Geekzone: technology news, blogs, forums
Guest
Welcome Guest.
You haven't logged in yet. If you don't have an account you can register now.


Glurp
7569 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 3541

Subscriber

Topic # 152111 16-Sep-2014 12:39
Send private message

A question about wi-fi extenders: We live in an old, rambling, two storey farmhouse that wanders all over the place. Our RBI gateway is upstairs to be close to the antenna. Where we need it to work is mainly two downstairs rooms in opposite directions from the gateway. At both locations the signal is weak with frequent drop-outs. I would really like to get the wi-fi to work (cables are difficult and I just had a very unsatisfactory experience with a powerline network device). I am thinking about an extender but I can't really place it closer to both areas where I need reception. Of course the ads all claim fantastic performance from a boosted signal but it occurs to me that even if the extender is throwing out 10 watts of RF or whatever, won't the bottleneck be the return signal from the computer? This is my question. If an extender with a more powerful signal is no closer to the client machine, can it still be an improvement if the signal coming back from the client is no stronger? What makes the extender better in a case like this?

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


View this topic in a long page with up to 500 replies per page Create new topic
 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
2504 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 932

Subscriber

  Reply # 1129841 16-Sep-2014 12:44
One person supports this post
Send private message

Well, the extender needs to be placed where it still has decent signal to the upstream device, and where downstream devices have reasonable signal to it. Let's say (yes, it's a bit of an odd example!) we have a 100m long hallway. We have a wifi access point at one end, and a laptop at the other. We get 'good' signal up to about halfway along the hall, and it becomes unusably poor by the far end. So if you put an extender in at half way (where it still gets 'good' signal), and this then provides 'good' signal to the far end (where the laptop is), your overall experience is now 'good', rather than unusable.




Windows 7 x64 // i5-3570K // 16GB DDR3-1600 // GTX660Ti 2GB // Samsung 830 120GB SSD // OCZ Agility4 120GB SSD // Samsung U28D590D @ 3840x2160 & Asus PB278Q @ 2560x1440
Samsung Galaxy S5 SM-G900I w/Spark



Glurp
7569 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 3541

Subscriber

  Reply # 1130032 16-Sep-2014 15:44
Send private message

So what you are saying is that the location of the extender is all that matters and any eventual boost to the signal will make no difference because the return signal from the computer is just as weak as ever?

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


4903 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 1537


  Reply # 1130041 16-Sep-2014 16:02
Send private message

The return signal will go from the computer to the extender then back to your main router.

Effectively what it does will increase the distance from the main router that you can get, but at the expense of throughput - maximum throughput will be half (at best) of what it was originally as everything is relayed back and forth (well, it's a bit more complex than that, but that's effectively what happens).

What was the issue using a powerline? They are usually far more reliable than a WiFi extender...

2504 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 932

Subscriber

  Reply # 1130051 16-Sep-2014 16:17
Send private message

Rikkitic: So what you are saying is that the location of the extender is all that matters and any eventual boost to the signal will make no difference because the return signal from the computer is just as weak as ever?


Well the distance between the computer and the range extender will be far less than the distance between the computer and the router/ source AP, so it will be better. It almost sounds like you are expecting to place the RE next to your existing AP and magically extend the range, which is not how it works.




Windows 7 x64 // i5-3570K // 16GB DDR3-1600 // GTX660Ti 2GB // Samsung 830 120GB SSD // OCZ Agility4 120GB SSD // Samsung U28D590D @ 3840x2160 & Asus PB278Q @ 2560x1440
Samsung Galaxy S5 SM-G900I w/Spark

'That VDSL Cat'
8100 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 1693

Trusted
Spark
Subscriber

  Reply # 1130052 16-Sep-2014 16:21
One person supports this post
Send private message

If possible, how about a second Wireless AP, connected back over Ethernet.


Will be a far more consistent setup than using a wireless extender - which in my experience hurt more than going a weak signal to the actual AP!




#include <std_disclaimer>

 

Any comments made are personal opinion and do not reflect directly on the position my current or past employers may have.


26601 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 6095

Moderator
Trusted
Biddle Corp
Lifetime subscriber

  Reply # 1130138 16-Sep-2014 18:07
3 people support this post
Send private message

The biggest technical problem with any form of extender is that it halves the throughout.

The biggest real world issue is that most people install them where they already have bad WiFi in the hope it's magically going to make it better, totally ignorant of the fact if an existing device has a poor signal, that an extender still has to talk back to the main AP and will have a terrible SNR. If you've got a device bogging down your main AP with poor signal strength / SNR that will also reduce the maximum throughout of the AP.


