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Old 07-13-2012, 08:43 AM
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Default Really need some help..dodgy wireless

Hi,

Could do with some advice on this one. I have a client with a huge old farmhouse, big solid brick walls and thick timber everywhere!

Understandably, they have had troubles with wireless connectivity across the house. They also had a troublesome ISP provided Netgear router that just locked up for no good reason. Initially, I replaced the dodgy Netgear ISP router with a Billion Bipac (nice bit of kit). I also shoved on a TP-Link wifi bi-directional aerial and saw the wifi network signal improve dramatically. I then placed a TP-Link wireless extender at the other end of the house, and also put a bigger aerial on one of the outputs, to try and get coverage in some critical outlying rooms.

The situation now is that the TP-Link connects for a while but then drops the connection to the router, as if it is suddenly out of range. I've moved it closer to the router, which seems to improve things, but then cannot get coverage in the rooms needed. It has to be quite close to the room with the router in to work effectively. My first question is, should I be looking at adding additional TP-Link repeaters/extenders, to bring coverage through this troublesome area into the outlying rooms, or would I be introducing more unreliable kit.
My second question is, are wireless repeaters/extenders the only way to do this, aside from Homeplugs? I can't use homeplugs as the house is so old and big, the rooms are on different electrical circuits and no one knows what they are.

Thanks for any help or advice
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:53 AM
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The first thing I would check is that you are using the best channel. I use an App on my Android called Wifi Analyser and see what it detects as the best channel. Set your router fixed to that then the rest should fall in to place. Did one recently where the laptop was dropping off continually as the router was upstairs and the laptop downstairs. Changed from channel 1 to channel 8 and rock solid from then on.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:05 AM
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Got coax throughout the house? MoCA to spread out some APs? Like Ubiquiti Unifi LR models.
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:06 PM
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I would push HARD to run cat5 to the extenders. Every time (lots and lots and lots) we try to rely on wireless to extend to wireless we get lots of problems, the technology does not work well until you spend way too much money.

We have had great success with ubiquiti devices, you can get a nice home router for $92 - they are rock solid, they specialize in huge mesh networks and have the software figured out really well.

Then.. Unless it's physically impossible, run cat5 from where the internet comes in, to the outlying access points.

From what I've seen in buying fancy antennas, I was only ever able to get minor incremental improvements compared to running another 100' of cat5 and placing another $50-$100 access point.

Don't worry about getting fancy with mesh, they can all have a different SID.

Wifi1, Wifi2, BarnWifi, etc - it's just someones house

You can get lots of routers with static LAN ips and turn off DHCP, plug in to the LAN side - they'll all coexist perfectly without DHCP conflicts, etc
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Old 07-13-2012, 09:16 PM
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For a wireless repeater/range extender to work, you need at least 50-60 % overlap.
But they should really be your last resort. You've mentioned the powerline adapters - how about putting a pair of those with an access point at the other end of the house?

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpcfix View Post
Don't worry about getting fancy with mesh, they can all have a different SID.
A mesh is not the same as an extended service set. An ESS allows seemless roaming throughout the covered area. But you do need around 20% overlap for the roaming to work well.
You will also need to configure your wireless cells on different non-overlapping channels (only 1, 6 and 11 for 802.11b/g).

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpcfix View Post
Wifi1, Wifi2, BarnWifi, etc - it's just someones house
What if the customers are bringing in new devices on a regular basis?

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpcfix View Post
You can get lots of routers with static LAN ips and turn off DHCP, plug in to the LAN side - they'll all coexist perfectly without DHCP conflicts, etc
This has nothing to do with routing so a regular Access Point -with a wired input port- would be better. And cheaper

Of course you can 't beat the good old cable
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Old 07-13-2012, 09:28 PM
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Thanks peeps for the replies. I've double checked the wireless channels already, but will do so using the Android App mentioned. I've not had trouble with the Billion router, only the WAP/repeater box. I agree that using wifi to extend/repeat wifi is really problematic but the design of the place (or lack of it) means I am really stuffed. I have been thinking myself about biting the bullet and running cat5e to the WAP, but I know this will be really tricky. I've not heard of Ubiquiti kit before, but it seems impressive. I also found today the EnGenius ECB-3500 as an alternative long range repeater. Anyone had any experience of this brand?

Appreciated
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:22 PM
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Update..I've been looking at Engenius devices and they seem to specialize in long range wireless. I've also been embarrassed further by the TP-Link **** as the customer's iPhone is currently picking up the router's wifi in areas where the repeater is failing to...

Any experiences with Engenius as they are are an unknown to me?
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by datagnostic View Post
For a wireless repeater/range extender to work, you need at least 50-60 % overlap.
But they should really be your last resort. You've mentioned the powerline adapters - how about putting a pair of those with an access point at the other end of the house?
The different rooms involved are on different mains circuits and so connectivity by powerline won't happen, unless I am missing some newer functionality of powerline devices?
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