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Wifi Repeater setup & operation?

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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August 16, 2012 11:37:19 AM

Hi

I have a wireless access point/modem at one end of my property (which I cannot relocate). To improve wireless connectivity on the other end of the property I am thinking of placing a wifi repeater (probably a cheap one like http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/ite... ) mid-point in the property. However I don't quite understand how these things work. I assume repeaters, extenders, boosters are all the same thing?

Does the repeater actually create a new seperate wifi network, so I will effectively have two wifi networks/SSIDs? or will my wireless devices still see only one wifi network? If it creates two wifi networks what happens when I move through the property with say a laptop, will the laptop need to disconnect from one and reconnect to the other hence interrupting the connection? (which is not ideal).

Also does the repeater take up an IP from my main wireless access point/modem? My setup uses a block of static IPs and hence I would prefer not to waste an IP on the repeater if possible.

Homeplugs is something else I'm looking into but that seems to be a more expensive option. With Homeplugs I would disable the wireless on the main access point/modem. Then use the Homeplug to put a wireless access point in the centre of my property hence giving fuller coverage.

I've also tried higher DBi antennas (& directional ones) but they have not been effective.

Thanks.
August 16, 2012 12:12:41 PM

Its mostly that people do not understand the difference and confuse the names, they technically are different.

A repeater does create a second wireless "network" and it is preferred it be on a different radio channel. Generally you place them on the same network "subnet" and let your primary router be the gateway and DHCP server. You can if you wish on some models run multiple ip subnets but it get complex. You generally need a IP on your internal network but it is only to administer the repeater.

The SSID is a matter of choice and it causes issues no matter what you do.

Option 1 is to use the same SSID and let the PC choose the strongest signal to decide if it attached to repeater or the main router. The key here is the strongest signal may not always be the most optimal performance wise.
Option 2 is use different SSID and you pick and manually control which it is using.

A repeater will cause a small delay so it is preferred if you can to have your machines directly talk to the main router.

Moving between your 2 wireless network transparently is most likely something you cannot afford in a home network. This is equivalent to roaming between cell towers and not dropping your call. You have 2 problems. One is the how and when you change the radio channels in the PC. The second, which is the harder, is the encryption keys. You need to find a way to have both the router and the repeater be able to authenticate you and securely transfer key information between them. If you have lots of money you can buy systems that can do roaming.
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