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Boosting Wireless Signal

caryn
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Registered: 20-09-2010

Boosting Wireless Signal

My son's Xbox situated upstairs, often loses the signal from our router (Thomson supplied by Plusnet), which is situated downstairs at the opposite end of the house. Whilst this obviously isn't the ideal set up, we're not in a position to move the router or the Xbox.
He's mentioned getting a repeater, but i have no idea what this does or where to get one from. Could someone explain, in simple terms, how this works and whether it would in fact help at all? Or would there be an easier way to boost the signal to the best possible strength given the situational limitations?
Thanks for your help.
14 REPLIES
vultura
Grafter
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Registered: 22-05-2011

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

I am guessing running a cable is out of the question......
If thats the case then I'd suggest a pair of homeplug/powerline devices, which in effect turn your mains into a long ethernet cable - http://www.homeplug.org/tech
Costwise about £40 per pair (you'll need one pair).
Community Veteran
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Registered: 21-03-2011

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

A Linksys WAP 200 would act as a repeater but it is getting a bit long in the tooth.  There are probably more modern devices. All you do is plug it in to electric power roughly have the distance between your existing router and it will act as a relay of the signal. It need a little tinkering with the settings to get it to work.
What is your existing wireless router?
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
caryn
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Registered: 20-09-2010

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

Thanks for the replies guys.
The router is the Thomson TG585 v7 supplied by Plusnet.
I've heard the 'plug in to mains' products are vunerable to security issues. Is this the case or is security in  the router enough to prevent this? As you may have gathered, I'm not exactly well clued up on such issues  Tongue, so your help is much appreciated.
vultura
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Registered: 22-05-2011

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

Quote from: caryn
I've heard the 'plug in to mains' products are vunerable to security issues. Is this the case or is security in  the router enough to prevent this? As you may have gathered, I'm not exactly well clued up on such issues  Tongue, so your help is much appreciated.

There is a risk that the signal they create can go outside your house.  They can be passworded to prevent access to them.
The reason I recommend them is that they will give a connection close to that of running a wire, with consistent performance.  Wireless performance can vary and is not ideal for gaming.
andysen
Grafter
Posts: 30
Registered: 08-09-2010

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

I agree with vultura. Homeplug devices can be secured, and while your mileage may vary depending on the state of your electrical wiring, I've found them to be more reliable than your standard wireless. As an example - using wifi "G" - i get about 12Mbps read speeds off my fileshare. This jumps to 62Mbps when using the "300mbps" homeplugs.
Bear in mind for gaming, the latency and jitter will play an important role as well.
You can try running a jitter test (www.pingtest.net) to see how well your homeplugs have fared (don't forget to re-run the test while being next to the router to get a fair comparison against the baseline of  wifi)
Community Veteran
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Registered: 21-03-2011

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

You could have a look at a WiFi extender such as the NETGEAR WN2000RPT . 
The reason why I asked which router is that some models have removable external antenna, you can then replace the antenna for one with greater gain for approx £15. Sadly the Thomson 858 does not have those type of antenna.
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
jojopillo
Grafter
Posts: 9,786
Registered: 16-06-2010

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

Hi caryn,
if a cable isn't out of the question then consider running an ethernet CAT5 cable which will be effective up to 100 metres and is not a security risk and probably much cheaper.
Jojo Smiley
caryn
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Registered: 20-09-2010

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

Unfortunately a cable isn't possible - damned shame, I understand those lol !
Quote from: vultura

There is a risk that the signal they create can go outside your house.  They can be passworded to prevent access to them.
The reason I recommend them is that they will give a connection close to that of running a wire, with consistent performance.  Wireless performance can vary and is not ideal for gaming.

Plugging  something into the mains sounds an easy enough alternative, but would password protecting them be simple as that sounds? In other words, would those kind of products come with instructions how to do that?
dick:quote
jojopillo
Grafter
Posts: 9,786
Registered: 16-06-2010

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

Hi caryn,
If you google "password protecting homeplugs" you'll see that they all talk about being able to password protect, and by the looks of it relatively simple to apply.
Jojo Smiley
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

I use the 200mbps Devolo homeplugs, and get 137Mbps between opposite sides of the house.  - http://www.devolo.co.uk/consumer/dlan-mains-supply-network-via-powerline.html?l=en
The ones I've got have two methods of setting their interconnect encryption.
1)  You can use the supplied desktop software to set a password of your own choosing.
2)  Alternatively, on the plug there is a small button (see picture), which you hold in for two seconds, then you have two minutes to do the same on all the other plugs in your network.
      During this time all the plugs detect each other and then set a randomly generated encryption key, which from that moment all of them use.
      So your network is secured without having to run ANY configuration software !
caryn
Rising Star
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Registered: 20-09-2010

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

The Devolo plugs look interesting.
Is it possible to buy a longer network cable to go from the first plug to the router? Our router takes power from an extension cable, as the wall socket is slightly too far for the power cable to reach, so I'm guessing the standard network cable supplied by Devolo would also be too short to reach the router. Also, would it be a problem for the Devolo to be plugged directly into a double electrical wall socket, alongside the extension cable that powers the router etc?
As they're intended to be used with an Xbox, how would the configuartion software be used - would I use that through our main pc downstairs or does it need to be done through the wireless device connected itself?
And finally ... is there any benefit from shelling out the extra bucks for the 500Mbps version 
http://www.devolo.co.uk/consumer/82_dlan-500-avplus_starter-kit_package-contents_5.html?l=en
Sorry for all the questions lol, but your replies are very much appreciated  Smiley
AxeMurderer
Grafter
Posts: 164
Registered: 18-05-2011

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

The network cable is just a cat5 ethernet cable. You can buy longer versions of these very easily.
Plugging the Develos directly into wall sockets will be best. There won't be an electrical problem if you plug one into a double socket alongside an extension cable. The only possible issue is whether the Develo leaves enough room for a plug alongside - it probably does.
I think you'll want to do the button-pressing configuration as you are connecting an Xbox. I'd do it that way anyway as it avoids installing yet more software that'll hardly ever need to be used.
I doubt there is any real advantage in going for the faster version for an Xbox.
baldrick
Grafter
Posts: 128
Registered: 07-08-2007

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

I use 200Mbs Devolo Homeplugs and they work very well. In addition to the cable type they also do one with two ethernet ports plus built in wireless. I use this with my laptop. If I plug it in to the mains in whatever room I happen to be using the laptop I always get maximum wireless bandwidth. The're not cheap but they do the business.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Boosting Wireless Signal

[quote=AxeMurderer]whether the Develo leaves enough room for a plug alongside
I have just looked at one of my Devolo AVEasy plugs fitted to a standard MK switched double socket, and the plug is not wide enough to reach the middle of the faceplate (i.e. you could fit a pair of AVEasy plugs side by side without them touching each other).
Alternatively you could choose one of the other Devolo plugs which has a filtered mains socket on the front of the unit.  Therefore if you plugged your router's extension cable into the front, then not only would the router's mains supply become filtered, but you would still have an unused mains socket on your double outlet !.  Smiley