Seamless/Roaming WiFi Extender - Mesh

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Daedroth    464

I have a Sky Q Hub (ER110) wireless router connected into my master (and only) telephone socket. I've noticed that the WiFi signal at the back of the flat/ in the garden is almost non-existent. Due to the location of the telephone socket at the front of the house, the router has to be plugged in there (I cannot run a longer telephone cable). So ideally I'd prefer to have a WiFi extender in the second bedroom, as it is ideally placed to get a good signal from the router and be able to provide signal to the rear of the property and garden. I've come across a TP-Link N300, which seems to be good value. It would allow me to extend the signal with little setup, however I have a question:

 

1) If I set it up using the existing SSID, would a device picking up both signals have two SSIDs appear in it's list? Or would it only apper as one signal?

 

Ideally, I'd only like one SSID to be broadcast, but that appears to require a mesh configuration. My router can do mesh, but if the TP-Link N300 doesn't do it, what's the cheapest and best way to get a mesh WiFi extender?

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adrynalyne    8,701
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Daedroth said:

I have a Sky Q Hub (ER110) wireless router connected into my master (and only) telephone socket. I've noticed that the WiFi signal at the back of the flat/ in the garden is almost non-existent. Due to the location of the telephone socket at the front of the house, the router has to be plugged in there (I cannot run a longer telephone cable). So ideally I'd prefer to have a WiFi extender in the second bedroom, as it is ideally placed to get a good signal from the router and be able to provide signal to the rear of the property and garden. I've come across a TP-Link N300, which seems to be good value. It would allow me to extend the signal with little setup, however I have a question:

 

1) If I set it up using the existing SSID, would a device picking up both signals have two SSIDs appear in it's list? Or would it only apper as one signal?

 

Ideally, I'd only like one SSID to be broadcast, but that appears to require a mesh configuration. My router can do mesh, but if the TP-Link N300 doesn't do it, what's the cheapest and best way to get a mesh WiFi extender?

You can have two APs /wireless routers share the same SSID and it will appear as one :) Just make sure they don’t share the same channels. That and turn off the router functions by placing the second one in bridge mode. Ideally you would set this up with an Ethernet backhaul because otherwise you end up suffering the performance pitfalls of a repeater. 

 

There are quite a few mesh solutions out there but they aren’t inexpensive. 

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Daedroth    464
5 hours ago, adrynalyne said:

You can have two APs /wireless routers share the same SSID and it will appear as one :) Just make sure they don’t share the same channels. That and turn off the router functions by placing the second one in bridge mode. Ideally you would set this up with an Ethernet backhaul because otherwise you end up suffering the performance pitfalls of a repeater. 

 

There are quite a few mesh solutions out there but they aren’t inexpensive. 

Cheers. If I did that sort of thing, would it result in two SSIDs with the same name appearing in the network list? Is using another AP like what the TP-Link extender does?

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adrynalyne    8,701
Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Daedroth said:

Cheers. If I did that sort of thing, would it result in two SSIDs with the same name appearing in the network list? Is using another AP like what the TP-Link extender does?

Extenders are basically repeaters, so they take a wifi signal and extend it, but at the cost of a ~50% performance hit. If you setup two Wifi routers with the same SSID (one in bridge mode) with an Ethernet backhaul, you extend your wifi but keep your performance up. It will only show one SSID. We should probably have the resident network guru @BudMan chime in as well. 

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Daedroth    464
1 minute ago, adrynalyne said:

Extenders are basically repeaters, so they take a wifi signal and extend it, but at the cost of a ~50% performance hit. If you setup two Wifi routers with the same SSID (one in bridge mode) with an Ethernet backhaul, you extend your wifi but keep your performance up. It will only show one SSID. We should probably have the resident network guru @BudMan chime in as well. 

Hmm, OK. Unfortunately I don't have a spare router lying around, and I don't plan on spending more than £20.

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adrynalyne    8,701
6 minutes ago, Daedroth said:

Hmm, OK. Unfortunately I don't have a spare router lying around, and I don't plan on spending more than £20.

Hmm, does your current Sky router support bridge mode? If so, eBay has some in that price range. 

