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Anybody know anything about home networking?

Old 09-11-16, 04:04 PM
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Anybody know anything about home networking?

I am way behind the curve when it comes to networking/wifi knowledge. Due to wiring limitations of my house (the first guy we had to set up our cable said we couldn't do anything because of the outdated coaxial cable - house is only 25 years old, so I was surprised that we were using a standard that no longer works - in our walls that needed to be completely pulled - later guys used amplifiers to get things working),
I have my modem/wifi router in the room at the northwest corner of my house on the first floor (direction not important, just to illustrate).

Wifi signal doesn't reach the southeast corner of the house (especially on the second floor and the basement (in both places, I'd love to have signal, in part so I could move my computer/rollers/bike downstairs for zwifting to make the house quieter and the ride cooler).

We bought our house with a fully finished basement, and I don't want to have to cut holes in the ceiling/walls. Is there a way I can boost the signal of my router or add some sort of relay that could pick up and rebroadcast the signal or something so I can use wifi on the other side of the house without running ethernet cable to the other side of the house?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 09-11-16, 04:10 PM
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Yeah, there are 'repeaters' but I can't dredge up the brand I've installed right off. Let me google a bit...
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Old 09-11-16, 04:17 PM
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Can't find the device I'm thinking about.

Here's some ideas:8 Devices That Can Fix Your Wi-Fi Signal Problems | PCMag.com

The Cisco and the Bear devices may work for you.
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Old 09-11-16, 04:25 PM
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Thanks, I guess repeater was a search time I couldn't think of. So, would something like this: https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Wi-Fi...ifi%2Brepeater work for me? I had seen something where you could use a device that would plug into the wall and use your wiring as some sort of antenna to send it to a receiver elswhere in in the house that you could plug into a second router, but those apparently only work if they don't have to go through the breaker box and I'm not sure I could have been confident of that.

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Old 09-11-16, 04:31 PM
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I think the guy setting up your cable was bullsitting. Wikipedia has a bit on the various types of coax and for home use there isn't a whole lot of difference between what would be used in a home. Seek a second opinion.

Or your problem may be bad terminations (from the Wiki):

Coaxial cable insulation may degrade, requiring replacement of the cable, especially if it has been exposed to the elements on a continuous basis. The shield is normally grounded, and if even a single thread of the braid or filament of foil touches the center conductor, the signal will be shorted causing significant or total signal loss. This most often occurs at improperly installed end connectors and splices. Also, the connector or splice must be properly attached to the shield, as this provides the path to ground for the interfering signal.
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Old 09-11-16, 04:33 PM
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I didn't even know if I'd be better off buying some sort of amplified router and running that off the ethernet cord from the router supplied by Time Warner instead of using the 5 year old Time Warner beast for wifi.
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Old 09-11-16, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
I think the guy setting up your cable was bullsitting. Wikipedia has a bit on the various types of coax and for home use there isn't a whole lot of difference between what would be used in a home. Seek a second opinion.

Or your problem may be bad terminations (from the Wiki):

Coaxial cable insulation may degrade, requiring replacement of the cable, especially if it has been exposed to the elements on a continuous basis. The shield is normally grounded, and if even a single thread of the braid or filament of foil touches the center conductor, the signal will be shorted causing significant or total signal loss. This most often occurs at improperly installed end connectors and splices. Also, the connector or splice must be properly attached to the shield, as this provides the path to ground for the interfering signal.
I think that guy was complaining about R59 cable not having enough throughput to send high quality signal through our house (and we only get 720p on our digital TV) but also he didn't want to do his job, so we hired an electrician to give us an estimate and he said, yeah we'll see some signal loss but we should just cap any outlets we're not using and get a high quality booster. He then called Time Warner's local affiliate, reamed them out for wasting his time, and had them send a supervisor to set up our cable. He did it, but our modem is now in an odd spot and we have a weak enough signal that our phone (which runs through it) drops from time to time (especially if we try to run it through the house phone lines).
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Old 09-11-16, 04:48 PM
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The solution to your problems is simple-- ethernet over power. I wanted to get wifi into my workshop, a 25' x 25' metal truss outbuilding about 30 feet behind the house. The house is old, so it's all plaster and lath, meaning wifi signal barely manages to cover the whole house, much less make it outside. This is compounded by the fact that the workshop is a metal truss building with metal wall and roof paneling-- so it's a big Faraday Cage. To get cell reception I have to leave at least one door open.

