wifi router, it can be converted to doing the duty of an access point pretty easily.

    In the configuration of your spare router:

    1) Set IP address to something different than your main router. Typically the default for a wifi router is Change your spare router to if nothing else is using that address.

    2) Disable DHCP service on your spare router. The main router will be providing your DHCP service, and having two on a single network will only cause problems.

    3) Disable UPnP.

    4) Disable any other services you don't need. If you haven't enabled any other special features then you don't need to disable anything else.

    5) Set the wifi on your spare router to a different SSID name as well as a different wifi channel. The best wifi channels in the 2.4ghz band to use are 1, 6 and 11. Make sure your 5ghz channels are different on each router as well. Set up your wireless clients with all the SSIDs and passwords so that they have them all available.

    Now your spare wifi router is set up to be only an access point.

    At this point you can set up your spare router wherever it's convenient and plug the ethernet cable from the wall into one of the LAN ports. Don't use the WAN/internet port as it won't work that way.

    Any other device needing an ethernet connection can be plugged into a LAN port as well.
  3. adambean

    adambean Occasional Visitor

    Nov 19, 2012
    Thanks for the response devnull; however that's not what I was seeking advice on.
  4. devnull

    devnull Regular Contributor

    Aug 18, 2012
    TL/DR: My answer to you is that you do not need expensive routers. Go cheaper. Convert a cheap router into a wifi access point. It will achieve all the items you outlined in your recap.

    Ah ok. I skipped and read your recap and so I suggested using the spare router as an access point wired to ethernet. Since you have ethernet available in your office, a spare wifi router becomes a remote wifi access point at no extra cost.

    Using a wifi router as a repeater will cut the available bandwidth in half and increase latency. For web browsing and email this is not a problem. If you must use a repeater, using the more powerful router would be best.

    My personal opinion is not to use draft wireless unless I really could use the potential bandwidth gain. For internet access, 802.11n is more than enough really. If I wanted to use it for large file transfers I would get AC. For streaming media, I would exhaust all options for wired networking first.

    I've never heard of draft wifi equipment being incompatible with later certified equipment.

    The only downside to mixing brands of routers is if you want to create a WDS bridge. WDS is not standardized and can vary from brand to brand and model to model.

    The extra expense of 802.11AC is not worth it to me at this time. I'm not certain it will be in the future, because AC wifi uses up so much of the wifi frequency spectrum, that any other wifi nearby will be operating on part of the same spectrum.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012

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