What’s The Reach Of Your Wireless Router?

WiFi connectivity gaps are more prevalent in homes now that tablets and Smart TVs are stretching the areas that wireless-N routers need to cover. A good solution is a WiFi extender, like the one mentioned in this blog.

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I recently spent some time trying out a Wi-Fi range extender in my home. These devices have been on the market for quite some time. But ever since I purchased a wireless-N router, I’ve never felt the need for one.

So why did I bother to try the extender? Two of my relatives recently complained to me that wireless-N isn’t serving their needs, and they asked me for suggestions. In one case, a smart TV was the straw that broke the wireless-N signal’s back. In the other, a recent addition of a family room caused the problem. The new room slipped out of the coverage range of the wireless-N router’s signal.

In the case of the smart TV, the router was on one side of the house and the TV was on the other side, with lots of rooms in between. I was asked why Netflix didn’t work on the new TV. I knew what the problem was but couldn’t solve it by moving the router to a more centralized location. Among other things, it was in the same room as the cable modem and had a wired connection to both the modem and a PC.

With the room addition, the wireless-N router was upstairs and far enough away that it didn’t quite cover the new room, so tablets and notebooks could not connect to the Internet from there. The room also seemed to be exhibiting a Faraday cage effect, since wireless worked fine once you stepped out of it.

The Wi-Fi extender I tested is the REC10 from Amped Wireless. Released in April, it’s billed as the industry’s most powerful, compact Wi-Fi range extender. As with most Wi-Fi extenders, all you have to do is plug it into an outlet and connect to it with your device. I set up the REC10 completely from my tablet via a Web menu and then used the tablet’s Wi-Fi signal strength indicator to conduct a test. At a location in my house where I usually get two bars with the wireless-N router, the REC10 boosted the signal strength to three bars from its more centralized location.

The REC10 boasts four amplifiers delivering up to 600 mW power in a 2.75- by 4.0-in. form factor. It is compatible with any brand of router and retails for $79.99. Actually, the REC10 is probably overkill for my home, but it seems perfect for extending Wi-Fi coverage to the smart TV and devices in the new room.

Discuss this Blog Entry 5

on May 24, 2013

I was wondering whether shifting to a lower frequency (like 802.11b/g instead of 802.11a/n) would solve the problem (neglecting the Faraday cage and obstruction elements) to address the smart TV interference.
That wi-fi extender sounds very good, but I do hope it doesn't serve as an attractive vulnerability for war drivers.

on May 29, 2013

The problem with boosting the signal as you did was that you probably now have extended coverage far outside your dwelling into other neighbors houses. If you are comfortable with that and are using WPA2/AES Enterprise security then no problem, but should someone happen to come by your signal and determine the WEP key or find it OPEN, then by radiating outside, you've been inviting them into your network. Before cranking up power, one should perform a simple site survey to determine coverage and interference. Interference is a more likely reason for the problem with coverage, unless your room's walls are plaster over wire mesh. (Your use of the Rec 10 indicates you are using 2.4Ghz) You will probably find at least 4 or 5 of your neighbors are on the same or an interfering channel. At 2.4Ghz you only have 3 channels which are not overlapping - 1, 6,11. Someone nearby decides to use channels 2, 3, 4 or 5 will interfere with your receiver if you are using channels 1 or 6. Microwave ovens are centered on ch10 and if they leak, it will also interfere with the higher channels. Better solutions are to deploy additional access points on a wired network to cover your immediate needs - if your AP is the stronger source within your dwelling, then your devices will stay connected to their closest AP. You can reduce power on most commercial APs (or open source versions) to reduce coverage to where you need it. If running at true 802.11n speeds, you really are overpowered compared to the downlink/uplink speed for your internet access. Even 25Mb download speed is the typical 802.11g only average throughput. Running faster only benefits access to local appliances. Prune out the old 802.11b devices on your network and configure APs to only support 802.11g/n. The only real benefit in using N on 2.4 is really for the MIMO capability to reduce some interference. I do wonder that having that much radiated power might be detrimental to sensitive areas such as eyes, etc. A microwave oven is deemed unsafe when it radiates more than 1mw per square cm at any point 5 cm or more from the external surface. With 600mw radiating from this booster, you might want to keep some distance from the antenna. It appears that the user guide recommends being no closer than 20cm from the device. On the APs that I use the power on 2.4 802.11g is typically limited to 50mw and 5Gz is 40mw. Even with this setup a single AP (with a 13" reflector deployed behind the antenna to reduce coverage through wall outside) is able to deliver a 25dB margin on most connections - including going through several rooms with drywall to the 2nd floor to reach the endpoint computers/tablets.

on Oct 20, 2014

You will probably find at least 4 or 5 of your neighbors are on the same or an interfering channel. At 2.4Ghz you only have 3 channels which are not overlapping - 1, 6,11. Someone nearby decides to use channels 2, 3, 4 or 5 will interfere with your receiver if you are using channels 1 or 6. Microwave ovens are centered on ch10 and if they leak, it will also interfere with the higher channels. pupuk organik cair Better solutions are to deploy additional access points on a wired network to cover your immediate needs - if your AP is the stronger source within your dwelling,

on Aug 2, 2015

Very informative post
thanks for sharing this to us

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