How do I extend my in-house WiFi?

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by NathanP2007, May 15, 2019.

  1. NathanP2007

    NathanP2007 [H]ard|Gawd

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    So in my family living room with our living room PC we have our (comcast) router and WiFI router (ASUS RT-AC66W). But once you get to the backroom, upstairs and outside in the garage, the signal strength is weak at best. I'd really love it if I could buy something that improves the WiFi signal strength on our property.

    If I had to disconnect from the living-room WiFi and connect to the second, I wouldn't hate it but I'd love it if you could walk from one area to the other and it seamlessly pick up whatever the stronger signal is. Just so you know, both the backroom and upstairs have Ethernet ports available to be plugged into.

    So, what (if anything) can I buy to achieve this? And along with buying it, do you have a site that provides a guide on how to set this up? Thank you for any help you can provide!!

    -------------------------------------------

    Current Question:

    Okay so I got this switch: https://smile.amazon.com/TP-Link-TL...L-SG1008D&qid=1558053467&s=electronics&sr=1-1 and I got the Unifi AP AC Lite.​

    My question now is;

    A) I should change my Asus WiFi router into an AP in conjunction with setting up the switch and Unifi AP, right?

    B) Assuming the answer to A is yes, should it be as simple as this: https://www.asus.com/us/support/FAQ/1015009/ to turn my Asus WiFi router into an AP?​
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  2. Cmustang87

    Cmustang87 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Well, first... are there existing Cat5/Cat6 runs to any of the rooms in the house? The preferred option is run cabling and install APs.
     
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  3. Spartacus09

    Spartacus09 Gawd

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    There are quite a few mesh options out there, they do work best if they are all wired, but some do have wireless capability. (Eero and ubiquiti amplifi come to mind)

    Individual additional ap with a separate name will be cheapest though if you can wire it up,

    The mesh systems you’re looking at are several hundred dollars and frankly they only work so-so from my testings with eero. (The lack of a controller to handle roaming hurts the home level mesh capabilities imo)
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  4. NathanP2007

    NathanP2007 [H]ard|Gawd

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    As I said, there's a room upstairs and in the back that are wired with Ethernet. I believe Cat5. And to clarify, I don't NEED to increase the signal strength/distance of the WiFi router I own, but instead I mean I want the WiFi signal on our property overall to be increased. So whether that means adding a Access Point or whatever, that's what I mean. However I know very little about Access Points, hence my posting here.
     
  5. owcraftsman

    owcraftsman Gawd

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    There is no WiFi Mesh network that can compare to setting up a 2nd Access Point assuming you have a decent 2nd router with 802.1ac or better
    If you don't have a Ethernet hardwire run to the optimal location I highly recommend you do so.
    Here is a tutorial that can help you get the job done
    Here is a second toot
    If you don't have a good 2nd router Here is one for 38 bucks worth every penny and likely better than your main.
    PHICOMM K3C AC 1900 MU-MIMO Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router
     
  6. EniGmA1987

    EniGmA1987 Limp Gawd

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    You would never want to use a 2nd router for something like this. A router should only ever be used when you are ROUTING.



    @OP - Get one of these:
    https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Uni...022785&s=gateway&sprefix=AP-AC,aps,182&sr=8-3

    Wire it to the upstairs room in the back and it will cover that whole side of the house. If you still need wired connectivity in that room then also get a cheap netgear 5 port switch for $30
     
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  7. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

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    I think there's a bit of confusion on the part of most people:

    A lot of consumer routers have built-in WiFi APs. So most people, when they think about WiFi, think about their router. In the commercial world, a router is usually separate from the AP.

    You only need one "router". You can have (almost) as many APs on that one router as you want, and on a commercial system, they will all work together just fine - they've been doing that for years. You run each AP on hard line (preferred for best performance) - the connection from the AP back to the router is called the "backhaul" - as all the data that comes through that AP has to go through it to get out to the router.

    Mesh systems are the newest consumer buzzword right now. They really aren't anything more than consumer-friendly APs. A lot of them will use wireless backhauls - which work, and are easy to set up since there's no wire, but are much lower performance.