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Joe User    406
Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Daedroth said:

I have a Sky Q Hub (ER110) wireless router connected into my master (and only) telephone socket. I've noticed that the WiFi signal at the back of the flat/ in the garden is almost non-existent. Due to the location of the telephone socket at the front of the house, the router has to be plugged in there (I cannot run a longer telephone cable). So ideally I'd prefer to have a WiFi extender in the second bedroom, as it is ideally placed to get a good signal from the router and be able to provide signal to the rear of the property and garden. I've come across a TP-Link N300, which seems to be good value. It would allow me to extend the signal with little setup, however I have a question:

 

1) If I set it up using the existing SSID, would a device picking up both signals have two SSIDs appear in it's list? Or would it only apper as one signal?

 

Ideally, I'd only like one SSID to be broadcast, but that appears to require a mesh configuration. My router can do mesh, but if the TP-Link N300 doesn't do it, what's the cheapest and best way to get a mesh WiFi extender?

That should work, and most of them will allow you to use the same SSID for the repeater, so only one will appear.  You're not going to get great speed from it, but if having no connection is worse then it's worth the small cost.

 

On a side note,  have you tried moving the router to a higher location? I moved mine to the top of a bookshelf and got much better range/performance.

 

 

 

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Cnónna    660

I have use a BT Broadband Extender 500 runing through the house wiring, it's got 2 ethernet ports and wifi as well to extend my internet from the router to the back of the house about 20m away.

 

set the same SSID and password and my devices just skip between it with no issue.

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Daedroth    464
4 minutes ago, adrynalyne said:

Hmm, does your current Sky router support bridge mode? If so, eBay has some in that price range. 

Doesn't look like it from browsing through the settings.

4 minutes ago, Joe User said:

That should work, and most of them will allow you to use the same SSID for the repeater, so only one will appear.  You're not going to get great speed from it, but if having no connection is worse then it's worth the small cost.

That's what I was hoping. Though I suppose having a second 'EXT' SSID or something similar wouldn't be too bad. At least there'd be signal.

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adrynalyne    8,701
Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, Daedroth said:

Doesn't look like it from browsing through the settings.

That's what I was hoping. Though I suppose having a second 'EXT' SSID or something similar wouldn't be too bad. At least there'd be signal.

Even if you end up going with the extender, I’d set them to the same SSID. It should show just one. 

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Daedroth    464
9 minutes ago, adrynalyne said:

Even if you end up going with the extender, I’d set them to the same SSID. It should show just one. 

Would this TP-Link N300 WA860RE be any better or worse than the TP-Link N300 WA850RE that  linked earlier? With the exception of the pass-through power of course. I notice the 860 has two little antennas compared to the none that the 850 has. Would that make a difference?

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adrynalyne    8,701
44 minutes ago, Daedroth said:

Would this TP-Link N300 WA860RE be any better or worse than the TP-Link N300 WA850RE that  linked earlier? With the exception of the pass-through power of course. I notice the 860 has two little antennas compared to the none that the 850 has. Would that make a difference?

The 860 has AC passthrough, so it will probably be a bit better on speed. 

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Joe User    406
1 hour ago, adrynalyne said:

The 860 has AC passthrough, so it will probably be a bit better on speed. 

Alternating current passthrough not 802.11ac. There's no difference in speed. 

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Joe User    406
2 hours ago, Daedroth said:

Would this TP-Link N300 WA860RE be any better or worse than the TP-Link N300 WA850RE that  linked earlier? With the exception of the pass-through power of course. I notice the 860 has two little antennas compared to the none that the 850 has. Would that make a difference?

Personally, I like the external antennas and passthrough, but I doubt they make a huge difference. 

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adrynalyne    8,701
1 hour ago, Joe User said:

Alternating current passthrough not 802.11ac. There's no difference in speed. 

Ah yep, misread it. 

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Daedroth    464
9 hours ago, Joe User said:

Personally, I like the external antennas and passthrough, but I doubt they make a huge difference. 

