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  1. #1
    WiFi Antenna Extension Cable- Do They Cause Problems or Can They Help?
    PGB1's Avatar
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    WiFi Antenna Extension Cable- Do They Cause Problems or Can They Help?
    Hello All!
    I've been learning quite a bit about routers and modems lately, thanks to the people here at Mac-Forums. Today's pesky question concerns moving the WiFi antennas away from the router. I have read many articles- Some saying the cables are detrimental to the connection and some say they aren't. The best place to learn a knowledgeable answer is here!

    Our house has always had problems getting WiFi in all the places we want it. (Using various rental modems from the cable company with internal antennas). We have metal lath in the walls, up to 2-1/2" thick floors, steel hydronic piping, steel duct work, metal conduit, steel return air pans and radiant barrier in much of the house. (It's aluminum sheeting which does an amazing job of lowering our heating & cooling bills, plus preventing ice dams. It also prevents space aliens from reading our brain waves. But it is equally efficient at blocking radio signals- even digital television, FM and cell phone.

    The best compromise that we have found is to put the router in the basement, of all unlikely places. There, we get good signals in the devices in the basement (MacBook Pro & a cell phone), fair signal in one end of the first floor and weak or no signal in the second floor.

    However, experimenting by moving the router around in the basement revealed that there are 3 "sweet spots". One gives great signal on the west part of the second & first floors. Another spot yields good results on the east half of both. The basement desk wishes for a third location.

    I purchased a router (not yet installed) with removable antennas. It is TP-Link archer C7 AC1750 with 3 antennas.
    It seems like the simplest solution is to place it where the basement devices are happy with the signal and move the other two antennas to the good spots for upstairs locations.

    The router's antennas use RP-SMA connectors. (I remember assembling & running these in factories as an industrial electrician, but never asked what they were used for. If I remember correctly, the cable is 50 Ohm.) The distance for each will be about 10 cable-feet from the router.

    We can't use ethernet on some of the devices (no ports on iPad, TCL television, treadmill, phones). I can, and occasionally do, use ethernet on the basement computer.

    Antenna extension cables seem simpler and less expensive than using RG-6 with matching transformers (like those Coaxifi sells) or a mesh system or even range extenders.

    From your experiences, does moving the antennas help? Is it detrimental to the signal or speed?

    Thanks For Sharing Your Experiences!
    Paul

  2. #2
    WiFi Antenna Extension Cable- Do They Cause Problems or Can They Help?
    pm-r's Avatar
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    From your experiences, does moving the antennas help? Is it detrimental to the signal or speed?

    Most antennas are designed to radiate the signal at a certain distance and also usually in a preferred direction, often at 90 to their position. So you usually would locate and aim them to suite the situation.

    Check for specs and support at the manufacturer's webpage.





    - Patrick
    ======

  3. #3
    WiFi Antenna Extension Cable- Do They Cause Problems or Can They Help?
    PGB1's Avatar
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    Thanks Patrick. I appreciate your taking time to reply with the suggestion.
    The first thing I'll do when I get the router up and running is try the positions. TP-Link is contradictory in various documents. One will say point them straight up and others will mention verious positions.

    What I was wondering, since we have so many things blocking any kind of radio wave, was if the rp-smc "extension cords" for antennas are OK to use or if they will degrade the speed.

  4. #4
    WiFi Antenna Extension Cable- Do They Cause Problems or Can They Help?
    pm-r's Avatar
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    What I was wondering, since we have so many things blocking any kind of radio wave, was if the rp-smc "extension cords" for antennas are OK to use or if they will degrade the speed.
    So many variables to consider, but I think you might mean "rp-sma" cables.

    As to losses, try googling:
    do rp-sma cables affect speed
    https://www.google.com/search?q=do+r...hrome&ie=UTF-8

    And some questions already answered:
    How much Wi-Fi signal strength is actually lost per foot of antenna cable length?
    https://www.howtogeek.com/257784/how...-cable-length/

    Google can be your helpful friend.


    EDIT:
    I just came across this:
    http://en.data-alliance.net/clf-100-clf-200-comparison/

    Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 1.48.26 PM.png




    Or this??? As I say, google can be your friend. Or maybe use some other method or router, and maybe skip the COAX confusion.
    http://www.on4sh.be/ham/coax/






    - Patrick
    ======
    Last edited by pm-r; 02-22-2019 at 05:55 PM.