But it does have 6ga power wire feeding the secondary load center, so I decided to try ethernet over power adapters. One plugs into the wall near the router, and is plugged into the CAT5. The other adapter goes in the shop (or in your case, the end of the house that gets no wifi) and is plugged into a wifi repeater. My internet service is 100mbps. On CAT5 wired, I get the full speed or better at my desktop (up to 110mbps.) Over wifi, I can routinely get 50-60mbps throughout the house. In the shop, after traveling through the house wiring and going through a second wireless router, I get a solid average of 30mbps.

Adapters were around $40, and I got the cheapest wireless router I could find, a D-Link "travel router" that was about $20.
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Old 09-12-16, 04:45 AM
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Did that have to go through the breaker to another line for you? I've read those ethernet over power things don't do well and lose a ton of signal going through the breaker. Maybe because you had a huge line going out to your shed it wasn't as big of a deal.
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Old 09-12-16, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
I am way behind the curve when it comes to networking/wifi knowledge. Due to wiring limitations of my house (the first guy we had to set up our cable said we couldn't do anything because of the outdated coaxial cable - house is only 25 years old, so I was surprised that we were using a standard that no longer works - in our walls that needed to be completely pulled - later guys used amplifiers to get things working),
I have my modem/wifi router in the room at the northwest corner of my house on the first floor (direction not important, just to illustrate).

Wifi signal doesn't reach the southeast corner of the house (especially on the second floor and the basement (in both places, I'd love to have signal, in part so I could move my computer/rollers/bike downstairs for zwifting to make the house quieter and the ride cooler).

We bought our house with a fully finished basement, and I don't want to have to cut holes in the ceiling/walls. Is there a way I can boost the signal of my router or add some sort of relay that could pick up and rebroadcast the signal or something so I can use wifi on the other side of the house without running ethernet cable to the other side of the house?

Thanks for any help.
You don't need to pull out the old cable, but yes indeed the standards did change... the old standard was RG-59, a cable that has a 75 ohm typical impedance... but it tends to be lossy... so the new standard is RG-6... which is a bit thicker in diameter and has a foil shield.

However that said... cable is used to tie TVs or TV boxes to the incoming cable service to the home, which usually goes to a splitter, then to a modem for internet and a converter for TV. The internet can then go on CAT 5 cable to each computer. That is a wired system.

But there are tons of newer more modern systems, based on various wideband wireless signals...

Suffice it to say it could be an older two wire pair bringing ADSL to your house, then that is split wirelessly to TVs and wifi... thus no wires are needed at all.

Heck the signal could come to the house via satellite antenna (downhaul) where the uphaul might be by 4G cell service.

But yeah, to get to your immediate needs... you need a wifi extender... or repeater.
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Old 09-12-16, 07:04 AM
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what's the difference between an extender and a repeater? Is range from a router fairly universal (is there something about signal speed decreasing as the square root of distance increasing or something such that a more powerful new router would not help? I only ask because it seems like the modem/router/thingy that I got from the cable company seems to be incredibly fragile/moody and didn't know if I could improve things at the point of signal starting or if a repeater or intenet through powerline device would be needed no matter what.
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Old 09-12-16, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
what's the difference between an extender and a repeater? Is range from a router fairly universal (is there something about signal speed decreasing as the square root of distance increasing or something such that a more powerful new router would not help? I only ask because it seems like the modem/router/thingy that I got from the cable company seems to be incredibly fragile/moody and didn't know if I could improve things at the point of signal starting or if a repeater or intenet through powerline device would be needed no matter what.
Extender or repeater are virtually the same thing...

