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mikeski 04-21-2014 1:41 PM

WiFi extender help needed
 
Hi guys,

I need some advice from somebody that knows a little more about wifi than I do. My new house is a single story and has a garage that is about 100' from the main wifi hub with two concrete walls between. I am running a Asus RT-AC66U main router and have a RT-N12 router running in extender mode. The wifi stability is not great and I am only getting about 1mbps throughput on the extension router.

Now I have some old CAT5 between the main router and the extension router but I don't know if the cable is any good. It has been cut in two places with ice block ends and RG45 splice blocks so I don't trust it. I may be able to run a new CAT5e cable but it will be another attic crawl I would like to avoid.

I read somewhere that your extender router should be the same as the main router but I am not too excited about dumping another $200 for a second RT-AC66U but I might do that instead of the attic crawl if it can get my speeds up.

I previously had seperate networks but my Sonos system will only work if every controller is on the same network.

Suggestions?

mikeski 04-21-2014 1:46 PM

One more thing... I think my microwave oven might also be interfering with my wireless. When I was buying the router at Frys a geeky guy was looking at the same router and said he didn't want it because it used a bandwidth close to microwave and his was in the kitchen so he thought it would not work. I that BS at the time but now I am wondering if he really knew what he was talking about.

deltahoosier 04-21-2014 2:19 PM

How far are you trying to run WiFi?

I had issues due to my router being in automatic channel selection and it was interfering with a neighbors router and you can also get interference from a home wireless phone. I moved my router from automatic channel assignment and assigned it a channel. Problems was fixed.

mikeski 04-21-2014 4:17 PM

About 150' and through a few walls including 2 concrete block walls.

ralph 04-21-2014 7:31 PM

I'm not a wifi expert but I personally would prefer to run two lower powered Wifi routers connected with cable rather than one super high power unit to cover the whole span. I hope we don't find out in 20 years all these wifi signals give us tumours.

bcrider 04-22-2014 8:46 AM

I would consider running a new Cat5E cable. Depending on how much you tied it down you can always use the existing as a pull string. I would consider either running a second cable or even a string for future. Cat5E can go 300' so you are well within your limit. Your only other option would be to go to more of a commercial type access point but your are getting more costly to do so.

sidekicknicholas 04-22-2014 9:22 AM

You could look into this, saved me a ton of headaches getting a hard wired connect across our place. We have metal studs so it just destroys WifI signal through the home.

* You take a cat5 cable, plug it into side "A", then that plugs into an outlet.
* You plug side "B" into another outlet and run a cat5 from there to whatever device (pc / router / etc) and your connection goes over the electrical wires.

....works great in our place and gets me a wired connection waaaaay in a far of corner of the house without a ton of loss. Straight off where it inters the house I get 98 Mb download speeds, after a wireless router and the electrical extender I get like 92 mb down, so I lose a little, but that would be expected.

... not sure if the "A" and "B" point have to be on the same breaker loop though.

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/s...7OpE5&usqp=CAY

https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...d=0CL0BEPICMAU

99Bison 04-22-2014 9:50 AM

RE the microwave, try changing the channel your wifi talks, that may solve the issue. It did for me once when I had the same issue.

bull 04-22-2014 8:49 PM

Maybe check out the Merlin firmware. I've used it for quite a long time and there are a few other features if you are willing to flash devices:

http://forums.smallnetbuilder.com/showthread.php?t=7846

brettw 04-22-2014 9:30 PM

I don't know if this would work in your situation,but it's worked great for me.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The thing is so simple, and you can't go wrong for $40. I've got my cable modem and wireless router up in an upstairs bedroom. On the opposite side of the house downstairs is where our tv is and where we use laptops a lot. Put in between the two spots, this bumps up the signal to 5 bars vs. 2 or 3. The main reason I got it, and the most often times it's used is when streaming video from Amazon or something. Without it, sometimes, it hangs. It may or may not help you, but it'll definitely help a lot of people.

phathom 04-23-2014 8:47 AM

Ok, so I am a bit of a Wi-Fi expert. It's a big part of what I do for a living, setting up networks, and troubleshooting wifi problems.

Here's a couple things,

1: There is a program called Fing you can download on your smartphone that will help you diagnose your network by individual points. This can help tell you where the problem is.
If you wanted to do it desktop side, you could run a simple ping test or tracert to each point in the network and see where the biggest drop is.