  5. #5
    WiFi Antenna Extension Cable- Do They Cause Problems or Can They Help?
    PGB1's Avatar
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    Thanks Patrick!
    I must be the world's worst Google searcher. I spent a couple of hours searching for data before I posted my original question and never saw the sites you linked.
    Yup- I did mean "rp-sma", just typed wrong. And, maybe my lousy typing is why I can't find stuff on Google.

    The articles you linked are quite interesting.
    As an industrial electrician by trade, voltage drop per foot is a significant consideration when planning an installation. I work with 120 to 13,200 volts, and at least some voltage drop is certain, no matter the amperage. I'd imagine at the very low voltages of a WiFi signal, voltage (thus signal) drop is much more of a concern, although here we discuss in terms of impedance and dB.
    Amperage enters into the equation, but that would make this thread stray way off course. Visualization: Voltage = Pressure to Push Electrons With & Amperage = Amount of Electrons to be Pushed

    When the ordered modem arrives in the mail and I get set up and running; it is expected that I'll have to do the same thing I did each time the cable company switched gateways, experiment with different locations for the router until the best compromise is reached.

    Thanks to the articles you linked, I won't rush off to buy extension cables- saving that for a last resort.

    Thanks Again for the education!
    Paul

  6. #6
    WiFi Antenna Extension Cable- Do They Cause Problems or Can They Help?
    pm-r's Avatar
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    When the ordered modem arrives in the mail and I get set up and running; it is expected that I'll have to do the same thing I did each time the cable company switched gateways, experiment with different locations for the router until the best compromise is reached.

    Thanks to the articles you linked, I won't rush off to buy extension cables- saving that for a last resort.


    You might want to spend some time checking out the specs for the new Modem if it isn't too late, and also maybe check with your ISP in case they have any suggestions for the best equipment choice for your situation. Experience can be very helpful — IF they happen to have some to share!!!

    Good luck with your shut up.





    - Patrick
    ======

  7. #7
    WiFi Antenna Extension Cable- Do They Cause Problems or Can They Help?
    PGB1's Avatar
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    Thanks Again For Good Advice Patrick!

    I checked the ISP's list of approved modems for the current 'speed' tier (30 Mbps) that we have and the highest we would ever expect to have. After reviewing features and narrowing down the list, internet user reviews were helpful to find which ones gave people with our IPS problems and which ones worked well.

    As far as number of channels, 8 x 4 is approved by the IPS for their 100 Mbps tier, which we will need if they get rid of the 30 Mbps tier. I ended up choosing a 16 x 4 in case we end up with 250 Gbps (only if the ISP gets rid of the 30 and the 100).

    For channel bonding question, to find out if the ISP actually takes advantage of the channel bonding above 8 x 4, I never got a viable answer from the ISP technical support.

    Finally, price entered into the equation. An Arris Factory Rebuilt SB6183 was 39.99, so that's the one I ordered. Hopefully it works out well with the ISP.

    Thank You Again for helping out. When I get the new treasures & they are set up, I'll post what I find out about WiFi coverage with the new router. Should be a good learning experience.

    Enjoy This Day!
    Paul

  8. #8
    WiFi Antenna Extension Cable- Do They Cause Problems or Can They Help?
    pm-r's Avatar
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    I checked the ISP's list of approved modems for the current 'speed' tier (30 Mbps) that we have and the highest we would ever expect to have.

    I'd be very surprised if an ISP in the Detroit area only offers 30 Mbps, but money is usually involved to go faster.

    Regardless, maybe do some checking into your actual needs as most ISP just love to flog "upgrading" to higher speeds, at a greater cost of course, when such bandwidths are often not even needed.

    IE, you'll find some hits to check at sites like this as an example: what bandwidth does a small family really need
    https://www.google.com/search?q=what...hrome&ie=UTF-8





    - Patrick
    ======

  9. #9
    WiFi Antenna Extension Cable- Do They Cause Problems or Can They Help?
    PGB1's Avatar
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    I write so crummy sometimes! The ISP does offer more than the 30 Mbps. That 30 is the tier we subscribe to.

    If you are a new subscriber, they offer 100 Mbps and 250 Mbps tiers for less than we pay for 30 Mbps. But, since we are existing subscribers, we would pay much more for either of those than we pay for 30 Mbps. So much for brand loyalty. The also offer 1 Gbps.