Ideally you only need one wifi device at the center of your home... radiating out to the edges... but home size, router location and materials in walls will diminish the signal... (and yes that square root thing applies to anything that radiates... be it light or radio or heat).

All you need is "some sort of relay that could pick up and rebroadcast the signal or something," and that is what we are talking about... technically it is a repeater... but marketing folks called them extenders... so that's what you look for.
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Old 09-12-16, 08:04 AM
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You want one of the free wifi signal strength programs.
You may be able to move or orient the wifi transmitter to improve the signal.
I think that some of the wifi units from your internet provider aren't the best at transmitting. You might be better off with a separate wifi box that you purchase.

Wifi signal monitor software
I've used inssider v3, and it's very useful. (that's the last free version, newer ones are pay only.) It's a little confusing to see how to start it's monitor, but then it's easy.
inSSIDer 3.1.2.1 Download - TechSpot

Here's another, but I've never tried it:
https://www.acrylicwifi.com/en/wlan-...lic-wifi-free/

These will show which channels have the fewest transmitters, so you can have less interference from neighbors.

Running these on a laptop, you can walk around and see how the signal strength changes in different areas. This can save you a lot of effort and experimentation.

I see there are Android apps for your phone that show signal strength, too. I've never tried these, but they should be good.
https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2426416,00.asp


Wifi transmitter options

You might want to disable the wifi on your internet provider's box, and buy a better wifi router. I have a wifi box with two external antennas. I wanted a stronger wifi upstairs, and I found that pointing the antennas horizonal helped a lot. The strongest signal is 90 degrees from the end of the antenna, out the sides of the antenna.

I also have it in the side of the room that's closer to the center of the house, to avoid having to send the signal through extra walls. I have much farther coverage now. It's got a lot better coverage than my older wifi box, which died. (my internet is wired only, too old to have an included wifi transmitter.)

My wifi box uses both 2.5gz and 5 ghz. My pc doesn't work with the 5ghz, but my android phone does, and it's a stronger signal on the phone.

Wifi extender
if your signal is very weak in the basement, an extender won't really help in that area. An extender receives the original wifi and retransmits it from there, so that the coverage area is larger.

But if you put the extender directly below the room with your wifi box, it should get a decent signal. It may have fewer walls to go through in the basement to reach your trainer area, or you could even run a long ethernet patch cable from the extender to your trainer, and plug in your PC or whatever there.

And wifi signals will bounce off floors and wall somewhat, so a basement extender may work without network wires.

I'd use the monitor software and experiment with the transmitter location and orientation first, before buying an extender.

Powerline ethernet
From what I've read, these powerline ethernets don't work very well.

Last edited by rm -rf; 09-12-16 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 09-12-16, 08:18 AM
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Old 09-12-16, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
I am way behind the curve when it comes to networking/wifi knowledge. Due to wiring limitations of my house (the first guy we had to set up our cable said we couldn't do anything because of the outdated coaxial cable - house is only 25 years old, so I was surprised that we were using a standard that no longer works - in our walls that needed to be completely pulled - later guys used amplifiers to get things working),
I have my modem/wifi router in the room at the northwest corner of my house on the first floor (direction not important, just to illustrate).

Wifi signal doesn't reach the southeast corner of the house (especially on the second floor and the basement (in both places, I'd love to have signal, in part so I could move my computer/rollers/bike downstairs for zwifting to make the house quieter and the ride cooler).

We bought our house with a fully finished basement, and I don't want to have to cut holes in the ceiling/walls. Is there a way I can boost the signal of my router or add some sort of relay that could pick up and rebroadcast the signal or something so I can use wifi on the other side of the house without running ethernet cable to the other side of the house?

