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Extender or AP for a 2 story house?

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by Almighty_Denny, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. Almighty_Denny

    Almighty_Denny Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    May 27, 2019
    Messages:
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    Hi everyone once more.

    I've noticed that on some points at my home, I get very weak WiFi signal.
    What should be a best buy? A WiFi Extender or an Access Point?

    I live on a 2 story building, so it's not a very big place, but still I want to know if an Extender is enough.
     
  2. RogerSC

    RogerSC Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Messages:
    2,272
    Of those two choices, I'd pick an AP (access point), no question. You'll need to hard-wire it though via a cabled ethernet connection, but wifi extenders are pretty much hit-or-miss. AP's are solid and provide full speed wireless at the AP.

    I have a wireless mesh router system here. 3 nodes, great wireless throughout the house. More expensive than just adding an AP, though. But works well if you don't have a wired ethernet connection for an AP.
     
    umarmung and L&LD like this.
  3. dosborne

    dosborne Regular Contributor

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    I hope it doesn't rain or snow often :)

    +1 on AP. Extenders are good for some situations, but an AP generally will outperform it.
     
  4. Almighty_Denny

    Almighty_Denny Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
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    Lol, no snow where I live, but there has been lots of rain as of recently.
    Ok, wasn't meant to say 'on', change that to 'in'. :p

    So yeah, it seems I will get the AP after all, there has been several people that have recommended that to me.
    Thanks a lot for your answers, I appreciate it!
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  5. Klueless

    Klueless Very Senior Member

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    Jan 1, 2016
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    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Yeah, the wired AP is a good choice but you asked because you didn't really want to wire up an AP did you : -)

    Often extenders come with an Ethernet port such that you can reconfigure it as an AP if extender mode doesn't work out (and APs cans sometimes be set up as extenders).

    Now there's a couple of tricks with an extender.
    • You need a fair idea as to where the weak spots are and if an extender (or an AP for that matter) will fill the holes. (Download a free WiFi analyzer to your laptop or smart phone.)
    • You need to know if you can feed a good WiFi signal to where the extender needs to be located.
    • I prefer an extender that will allow you to dedicate one radio to being the "backhaul" to the router and dedicate the other band to client connections.
      • Why? Because if you use it in what is often called "repeater" mode where the device talks to both clients and router over the same radio you will get what is oft referred to as "halving" ... which means the client can't send out its next packet while the repeater is using the same radio to send the client's last packet to the router.
    So let's pretend. You get great coverage on the first floor. You get ok coverage on part of the second floor but the corners on the second floor are weak to nil. So you:
    • Locate the range extender on the 2nd floor where the signal is good.
    • You backhaul it to the router over 2.4 GHz (better range).
    • You set 5 GHz for client connects on the 2nd floor.
    • Speeds will be limited to the speed of the 2.4 GHz connection, probably around 75 Mbps?
    Google Netgear Fastlane.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  6. dosborne

    dosborne Regular Contributor

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    One extender I played with modified all the MAC addresses of the connected devices, so that put me off extenders as it caused all sorts of issues, mainly IP assignments.

    They work best for evironments where you can't hardwire. Some, like I had you could use to bridge wired segments. It had a 1gb port that you could plug into a switch to extend clusters of equipment.

    Still feel that in general, if you can wire the backbone, adding APs will be significantly better, but slightly more expensive. It also gives you some backup hardware if you use full routers with some configured as APs, these can be one full routers should the need arise.
     
  7. Klueless

    Klueless Very Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    641
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    I can't disagree. I'm oft amazed how we were always able to find a way to cable up a TV yet not to run a wire for an AP : -) I've a couple sites where I've run the wire and a couple where I still haven't bothered yet. (e.g., the "temporary" extender is doing well enough).

    At one site we're moving to VoIP and the vendor is insisting we run wire to all phones (no exceptions). I'm using the same vendor at another site (where we added a couple more bays) and simply wanted a wired AP for access. Surprised the heck out of me when they proposed no wires, just a google wifi mesh? Wired phones but wireless (as in un-wired) access points?

    It feels all wrong, but I'll probably go along ... because -at my age- it's become more about finding someone who will be around ... next year ... and ... the year after : -(
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019