    Thanks for the link to the Google search. Before selecting a modem & router to replace the rental unit, I went to some of those sites. I was amazed at how little bandwidth we actually need when checking some sites, like Nerd Wallet.

    With our current 30 Mbps, I can be on line doing research or something similar (I very rarely watch a You Tube) and my wife can be upstairs playing Mah-Jong on line while streaming a television show on Roku. She says there is no buffering on the streaming. So, I think we had a sufficient plan for our current needs.

    When our ISP ditches the 30 Mbps, we will have to go to 100 Mbps. I also suppose at some point we will add more connected items and may need a different plan.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Not TO Digress, But I Can't Help it- It's fun to digress sometimes!
    If we were young enough to figure them out, we would surely need a bigger bandwidth plan for these interesting internet-connected items:

    This morning, I heard someone talking about a lightbulb that is connected and will automatically order a replacement for itself when it nears end-of-life. I don't know about everyone else, but there is no way I'm giving a lightbulb my credit card number!

    I saw a WiFi connected fork that play white noise on your wifi speakers if your house is too noisy at dinner time. How about turning down the TV volume (or the kids' volumes)?
    And there is one that wifi tells you if you are eating too fast. Great! Now I need a fork in each hand.

    GE has a WiFi item called Quirky Egg Minder that tracks how many eggs are in your refrigerator and how old they are. Me? i've got a pencil and a paper called a"Shopping List".

    There's a gizmo that uses WiFi commands from your computer or phone to give your dog a treat. Huh? I like to hang out with my buddy and give him treats in person. Way more fun for us both!
    Besides, it would take him about an hour to figure out how to break into it and be in cookieland.

    Do we really need a toothbrush that wifi tells your computer how long you've brushed and one that can upload a video of the entire messy event?
    Since we're in the bathroom already, we should check our mirror above the sink which tells us the weather via internet. (How do we see through the glass fog?)

    I saw a water bottle that will use WiFi to tell me when I'm thirsty. I think I pretty much have the whole "I'm Thirsty" thing figured out on my own.

    My favorite on the "Do I need This" list so far is the the toaster that uses the internet to send you a text when your toast pops up. Me? I just hang out in the kitchen for those agonizingly long 143 seconds.

    However, one thing i heard about, and may only be an urban legend, is a wastebasket that is also a vacuum cleaner robot. That could be really interesting- for me and my dog buddy.

    But, this list is coming from a guy who has a treadmill that automagically uploads his workout data. My wife has a pencil and paper. Way easier!

    I do imagine lots and lots of these things are quite useful, indeed. And they would ALL be fun to play with!

  10. #10
    WiFi Antenna Extension Cable- Do They Cause Problems or Can They Help?
    PGB1's Avatar
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    Delay Of Game!

    The ISP could not provision the modem. It belongs to someone else.

    The "Refurbished" Arris SB6183 modem I bought on Amazon, sold by an "authorized Arris re-seller" & shipped by Amazon, turned out to be a second hand refurbished modem, registered to a previous buyer of this unit.

    Since the seller turned out not to be an authorized re-seller for Arris, Arris would (could?) not do anything. The ARRIS guy tried to make it so I could use it, and took my request to a "Level Two" person to try to get a new serial number issued, but no luck.

    So, back to Square One. Oh well, such is life!

    I'll update results when I get a new modem and all is eventually up and running.

  11. #11
    WiFi Antenna Extension Cable- Do They Cause Problems or Can They Help?
    PGB1's Avatar
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    Thanks Again Everyone for helping me learn about this topic.
    Finally I have a working router, so it and the modem are installed.

    Much experimentation showed the best coverage was, believe it or not, with the router in the basement near a 6" x 6" wood beam. The best antenna positions were with one perpendiculat to the floor, one parallel to the floor and one at a 45 degree angle from plumb.

    Doing speed tests on each room shows we can get the full 30 Mbps download & 5 Mbps upload during the day. A WiFi analyzer app on the phone shows relatively poor signals of around (-) 70 db, in al areas, but since the download & upload speeds are OK, maybe the poor reading is caused by the phone.

    Thank You Again all for helping me out and for the good information! I sure appreciate it.
    Paul

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