24 posts

Geek
+1 received by user: 4


  Reply # 1130163 16-Sep-2014 18:39
Send private message

If you electrical wiring is in OK order then it might be worth using a pair of these.

http://www.playtech.co.nz/afawcs0139235/CATID=1055/ID=22897/SID=385834541/productdetails.html

They worked fine for me to get 50Mbps 40/50meters to the other end of our old house. You could use another old router at the other end as a switch and AP. If you turn off dhcp and setup the wireless with the exact same settings but on a different channel your devices will connect to what ever is closer. You can pickup an old router for $20 if you don't have one.

21234 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 4271

Trusted
Subscriber

  Reply # 1130174 16-Sep-2014 19:18
Send private message

Extenders work fine in situations like that where you are so useless it doesn't work. It will turn barely work in to works but not that fast.




Richard rich.ms

12522 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 2217

Trusted

  Reply # 1130212 16-Sep-2014 20:07
Send private message

Hmm, my experience has been great. TP-Link W8960N is at the front of my home. Where the house ends,a small gap, then a garage/sleepout, then the back section where I may have a relax over a fanta. iPhone 5S is 1 bar or drops to 4G. iPad Air 1 bar and stable. I put the Huawei WS323 Extender into the garage. (Not great as its metal clad. )If garage door open, I get full bars on both devices. So, it appears that the ok to good signal at the extender is boosted enough to make it work well, extending-wise. Speedtest about 5+ mbit, whereas in the home, wifi, which is 4 metres from the router is about 11-12 mbit. Thats seems a pretty sound result?



Glurp
7569 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 3541

Subscriber

  Reply # 1130227 16-Sep-2014 20:39
Send private message

Thanks a lot for the helpful replies. I am new to all this so still feeling my way along. It is only recently that we have been able to get any form of broadband at all thanks to RBI. Our gateway device is also our router and unfortunately the wi-fi signal is not very strong. The other problem is that the router is located between the places where the signal needs to go, so any improvement in one direction makes it worse in the other. I am trying to decide on the least awful way of making it better everywhere. I have a Ethernet cable to one room which works fine but isn’t handy for my other computers. The wireless signal at both ends of the house comes up as very poor to poor most of the time, not more than two bars on the network meter that comes with Windows. Often the signal drops out. This is the same on both the laptops and the usb wireless adapters in the desktops. I tried a powerline adapter and may try another but the first one I bought simply didn’t work. I managed to get it working once for about half a day and then it was perfect but after that I could never get a network connection again so finally sent it back for a refund. A lot of hassle I didn’t need and this doesn’t fill me with confidence. So I am trying things and asking for advice and learning more every day and hopefully I will eventually find a good solution.

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


24 posts

Geek
+1 received by user: 4


  Reply # 1130244 16-Sep-2014 20:59
2 people support this post
Send private message

Maybe you just had a dud powerline adapter. I bought 4 of the tp-link ones a year ago, 2 my mate has now as I moved and did not need all 4. They have been rock solid but I do admit they are not the quickest,

I noticed they struggled with bi directional traffic over 20Mbps but if I was just streaming data one way they were fine upto 60Mbps with less then 5% packet loss. It all depends on the wiring though. I found one socket that must of had a poor connection or some sort of noise as I could only get 5Mbps in that one.

Big tip is plug them all into the same multi board and sync them, then move them around the house.

Also whatever solution you use test it using a program like "multiping" add a target IP of your router and set it to ping every second. You can then monitor with a bit more representation as to packet loss etc. Less then 10% is fine on a longer run. (Packet loss is red) on a land you want to aim for a latancy of less then 30ms if you can help it.

I can also give some advise as to some speed test software to run between 2 machines on your network if you wish just let me know. Too many people use speedtest.net when testing their home network. It introduces too many variables. Always best to break down the issue to small parts and work out.

26601 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 6095

Moderator
Trusted
Biddle Corp
Lifetime subscriber

  Reply # 1130392 17-Sep-2014 07:18
Send private message

tdgeek: Hmm, my experience has been great. TP-Link W8960N is at the front of my home. Where the house ends,a small gap, then a garage/sleepout, then the back section where I may have a relax over a fanta. iPhone 5S is 1 bar or drops to 4G. iPad Air 1 bar and stable. I put the Huawei WS323 Extender into the garage. (Not great as its metal clad. )If garage door open, I get full bars on both devices. So, it appears that the ok to good signal at the extender is boosted enough to make it work well, extending-wise. Speedtest about 5+ mbit, whereas in the home, wifi, which is 4 metres from the router is about 11-12 mbit. Thats seems a pretty sound result?


WiFi extenders do work, and your experience is typical of a real world scenario.

The two problems are as listed above - that they will halve your WiFi throughout, and that many people can't understand how to install them so they will actually work.

Ultimately the best solution is an extra AP, and with so many Ethernet over Power adapters around these days the combination of these and a standalone AP really is the best approach.


