I recently moved into a new house, and I'm trying to set up a home network that can stream the media files on my upstairs desktop down to the living room HDTV or any of the other computers in the house. I'm currently using 85Mbps powerline adapters, but the house wiring is giving a lot of interference, and they get severe packet loss 12 hours a day while my basement grow lights are going. I can't drill holes or run cables, since we're renting, and I'm not sure whether or not better powerline adapters are going to have the same problems.
Can you guys outline a good setup for me? My DSL modem is in the kitchen, so I need a solid dual-band N router, and I need a wireless bridge for the living room capable of accessing the network from the router's wireless signal and letting me plug my HD media player and XBox 360 in via ethernet cables. I'm looking at this router as the one to buy, although I'd appreciate a cheaper alternative. The bridge is slightly more difficult--this one looks about right, but I'm not sure whether it can connect wirelessly to any router, or just to a second bridge of that exact model, or whether it can handle assigning 2 different IP addresses to the XBox and HD player. I can't seem to find anything in the specs that specifies whether or not these bridges are able to do what I need them to do.
I also would appreciate a recommendation for computer adapters, as the USB wireless N adapter I'm currently using isn't capable of using the 5 GHz band.
The Rangemax are a very good router line, possibly the best non-enterprise router for range and wireless signal strenght. Good pick, check ebay or craigslist for one. There may be more routers that have the Rangemax name but maybe lower end. I think I remember seeing some for around $100.
The wireless bridge should connect to any router, but you will be better off going with the same vendor. If only to avoid issues with support. If you have a Linksys router and a Netgear bridge, they will just say it's the other company's fault if something is not working.
The OP has asked many of the right questions, I'm impressed. Many ppl wouldn’t think to consider compatibility, or esp. the issue of multiple clients behind the bridge.
Any time you're considering a wireless bridge, make sure it's a *universal* wireless bridge. A universal wireless bridge uses standard wifi protocols, so compatibility across brands is rarely an issue (it’s the same reason you can reliably use any brand of wireless B/G/N adapter w/ any brand of wireless B/G/N router). The "trap" is if the wireless bridge relies solely on WDS (sometimes they support both), which is NOT a wifi certified protocol, making compatibility across brands problematic. WDS almost always requires the same brand, and sometimes even the exact same device (or at least a device from the same product line). Basically, avoid it at all costs.
As far as the number of clients behind the bridge, most modern bridges will handle multiple clients, assigning each an IP address, gateway IP, etc. Many of the older wireless bridges did NOT. Thankfully, most anything produced in the last 3-4 years is probably not going to present a problem.