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Wifi extender/booster - what is the difference?

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Wifi extender/booster - what is the difference?

Old 22nd Oct 2014, 18:36
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Wifi extender/booster - what is the difference?

Wifi in our house is fine apart one distant corner of the top floor where son #2 sleeps. So we need to somehow get the wifi to him but we cannot relocate the router.

Some research suggests that there is a difference between these two products (booster and extender). I cannot fathom which piece of kit I need and then which is the best example to buy. Help please!
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Old 22nd Oct 2014, 19:12
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Although maligned by some, a friend has used ethernet over plugs and has never had a problem and even says it's faster than the wifi. Just a thought that might save hassle.


SHJ
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Old 23rd Oct 2014, 06:44
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Espada III,

PPRuNe search function not working for ya ?

To summarise a previous post on the matter :

(a) There is no such thing as a WiFi booster/extender
(b) Don't you dare use those silly power plug ethernet thingies (sorry SHJ)
(c) Do things properly, introduce another suitable WiFi hotspot and run a CAT5 or CAT6 ethernet cable back to the router


Further expansion on point (a) :

If you're getting a rubbish signal in the vicinity of your target destination then a so-called booster/extender will do less than bugger all to help you, because all it will do is create an artificially high local signal whilst silently relaying back over the shitty one. Thus such devices only really "exist" to part a fool from his money ... they serve no useful purpose whatsoever.
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Old 23rd Oct 2014, 07:59
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Beware of self proclaimed experts who say plug in mains type wifi extenders don't work. I've been using one made by Devolo in this house for about five years without any problems. I'm using one now, it's presently giving 20Mbps download and 7.26Mbps upload (just checked with Ookla Speedtest), which is certainly more than enough for my needs.
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Old 23rd Oct 2014, 08:20
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I got one of those mains plug in things for a house we had on short term rental as I couldn't be bothered with setting up a new router and wiring.

It worked fine despite the prophecies of doom and hellfire.
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Old 23rd Oct 2014, 08:32
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Plug in extenders work very well, but may have to be located on the same wiring circuit in the home. WiFi extenders/boosters also do the job just fine although (as mentioned) they need to be located where the router wifi signal is strong enough to be of use i.e. not at the extreme edge of the router WiFi signal. I don't know the difference between an extended and a booster, and frankly, don't care.

I'm sure that the suggestion about running an ethernet cable is well intentioned, and in terms of network speed, is certainly accurate, however it rather misses the point. People generally don't want to install cables or mess with configuring a roaming vs extended network and that is why the other solutions are successful. You could spend a very long time wondering about the best way, or you could just pop down to Dixons or wherever and buy a cheap solution and apply it quickly and intelligently.

Good Luck
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Old 23rd Oct 2014, 09:29
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You say you cannot relocate the router. But standing it horizontal of vertical, and vice versa, can make a big difference. As can moving it only half a meter in any direction.

Adding a second unit is (obviously) around the same cost as replacing the original unit with something more modern: I just swapped out a perfectly functional 54 Mbps thing that covered an apartment nicely, with something cheaper that seems to be supplying half the community with channel-bundled 866 Mbps.

Also, the easiest fix is one actually the hardest to do without the right gear or farting around: find a less noisy channel, if your router doesn't do that automatically from time to time. Nirsoft may do the job for you, though. Xirrus too.
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Old 23rd Oct 2014, 09:53
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People generally don't want to install cables or mess with configuring a roaming vs extended network and that is why the other solutions are successful. You could spend a very long time wondering about the best way, or you could just pop down to Dixons or wherever and buy a cheap solution and apply it quickly and intelligently.
Spot on.

Sometimes changing the wifi channel makes no difference - because it's not always a noise issue; the intervening walls can cause loss of coverage. That's the problem in this house.
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Old 23rd Oct 2014, 16:23
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I've used the electric plug gadgets happily for years now. They are fine. No complaining radio hams around here.
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Old 23rd Oct 2014, 17:49
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Thanks all.

Having now checked the relevant bedroom myself I get a decent signal on my two wifi enabled devices so have smacked son around the head (metaphorically) and told him to set his phone up right.

However the information provided was very useful for another location, so thanks.
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Old 23rd Oct 2014, 20:09
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Don't know what it's like in the UK but CAT5 or CAT6 ethernet cables are so cheap here (20 metres for 15 at the nearest Auchan supermarket) and so easy to lay that I can't see any point in a wireless extender or whatever they are called. Also - as has been said here - give a constant unvarying connection and are interference-immune in a modern RF-smog-filled home.
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Old 23rd Oct 2014, 20:35
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Don't know what it's like in the UK but CAT5 or CAT6 ethernet cables are so cheap here
I think you're pretty much guaranteed cheap anywhere in the western world.

are interference-immune in a modern RF-smog-filled home.
Technically you need the shielded CAT5/CAT6 cables (FTP / STP / SFTP) to be fully immune .... but unless your RF smog is really bad, normal unshielded CAT5/CAT6 should be perfectly good as the wire twists inside the cable serve some of the purpose of interference immunity....
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Old 24th Oct 2014, 20:32
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I have tried wds extenders in the past without much joy. What worked was a cheap wireless client box coupled to a netgear cable wireless router. The router sorted it all out for me, probably just as well, and created its own subnet. If you can get second hand stuff off eBay it isn't expensive.
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Old 24th Oct 2014, 23:29
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Don't know what it's like in the UK but CAT5 or CAT6 ethernet cables are so cheap here (20 metres for 15 at the nearest Auchan supermarket) and so easy to lay
Agree. Install a wall socket, then into the wall, up the cavity, through the upstairs floor, further up to the top ceiling, then down the wall to another wall socket. Easy.

There's a few on drugs here, methinks...
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 22:08
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You might try an Apple Airport Extreme for this (no, dear reader, you are not dreaming and/or having a stroke, I really am recommending something of the sacred fruit). They are quite good at extending wifi networks.
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 22:53
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Agree. Install a wall socket, then into the wall, up the cavity, through the upstairs floor, further up to the top ceiling, then down the wall to another wall socket. Easy.
Depends on the layout of your house.
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 23:33
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Depends on the layout of your house.
Sorry Shytorque, I was being sarcastic. Of course that is a ridiculous and sometimes impossible option in some cases. But never ever use powerline or extenders coz they're useless!!
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 23:50
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But never ever use powerline or extenders coz they're useless!!
Got you now..... I wondered who was supposed to be on drugs! Some aren't and perhaps should be..

P.s. Mine's giving 28.91 Mbps down and 9.45 Mbps up.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 15:07
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I agree with using power line devices as an easy fix, as long as they are on the same phase and don't have to cross any in-line power conditioning devices they should be fine.

The signal propagated from access points is best suited for receivers parallel to the antenna, so, by placing an access point on each floor level connected by power line devices you will be able to provide a good signal across all areas.

As for wireless extender/boosters, don't bother. unless you spend a large sum on a multi radio device (NOT the same as multi antenna) the extender will cut the transmission rate by 50% immediately as it plays the listen then talk game.
That 50% applies to the poorest signal between any two points in the chain.
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Old 3rd May 2015, 11:14
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But never ever use powerline or extenders coz they're useless!!
Well well well. Just installed a TP Link $39AUD extender to stretch the Wifi across the house and it works like a charm. The speed was reduced, but was not really noticeable. And that was on a old Netgear router and this cheap-charlie extender.
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