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Wireless Solutions for Weak Wifi

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by RabbitHoleNetwork, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. RabbitHoleNetwork

    RabbitHoleNetwork New Around Here

    Apr 12, 2019
    Any help would be appreciated. I'll try to be concise.

    Question: What are my options for improving my wifi performance at the edge of the signal with no physical access to the modem?

    Situation Overview: I am on a shared 2.4ghz (802.11n) signal from a modem/router in an adjacent building. There is roughly 100 feet and two brick walls between me and the router. There is a window in each wall with a fair line of sight to possibly help with signal loss. The modem transmits the signal at 140mps at its strongest, but usually is less. My signal reception is weak, sometimes "disabled" due to poor reception. There are multiple users on the network and other wifi signals on 2.4ghz and 5ghz channels. I don't have administrator access and no way to connect an ethernet cable or other device (physically) to the modem. If it makes a difference, I'm in Canada using Bell (Business Hub 1000).

    I've looked into options and asked around, but I was wanting input from those wiser than I from the snb forums. Other Considerations; Keeping costs down would be great. Security/privacy concerns on the network, from other network users and the admin, and what can be done about it.

    I have thought and been told that a directional antenna and router would be necessary, making a repeater/extender of sorts (are there cheaper Ubiquiti alternatives?). Building any solution myself would be great...

    Hardware compatibility and general reading suggestions are appreciated.
  2. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

    Dec 9, 2013
    From what you have described, and to have the least impact on everyone else, the following will work with off the shelf equipment.

    Buy two routers and connect one to the network you want in media bridge mode. Connect the second router to the first router and use that router for your wired and wireless connections.

    The quality of the routers above is up to you. A three, or four stream/antennae router to connect to the far building may give the best performance (and almost certainly better than a 2 stream/antennae design). The router you'll be connecting to wirelessly depends on the area(s) needing coverage and the placement of that router within those area(s).
  3. Datalink

    Datalink Regular Contributor

    Dec 21, 2017
    The biggest problem is the antenna gain. There are a few ways to do this:

    1. You could buy high gain antenna for the 2.4 Ghz band. Have a look at some of the replacement 20 dBi gain antenna on this ebay page: https://www.ebay.com/b/wifi-antenna-20dbi/bn_7024747424

    2. Next up would be the Yagi antenna as shown on that page:

    3. Beyond that you could make your own antenna, such as the following:

    If you use a little google-foo, you'll find other home built designs as well. Now, if you can grab two or three antenna off of Ebay, for next to nothing, there's almost no point in building two or three antenna except of course if you're interested in experimenting.

    Point to keep in mind, for the media bridge router, you'll need as many high gain antenna as the router has. You won't be able to configure and run that router for 5 Ghz operation if you replace the existing antenna with antenna which are 2.4 Ghz only. If you did that, you would probably burn out the wifi transmitter chips pretty quickly due to the impedance mismatch.

    So, as pointed out above, you'll need two routers, one for the media bridge with high gain antenna, and one running in Access Point mode for local operation, using with a different network name and passphrase so that the local devices use the local router instead of trying to connect to the far router. For the media Bridge router, you should be able to connect any ethernet devices that require a connection back to the main router. Wifi should probably be running on its own local router.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019