Need advice extending Wi-Fi Network for occasional outdoor use

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by XTheLancerX, Jun 10, 2016.

  1. XTheLancerX macrumors 68000

    XTheLancerX

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2014
    Location:
    NY, USA
    #1
    So we have a firepit area with a projector setup for streaming movies/shows on Netflix/Hulu probably 150-200ish feet from our house. We want to extend our Wi-Fi network out there so we can actually do this without having to hotspot and then blow through our data bucket with Verizon. Let me describe the setup we have to deal with concerning the annoying way our house is orientated, etc.

    Our house faces the street obviously, but the main part of our yard is off to the side, extending all the way back to the end of our property. The place where the Wi-Fi router is is in the very front portion of our house toward the street, the firepit area is out in the at the end of the "strip" of yard that goes to the end of our property, somewhat behind the house.

    We have a crappy 15/1 internet connection, usually get about 17-18mbps down with good signal. I try to place the range extender where I can get at least 13-15mbps speeds, so it can "relay" that speed rather than have a weak connection that starts at 4mbps or something. To accomplish this, I have to place the thing a bit farther from the target location, giving it slightly weaker signal (5-7mbps usually at the target location but a solid 13-16 right near the range extender) that only barely cut it for HD streaming.

    What I'm wondering is, what is probably the prime suspect for the lower speeds? My internet connection, my router, or the range extender's range? If I upgrade my Internet to a higher tier, will I get those better speeds? I get like half the speeds out there that I do inside, would I be getting half of the better connection if I upgraded the internet or still the same speeds? Should I get a better router (I have a Netgear WNDR3400) or place it in a better location so I can get a better signal for the extender to be closer to the target location? Or should I simply purchase a better extender with a greater range? What are some good ones to use? Or should I really work hard and somehow run Ethernet right out there?
     
  2. LiveM macrumors 6502a

    LiveM

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    #2
    If you're extending wirelessly, you're only getting less than 60% throughout due to the overhead requirements. And that is after degradation of the primary hotspot's signal, which of course falls off at twice the rate of distance change.

    Try a powerline ethernet adaptor and see if that does the trick.
     
  3. XTheLancerX thread starter macrumors 68000

    XTheLancerX

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2014
    Location:
    NY, USA
    #3
    Yeah extending wirelessly I have to say is awful. Best speed I've gotten out there was 12mbps, inside I get 17mbps. Typically though it's 4-8mbps outside, which I'm not satisfied with. And again we have to bring the extender outside every time so it's always in a slightly different place with a better or worse connection either to the original access point or the signal outside from the extender is slightly different.

    I do remember hearing about those powerline adapters, do you have personal experience with them? I've never used one and I'm not sure which one to get, among other things.

    We already have run electricity out there via outdoor-grade extension cables just under ground. Would the power line adaptor still work over an extension cable, and will distance over the lines affect anything poorly? Can I reasonably expect the full 17mbps (or at least a stable 15mbps) outside of I use one of these powerline adapters? Any suggestions about exactly what model I should buy? Ideally, we would like to have Wi-Fi out there. Should we get one with the integrated Wi-Fi or one of the ones with only Ethernet, and then plug the Ethernet into our existing Network Extender?
     
  4. dwfaust macrumors 68040

    dwfaust

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    I am here => [•]
    #4
    I have used powerline adapters off and on for years. They continue to get faster and more reliable... and using the products from any major network equipment vendor should give you a good experience. The only caveat that I've experienced is that both units must be on the same electrical phase - which is easy enough to test/verify.

    Another option, depending on your setup, would be to run a wired Ethernet connection through your attic and connecting a wifi access point at the closes point to your fire pit area.
     
  5. XTheLancerX thread starter macrumors 68000

    XTheLancerX

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2014
    Location:
    NY, USA
    #5
    The second option won't work that well for distance reasons, our house is a duplex and the other person's apartment is between our living space and the fire pit area, quite a long ways to do stuff like that.
     
  6. vsthsd macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    #6
    Powerline adapters are your best option for wired throughput. Bandwidth (local!) will suffer, but even a weak connection should be able to handle what your ISP gives you (most PL adapters give 200+ mbps, no where near what you're getting from the ISP - not their fault if that's your subscription level.)

    If you can run coax cable to your remote area, MOCA adapters may be better than PL adapters.

    If that doesn't work, check this out - https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Net...d=1465695466&sr=8-27&keywords=wireless+3+pack

    It's designed for your situation - extending wireless w/o SSID changes, etc. Maybe it's what you're looking for.
     
  7. XTheLancerX thread starter macrumors 68000

    XTheLancerX

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2014
    Location:
    NY, USA
    #7
    Okay, dumb question, difference between wired throughput and local bandwidth? As long as I can get 15mbps (very low amount of loss of speed from original access point) then I am satisfied.

    Does the distance between the 2 adapters (amount of house wiring the signal traveled through) majorly effect the speed of the extended network vs the original?

    Also that other option you gave me is a little out of my budget for this, I could pay that much but for this project that isn't too worth it for me. I already have the ability to extend the network out there, I just need to take extension cords and an extender out there which is annoying, and by the time the network (wirelessly extended) reaches where I need, I only get about 6-8mbps where I'd prefer more like 15mbps.
     
  8. vsthsd, Jun 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2016

    vsthsd macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    #8
    It's hard to say. Powerline adapters are all about the noise and distance between each other. For example, a two-level apartment sharing 1 box might degrade the throughput since it's transmitting over all those circuits. But, what I was getting at is the throughput should be enough for internet bandwidth - which is what you're concerned about, but maybe not local, in-house bandwidth. Internet bandwidth is what you're subscribed for (15Mbps) wire to wire should be 100-1000Mbps, but that's a sacrifice for PL adapters.

    Do you have the TP-Link adapter? It's popular on amazon. It should come w/ a CD w/ a utility you can install which will tell you the Mbp/s rate it can achieve with your electrical setup. And if you're willing to run wires, always keep MOCA as an option.

    Edit**
    I re-read your post. I hope what above I said is good advice. But when dealing w/ wireless issues the first thing to do is relocating your wireless router and testing the range, like near a window with direct line of site, no walls or anything in the way. A powerline adapter is useful in this situation since you can put the wireless router basically anywhere. Start there.
     
  9. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #9
    If you can manage a wired connection out there, you'll get every bit of bandwidth that you're getting from your provider.

    There is such a thing as outdoor-rated ethernet cabling.

    Depending on how often you need the connection, you could get a spool, wind an ethernet cable that's the proper length (or longer) on it, and then just feed it out and plug your device directly into it. 150-200 feet is nothing; I used to be in a business where we ran ethernet cables outside right up to the limit (100 meters). When we were done, we wound them up and went home.

    Maybe you could have an ethernet port on the porch or very near a window, and you'd just plug into that.

    Or, if there's a well-protected small area at the firepit, you could make the cable permanent, with a jack, and just plug in when you wanted it.
     

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