    If you can do the setup, it's hard to beat Ubiquiti for the price and performance - and they are even less expensive than a lot of the consumer options. They do take a bit of RTFM though. If you don't want to dork with it,

    You can use an AP (or multiple APs) with your existing router, just turn the WiFi off on the router.
     
  8. criccio

    criccio Fully Equipped

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    Said it in countless other threads but I was incredibly impressed with the 2-piece Netgear Orbi system I installed in my parents place. Its a large house with 4 floors to cover and it seems to do so effortlessly and was super simple to install. If I didn't have a small apartment, that's what I'd have as well based purely on experience.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  9. NathanP2007

    NathanP2007 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Interesting! Is this one the same but just more powerful? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015PRCBBI/ref=psdc_1194486_t3_B015PR20GY I notice it is only $15 more.
     
  10. NathanP2007

    NathanP2007 [H]ard|Gawd

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    That thing is cool. There are three downsides that I can see however;

    1) I'd have to replace my ASUS wifi router with it.
    2) It costs significantly more than say the AP recommended earlier (Ubiquiti)
    3) Maybe I'm wrong but from looking at the picture, where are all the Ehernet ports on the back of the router so I can plug in the Ethernet cables that run throughout part of the house?
     
  11. NathanP2007

    NathanP2007 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I was with you up until the last line. So if I was to buy and use an AP (like the Ubiquiti) I would have to turn off my WiFi routers wifi signal? So essentially to get full home coverage I'd need to buy two, one for the front of the house (to replace the wifi routers coverage) and the second for the back of the house, right?
     
  12. Brian_B

    Brian_B 2[H]4U

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    If you keep your Router WiFi on and add a second differently-branded AP, then you will have two different WiFi networks, and will need to disconnect from one and connect to the other when you walk across the home. (This part isn't necessarily true after I think about it some - you can set up most APs as WiFi Extenders, and they will extend your existing WiFi network, but my understanding is that it cuts available bandwidth - just like using an off-the-shelf "WiFi Extender")

    If you get two like APs and turn off your router WiFi, you have one WiFi network across your entire house and your devices will automatically hand off to whichever has the stronger single.
     
  13. criccio

    criccio Fully Equipped

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    1.) I didn't in my parents place. They needed the FiOS router to keep being their router for the FiOS TV stuff to work so I setup the Orbi system in bridge mode. Effectively making them AP's.
    2.) Yup, I didn't pay for it.
    3.) One unit is like any other home grade router with a switch in the back. The remote/satellite unit has 1 port to hook up wired devices in that room. Really convenient, actually.
     
  14. EniGmA1987

    EniGmA1987 Limp Gawd

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    The LR version has better range, but is less powerful right near it. I have two at work, one in each building, and I can usually get good wireless signal (of around 10-15mbps) out at 40-50 linear feet of indoor range (through walls).


    Also if you set this wifi access point to have the same wifi SSID and password as your router then you can go between this wifi and the rroutrer's wifi seamlessly without even knowing you are doing it.
     
  15. owcraftsman

    owcraftsman Gawd

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    Once the router is setup as an AP the WAN port is not used you attach the ethernet wire from base router to one of the LAN ports any remaing LAN ports function just like a switch would for a hardwired device no switch needed for up to 3 devices with a typical router more if your router has more than 4 LAN ports.
     
  16. NathanP2007

    NathanP2007 [H]ard|Gawd

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    That's odd that the Lite has better range than the Long Range version. I'll give the Lite a try. I'll definitely want it to have the same SSID and password, in order to have that seamless hand-off.

    So my WiFi router becomes an AP, and the Unifi AC Lite would be an AP in the back end of the house. My LAN ports on the back of my WiFi router become switch ports. I have two questions:

    1) All four of the LAN ports in the back of my ASUS WiFi router are in use. So how do I make that work, if I have to put the base router ethernet into a LAN port?

    2) Do I lose anything by converting my WiFi router into an AP?
     
