Sunday, 16 October 2011

Expanding my wi-fi hotspot at home

I installed a wi-fi router at my house for me to be able to use my DSL Broadband connection using my wireless devices (a laptop and a mobile phone) and to avoid the hassles of running LAN cables around the house.

I have two units of adjacent apartment spaces with two levels each. Using only one wi-fi router won’t be enough to fill at least most of the desired living spaces – our living room, bedrooms, study, and my workshop (where I usually do my repair works).

This kind of problem has once troubled me when a customer had a similar problem regarding the distribution of Internet connection throughout her three-storey house. She has bought a wireless router (which I configured) yet its signal does not even reach her room at the upper floors.

A network professional would have surely know by now the answer to this but of course for tech enthusiasts like me, finding solutions and working on it would be more satisfying.

So, for those who have the same problem as mine, here are some possible solutions:
  • Use another wireless router to act as a repeater. You can make use of it to REPEAT the signal from the main router. You need to configure it to work properly. The number of routers may depend on how wide you want your signal to cover your house.
  • Make use of access points (AP). These are wireless devices that helps expands your computer network by providing “access” to your wireless device to access your home network. They can either be connected to a wired network or through the wireless interface whichever is more convenient according to your needs.
So the concept here is to have your Internet gateway (modem) be distributed to your computers using a "splitter" (router or switch/hub) and expand its signal through "wireless splitters" (access points and repeaters).

As for my current situation, here is what I did:

I replaced my aDSL modem with one of those wireless aDSL modem-router (Prolink-H6330G) which I have bought through an online trading channel here in my country. The reason for this is to lessen the power consumption of having two devices managing my network which one device can do on its own. I’m sure my ISP won’t be considerate in providing me with that one.

Then, I bought another wireless router that can serve as a "repeater". I have purchased one from EDIMAX (BR-622N). What’s important to do here is to make sure it is properly configured for it to receive incoming connections from the main router (aDSL modem-router) and repeat the signal to connecting devices.

Lastly, I bought an access point that can serve as a wireless dongle for my old desktop PC located at my workshop. Alternatively, it can serve the same purpose for other computers or devices I may need to plug-in it when I bring home computers for repair. I got one from CDR-King (the cheapest that I can find).

Important notes in configuring routers to serve as repeaters:
  • Check for settings that may identify them as repeaters or access points.
  • You have to know the broadcast ID (BSSID/ SSID) of the wi-fi router which connects to the modem that will distribute your Internet connection. The repeaters will use that SSID to connect and distribute your Internet connection. 
  • If you are implementing wireless security, use the same passwords (wireless key) between your main router and the repeaters.
  • It is best to set your routers with “static IP addresses” so you can easily reach their URLs for possible configurations and maintenance whenever needed.

Now, I have the freedom to move around the house whenever I want to especially when I look over my kiddos while mommy is away.

So understand, that if you want to broaden your wi-fi router’s signal the way I do, you need to install a device that will repeat or re-broadcast the same signal to another location of your choice. You only need to place them strategically to fill the right places according to your needs.

Aside from repeaters, I heard that you can also make use of wi-fi boosters for this matter though I am currently short in cash to avail and install one. I’ll just give it a try when I got one and share my experience about it next time.


Thanks for sharing your nice experience over here. A wireless repeater is a great way of expanding your WI-FI coverage. The main benefit of wireless repeater is it can greatly eliminate annoying wires running from one room to another.

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