Wifi Range Extenders

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by Let'sgoflying!, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Do they work or is it bogus?
    Or, maybe some work - which?
     
  2. Tantalum

    Tantalum Line Up and Wait

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    I have this one and it works decently well.. I would say I'm decently happy with it. The setup can be kind of wonky but once it is up and running it is good. I have it plugged in at the opposite end of the house so we can use WiFi and stream music in the backyard

    Pros
    -cheap
    -once installed there is nothing to do with it, just leave it plugged in
    -speed is *okay* - I can stream Pandora just fine and other music sites.. YouTube works well, browsing works well.. some high def streaming like HBOGO will occasionally stop to buffer
    -the range isn't great, but it is at least as good, if not slightly better, than the one ATT gave us

    Cons
    -it has it's own SSID, which can be annoying because you have to toggle on your phone or computer or tablet or whatever between WiFi sources and pick the strongest signal. I can't figure out why our Android and iPhone products don't just pick the best signal
    -occasionally it just stops working... maybe once or twice a month or so I have to unplug it for a few minutes and plug it back in
    -it will sometimes flag an error on the computer "connected to WiFi but no internet" but that's a lie, at least in our case the internet works. Might just be a weird firewall thing with the office computer
    -you lose an outlet, and the way the plug is designed can make the other outlet tricky to plug stuff into

    My brother in law has one of these for his house, they have a huge yard and a big house, and this works great for them, streaming music even way at the other end of the pool. But it was overkill for my needs
     
    Let'sgoflying! likes this.
  3. Stewartb

    Stewartb En-Route

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    I have a NetGear Nighthawk AC1900 like is linked above. I needed it to make a wireless printer work in the location I wanted it. No joy without the extender, works perfectly with, so yes, I'd testify that mine works.
     
  4. Badger

    Badger Pattern Altitude

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    more info.
    How far? Is this to a specific point (like a hangar or shop) or general range extending in all directions (like via mesh network)?
     
  5. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    we changed ours out for a few APs.....and they all have the same SSID, so it's seamless.
     
  6. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I used a few range extenders of different models. They all have issues.
    I've also had a few of the multipoint wifi routers. I can tell you some stories:

    The EERO is a complete unmitigated disaster and a waste of money. The things can't operate on themselves. You can't configure them without going to their server. They came non-functional, but the tech support was good and got the firmware updated over my existing internet so I could get them to work. They phone home every 45 seconds and your entire network BRICKS a minute after your internet line goes down. No local traffic, no response from the routers, nothing. Deader than a doornail.

    I got the Netgear ORBI. These are a star network rather than a mesh and this is what I'm currently living with. The nice thing is they give you more ports on each unit. In addition, the base station has better range on its own than the EERO did so you get more coverage from the central unit. The remote units setup fairly easily. You can use their cloud based setup or you can configure it just like any other netgear router by connecting to it via a web browser.

    What I'm going with in the long run is with multiple Ubiquiti access points spread around the house and hangar.
     
  7. sferguson524

    sferguson524 Cleared for Takeoff

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    One thing I will caution about using range extenders, is you're already cutting your speed in half since it has to basically relay the info from the repeater back to the AP. If you have existing Coax in place, MOCA bridges from your ethernet network will work.. I am using several of them in my hosue to put ethernet drops in places that there is a coax connection.
     
  8. sferguson524

    sferguson524 Cleared for Takeoff

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    This is the best solution here. I have several Meraki APs throughout the house, and with 802.11r, i just roam between them like a cellular network.
     
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  9. rtk11

    rtk11 Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Not much to add to the above other than you will "half-plex" speeds as you extend through each device.

    I gave up on the early range extenders as they were flakes. Probably a lot better now. But I went Apple and used the AirPort Extreme Base Stations as a repeater to extend my network, and they have been excellent for the last 8 years I've used it.
     
  10. FORANE

    FORANE Cleared for Takeoff

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    we have several ubiquiti long range Ap's.
    They require a little bit of setup that one might expect of enterprise level equipment over the plug and play consumer grade products. once setup they have worked extremely well. highly recommended.
     
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  11. CT4ME

    CT4ME Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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  12. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Thats what I went with. An AP Pro on each floor and it works seamlessly. Simple to set up with their software. Haven't touched them since.
     
  13. Dana

    Dana Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Another plug for Ubiquiti stuff, it works great, though it's commercial grade stuff and so not cheap or user friendly to set up. I manage a camp wifi system over a large area with a Ubiquiti base station and two repeaters. I've also had good results on a smaller scale with a D-Link consumer grade router configured as a repeater. Where repeaters work well is when your device (especially phones and other handheld devices) can see a signal from the access point, but isn't strong enough to push its own signal back to the AP and complete the connection without the help of the repeater.

    For a repeater to work, you have to have at least some signal at the point where you place the repeater, then it will support devices farther away. They also tend to work much better if the repeater is the same brand as the base access point; many have proprietary protocols that won't work with mismatched units.
     
  14. CT4ME

    CT4ME Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Google Wifi 3-pack (good for approx 4,500 sq feet) is down to $269. Single units are down to $99...Add 'em as you need 'em.
     
  15. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    They don't sell the cheap and good ones anymore but the Apple routers all had their own proprietary way to extend wifi networks. One as main access point the rest a single checkbox to "extend a wireless network".

    Works great and brain dead easy.

    Problem is, Apple killed the useful little wifi devices like the Airport Express units that had audio outputs on the back (Airplay tunes to any stereo in the house), and Ethernet jacks that could be plugged into as bridged extensions of the main network, etc...

    They were truly plug-and-play for what most folks wanted a home wifi system to do and more.

    But, it's the new post-Jobs Apple and they don't do "useful" anymore.

    So if you buy used, the Apple stuff is great. New, ignore them.

    For new, I'm in the Ubiquiti crowd.

    We've done office buildings and outdoor shots with their gear and they're great.

    Nothing is perfect. Their major firmware upgrade last year started a three month back and forth with them about why a random AP would reboot mid-day and they never seemed to figure it out before we got annoyed with their patched versions that didn't work, and just downgraded the things to a previously solid and stable version. Like, rock solid.

    We almost completely ignore them and they handle 85 people between three APs in a difficult warehouse and neighborhood RF environment. Multiple VLANs, Gigabit to each. Happily push their full data rate over wireless all day long if needed. Both bands.

    Most houses truly do NOT need the Long-Range versions of the Ubiquiti products. Generally the user devices can't transmit back at anything near the power level the LR's can dish out, so they're not as "LR" as they might seem. The regular ones have such hot receivers that they hear other APs miles away from our buildings anyway. They'll hear stuff in a typical sized house until metal or lots of material get in the way of 5.8 GHz and 2.4 will usually still do the job.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017 at 8:02 PM
  16. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I think you meant the user device can't transmit back the LR power level.

    Yep, but I can't hit all my house with one unit and the cell-phone coverage is so crappy here I'd like to have wifi out in the yard too.
    It's probably 200' from one end of the house to the other on three (and a half) levels.
     
  17. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Correct. Edited.
     
  18. Justin M

    Justin M Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I was going to use unifi Ubiquiti, but independent testing showed the antennas were the worst of the batch tested. I'm going to try out some Ruckus Wireless APs.