range extender problems

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by madeirabhoy, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. madeirabhoy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    #1
    i have a long L shaped apartment and my imac and router are at the top of the L, in the lounge, and my bedroom tv and mac mini which i use as a media player is at the right most point.

    in between is the kitchen so wifi signal in bedroom is patchy overall, and since the tv is in the far corner, theres no signal there.


    bought a D-Link extender. originally used it as a repeater, but had lots of problems, mainly looking back on it, that the bedroom mini had problems where it connected but didnt get internet, wifi with an ! through it.


    cable guys ran cable into the bedroom but could only take it to back wall, sort of half way along the shorter line of the L. so extender still used but with cable going into the back of it. set up by cable guy. all fine for a few months. mind you i don't use it as often as i thought i might.

    from last week, lots of connection problems, which were originally problems with the ISP, i phoned them and they said they were working on our line that day. but when it came back, some machines would connect, some wouldn't.

    as it happened, due to the wife's colleagues all getting work ipad2 s and me being asked to set them up, we had tons of machines in the apartment.

    my iMac, iPad, iPhone, wives macbook, ipad mini, iphone. i didnt even bother going to the bedroom to try to connect the mac mini.

    tried for about 5 hours. my iMac would connect. some of the new iPads would connect, some wouldn't. i'd unplug the router and my iPad would work, but wives wouldn't. unplug it again and her laptop would work.


    a fw days later, all work iPads gone the next morning, still my computer worked, wife's wouldn't. it would be connected to the wifi, sometimes with a normal icon, sometimes with the exclamation through it.

    final straw, on saturday, so 5th day, i unplug the router and plug it in again hoping to get wires macbook to connect. then nothing will connect. phoned cable company.

    guy comes out, says there hasn't been maintenance work for a few days, all should be fine. tests everything, no problems at his end, but nothing will connect.

    he unplugs the cable that runs to the range extender and straight away my computer works, they all do.

    plugs in the range extender, everything still works. later that night, wife has problems connecting macbook, i switch off range extender, all works


    all of this was in the lounge, within 2 metres of the main router, no where near the range extender.
     
  2. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #2
    I think you would be better off getting a new Airport Extreme and an Airport Express. Having Apple devices this would be your best bet.

    Now for real life for extending your network get the Express and set it up to extend the wireless signal.
     
  3. madeirabhoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    #3
    thanks, 2 questions.

    1. can i use an airport extreme to extend from my ISP router
    2. if i replace the router with an airport express will it work with my cable connection or do i attach the router to it by ethernet?
     
  4. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #4
    Does your ISP router do the WiFi? If so, skip it and go cable from the ISP router to a Wifi Router. Let the Wifi Router handle bridging etc and act as the "master."

    Also remember that extenders and bridges come with their own set of synch issues. I would highly recommend you go to SmallNetBuilder site and read some of the articles and reviews there. Don't get trapped by your ISP modem or consider Apple routers a "must have." There is no Apple network eco system. The Apple Airports work reasonably well but way over priced and the interface is well...over simplified making fixes much more difficult and certainly less control over security.

    I have worked with 3 generations of AE, also worked with the Express and several other makers and powerline type connectivity.
     
  5. madeirabhoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    #5

    it might actually be easier for me to go down the powerline route and skip the extender.
     
  6. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #6
    A fast recommendation here - Not all powerline products are created equal so I would suggest you research before buying. If/when you are ready to buy, make sure you have a window of return if needed.

    Powerline is heavily dependent on how your home is wired. A good powerline set up could turn out to be very slow in the wrong home. As example, I set up some Powerline that was also used with a router that had both Ethernet and Wifi working and all went amazingly well in that large two story home plus garage. In my own flat, which is not large at all, Powerline struggles due to the way the wiring is done. It turned out not to be a good fit in my place even though the devices are from a few feet away from one another to a few meters.

    Normally I recommend smallnetbuilder as a great site to explore reviews on routers, NAS and such ...but their offering on Powerline is a bit limited. - Then again, it still is a great place to look and you should (in the case of Powerline) ALWAYS go for the faster units as there is no reason to buy the older slower models (just make sure it rates well over all).
     
  7. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #7
    1. Can you give use your ISP router brand and version?
    2. Sounds as if you need a better wireless router a that can do the true 5 GHz frequencies (hint is it can do only up to channel 13 then it CAN'T do true 5 GHZ (usually in the hundreds range for TRUE 5 GHz speeds). IMHO don't believe the manufactures false hope of 5 GHz! If the router can do channels in the hundreds channel range can't do the true 5 GHz speeds.

