allright guys.. can you help me make my wifi signal strength better?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jrm27, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. jrm27 macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2008
    Hello all,

    We've only recently got internet at home. It is through comcast and the cable modem that we have resides right next to the TV on our main floor. The modem has wifi capability and broadcasts great wifi on that main floor. When I speedtest from the living room, we are pulling down between 27 and 30mb. However, when we go into the basement, or into the rooms upstairs that number drops to almost zero. In the basement I can barely load webpages, and funnily enough, the speedtest page won't load.

    So, can you help me make my wifi strength better throughout the house? What would I need to do so? Airport Express? Something else? Ideally I'd lieke to have great wifi coverage and even be able to stream my itunes library to my apple TV (computer is in the basement, apple TV is hooked directly into the router upstairs next to the TV). When i stream HD content from my itunes, I have to buffer every few minutes.. so that sucks.

    Any help? Any ideas? Thanks!
  2. 50voltphantom macrumors regular


    Jun 23, 2011
    While I have not used one personally, I have to believe that those modem/wifi router combos that ISP's provide have modest wifi performance at best and just about any decent stand-alone wifi router is going to be an upgrade from what you're dealing with currently. Prior to getting an AirPort Extreme (5th gen), I had really good luck with a Belkin N600 and have no problem recommending their routers.

    That said, I can't say enough good things about both the AirPort Extreme and the AirPort Express. Both have performed rock-solid for me.
  3. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Wi-Fi radio signals go sideways and up, never down (due to antenna positioning). If you want to have signal in the basement either:

    - Move the router down to the basement.


    - Buy an Airport and try to extend your network.
  4. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    Is dropping 2 ethernet lines an option for you?
    If so you could end up with fantastic coverage by running a line to your basement and connecting to an Airport Express to extend the signal.

    I suggest hard wiring because you would be taking the full bandwidth and passing it along to the Express(extender).
    If you try to wirelessly extend, let's say out of 30Mb/s of bandwidth you could get 3Mb/s in the basement, wirelessly extending would make a great WiFi signal downstairs but it's a great WiFi signal with only 3Mb/s of bandwidth.

    A Wired connection would give you (theoretically) 30Mb/s in your living room and basement.

    Just for S&G's, you can Option Click your WiFi symbol in the menu bar and it will show your Transmit Rate. Do that in your living room where you sit most of the time, then upstairs and also downstairs and see what you get.
    Those cable company routers most likely have low powered antennas compared to some of the other companies like Apple, Linksys, DLink, etc.
  5. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Bet both a new Time Capsule and a new Extreme. Put the TC on the floor where your laptop could sit to do wired backups (faster than wireless backups). Put the other airport base station on the other floor. Run ethernet from the comcast modem to the nearest airport. Turn off wifi on the comcast modem and use airport utility on your Mac to set up a new wifi network with the airport base station. Don't forget to do both an admin password and wifi network password. Then set up the base station of the other floor as an extender of the wifi network.

    Then you will have a two floor secure wifi network that is using AC spec when you have a phone, pad, or laptop that is AC spec ready.
  6. rex450se macrumors regular

    Apr 9, 2011
    Independence, MO
    I have Comcast also and just yesterday added an ASUS RT-AC68R wifi router. After seeing what the Asus one can do now, especially being dual band allowing my rMBP to be the only AC device on one channel, I wish I would have done this a lot sooner. I was lucky to load web pages at times with the Comcast one and now I am getting over 50 Mbps at the opposite end of the house from the router. The Comcast was needing reset at least once a week and I was constantly having trouble connecting to it. If you get another router you need to call and have Comcast set their modem to bridge mode. I was having issues until I did some research and found out that little piece of info. I couldn't be happier now. Until I buy a new modem to replace theirs altogether and get rid of the monthly rental fee. Here's the one I bought.$pcmcat211400050001&cp=1&lp=14

  7. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I grew tired of my Airport Extreme after 4 years. It worked and rarely needed any attention but 2 resets in the month of December, one of which was on Christmas morning sent me to Microcenter to get an ASUS AC66U. My AEBS is now factory reset and waiting to be handed down to one of the kids. In setting up my new wifi, I relied on wifi-analyzer. It's an Android app and can only run on jailbroken iOS. This isn't something I'm willing to deal with so I keep an Android device around just to run that app.

    My network has the main router/AP at the east end of the basement. It serves up the main wifi and guest wifi. At the west end of the basement, I have a Dlink DAP1522 access point that serves up the main wifi SSID. On the first floor, I have wired ethernet to the smart TV, my wife's Mac mini and the internet ready TV. On the second floor, I have a second DAP1522 access point. This involved pulling an ethernet wire to the second floor. It was definitely worth it.

    With today's AC wifi speeds, we are finally entering an era where I could have avoided pulling any wires at all but since the wires are already there I simply use them. I set all this up by walking around the house using wifi analyzer to find and squash any dead spots. Our main wifi works well everywhere in the house, in the back yard and in the driveway. Our guest wifi works well everywhere in the house guests are likely to go which is mainly the first floor and basement.

    In taking a survey after installing the Asus router (which is rated #1 in smallnetbuilder's 1750 class rankings), I found that signal strengths for my DAP1522's beat it slightly so I will keep them around... for now. Perhaps the time will come when most of my wifi things are AC class and I will retire the older 802.11n Dlink AP's and either replace them with AC class AP's or rely on the Asus for the whole house. Either way, my decision will be driven by actual measurements taken with wifi analyzer.

    A good rule of thumb (from my experience) is to make sure all areas of your house are covered by wifi signals greater than -80db. I've found that -100db works but speed falls off rapidly at that signal level.

    Wifi Analyzer is available in Google Play (free) and Cydia/bigboss (paid). Wifi explorer is available (paid) in the Mac app store if you don't mind walking around with your Mac checking signal levels. Maybe somebody at Apple will someday wake up and allow it in the iOS app store. I know I'll grab it if it ever does show up.

    Hope this helps...

Share This Page