445 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 125


  Reply # 1130400 17-Sep-2014 07:48
Send private message

If this is for desktops I suggest a USB extension cable and blu-tacking the adaptor high on the wall as a cheap way to improve reception. If that works then an extender in those locations should give your mobile devices better coverage too. I'd avoid the wall wart units and get something with diverse antennas that can be wall mounted. Some have Ethernet ports so they can do dual duty, supply the desktop via Ethernet and acting as an extender for mobile devices. READ THE MANUAL BEFORE BUYING and ask some questions here if your unsure about that path.

12522 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 2217

Trusted

  Reply # 1130401 17-Sep-2014 07:54
Send private message

sbiddle:
tdgeek: Hmm, my experience has been great. TP-Link W8960N is at the front of my home. Where the house ends,a small gap, then a garage/sleepout, then the back section where I may have a relax over a fanta. iPhone 5S is 1 bar or drops to 4G. iPad Air 1 bar and stable. I put the Huawei WS323 Extender into the garage. (Not great as its metal clad. )If garage door open, I get full bars on both devices. So, it appears that the ok to good signal at the extender is boosted enough to make it work well, extending-wise. Speedtest about 5+ mbit, whereas in the home, wifi, which is 4 metres from the router is about 11-12 mbit. Thats seems a pretty sound result?


WiFi extenders do work, and your experience is typical of a real world scenario.

The two problems are as listed above - that they will halve your WiFi throughout, and that many people can't understand how to install them so they will actually work.

Ultimately the best solution is an extra AP, and with so many Ethernet over Power adapters around these days the combination of these and a standalone AP really is the best approach.



Cheers. If the throughput halves, is that past the Extender or on the whole internal wifi network because the Extender is connected?

I had thought of Powerline, but the garage /sleepout was built later, and there is a separate fuse tripper on the power board, so I assume there is no power point in the house on that circuit to attach the adapter and router to. 

1467 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 335


  Reply # 1130459 17-Sep-2014 09:39
One person supports this post
Send private message

Halving the throughput is pretty much a non issue for most. Its still going to be better throughput/speed than many home internet connections
1/2 speed is better than non at all.

My experience with extenders is 50/50
half the sites they work perfectly, the other half they just dont, at all. Ive pretty much given up even trying them, unless a customer has bought one & wants me to set it up (ie it doesnt work)

They can be quite flakey, some models just simply just dont work at all (despite resonable signal) , some need to be paired with particular wifi router/ap's
Sometimes the signal is just too weak for the extendender to pickup & boost
They need to be put at a 1/2 way point , and the signal needs to be reasonable there. Probably no good for trying to boost between floors

The Powerline devices are great. I would recommend powerline rather than extender/boosters

The other thing you could try is an 8db aerial . Cheap but if the signal is really bad it wont help.

 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
View this topic in a long page with up to 500 replies per page Create new topic

Twitter »

Follow us to receive Twitter updates when new discussions are posted in our forums:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when news items and blogs are posted in our frontpage:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when tech item prices are listed in our price comparison site:





News »

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central launches
Posted 10-Jul-2018 10:40


Spark completes first milestone in voice platform upgrade
Posted 10-Jul-2018 09:36


Microsoft ices heated developers
Posted 6-Jul-2018 20:16


PB Technologies charged for its extended warranties and warned for bait advertising
Posted 3-Jul-2018 15:45


Almost 20,000 people claim credits from Spark
Posted 29-Jun-2018 10:40


Cove sells NZ's first insurance policy via chatbot
Posted 25-Jun-2018 10:04


N4L helping TAKA Trust bridge the digital divide for Lower Hutt students
Posted 18-Jun-2018 13:08


Winners Announced for 2018 CIO Awards
Posted 18-Jun-2018 13:03


Logitech Rally sets new standard for USB-connected video conference cameras
Posted 18-Jun-2018 09:27


Russell Stanners steps down as Vodafone NZ CEO
Posted 12-Jun-2018 09:13


Intergen recognised as 2018 Microsoft Country Partner of the Year for New Zealand
Posted 12-Jun-2018 08:00


Finalists Announced For Microsoft NZ Partner Awards
Posted 6-Jun-2018 15:12


Vocus Group and Vodafone announce joint venture to accelerate fibre innovation
Posted 5-Jun-2018 10:52


Kogan.com to launch Kogan Mobile in New Zealand
Posted 4-Jun-2018 14:34


Enable doubles fibre broadband speeds for its most popular wholesale service in Christchurch
Posted 2-Jun-2018 20:07



Geekzone Live »

Try automatic live updates from Geekzone directly in your browser, without refreshing the page, with Geekzone Live now.



Are you subscribed to our RSS feed? You can download the latest headlines and summaries from our stories directly to your computer or smartphone by using a feed reader.

Alternatively, you can receive a daily email with Geekzone updates.