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New router to address range issue

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by abundance, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. abundance

    abundance New Around Here

    Nov 18, 2012
    Hi, new poster here, registered after a quick googling highlighted this place as the most serious around =)

    I've got to find and buy a new wireless router for my sister.
    It should be a simple case, but I've very little experience with wifi setups and need a bit of reassurance.

    My sister rents a room with no phone line and shares the internet connection with a friends couple that live in the apartment next door, but they've issues getting the wireless signal into her room, despite the small distance.

    I've been there just once, this is a rough sketch of the location:
    For scale, the whole drawing is roughly 20 x 12 mt

    It's an old house so perimetral walls and doors are pretty thick.
    The windows (in grey) have thick, fine mesh iron grating.
    The red highlight on the wall marks the position of a big metal box housing electricity meters, with plenty of wiring and metal pipes (gas/water?).

    Wireless is still strong in the indoor corridor and on the external landing, but it suddenly drops to a minimum just entering my sister's room. Signal often drops to zero and she gets disconnected a dozen times a day.

    Their current wifi router is an old Netgear DG834g, pretty worn up and with a cracked case.

    They can't run cables between the apartment and the room, neither place devices in the corridor.

    The landline phone plug location in the main apartment is marked with the X; the router has to be placed there to not mess with the furniture.

    I need a very simple, reliable and easy to manage setup, they're not technical users and I can't go there and help if stuff breaks (not that I'm an expert anyway).
    I can barely find the time to go there and install the new router, so it has to just works - you also can imagine how sisters can be annoying when they ask your help with something they believe is easy as pie for you =D

    Apart from the range issue, the network requirements are nothing special. They've got a 7mb ADSL and the network will have max three users at a time, with N equipped laptops (2-3 yo MacBook Pros), typical usage profile of the younglings (browsing, and A LOT of skyping, torrenting and streaming).

    I thought of getting an Asus RT-N66U, but I wonder if it's overshooting (it's at 130 euros on Amazon which is almost double the budget my sister hoped to invest).

    On the other hand I fear that something much cheaper would risk to not solve the range issue.


    Thanks in advance =)
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012
  2. stevech

    stevech Part of the Furniture

    Mar 13, 2010
    San Diego
    can you run a cat5 cable between the buildings? roof-to-roof or underground/out of sight? If so, this is simple.

    If not, I suggest a wireless client bridge - a device that is placed in a window or some such to get a better signal over to the access point/router. Then the bridge has ethernet ports into which you can plug PCs, or a WiFi access point to create a new wireless coverage bubble.

    The undesired way to do this is use a WiFi repeater instead of the client bridge. The repeaters (a.k.a. range extender) are a PITA to get working if they ever do work.
  3. abundance

    abundance New Around Here

    Nov 18, 2012
    thanks for your answer

    mmh no, unfortunately I believe this is out of the question

    Mmmh, to be clear, are you that implying that from my description of the place you fear that even a new good-quality router would've a hard time getting a good signal inside my sister's room?

    For a reliable wireless client bridge, do I need two wi-fi routers that support DD-WRT / Tomato / openWRT ?
  4. devnull

    devnull Regular Contributor

    Aug 18, 2012
    I do believe that is precisely what he is saying. The thing about wifi that most people fail to consider is that signal has to go both ways. Even if you replace the router, you're still using the same clients which tend to have much lower transmission power than the router. The client location here appears to be an utterly non-ideal environment for wifi.

    Since a wifi bridge could be placed next to the window, it has a chance of being able to reach the router. Plus it's likely to have more transmit power than a laptop or such.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012

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