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Old 02-09-2008, 09:13 PM
David Vincent
 
Default Question about usefulness of AC/wifi range extenders (perhaps a bit OT?)

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Peter N. Spotts wrote:
> Folks,
>
> Has anyone had experience with the AC range extenders for wifi? We've
> got a large-ish house with computer users in the basement, on the first
> floor and on the second floor. As you can imagine, folks in the nether
> regions have a hard time getting a consistent signal out of our
> router, if any signal at all. And for some reason, when the weather gets
> really rainy or snowy, it seems hard to keep a signal even when on the
> same floor as the router...
>
> Guidance on how useful these are would be gratefully received! ;-)

I've used a model from DLink called the DWL-G710. I've had mixed success.

In an office I used to work at I setup we three of them repeating the
signal from a Linksys WAP54G AP. After some careful placement and very
little tinkering everything worked great (WEP encryption - yes, I know).

At home when I tried to use the same unit and repeat my signal from a
Microsoft MN-700 base station in AP mode again with WEP everything
worked great except for my wife's laptop which used a Linksys WUSB54GC
USB adapter - it would flip between the AP and the repeater and Windows
would constantly report an IP conflict on the network. Also my
father-in-law's laptop (Dell Inspiron 1501 with the cheap-o Dell
wireless card which uses the Broadcom chipset) wouldn't connect to the
repeater even if it was right next to it - it always went for the AP.
Found a setting in Windows which let it roam between APs more freely and
that solved that problem. Swapped the adapter for my wife and that
solved her problem too.

At another client's location I installed one of these to repeat a signal
from a DLink DI-524 router/AP. After figuring out the best location for
each antenna it works almost flawlessly - the only issue is if you turn
on the wireless in certain parts of the house their Dell Inspiron 1720
laptop (again with a Dell wifi card using Broadcom wireless chipset)
only wants to connect to the router. Same edit in Windows and the
problem went away.

All my other adapters use IntelPro or Atheros chipsets - they seem
stable and seem to like the repeater.

I can dig up that setting in Windows if you like - it was specific to
the Dell adapter though. Hope this helps. My advice is avoid Broadcom
if you can, put your AP up as high as possible so the signal "cascades"
down on your clients and then find a good place to put the repeater
where it gets a nice strong signal to repeat - if it only gets a 5mb/s
signal to repeat then that's all the speed you will see.

I used Netstumbler under Windows to help me find good locations with
strong signal for my repeaters. There must be something for Linux you
could use instead.

- -d
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