How to set up Wireless Networking Repeaters

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Photograph of wireless networking device

I just wanted to relate this snippet of information. Often you get wireless networking gear and they are notoriously difficult to set up, the instructions often translated from chinese. Its only in recent years that I learnt of a good way to setup repeaters, which I have not seen in the instruction manuals.

Imagine you have a wireless network with a wireless access point at home. The signal strength is low in parts of the house, so what can you do about it?

  1. You could run a cable
    You could use a mains networking device such as examples listed at http://www.ebuyer.com/store/Networking/cat/Network-Devices?q=mains+networking
  2. You could use a wireless repeater such as these http://www.ebuyer.com/search?q=wireless+repeater. To work this has to be in reasonable range of the wireless access point so it can re-transmit the wireless signal.

So whats the snippet of information I hear you ask? I always wondered how best to set the wireless networking repeaters up. The problem being if you use a different SID, the signal has to disappear altogether before your device even thinks about connecting to the repeater. Response times have long since gone really slow so you have to keep changing the Wifi source as you walk around the house with your iPad.

The best way to my knowledge is to Use the same SID in all devices but use different channels. So if the wireless access point uses SID A, channel 1, you could set up the repeater to receive from SID A channel 1 but transmit on SID A, channel 10. The same concept works if you have two access points in your house connected by a cable or mains networking – use the same SID but different channels.

This is helpful when you are walking around the house with your iPad because the iPad will go to the strongest signal, and will switch channels a lot quicker than switching SID’s. In fact, as related the original network usually has to be totally unavailable to get most devices to switch SID’s and even then it can take a few seconds.

Might be obvious to some, but it wasn’t to me until a couple of years back. Hope this helps somebody.

About Phil

I have been working as a software developer since 1983. This blog could have been called "From Fortran 77, C and Cobol to C# in 20 (not so) easy years", but it doesn't sound quite right somehow. Besides I'm talking about what's happened since 2003, not before!

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