Daisy Chaining Routers

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Policar, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #1
    I asked earlier, but didn't get much information. I want to build a wireless network in a fairly large house with really thick walls. Our current old 802.11b router doesn't have close to enough range.

    Is there any way to daisy chain a few 802.11n routers to form a big house-wide network?
     
  2. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #2
    Many routers allow you to "bridge" the two routers wirelessly so you can have one giant wireless network. Apple airport express and extremes do this very well!
     
  3. thankins macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    #3
    Yes you can. Two different methods.

    1. Older WDS technology - Apple Routers use to have this. As you get further from the mothership (main router) the signal decreases

    2. Using the settings with the router to "join a wireless network" They need to be on the same channel to work but your computer will auto connect as you move on.


    I would suggest an Airport Extreme Base Station and a few Airport Express as it will be the easiest method :)
     
  4. Policar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #4
    How much harder would using a series of two or three off-brand 802.11n routers be? I have no experience with this kind of stuff.

    Obviously Airport Express is what I would prefer but I'm designing this network for my grandmother and she'd rather not spend $400 on routers. My budget is about $100. It's a big enough house that I expect any one router wouldn't do the trick.
     
  5. txhockey9404 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    #5
    $100 really isn't going to get you much. Look into buying moddable routers that can run Tomato or DD-WRT. They tend to be cheaper and much more functional than Airport routers. You may be able to get 2 low-end routers for $100 but I wouldn't expect a whole lot. My house is new, has fairly thin walls, but is about 6500 square feet. I have 2 Airport Extremes and an Airport Express and still get dead spots in parts of the basement and first floor. (But I do get wifi in the garage, great for wifi syncing my car's iPod touch!)
     
  6. Policar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #6
    Thanks, I'll just suggest an Airport network... I was asked to deliver internet everywhere for around $100, but it's not my money so we'll just start with an Airport Express and keep building if I say there's no other (easy) way...
     
  7. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 68040

    PinkyMacGodess

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest America.
    #7
    I have setup a 'roaming wireless network' where the three Airport Extreme's act like cell phone towers in that I can 'roam' from one end of my wireless network to the other on the same logical network with the same security and the connection is flawless (at least in my case).

    This Apple support document explains the differences between roaming and WDS, etc.

    Roaming is be far the best way but you need a hard wired connection to each Extreme for it to work. If you can't get a hard wire connection to each, then you have to try something else. I did have bad experiences with so-called 'range extenders' in the past. That's probably why they aren't sold very heavily anymore; they must have not worked for many people.

    Depending on the content of the walls, you will get some difference in penetration by the different types of wireless.

    I'd look around and see what other brands offer roaming capability. I'd imagine that many do, and they are probably less expensive than the Apple Extreme. Also I think there are certain features missing in the Airport Express and it might not do roaming although I haven't tried it myself. (I've gone through to many Airport Express units over the years and settled on the Extreme as it seems to last much longer (probably heat related failures))
     
  8. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030

    crazzyeddie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #8
    This. You can simply create a wireless network with multiple AP's (Access Points, not necessarily AirPorts) with the same name, but on a different channel. Your device then "roams" between them of its own accord.

    You could, for instance, buy 3 cheap Belkin 802.11n routers, set one for DHCP/NAT and then others to just be wireless bridges. Then run ethernet to each of the remote locations, and turn it all on. Use channels 1, 5, 9 for best separation.
     
  9. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #9
    I have some old routers "lying around" in the basement. I've been using an Airport Extreme as my router and an Airport Express to wirelessly extend the network. It sounds like I can dig out one of my old routers and set it up as a bridge to extend my network and it won't interfere with my AEBS or AE as long as I set it up on a different channel than the AEBS and AE are using. As for guests, I don't care how poor their connection is. I'm just trying to improve the connection for the kids' machines at the opposite end of the house.
     
  10. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 68040

    PinkyMacGodess

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest America.
    #10
    The problem with your idea is that it's not true roaming. Sure, the SSID is the same, but the moment you switch to the next AP, your device has to re-authenticate to that AP. Roaming uses the wired backbone to transfer your authentication to the other AP's on the network so that they accept your device. That is assuming that you use security on your wireless network. You could also encounter timing issues going through so many AP's making the connection unusable at the best, or unreliable at the worst.

    Wireless isn't a one-size-fits-all band-aid that works like magic. There are ways it works, and ways it doesn't. It all depends on what you have, how it's connected, what it supports, and how it's configured. Using one brand/model/revision really helps too... There are times when you just can't get away from wire.
     
  11. gigawatt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    #11
    I tried to follow those instructions on the Apple support site using a Time Capsule as the primary router and a belkin router as the extended. The problem I immediately ran into was that Connection Sharing seems to no longer be an option under the Airport Utility in Lion. Or at least it wasn't in the same place and I couldn't find it. Does anyone know if it's in a different place in Lion? Or if it's even still possible?

    I did manage to set it up so that I essentially have 2 different wireless networks. This is probably a manageable solution for me because I really need to just hit computers in the front and the back of the house and being able to move seamlessly throughout the network isn't a huge deal. Both routers are password protected and both wireless networks are WPA2 protected. Is there any reason, security or otherwise, that this set up isn't a good idea?
     
  12. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 68040

    PinkyMacGodess

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest America.
    #12
    If you have the new and improved Airport Utility then you will have to check around and see what is necessary to make it work, if at all...

    FYI: What I've found is that often getting certain features implemented between different brand of equipment depends on how they implement the feature and therefor comes down to a brand specific thing that requires a level of 'brand loyalty' to pull it off, and sometimes ever between the same brand, the age of the device, and revision, may prove to be a very important issue that could be overlooked.

    Standards are only as good as the people that support them, and then it depends on how they support it... (Actually, and very generally, 'standards' are as good as the paper they are printed on. Some 'standards' are carved in stone and some are played 'fast and loose'. It depends on how much money is behind the 'standard' often) It is heartening that Microsoft seems to be adopting, somewhat, the idea of 'standards' and not going off and 'rolling their own' (or saying they are compliant when their version of 'compliance' is not following the 'standard') as in the past. Still, their use (implementation) of a 'standard' could be different than others, and could cause problems. Apple seems to be quite a bit better in the standards department but still...
     
  13. Richdmoore macrumors 68000

    Richdmoore

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Location:
    Troutdale, OR
    #13
    Apple has two airport utilities, currently, one old school type with more features, and one graphical one. Both can exist on the same computer and you can switch at will between them. Here is the direct link from apple:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1482
     
  14. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #14
    If $100 is your budget, and you want an Apple router consider going via the used route. Look around, you might even have neighbors who are upgrading to the latest models.

    Apple does have excellent expandability; I have 7 routers spread around, and none of them are wired to another. Simply using the "Extend a wireless network" option works very well.

    Using WDS is very tedious and requires too much work, not to mention the performance isn't very good.
     
  15. gigawatt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    #15
    Awesome. Thanks for this. Unfortunately, it looks like in order to use the method on the apple support page, you need to use all apple products. Oh well.
     

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