Thanks for any help.
I wonder what they mean by outdated coax? As long as its RG6 and works, I don't see what the problem would be. I would leave the coax and bundle it with either cat 5e or cat 6 in the walls if it were me. But wiring can be expensive if you can't do it yourself. Since you have a newer house, then you might have better luck following existing wiring or air ducts (if you have central air) to run it up from the basement.

For the wireless, placement is more critical as you discovered. Also can't have too many walls or floor in between the computer and the access point (AP). Consider moving your existing AP up to the second floor and getting another one for the basement. That might cover the entire house a little better then the existing. Another option is to get a wireless repeater (or range extender). But I'd lean toward another AP if you can get the wiring done for it. I only have one AP in the 2nd floor bedroom and it seems to cover the first floor ok in my small house. Bigger homes would need more coverage than a single AP can provide. I really wish I had RG6/cat5e in most of the rooms, though. Can't beat the speed of even 100Mb/s ethernet especially when using older laptops like I have.

Edit: The signal monitoring software rm -rf mentions above is a great idea. Nice geeky handle name that is.

Last edited by ptempel; 09-12-16 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 09-12-16, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ptempel View Post
I wonder what they mean by outdated coax? As long as its RG6 and works, I don't see what the problem would be. I would leave the coax and bundle it with either cat 5e or cat 6 in the walls if it were me. But wiring can be expensive if you can't do it yourself. Since you have a newer house, then you might have better luck following existing wiring or air ducts (if you have central air) to run it up from the basement.

For the wireless, placement is more critical as you discovered. Also can't have too many walls or floor in between the computer and the access point (AP). Consider moving your existing AP up to the second floor and getting another one for the basement. That might cover the entire house a little better then the existing. Another option is to get a wireless repeater (or range extender). But I'd lean toward another AP if you can get the wiring done for it. I only have one AP in the 2nd floor bedroom and it seems to cover the first floor ok in my small house. Bigger homes would need more coverage than a single AP can provide. I really wish I had RG6/cat5e in most of the rooms, though. Can't beat the speed of even 100Mb/s ethernet especially when using older laptops like I have.

Edit: The signal monitoring software rm -rf mentions above is a great idea. Nice geeky handle name that is.
It's probably RG-59... the older standard. He said it was 25 years old.
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Old 09-12-16, 09:10 AM
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Before buying repeaters, I'd look at a signal booster or router with a larger coverage area. However before I spent a dime, I'd experiment with moving the router to a more central location if possible.

I live in a 3 story house, and the easiest place to place the router was in the basement where the carriers modem is. If I left it there I had a weak signal on the 2nd floor. I ran a length of coax and located the router at the top of the basement stairs, and now have excellent coverage all over, and the back yard too.

My neighbor spent more for a powerful router and his signal is as strong in my house as mine is.
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Old 09-12-16, 10:27 AM
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Yeah, I have RG 59 cables through the house. The reason it would be hard to move the modem at this point is that the way the guy we finally got in ended up setting things up is the initial cable came in, got amplified and then split 3 ways. One went to our main TV (our only high def), the next to the study where the computer is, and the last went to another splitter/amplifier that went to the rest of the house where we either have them capped or have old standard def CRT TVs where weaker signal isn't noticeable (the study and living room TV were the shortest cables as well). If I were to move the modem/router anywhere else, it would be on a longer cable that has been split an extra time, so I imagine the signal would be slower.