    IMHO if you have to use the ISP modem/router turn off the wireless network in that router bed base it most likely an older wireless router that is not that fast. Then get a Dual Wireless router and turn off NAT in that wireless router (in Apple routers they call NAT off "Bridged Mode"). Then use the Airport Express to Extend that wireless network to the Faraday Cage portions of your home because that is it's main function.
     
  8. madeirabhoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    #8
    cheers mate, although my head hurts with the issue. could i simply get another ethernet cable, plug it into the ethernet cable coming out of the wall, and run it round the wall to my computer? its probably 2 meters or so. actually prob double that as it would have to go round the balcony door frame.

    ----------

    will check when i get in and post, cheers
     
  9. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #9
    If your home is wired for Ethernet, you can try a direct cable from your wall. Ethernet has limitations only in length of cable before signal drop off. I believe Cat 5e is about 100 meters max. (Do you know what is running in your wall?).
     
  10. madeirabhoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    #10
    its a hitron but i don't know the model number as its a ZON branded one. ZON is my ISP.

    it does go up to channel 13, which is what its on just now.

    ----------

    no idea, it was the cable company that put it in (only 6 months ago i guess). its definitely nowhere near 100 metres
     
  11. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #11
    So if goes only up to Channel 13 that means the router and do only b, or g wireless. Now is this wireless router a modem also?
     
  12. madeirabhoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    #12
    no it does wireless N also. yes its the whole shebang, from cable, its the modem, router everything.
     
  13. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #13
    Again you said in can do only to channel 13. To do the wireless N true speeds you must use the upper channels, you read about it here. So again according to your country the channels for N speeds are above CHANNEL 13. IMHO most manufactures are lying about N speeds and the real routers that can do trues 5 GHz speeds also can go above channel 13 (usually only dual routers could only do true 5 GHz speeds).
     
  14. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #14
    This might be the crux of your issue. I have my own cablemodem, NOT the one Comcast gives you that also includes a free wifi hotspot for everybody else. I went to smallnetbuilder and picked the fastest AC1750 router in their tests. I got the $199 Asus RT-AC66u router. For $200 I could have got an Airport Extreme but Apple has chased me away by dumbing down Airport Utility so that it is almost useless. My Asus works very VERY well and I run my own VPN so I can log in from outside with my iPad and get files I forgot to bring with me. I can also load third part firmware such as ddwrt or tomato. The AEBS is now sitting idle on a shelf in my office. It served me well for 3 or 4 years with less than monthly resets but when I had to reset the thing on Christmas morning after having to reset it earlier in December, I decided it was enough.

    I also have 2 Dlink DAP1522 access points. The router and one Access point are in the basement, at opposite ends of the house. The second Access point is on the second floor at the center of the house. Every room gets good wifi. The back yard and driveway get good wifi. This took a certain amount of work. First of all, I had to run ethernet to the second floor. Secondly, I use a gigabit switch for all my wired devices. Thirdly, when testing my wifi, I used an Android app "Wifi Analyzer" on my work-issued phone (I prefer not to own an Android device for personal use). You can get Wifi Analyzer for iOS but you have to jailbreak. Please understand there is no substitute for walking around with a handheld device that shows signal strength in real time. This is how I finally managed to kill off my last wifi dead spots.

    To get reliable 'net in your apartment, I suggest several setups, all of which involve ignoring the Comcast wifi capability and setting up your own wifi. I don't think you can switch off the Comcast router but that doesn't stop you from adding switches or your own access points.

    1) an Airport Express in the main room (as an access point) with an Airport Express halfway down the L. (no wired connection between them OR have the second AE act as an access point if you can get an ethernet wire to it).
    2) an Asus in the main room (as an access point) with either wired ethernet or power line ethernet back to the other room and an access point at or near the opposite end of the L.
    In either option 1 or 2, get a gigabit switch in the main room, preferably 8 ports or more so you always have a spare port and you aren't relying on the spare ports on the comcast box.

    I really don't like repeaters. I prefer wire strung to access points. If you are in an apartment, chances are you are completely surrounded by other people's wifi and that creates a problem of bandwidth limiting you won't have to deal with if you run your own gigabit wire. Why gigabit when a 'net connection is tens of megabits? Because it's the speed copying files from one machine to another that will get you if you rely on mere wifi or 100 megabit wired ethernet.

    Keep in mind that power line ethernet is slow. It isn't as fast as AC wifi so I'd avoid it unless you simply cannot figure out a way to run a wire where you need it and yes a wire along the baseboard in an apartment is no big deal. It's not dangerous and as long as you don't have chewing pets or practice knife or axe throwing, the wire shouldn't get damaged.
     

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