Cheers. I've also come across the TP-Link RE200 AC750, at the same(ish) price point as the other two. From what I can tell, the RE200 is dual band and the other two are not. I'm confused as to which one to buy. I will only need to browse the web, stream songs via Spotify and stream online video like Netflix in HD. (Possibly both Spotify and Netflix at the same time). The extender would be plugged into the wall outlet which is about 2m from the outside wall. Where I'd sit in the garden is approximately another 3m from that. So I'd be some 5m away from the extender with an external wall between me and it.

 

Based on that info, which would be best for me to buy?

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Tuskd    1,871
Posted (edited)

I have gifted someone the 850RE. Didn't spend time configuring it. Just used an _ext SSID. It is good. Got good signal strength even with 2/3 walls (old building, thick concrete walls) in between. However speed dropped 25% sitting next to the extender and degraded to 50% after the walls. It was satisfactory for them, so left it at that. Don't have any more info about that.

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+BudMan    3,106

So your wifi sucks in part of your house but your only willing to spend 20 to fix it?  WTF???  I just do not get this mentality at all..

 

As stated you can grab any wifi router connect it to your network with a wire and extend your coverage with the same SSID..

 

That is the cheapest way to do it, if you can not run a wire then sure some powerline adapters could be use to get you a wire.  Those are going to set you back more than 20 bucks, quid, pounds, smackers, etc..

 

A wifi extender/repeater would be horrible way to do it since as stated its /2 hit to the performance.  Mesh networking is different than repeating since they use different radio for the backhaul.. Lets take your typical wifi router that does 2.4 and 5ghz bands.  If they used the 2.4 to connect to the network, and the 5 ghz for clients then there would be no /2 hit to their performance.

 

Doing it correctly with AP that support Fast Roaming, 802.11r or Fast BSS Transition (FT) would be the proper way to set it all up.. But your not going to get that for 20 ;)  Running some say unifi AP would allow you to do fast roaming if you wanted.  This is a way to switch AP without having to reauth. Which is what can cause a bit of a blip in the connection when just changing AP running the same SSID.  But means nothing to someone with wanting to do it for free.

 

Good luck with what you work out - but the 20 bucks thing is wrong way to think about it that is for sure if you want good wifi..   You spend more than that going out with the boys for a beer, after work but that is the most you will spend to fix your wifi for years?  Makes no sense..

 

 

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Riva    834

Have you surveyed your area to see what channels are the busiest and configure your router accordingly? Grab an app on your mobile and test it first, especially in the trouble-areas.

I wouldnt expect much from such a tiny router without external antenas so you might as well buy a third party AC router and solve your woes. Having two routers that dont have features to support identical SSIDs with another (e.g. drop the connection if its weak to force the client to connect to the other AP) then you wont solve anything.

 

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lightbrightpdx    0
20 hours ago, Daedroth said:

I have a Sky Q Hub (ER110) wireless router connected into my master (and only) telephone socket. I've noticed that the WiFi signal at the back of the flat/ in the garden is almost non-existent. Due to the location of the telephone socket at the front of the house, the router has to be plugged in there (I cannot run a longer telephone cable). So ideally I'd prefer to have a WiFi extender in the second bedroom, as it is ideally placed to get a good signal from the router and be able to provide signal to the rear of the property and garden. I've come across a TP-Link N300, which seems to be good value. It would allow me to extend the signal with little setup, however I have a question:

 

1) If I set it up using the existing SSID, would a device picking up both signals have two SSIDs appear in it's list? Or would it only apper as one signal?

 

Ideally, I'd only like one SSID to be broadcast, but that appears to require a mesh configuration. My router can do mesh, but if the TP-Link N300 doesn't do it, what's the cheapest and best way to get a mesh WiFi extender?

Found this posted on another site which you may find useful. 

