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Internet, Networking, and Wireless Discussion of networking, internet, and wireless including Apple's Airport products.

Need help. Trying to setup wireless in a my new home (4 stories)


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ssavanna

 
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Okay, so I just moved into a new town house in Chicago. Its four stories and wireless is obviously very spotty. I hooked up my regular router in the middle of the home and as expected the bottom floor and top floors don't really have any connection.


I am not very knowledgable when it comes to this stuff, so please give as basic, yet detailed advice as possible.

I was thinking of buying the Apple Airport Extreme for sure. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but would I need to buy the Airport Express for some of the other floors I want wireless in?

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks again!
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What is your budget on all of this? And you wouldn't happen to have ethernet cables run to each floor would you? If so that would make it so much easier in the long run, just get some PoE access points in there and and a switch and then whatever router you choose from there connected up to your internet connection and the internal side.
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ssavanna

 
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I don't want to spend more than $500.

I don't have ethernet ports throughout the whole house either. I have regular coax cable outlets but thats all.

I already purchased the Apple Airport Extreme, havent set it up yet though.

Would my original plan of using the Airport extreme and buying 2-3 Apple Airport Expresses work?


Any input is appreciated!
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More than one wireless router probably isn't necessary. Try moving the router to the top most level, as central as possible.

What is the total square footage of the home? Are the floors concrete, or is it typical wood frame construction?

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pendlewitch

 
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I'd definitely put ethernet in even it's just for a back stop regarding diagnostics and software downloads if you have a wireless outage for whatever reason. It is cheap and easy to install.

They are just radial circuits (one leg per location in the simplest format), so if you have 4 ethernet ports on your router then that's it sorted when you bring all the cables back to that point.

I understand that there are no limits on the number of AEs that you can use on the network but you are limited as to the number of users connected to each one.

cwa107 is right with the location of the router and I would be more inclined to check out your environmental circumstances and use something like iStumbler .

Case in point, the last few days I noticed a serious deterioration in wireless speed and connectivity to the point iStumbler wasn't finding the 2.4Ghz band (I have dual band) and other local networks that it usually sees. Cue lots of frustratingly slow surfing and router resets.
Like a dimwit I had placed some containers of screws and metal fixings adjacent to the router whilst I refurb my bathroom close by.

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Pendlewitch's advice on iStumbler is a great idea. It'll give you an overall picture of the challenges to the signal throughout the property.

For me I'd suggest putting the Extreme on floor 2 which should reach 1 and 3 then using an extender on floor 3 (Airport express ideally but others will work) to reach floor 4.
Or put it on 3 and an extender on 2 to reach 1.

An alternative is to use ethernet over power adapters with a wireless access point on the unreachable floors.

For the extenders/access points airport Expresses are great but pricey. The TP-Link Nano router is effective, cheap and worth a look as an alternative - TL-WR702N - Welcome to TP-LINK

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Sounds like a plan mplow

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Quote:
An alternative is to use ethernet over power adapters with a wireless access point on the unreachable floors.
This is what many multiple level condo owners are doing in large cities where these types of dwellings are more popular. Professional installation can be expensive though especially when you add in the cost of high quality noise free adapters.
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ssavanna

 
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Awesome. Thanks guys.

Again, my technical knowledge is a bit lacking so I only moderately understand some of the ideas regarding ethernet.

Explain (in very simplistic terms if possible) how that works. I only have setup a basic cable modem from Comcast, plug in my router and go. What would the install and setup be like for the ethernet system you mentioned?

It still seems like at this point going the Apple Extreme and Airport Express route may be the easiest.

By the way the house is wood floors, but is a concrete townhouse. Its 4 floors.

Also, I downloaded iStumbler. My router is currently on floor 2. My signal on floor 1 is 40% with 23% noise. Not sure if that helps.
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pendlewitch

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssavanna View Post
Awesome. Thanks guys.

Again, my technical knowledge is a bit lacking so I only moderately understand some of the ideas regarding ethernet.

Explain (in very simplistic terms if possible) how that works. I only have setup a basic cable modem from Comcast, plug in my router and go. What would the install and setup be like for the ethernet system you mentioned?

It still seems like at this point going the Apple Extreme and Airport Express route may be the easiest.

By the way the house is wood floors, but is a concrete townhouse. Its 4 floors.

Also, I downloaded iStumbler. My router is currently on floor 2. My signal on floor 1 is 40% with 23% noise. Not sure if that helps.

Hi ssavanna,

In iStumbler there is an excellent feature called Inspector. If you have a laptop (easier as it's more portable) go iStumbler/Edit/Inspector and note the S&N values that it gives you for each location that you visit. Start at the base station and work out from there.

Normally S &N are measured in dB from a (highest or loudest in theory) reference value of 0 but iStumbler gives the figure as a percentage. I think the principles are the same so in your case the signal strength is not bad but the Noise level is relatively high so overall you will have a rather poor signal on that floor (potentially).

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