I could put a repeater in the basement right under the study (with an ethernet cable to where I'd move the bike trainer) and another one on the middle of the second floor to cover most places. A stronger router with actual antennas might be good enough, but it would still have to go through a bunch of walls and a floor to cover everywhere in the house, so I wonder if repeaters are the way to go (unless I could somehow get a second modem to plug into an unused R59 outlet on the second floor and another in the basement - but I'm not sure that'd be cost effective, especially if I have to rent them from big cable).
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Old 09-12-16, 10:34 AM
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I got one of these things:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HQ883QW/

it works great. Our modem/router are in the cellar, but there were lots of dead spots on the ground floor and 2nd floor. Put this near one of the live spots on the 2nd floor and wifi seems to reach the whole house now. ~2700 square feet across 3 floors.
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Old 09-12-16, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
I got one of these things:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HQ883QW/

it works great. Our modem/router are in the cellar, but there were lots of dead spots on the ground floor and 2nd floor. Put this near one of the live spots on the 2nd floor and wifi seems to reach the whole house now. ~2700 square feet across 3 floors.
I'd seen this one and thought it looked like it might be a good solution.

One incredibly stupid question about these repeaters: Since they are essentially just receiving and rebroadcasting a signal (at least I think that's what they're doing), do they have a unique router name/password, or is it just the same one as my main router? Do they have the same security?
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Old 09-12-16, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
I'd seen this one and thought it looked like it might be a good solution.

One incredibly stupid question about these repeaters: Since they are essentially just receiving and rebroadcasting a signal (at least I think that's what they're doing), do they have a unique router name/password, or is it just the same one as my main router? Do they have the same security?
they have a unique password.

My brother in law has one of these extenders... I was just at their house... I had the old password in my android device, and it worked, but at the far reaches of the 3 story house, the signal just faded away... then, the next morning, they told me about their new extender, and the password for it... Bada bing... strong wifi everywhere.
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Old 09-12-16, 01:08 PM
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Mine actually has the same password, that might be a user preference or something. But yeah the extender creates 2 new networks on different frequencies so the 3 of them will have different strengths at different parts of the houes.
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Old 09-12-16, 04:47 PM
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Where I am likely a bit late to the party, I would like to sound off a bit.

First off, I don't know what kind of cable that is 25 years old wouldn't give you the signal you need to run your TV and internet off of, unless there is some underlying problem. There is not enough of a bandwidth difference in the old and new RG standards (59 is still cable, others are "CCTV") to cause a problem like this. My suggestion is that you likely have a nail or somesuch through one of your cables causing a ground, or water leak or the like has corroded some cable. My experience you ask? Almost 20 years as an installer of such cable.
Even in my own home, I had to use a signal amp to get the proper levels they were looking for to be "good" on the high def. and it's all new from three years ago.

With that said....repeaters are commonly a huge pain in the ass. I would suggest going with a wireless access point instead. When doing so, turn off the wireless in your router and use the centrally located (and good quality) access points wireless instead. The issues from a repeater are not worth what you get if you can find ANY manner of other solution.

In my own home, I had the same issue. I centrally located the router after having some problems getting access points to play right. It appears to be an issue that comes right from the router itself..in that it WANTS you to only use it's own wireless. The varying brand repeaters I used led to lots of page load faults, dropped connections, time outs.

If you don't need or want to be able to easily access other computers/storage on a home network, one of the easiest things to do is set up an old wireless router as an access point on a different subnet for the "other side" of the house.
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Old 09-12-16, 05:01 PM
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I tried an extender, but it didn't work well. I then upgraded my wireless router and put the old router on the other side of the house, configured as a wireless access point. There's Ethernet cable between them. That works perfectly. The house is bathed in a warm glow of wirelessness now.
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Old 09-12-16, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Did that have to go through the breaker to another line for you? I've read those ethernet over power things don't do well and lose a ton of signal going through the breaker. Maybe because you had a huge line going out to your shed it wasn't as big of a deal.
It apparently goes through 2 breakers-- the twin-50 in the main box, and the single 20A in the sub-panel. I was prepared for the worst, but am pleasantly surprised with the speed it manages to maintain. The connection is rock-solid, as well. I've never once had to cycle or reset the adapters. The cheap wifi router seems to drop signal about once a month, give or take.
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