 

The power line Ethernet adapters are something I personally have not ever used (but another way to do what you want)

 

Here is the tip I saw posted elsewhere:
 

I am assuming you want to use the sky router connected directly to phone line and then bridge your other router to use as your main wi-fi connection so you are only using your sky router as a connection to the internet and not for wi-fi in the house
Well then this is possible
When setting up I directly connect the laptop\desktop via Lan cable to each router independently, it’s the easiest way to do this as there might be some conflict in IP's if they are both connected at the same time

Just make sure that that both routers are setup using the same IP range and they are on the same subnet mask
I have router A (the one connected to the phone line) as 192.168.0.1 and the second router (router B) set as 192.168.0.2
Turn off DHCP on router B
On router A disable Wi-fi and set the DHCP start range to 192.168.0.3

Connect them together physically with a Lan cable or if you are going to have them is separate rooms then use powerline adapters and lan cables to connect them


This should work no problem

 

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+BudMan    3,106
2 hours ago, Riva said:

Having two routers that dont have features to support identical SSIDs with another

A client that sees a stronger signal from different AP on a SSID it can connect to will auto switch to this stronger AP..  You can normally adjust this in the driver for the wifi card on a PC/Laptop - a device like phone/tablet prob not allow you to adjust such a setting.  But any device that does wifi should be smart enough to connect to a stronger AP broadcasting the same SSID.

 

While its true some devices do this better than others, and now and then you might run into a device that gets "stuck" on a specific AP even when the signal strength goes very low compared to a stronger one on the same SSID.. If you have such a device a toggle of the wifi on/off should connect you to the stronger signal as you move say to other part of the house.

 

Having the wifi controller force which AP a client connects too has its own draw backs, even when you have solution that supports it.  Unifi for example allows you to set min rssi for clients, and the AP can kick a client that rssi is too low.  Doesn't mean the client will not just try and reconnect to the same AP again and again, etc. 

 

But such discussion is pretty pointless on a user that is only willing to spend 20 bucks to fix his problem ;)

 

It amounts to going to the doc and say it hurts when I do this.. And the doc telling you ok don't do that ;)  The solution to the users problem here is don't use wifi in the part of your house where the signal is bad.. That is free solution to his problem heheheeheheh

 

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Joe User    406

You have a few choices. You can do it cheap and have it be slower. You can spend some more money and cobble together a workable mid range solution. You can spend lots more money and have super fast WiFi around the whole house.

 

You need to determine what you want and what you need. It sounds like you want to do this cheaply and hope for the best and there's nothing wrong with that.

 

I'm assuming you have DSL and that your WiFi is much faster than your DSL. I also assume that you're using both 5 and 2.4 bands on your current router.  Based on that, you could possibly get away with using the RE200 AC750. 

 

Here's the thing,  It's Amazon, you can always return it if it doesn't work.

 

You're not streaming 4k video, you're not running mission critical applications and you're not running BitTorrent on the WiFi. I would try the cheap solution first.  If it works, then great! If it doesn't, return it and tell everyone here. 

 

Also, I would walk around the house with your cell or tablet and see where the signal starts to degrade, when you're somewhere just above the middle, that's where you should start testing the repeater. It might take a few tries to get the best range.

 

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Daedroth    464

Thanks for the replies. As @Joe Usersuggested, buying it from Amazon and returning if it doesn't work sounds like my best bet.

 

8 hours ago, BudMan said:

Good luck with what you work out - but the 20 bucks thing is wrong way to think about it that is for sure if you want good wifi..   You spend more than that going out with the boys for a beer, after work but that is the most you will spend to fix your wifi for years?  Makes no sense..

I know you know your stuff networking wise, as I've many of your posts over the years, but do you have to be so abrasive when replying to someone who doesn't have the same thoughts as you? Just so you know, I have more important concerns financially, than spending considerably more on a wireless infrastructure that would be lost on a small flat home environment, which is why I'm looking to spend as little as possible on this. I want to be clear, the mesh/roaming aspect isn't that important to me, certainly not as important as you think it is to me. Maybe I misrepresented that in my original post, but I was trying to clarify if a device such as the one I linked would solve my dead zone issue for a 5-6  metre location from the extender with an external wall inbetween. If it covered the dead zone but would not come under one SSID, then that's fine with me, I just wanted the clarification.

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+BudMan    3,106

Stating you want to do it on limited budget is fine.  Stating a $ amount that amounts to stopping after work and having a couple of beers is not worth anyones time to even write up suggestions..

 

"looking to spend as little as possible on this."

 

You would always want dual band... Your link was to AC unit - that is cheaper than the N300 unit... Get the AC unit.

 

 

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