Author Topic: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?  (Read 1793 times)

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« on: April 11, 2020, 07:44:46 pm »



I’m looking for a solution that can extend my home WiFi without using the ring main - there aren’t enough spare sockets near the master phone socket. But I’m not sure what I should be looking for.


I used to have a box from Sky that did this: it connected to the router via WiFi near the edge of the range and extended the network. As opposed to the ring main devices I also had it kept the same network so wireless printers were visible anywhere in the house. The ring main devices each created their own distinct network with unique ids.


So what am I looking for and can anyone recommend something?

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2020, 07:55:09 pm »
I bought some Netgear thing the other week to improve the signal in the garage and motorhome (I was going to WFH in there but HR...)
It basically connects to the main WiFI network and then creates it's own network with the same name and _EXT (can override that if you want).

Think it was this one:
https://www.ebuyer.com/671887-netgear-ex2700-wireless-n300-network-range-extender-ex2700-100uks

There's a couple of others with more features.

If you're short on sockets then there's also
https://www.ebuyer.com/775027-netgear-ac1200-wallplug-passthrough-extender-ex6130-100uks


Don't know how windows networking works on it as I haven't yet used a laptop that wasn't a work one on it.
and I never bothered to look at what subnet was in use on them.

Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2020, 08:07:10 pm »
WiFi Extenders are covered here https://www.tomsguide.com/uk/us/best-wifi-extenders,review-2225.html

But, is that really what you want? Your description of your mains extenders is likely inaccurate (ethernet connectivity is Layer 2, making separate networks only happens at Layer 3) and, while each mains device is likely paired to another(s) using a non-networking protocol, the networks can likely be configured to join at ethernet and IP level, but I'd be guessing how that might help.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2020, 08:20:38 pm »
I'd not rule out mains extenders in this scenario.
Your objections are not consistent with my experience.

Insufficient mains points near the router? Most mains extender sets will have at least one with a 'pass-thru' socket, so it essentially does not use up a socket that is needed for something else.
The 'separate network' thing is not right; it's straightforward for everything to be on the same network.
The powerline adaptors are basically a virtual ethernet cable.

Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2020, 08:43:31 pm »
Yep, TP Link adaptors work for me, including pass-through types.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
  • It's only impossible if you stop to think about it
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2020, 08:48:06 pm »
My experience with mains extenders may be out of date but what I experienced:


  • They used up a socket, but I can see from Google that may no longer be an issue.
  • They created their own network so if my network was called HOME they would create a new network called HOME_EXT which, whilst I could rename, will be different from HOME meaning that the printer connected to HOME is not available from HOME_EXT. That is what I’m trying to avoid.
  • They don’t always work well if “upstairs” and “downstairs” are on different ring mains

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2020, 09:15:15 pm »
They created their own network so if my network was called HOME they would create a new network called HOME_EXT which, whilst I could rename, will be different from HOME

...unless you rename it to "HOME" and use the same encryption settings.  It ought to just work.

Then you're into the murky world of WiFi roaming (or lack thereof): Ultimately, it comes down to the client to decide to roam, and - in the absence of some of the tricks employed by high-end access points - they're often disinclined to.  Which is why people seem to like using different-named networks, so they can control the process manually.


Quote
meaning that the printer connected to HOME is not available from HOME_EXT. That is what I’m trying to avoid.

Shouldn't do, if they're on the same L2 network and there isn't any "client isolation" or firewalling shenanigans going on at the router.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2020, 09:35:22 pm »
Or look for a "Whole home wifi system". It should make it all work as a single network, so devices can switch between points.

Most of these systems can work with wifi connections between the points. Or there is an option to use ethernet, may be faster/more reliable.

Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2020, 07:28:00 am »
I agree - I found that the extenders increased coverage but reduced speed. I got a mesh system. Coverage is great and speed is the the same as being by the router.

Google make a fancy one
https://store.google.com/gb/product/nest_wifi

Amazon make a fancy one
https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/new-amazon-eero-mesh-wi-fi-system-is-here-to-tackle-google-wifi

I got a poundshop TP-LINK (deco M5) one. There's a well rated Netgear one too. 3 units would really cover a family house.

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2020, 08:27:16 am »
I got a Tenda mesh system which is probably the bargain basement option in the world of mesh.
It does what I bought it for, which is to cover the bits of the house and garage that the Plusnet router was struggling with. But, when my Google Home Minis connect to the Tenda devices I get frequent drop outs despite the claimed (app reported) speeds of the mesh.
The mesh network and the router have the same security set up.
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2020, 08:28:40 am »


I got a Tenda mesh system which is probably the bargain basement option in the world of mesh.
It does what I bought it for, which is to cover the bits of the house and garage that the Plusnet router was struggling with for laptops and security. But, when my Google Home Minis connect to the Tenda devices I get frequent drop outs despite the claimed (app reported) speeds of the mesh.The Minis are now blacklisted on the Tenda app.
The mesh network and the router have the same security set up.

Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

robgul

  • Cycle:End-to-End webmaster
  • . . cyclist, Cytech accredited
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Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2020, 08:28:01 am »
Interesting that this topic has come up just as I received the Netgear EX3700 from Mr Amazon . . . . and a BT Broadband Extender Flex 600 kit from the same source.

The BT kit should enable our PCs upstairs to connect to the BT hub downstairs via the electrical ring main (all sockets in the house are on the same circuit) . . I'm assuming that the "slave hub" we have by the PCs will enable 4 connections (two PCs and two printers)

Not now sure that I need the Netgear extender as we initially thought that we'd have to run the PCs on wifi and wanted to beef it up - it can go back to Amazon if necessary.  Wifi around the house for tablets and phones seems to be OK.

At the moment our (business) broadband isn't connected - long story to do with moving house (just 1.4km), taking original number with us and BT/Openreach not doing any internal connections to fit a new master socket for the high speed fibre deal that we have - so we are using the BT "always there" 4G dongle over the cellphone network.  Have to say I'm impressed with it - speed is good and TV stuff is coming down the line without a hitch.

Rob

Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2020, 01:03:39 pm »
We shall be buying one of these when they become available again. 

Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2020, 03:37:47 pm »
There is a reason why we don't tend to use these technologies in a corporate setting, which is they are largely pants, the whole mesh network thing is a realm of conflicting standards and half hearted implementations which work ok in a lab but fail to live up to real world conditions.

I went with the quite cheap mini access points from mikrotik (less than 30 quid each) and a single non wifi router, the router manages all the access points and you can roam happily between them, the downside is you need to run some cable about the place, however as the AP's are power over ethernet they at least don't need sockets.

Frankly anything doing power over the mains should be fired into the sun, they produce so much rf pollution they screw over some of the amateur radio bands chronically, producing so much noise they technically should be banned, I know a couple of neighbours have got them because I have to listen through the noise of them on 40m.
Somewhat of a professional tea drinker.


MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2020, 06:19:20 pm »


.
, they produce so much rf pollution they screw over some of the amateur radio bands chronically, producing so much noise they technically should be banned, I know a couple of neighbours have got them because I have to listen through the noise of them on 40m.
40m has always seemed to be where most of this interface is present. I rarely listen these days, but thankfully here it's not too bad.
I'm waiting for a few more sunspots and 10m (& maybe 12) to open up again - that seems to be relatively free of buzzes and whistling things.
Or my half-size G5RV is deaf!
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2020, 06:20:43 pm »
Frankly anything doing power over the mains should be fired into the sun

A bit extreme, no? :)

Agreed that the correct solution is wires, with however many managed APs you need to ensure coverage.  (We're fortunate in that we can cover the whole house with a single strategically-positioned Unifi UAP-AC-Pro.)  But the premise of this thread is presumably that that isn't an option.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2020, 06:29:40 pm »
I use powerline adapters to get internet to my shed. The garage, however, is on a different ring main and powerline doesn't work. So I have a BT Whole-Home disc system connected to the powerline adapter in the shed, and that beams internet to another tranceiver disc in the garage (about 20m away), The BT Home Hub 6, Devolo Powerline and Whole Home wifi, all use the same SSID and password so that users can seamlessly pass from one network to another. It all works very well.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2020, 06:48:33 pm »
I went with the quite cheap mini access points from mikrotik (less than 30 quid each) and a single non wifi router, the router manages all the access points and you can roam happily between them, the downside is you need to run some cable about the place, however as the AP's are power over ethernet they at least don't need sockets.
Mikrotik stuff looks interesting, not seen that before.
Could be a lot cheaper than Ubiquiti Unifi. Though more complicated to set it up?

Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2020, 06:52:55 pm »
I use powerline adapters to get internet to my shed. The garage, however, is on a different ring main and powerline doesn't work. So I have a BT Whole-Home disc system connected to the powerline adapter in the shed, and that beams internet to another tranceiver disc in the garage (about 20m away), The BT Home Hub 6, Devolo Powerline and Whole Home wifi, all use the same SSID and password so that users can seamlessly pass from one network to another. It all works very well.

