Networking gurus: help with a wireless repeater or extender

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Queen of Spades, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. Queen of Spades macrumors 68030

    Queen of Spades

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    The Iron Throne
    #1
    I'm looking for a reliable, inexpensive, easy to setup and install wireless extender or repeater. Here's the background:

    I live in house with three roommates. Three of the bedrooms are upstairs, and one is downstairs in the corner of the house. The router is upstairs in my room. It's a D-Link DIR-655, which replaced a Linksys WRTG-54 because it had 3 external antennas and supposedly had a wider range. We're an entirely Mac household, if that makes a difference.

    The DIR-655 has been totally fine, but the downstairs bedroom is still having reception issues. The wireless connection is spotty/weak, and she cannot do streaming video. I tested the speed/latency in her room, and versus mine and the others upstairs, it is extremely weak.

    So, we've decided to try and strengthen the signal downstairs. What is the best course of action for this? Based on my research, it's with a wireless repeater or extender.

    Does anyone have any personal recommendations to that end? I've done many network setups, but never dealt with this before. Any help or insight with product suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Kimbie macrumors regular

    Kimbie

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    You could try replacing the atennas with some high gain ones, assuming they can be removed.

    If you get another wireless AP, give it the same SSID as your router and the same key, it should just repeat the wifi signal

    Kimbie
     
  3. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    #3
    You have a few options.

    1) Buy high gain antennas for your existing router. This will be the easiest method. Simply buy something like this. It's amazing what a difference a high gain antenna can make.

    2) See if your model supports something like extending or bridging. If so, you can get another model and use it.

    3) If you really want to get geeky, you can get a model that supports DD-WRT, load that on it, and use it to do the extending. If you still have your old Linksys, it should be able to run WRT. With DD-WRT, you can either use it as an extender, or you can try cranking up the transmit power to the antennas.
     
  4. Queen of Spades thread starter macrumors 68030

    Queen of Spades

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    The Iron Throne
    #4
    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I've heard about the high gain antennas - but truthfully, they're ugly and unwieldy. Since the router is in my bedroom, I'd rather not have my desk look like a NASA workstation.

    DD-WRT is interesting - so if I wanted to load that onto a router and use it as an extender, would I need to have both routers be the same model? Or could I just grab a Linksys WRTG off of craigslist or something, load the firmware, and set it up as an extender?

    Meaning, do both routers need to be running the DD-WRT firmware? EDIT: Because our D-Link DIR-655 cannot run DD-WRT.
     
  5. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    #5
    Honestly, I have never tried to make one an extender. Since DD-WRT is vendor neutral, I wouldn't think so. I really don't think both would need to be running it, either. I have just read about it on the Wi-Fi Planet forums. They might be able to go a bit more in depth on the subject. Check them out here.
     
  6. Queen of Spades thread starter macrumors 68030

    Queen of Spades

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Location:
    The Iron Throne
    #6
    After doing some more research, I'm curious about Apple's Time Capsules - I hadn't realized they're airport base stations as well. Could one of these be used in place of an extender?
     

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