Relocating a LAN's wireless access point

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Mainer

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Imagine two buildings, one behind the other. The DSL connection and the wireless router that provides the network's WAP are in building 2 in an office on the far side away from building 1. The wireless signal therefore has to pass completely through building 2 and across the intervening space to get to building 1, at which point it barely registers and is not reliable.

To fix that, I want to try moving the WAP from the office to the side of building 2 that is closer to building 1 and seeing if that's enough to boost the signal strength in building 1 sufficiently.

Is it possible to put two WAPs on the same LAN in a non-complicated way and without losing line speed?

If that can't be done, do you see any problem with turning off the WAP in the wireless router in the office, running a cable to the other side of the building, and connecting another wireless router with its WAP enabled?

Is there any functional difference between a dedicated WAP-only box and the WAP built into a wireless router? Dedicated WAPs seem to cost as much or more than wireless routers that have greater functionality, which has me puzzled.

The problem seems tailor-made for a wireless repeater, but my understanding is that they are half-duplex and I don't want to take the performance hit.
 

kjk

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>Is it possible to put two WAPs on the same LAN in a non-complicated way and without losing line speed?

I'm not sure what you mean by "without losing line speed", but otherwise the answer to your question is yes.

>If that can't be done, do you see any problem with turning off the WAP in the wireless router in the office, running a cable to the other side of the building, >and connecting another wireless router with its WAP enabled?

You could also do that

>Is there any functional difference between a dedicated WAP-only box and the WAP built into a wireless router? Dedicated WAPs seem to cost as much or >more than wireless routers that have greater functionality, which has me puzzled.

Dedicated WAPs tend to be higher power. There are some nice 1 watt waps available now, and one of those, centrally located, with a decent external antenna - might be the best solution to your problem.
 

milotrain

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Adding another broadcaster is as simple as buying another WAP and setting it's settings to the same as your current WAP, then connecting it to any of your hardwired intranet lines. Another effective method for connecting two points without wires (especially if you are only trying to get one machine in building 1 to see the wifi connection) is to use a directional antenna on the machine in building 1 aimed at a directional antenna attached to the WAP in building 2.

90* antennas are very nice because they have good gain, and decent spread without broadcasting your wifi network to all the neighbors.

http://www.radiolabs.com/products/antennas/2.4gig/2.4-indoor-wall-mount.php

Also on the receiving end in building 1, you could keep antenna lines short (which is good because the longer the line the less effective the antenna is) by using a USB wifi NIC on a USB extension. The NIC and computer don't care that the USB cable is 10' long but would care if you had a 10' long antenna line. You can then mount the USB NIC in a spot within the cone of the 90* antenna.



WiFiExtension.jpg
 

Mainer

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I like that move-the-NIC idea. Certainly worth considering.

After much searching I found detailed instructions on how to set up multiple WAPs on a LAN using the 3rd-party DD-WRT firmware, but the same result ought to be achievable with most any firmware (see http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Wireless_Access_Point ). According to that document it's not quite as simple as just connecting another WAP (it does need be configured properly), but it certainly sounds pretty easy.


 

Foozer

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Mainer said:
I like that move-the-NIC idea. Certainly worth considering.

After much searching I found detailed instructions on how to set up multiple WAPs on a LAN using the 3rd-party DD-WRT firmware, but the same result ought to be achievable with most any firmware (see http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Wireless_Access_Point ). According to that document it's not quite as simple as just connecting another WAP (it does need be configured properly), but it certainly sounds pretty easy.
Have set up a lyksys router as a repeater, works well. Like most fancy modern computer gizmo's it occasionally needs the old "Unplug Hard Boot" just DO NOT hit the reset button for she will set it all back to default. It was a follow the instructions, avoid the temptation to crank the power output up.

Robert
 

milotrain

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They also make USB Cat5 Extenders (make sure to get a USB 2.0 one) that can go up to 150 feet. You could use this to move a NIC to any side of any of the buildings.

Don't forget that all new OSs can "share" their internet connection so if you have an old computer lying about you can connect it to a live connection and then stick a wireless NIC in it and broadcast that connection. Might be cheaper than buying another WAP as long as you have a machine waiting for something to do.
 

shred

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I have a wireless bridge to the shop. Originally it was an old AP with the DD-WRT firmware on it, but that got to be a pain with multiple IP subnets (I could never get it all to work on the same net), so I switched to a dedicated D-link unit that works ok. It doesn't have the subnet issues and is pretty much plug-n-play.

Another thing you could try is powerline network bridges, though I found them to have limited range as well.
 

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