Samsung phones seem to have issues with this kind of thing. They like to hang on to the first AP they connect to even if its signal gets weak when you move and your stood right next to a different AP. Turning WiFi on and off forces them to reconnect to the nearest AP.
A proper controller based WiFi system would force them  to re-associate when they moved.
Mind you my home network is a lash up of powerline stuff even though I have installed networks of hundreds of proper controller based APs. It works well enough that I cant be bothered with the expense of a proper setup. When they finally all die and need replacing I might get round to it now prices have dropped. Still cant afford the several thousand pounds for a Cisco based system like I have installed for customers though. Enterprise WiFi is amazingly flexible and easy to control compared to home grade stuff, even automagically sets the transmit power levels and channels so the APs don't interfere with each other.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

TimC

  • Old blerk sometimes onabike.
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2020, 10:00:01 pm »
Yes, I guess it would be reasonable to call mine a lash-up! But it works amazingly well, and none of my non-Apple mates have reported any problems using it. The advantage of having the disc in the garage is it's the nearest bit of my property to the pub next door, so I can get my own wifi at the bar at around 30mbps (it's 200+ in the house). As the pub's is crap, I have Grate Fun being able to LMGTFY or stream stuffs quickly while they struggle in the mire of 56kbs 'broadband'!

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2020, 09:23:39 am »
Samsung phones seem to have issues with this kind of thing. They like to hang on to the first AP they connect to even if its signal gets weak when you move and your stood right next to a different AP. Turning WiFi on and off forces them to reconnect to the nearest AP.

iPhones would move to a newer, more powerful device with a dash of random. It would have been good enough, but more than often they'd shout out for the password (even though both devices had the same password and SSID). I used different SSIDs now, fortunately, the BT home hub is so useless that nothing willingly connects to it unless I clamber into the space under the stairs. As that's where the cats' litter tray is, it's not something I'm keen to do either.
!nataS pihsroW

robgul

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Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2020, 09:48:53 am »
Interesting that this topic has come up just as I received the Netgear EX3700 from Mr Amazon . . . . and a BT Broadband Extender Flex 600 kit from the same source.

The BT kit should enable our PCs upstairs to connect to the BT hub downstairs via the electrical ring main (all sockets in the house are on the same circuit) . . I'm assuming that the "slave hub" we have by the PCs will enable 4 connections (two PCs and two printers)

Not now sure that I need the Netgear extender as we initially thought that we'd have to run the PCs on wifi and wanted to beef it up - it can go back to Amazon if necessary.  Wifi around the house for tablets and phones seems to be OK.

At the moment our (business) broadband isn't connected - long story to do with moving house (just 1.4km), taking original number with us and BT/Openreach not doing any internal connections to fit a new master socket for the high speed fibre deal that we have - so we are using the BT "always there" 4G dongle over the cellphone network.  Have to say I'm impressed with it - speed is good and TV stuff is coming down the line without a hitch.

Rob

UPDATE - none of it works  >:(  so it's going back to Amazon.   In fairness it may be because, as I mentioned, the BB isn't working down the phone line - that's unlikely to be fixed before the end date for return of the items to Amazon.  Once we have real BB I'll revisit the issue, in the meantime we can live with it using the cellular network dongle.

Rob

Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2020, 09:59:23 am »
I went with the quite cheap mini access points from mikrotik (less than 30 quid each) and a single non wifi router, the router manages all the access points and you can roam happily between them, the downside is you need to run some cable about the place, however as the AP's are power over ethernet they at least don't need sockets.
Mikrotik stuff looks interesting, not seen that before.
Could be a lot cheaper than Ubiquiti Unifi. Though more complicated to set it up?

It's substantially cheaper then Ubiquiti, I think our entire house lan infrastructure cost less than a pair of unifi AP's. (Currently 4 AP's, 1 Router, 2 Managed switches).

The router interface isn't actually that bad, it's just not as flashy as Ubiquiti and expects you to understand at least a bit of what you are doing.
Somewhat of a professional tea drinker.


Porkins

  • Formerly Nick H. And a long time ago etc, Eurostar
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2020, 12:28:29 pm »
Another approach is to plug a boosted wifi dongle into your PC. It has more cons than pros in a domestic setting. But theoretically it might be the cheapest, fastest solution.

Eta: and you can connect the dongle with a 10 metre active USB lead, so you can avoid having an aerial sticking out of your laptop and you can move the dongle around to avoid interference from your wiring, walls and floors.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: WiFi “Extender” what exactly do I need?
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2020, 04:30:01 pm »
Been thinking of getting something like this to extend wifi to the part of the house where other wifis cannot reach. I see some are described as single and some as dual band. Is there any way I can know which band I need if I don't currently have physical access to the router?
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