  17. owcraftsman

    owcraftsman Gawd

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    1) one LAN port to the AP from your main router is required. If you need an additional port I recommend a unmanaged switch 10/10/1000 like an TP Link TL-SG1005D which will give you 4 additional ports after you connect one from your main router to the switch.
    2) No you loose nothing if anything it's more versatile than a dedicated AP with more ports. Its the versatility that makes it a no brainer. This is why Asus has developed AI Mesh and has a group of Asus Routers that do the very same thing we are discussing but with the ease of flipping a switch in there specialized firmware supported routers through the ASUSWRT or Mobile App.
     
  18. NathanP2007

    NathanP2007 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  19. owcraftsman

    owcraftsman Gawd

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    A) assuming the "Asus WiFi router" is your 2nd router the answer is yes. In order to utilize a 2nd router as an AP, you must first have your main router WAN port connected to your modem with your local network up and running.

    1. You then take a laptop and connect 2nd router WAN port directly to the laptop and log in to the 2nd router using a browser and its Default gateway.
    2. Change the Default gateway of the 2nd router if it is the same as your main router if different no need to change
    3. now turn off the DHCP server, save the new settings, and turn off.
    4. Detach the WAN port from the 2nd router and move it to the location your desire and attach the cable from any of the main router LAN ports to any LAN port on the 2nd router and restart the 2nd router
    5. Once fully booted the 2nd router is functionally an AP at this point and broadcasting Wifi that your devices will need to log into with a password assuming you set that up.

    There is no setup required for an unmanaged switch.
    I cannot comment on the Unifi AP as I have no familiarity, but I would assume an Unifi AP could easily connect to your wifi broadcast if the signal strength is good enough where you are setting it up.
    I prefer the hardwired AP because performance can be spotty when Wifi is the connection to the main router.

    B) If both routers are Asus and support the AI Mesh technology then yes it is as simple as that, and the above steps 1 thru five are moot except you will need a hardwired connection between your main router and the 2nd router. The directions on the page you linked are clear.

    Given the addition of the Unifi AP in your comments, I can't help but think there is a disconnect between what I'm suggesting and how you perceive modifying your local network, so I have tried to clear it up best I could with all the verbiage.
    The idea I'm trying to convey is to expand your Wifi Coverage using the 2nd router as an AP maybe you got that, but the Unifi AP through me off.

    EDIT

    I just searched Unifi AP to enlighten myself, and it appears they have a hardwired connection which produces an 802.1n standard. Although I would prefer 802.1AC the performance should be more than reasonable with a hardwired connection contrary to some of my comments above. However, I stand by my assertion repurposing a Router as an AP, especially an AC router is more versatile and functional than a dedicated AP hardwired or not. The savings alone make it a no brainer.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  20. NathanP2007

    NathanP2007 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Okay, so for clarity, we have a Arris (Comcast) modem in our living room underneath the living room PC. That then connects through Ethernet into the Asus WiFi router which is ontop of the living room PC desk. Now we do have Ethernet from throughout the house plugged into the Asus WiFi router, but it is the only WiFi producer in our entire house. If you consider the Modem to be Router #1, then yes the Asus is Router #2. But if not, than the Asus is our #1 and only router.

    So what I'm trying to accomplish with this Unifi AC Lite AP is to increase the WiFi coverage of our house (specifically the back half which is weak). I want the Asus WiFi router to still pump out wifi everywhere it currently does (whether that means I need to make it an AP or not) and I want the Unifi AP in the back of the house to pump out wifi there. I'd love it if devices could seamlessly hand-off when going to where there is a stronger signal from the other wifi. So from the Asus to the Unifi or vice-versa.

    By the way, it is AC, not just 802.1n. So just to be clear, given everything I just said, is everything you said still accurate? Thanks for this help by the way, I really appreciate it.
     
  21. owcraftsman

    owcraftsman Gawd

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    A modem and a router are two separate things
    You will need a Cat 5 or better Ethernet cable run from your router to the Unifi AP Lite in the desired location. Follow Instruction from Unifi for installation and setup
     
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