2: If you have an android device, use the program Wi-Fi analyzer. It will show you all networks broadcasting in your area and the channels they are on. It will give you your signal strength in DB. This is very useful in determining where your Wi-Fi is dropping off at. It will give you a good idea on where to actually place the extender and give you hints on what is causing interference. A big one is other devices that operate or emit on the RF frequency, portable phones, microwaves, etc. An even bigger one is the construction of the house. Going past a bathroom, or a kitchen to a lesser extent, with the piping in the walls will drop your signal drastically. The same will happen with exterior/insulated firewalls. These are normally between the house and garage and sounds like what you may have to deal with already.
Apple does not have a comparable tool that doesn't involve buying a spendy external attachment.

3: Regarding whoever told you the routers have to be the same is absolutely wrong. A good amount of routers do not have an extender option at all and only work as routers. You can reconfigure a router into a switch, but not always into an extender. There may be some special features that are mostly negligible within the same brand, but there is in no way a requirement to get the same router to get good performance. As long as it has the same speed architecture (10/100/1000, b/g/n/ac) and will connect to the other router, you should be fine. This is even less of an issue with it being hardlined to the main router.

4: About your hardline connection. You can buy an ethernet tester which will verify the line, however it would be more cost effective to just replace the line with a direct line since you might have to do that anyway. You said that it was cut a few times, it sounds like you will. No one likes attics or crawlspaces, but you got to do what you got to do.

5: For the powerline adapters. I would stay away from them. Not only can they be a little pricey, but the performance of them is sketchy. Where you can put them and their performance all depends on the quality of your house's electrical wiring. You are basically taking signal from 4-8 wires (4/100mbps, 8/1000mbps) and putting it over 2 wires that are already running 120 volts over it. I have to use these every so often when it is impossible to hardwire due to HOA and building restrictions, but you never get 100% out of them. If you have the option to hardwire instead of this, do it.

baitkiller 04-23-2014 12:11 PM

Get your butt in the attic and pull cable before summer gets here.
I struggled with wifi issues for way too long. i tried pretty much everything listed above, even hired a pro to "fix it". Better but still not great. Now after puling wire it just works.. every time.
IMO its worth a few roofing nails in the head and an extra shower.

phathom 04-23-2014 12:45 PM

I definitely agree with the above. Pull that wire before summer gets here. Otherwise you have to do it first thing in the morning when you could be getting some morning glass instead.
In my line of work we will not go into an attic once the outside weather temperature hits around 80 degrees. 80 degrees outside of the house = 110+ in the attic. 30 degree jumps from outside are very common, sometimes it's more. It gets dangerous.
Tight spaces, extreme heat, lots of sweat, insulation sticking to you, not a lot of safe places to place your feet and hands, and it's dark. All of that tends to make you work fast and not safe. You are more likely to misplace your foot or hand and drop through the ceiling. On top of that you have the danger of passing out from heat exhaustion in those conditions.

mikeski 04-23-2014 3:17 PM

Surf Addict,

Thank you for your well written explanation. I will get get the Fing app for my iphone and see if it provides any insight.

Looks like my repeater may not be the correct unit for the base unit. My base unit is a 802.11ac unit:
(5th generation 802.11ac chipset gives you concurrent dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz for up to super-fast 1.75Gbps)

The repeater is a 802.11n chipset so they might not be talking very well.

I also changed the original 5dbi antennas to larger 9dbi antennas on both units.

If I run a new wire between the 802.11ac unit another similar unit, will they share a common extended wireless network? All this is to replace my previous setup which was a netgear router running in parallel with the AT&T router, I made the router change when I changed services to Xfinity. I am fine running a new Cat5 cable but I do not want to have two different wireless networks due to the downstream devices (Sonos) requiring the same network.

Keep the advice coming!

Thank you,
Mike

phathom 04-23-2014 4:04 PM

In order to have the same network, you are going to have to setup the extender/router as a switch.
-Plug the incoming into a LAN port, not the WAN port.
-Assign the extender a static IP from the original device.
-Set the extender's IP to the static the other is assigning.
-Disable DHCP on the extender
-Make the type of encryption, the network name and password EXACTLY the same.
-Put the broadcast channels to manual and put them on opposite ends of the spectrum (channels 1 and 11).
If you do that, you should be fine with the main router doing all the work and the extender working as a wireless switch and relay. It will be the same network, but there still may be a hand off when you go between areas.

Also 2.4ghz does not attenuate as quickly as 5ghz. The 5ghz band is not as full of stuff yet and it can operate quicker, but it does lose speed with distance faster and is affected easier by obstacles. It is fast, but not as sturdy in some situations.

One more thing, are you running the all in one modem and router from Xfinity or are you using a regular modem? If you are using an all in one, you need to get it switched into bridge mode. If you need help on getting it to bridge mode PM me.


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