Streaming and Connection advice - UK

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by GWIM2, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. GWIM2, Mar 11, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012

    GWIM2 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    #1
    I want to connect up my small flat so I can use any device I want, anywhere, reliably.

    My MBA runs and connects to my wireless router which is next to the PC in the living room, but the signal is poor - keep dropping out. I intend to keep the PC, at least for a while ( £££ ) and I have the common UK broadband setup where the signal comes down the twisted pair telephone cable to a proprietary router / modem, a NETGEAR N150 from Orange, which is USB-plugged into the PC.

    At least some of the system software and setup has to be stored / done on the PC, but when it is setup and running I can connect wirelessly with the MBA while the PC is off, and have cabled network links into the TV and so on.

    I'm sure I could get an Airport Express and just put a network lead from it into the proprietary router, then use it to get a better wireless signal at the MBA when I'm using it remotely, but I'd rather like to use an Airport Express or Extreme and try to get rid of the proprietary router, with a view to network cabling everything in the living room and getting a decent wireless connection through the rest of the flat.

    Any thoughts? - buy the Express and just hard wire it ( Apple Store is one mile away and has a couple of dozen on the shelf ... ) or does anyone have any experience with setting up Express / Extreme to take the place of the proprietary router.
     
  2. davidoloan, Mar 11, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012

    davidoloan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    #2
    If you are having trouble with signal strength in rooms very close by, one simple thing you can do is put the new Airport Express as high up as possible - like on the top of a bookcase, or if your ceiling is made of plasterboard or thin ceiling tiles put it up in the roofspace / cavity which will remove any problems created by thick walls as long as they stop at the ceiling.

    Also, most UK residential buildings have thin 15mm conduits in the walls to the TV points. You can get 2 thick aerial cables and 2 ethernet cables down each these. This works well if you have your router and any switch in the roofspace. You can buy open face plates with brushed opening to replace the tv aerial socket which you can bring the 4 cables through in to the room. This will give great wifi and a tidy wired network without a lot of expense.

    [​IMG]

    The secret to getting cables down these conduits is to pull the existing cables up to the top and then group the 4 cable together and feed them down the conduit together. You will never manage to push a final cable down a tight conduit that already has a few cables. You will have to put the RJ45 connectors and CoAx plugs on after you pull the leads through the face plate but this is simple with plenty of instructions online.

    You will still need to use the modem part of the old router or buy a better one.
     
  3. GWIM2 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    #3
    Thanks David

    Unfortunately we are talking Aberdeen here, so the exterior walls are 2 foot of granite and the interior walls just about a foot - or I'd already have cabled through.

    I'm sure there has to be a way to do it, just don't want to end up with any more of a mess of wiring than I have at the minute. I suppose I could always hard wire the Express somewhere in the middle of the flat, and up high, as you say.

    I'm not super-impressed with the existing modem / router, but since it's working I'd rather not tinker with it till I can throw it in the bin.
     
  4. psxguru macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 19, 2006
    #4
    Why's the router connected via USB to your PC?

    Your options are getting a new ADSL modem/router with better WIFI performance (or one that can run the various 3rd party e.g. DD-WRT to boost the WIFI signal), or get a new router only (e.g. Airport Extreme) and disabling the router part on the Netgear - the Airport Extreme does not have a built in ADSL or cable modem.

    Alternatively get a homeplug solution with a WIFI access point e.g.
    www.amazon.co.uk/Devolo-1408-Wireless-N-HomePlug-Adapter/dp/B00472MMCQ/
    and put the access point part in a suitable location to give you best coverage for your needs.
     
  5. davidoloan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    #5
    Well at least it should be warm.

    What are your ceilings made of and what is above you?
     
  6. GWIM2 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    #6
    The router needed to be plugged into the PC before I could run the setup stuff on the PC, after which the MBA runs wirelessly even when the PC is off.

    The ceilings are plasterboard but newly done, and don't want to bring down the flat above.

    Maybe I should talk to Orange and see what they suggest? The N150 is the cheapest and weakest of their range - according to the box, so even swapping it out with a higher spec version might help.

    I have a Homeplug setup in a box somewhere, but dont normally use it as it gets unbelievably hot in use and must be running up the electicity bill something rotten.
     
  7. davidoloan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    #7
    That is probably just the ISP software to help you set up the router.

    You could access the router through its address to set it up and you could do it via your MBA.

    If it is a Flat even an entry level router should get as far as the next few rooms. Unless there is something wrong with the router, it sounds like the thick walls you described are the problem, or maybe interference from something like a fridge.

    If you don't want to use the Homeplug and you buy an Airport Express and the signal is still bad, and you don't want to to touch the ceiling then you have to go through the wall with a cable. You can hire a heavy duty hammer drill with a long masonry bit from somewhere like HSS for about £10. If you hit a large piece of granite you can't get through, try somewhere else and fill the other holes with Polyfilla.
     
  8. GWIM2 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    Location:
    Scotland
    #8
    Done

    Bought an Airport Express, plugged it into a spare power socket half way between the original wireless router and the room I want to use the laptop in.

    Setup took a couple of runs to get it right, but now my 7Mb/sec connection at the router is reaching this Air at better than 3 Mb/ sec.

    That'll do for me. :)
     

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