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Buy a hub or upgrade to N router/AP with wrt54gl as the hub?

Last response: in Networking
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July 6, 2012 12:09:19 PM

The tl;dr...should I just buy a simple hub and keep my wrt54gl as my router or should I put the money toward a wireless N router (or AP) for the better range and use the wrt54gl as my hub?

The long story...

I currently have my wrt54gl as my one and only router. It gives me good range indoors, but I would prefer to get better range outside, if possible. Right now I get range out about 50 feet around the outside of the house but I would prefer that to double, if not more.

At the same time, however, I need to move the router to the basement to better facility my network. Obviously, this will affect the wireless range. I have considered DD-WRT, but not sure it will help much from the basement.

So, I have considered two options. One, I could keep my router where it is and just get a simple hub and stick it in the basement. Obviously this is the least expensive option, but it doesn't improve the current router's range, although I could try DD-WRT. The othe option is I could use the money I would put toward the hub and, instead, upgrade to a wireless N router or AP and move the wrt54gl to the basement to serve as my hub. This would improve my range as well as my network speed, but is obviously more expensive.

This is all very much above my head in terms of what would work best. Hoping you guys can give me some things to think about.
a c 79 F Wireless
July 6, 2012 3:32:34 PM

I would opt for number option2.

but be aware that the range for G-wireless devices might not improve only for the N-wireless devices
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July 6, 2012 4:32:33 PM

Oh, I just remembered. I also have an old 2wire 7701HG-B dsl router left over from when I was an AT&T customer. Could this be used for anything? It has 4 ethernet ports, but doesn't have an WAN port, just a phone in.
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July 6, 2012 4:36:38 PM

Don't buy a hub. Buy a switch if you go that route as it works better.

I would buy a new wireless N router and have it upstairs. Take your old router and only use the 4 switch ports, not the WAN port. This will make it act like a switch. I would also turn of DHCP on it to make sure it doesn't affect anything.

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July 6, 2012 4:46:01 PM

sturm said:
Don't buy a hub. Buy a switch if you go that route as it works better.

I would buy a new wireless N router and have it upstairs. Take your old router and only use the 4 switch ports, not the WAN port. This will make it act like a switch. I would also turn of DHCP on it to make sure it doesn't affect anything.


So, tell me the order of config...

Cable modem into the Wireless N router's WAN, then out the N router's LAN port downstairs to the G router's LAN port, then out from there to the different machines?

The cable modem will be down in the basement, so I would prefer to go to the downstairs device first, then split from there to the different machines and the upstairs router.
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July 6, 2012 4:50:16 PM

If you can, keep the modem upstairs and plug the new N router into it. Then run one cable downstairs to the old G router lan port. Otherwise you would need to run 2 cables - one from the modem upstairs to the N router and another one back down to the G router.

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July 6, 2012 5:07:28 PM

I see. Thanks. Currently the modem is upstairs next to the router, but I had hoped I could take it downstairs to reduce clutter. I guess I could get just a cheap wired router for downstairs and turn the wrt54gl into an AP, or get an new N AP. I guess I still need to work on different options and their pros and cons.
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July 6, 2012 6:06:57 PM

I guess what I should do is run the DD-WRT firmware and boost the signal and then stick it in the basement and see how much range I get. It may be too much to hope for, but if I get a good enough signal from the basement then I won't need any additional hardware.
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July 6, 2012 11:36:52 PM

Ok, I checked the signal after putting it in the basement, and it had a slight decrease in range. I flashed the Tomato firmware and increased the signal a bit and the range got back up to where it was when it was upstairs.

Could I buy some new antennae for it? Do those work, or are they gimmicks? Do you recommend any? Any features to look for?
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