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Old 08-06-2009, 02:13 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,710
Default AP vs range extender

What's the difference between an AP and a range extender? I have my WRT54GS in the back of the house on the 2nd floor, and wireless is spotty to non-existent in the front of the house on the first floor.

With the range extender, seems you just plug it into a wall. With the AP, this might be a little better since you can connect it via cat5/6 to the router? But both do essentially the same thing? Or am I confused?

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Old 08-06-2009, 02:55 PM   #2
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Default AP vs range extender

Access Points get the feed of the signal from a Network Cable and transmit the signal to the Wireless Clients.

Extender/WDS (Repeater get the signal form another Access Point and Transmit it further.

Since the inexpensive Extenders (below few hundreds $$) have only Radio it have to Flip Flop between Receive and Transmit it loses half of the Network Speed/Bandwidth.

Wireless Modes - http://www.ezlan.net/Wireless_Modes.html


The general approach that I take for Coverage issues is the following.

The best way is to lay few CAT6 cables to central locations in the house, install Access Points, or Cable/DSL Routers configured as an Access Points ( Using a Wireless Cable/DSL Router as a Switch with an Access Point -http://www.ezlan.net/router_AP.html ), and connect them to the Main Router.

You do not want/can not/hate/your client hate to lay Cables.

You start with One affordable Router that can Do WDS (the reason for the WDS support is in case you need to add more Wireless hardware).

If you are lucky and your environment is conducive to get covered with one Wireless Router you are done.

Routers that can do WDS as is are old by (Zyxel, SMC, Belkin, and some others have models that do WDS as is out of the Box ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W...ss_Distribution_System ).

Linksys WRT54GL, and Asus, 520GU can do WDS when flashed with DD-WRT firmware ( http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page ).

Using a Laptop loaded with Netstumbler, do a Wireless survey in the house, http://www.netstumbler.com/downloads/

According to the Netstumbler's signal strength reading, identify spots that have strong signal. and spot with weak, or No signal.

Evaluate how you can cover the space and start placing WDS units.

Additional Wireless Routers in WDS Mode (Wireless Network - Configuration Modes. ) has to be placed in spots were the signal is good about Half way to the dead spots.

How many WDS units are needed? It depends on your specific environment (that is a good the reason to buying WDS units one at the time, try it, and decide on the Next step).


Extending Distance - http://www.ezlan.net/Distance.html
Wireless Router as an AP - http://www.ezlan.net/router_AP.html
Wireless Modes - http://www.ezlan.net/Wireless_Modes.html
Wireless Bridging - http://www.ezlan.net/bridging.html
Hi Gain Antenna - http://www.ezlan.net/antennae.html
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:41 PM   #3
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Default AP vs range extender

Jack, thanks for the info. Lots of great stuff to keep me busy reading. My current setup is a LinkWRT54GS and I do have a WAP54G, and I think these two work well together (don't need WDS right?) but the WAP54G I bricked when doing a firmware update, and the WRT54GS running DD-WRT is having a lot of problem lately. I've having to reboot it several times a day.

I think most of the routers you recommend above are in the $50-$75 range. Do you have any recommendations for the next tier up, ie. maybe in the $150 give or take range? Is it worth just dealing with my problem with existing hardware until Draft-N is finialized and manufacturer's can start putting out some good N-hardware, and then maybe I don't need a separate Access point.

Either way, I'm curious what you recommend by spending a little more money (I assume this can potentialy buy you more performance?) for a router and possibly an AP to help me with my coverage in the front of the house.
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