wifi extender Netgear WN300RP report

hairybadger

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Our house suffers from a few wifi dead zones where the signal is either weak or intermittent. The connection is thus very much dependent on the client device: we have few problems with an Airbook, but a humble Android tablet suffers when trying to stream from a Solo2, for example.

I've just bought a Netgear WN3000RP wifi repeater to try and solve the problem. This is a small (10cm high) unit that has two adjustable external aerials (one for the client devices, one for the main wifi access point) that plugs directly into a mains socket (French in my case). You configure it to connect to the main access point and then you point your client devices at it.

Setup process: it provides an unsecured network for setup purposes. You connect to this using a laptop or whatever and start a browser. Using the config web pages you select the network to which you want the repeater to connect and enter the WPA2 (or whatever) key. The repeater then creates its own network (it suggests a name of form ORIGINALNAME_EXT, so for example my main network is A1 and the extended network is A1_EXT) and you create a key for the new network (I chose to use the same key as for the main network). Having done this you can then connect to the new network. Note that you should be able to set up the repeater -> access point connection with WPS, but I didn't try this.

Result: I have a much more reliable service in the normal dead zones and can watch streamed content from the Solo2 without it glitching. At first I thought the repeater wasn't passing certain types of traffic (I couldn't see the solo2 from the tablet when connected via the repeater) but this turned out to be due to a loose (OK - badly fitted by me) ethernet plug that I'd knocked. Setup was painless and it does what it says on the tin. You have to give some thought to where you're going to place the repeater (no point in putting it in a corner that already gets zero connection, you won't gain anything).

Likes: external aerials, small physical size, pass-through power socket, wired ethernet connection, physical off button
Dislike: off button small and fiddly, need to select to which network you want to connect (ie normal or ext) - this is probably client dependent, the ext network uses the same channel as the main network
 

aceb

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Interesting device and cheap enough too. Are the antennas on sockets or hardwired as I can't be sure from the online ads? It would be really useful if they were so the range could be extended even further in one direction.
 

smoggy07

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try removing the _EXT from the network name on the repeater and you "should" be able to roam between the host network and the repeated network as you have used the same network key
if you name both networks the same and give them both the same key, your devices should change over automatically when needed

does your original router on network A1 give out the IP addresses on network A1_EXT or does the repeater run its own DHCP server?
 

hairybadger

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Interesting device and cheap enough too. Are the antennas on sockets or hardwired as I can't be sure from the online ads? It would be really useful if they were so the range could be extended even further in one direction.
They're directly attached, although you can swivel them in whichever direction you choose.
 

hairybadger

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try removing the _EXT from the network name on the repeater and you "should" be able to roam between the host network and the repeated network as you have used the same network key
if you name both networks the same and give them both the same key, your devices should change over automatically when needed
interesting idea - will try at the weekend. My gut feeling is that it will cause chaos as both the access point and the repeater try to reply to the same messages.

does your original router on network A1 give out the IP addresses on network A1_EXT or does the repeater run its own DHCP server?
Good question - I suspect it's the original router otherwise there would be no way of managing conflicts (that I can think off - I've administered multi-campus DHCP installations in the past, albeit some time ago).
 

smoggy07

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interesting idea - will try at the weekend. My gut feeling is that it will cause chaos as both the access point and the repeater try to reply to the same messages.

Good question - I suspect it's the original router otherwise there would be no way of managing conflicts (that I can think off - I've administered multi-campus DHCP installations in the past, albeit some time ago).

If you are connected to the repeater then all traffic will be sent over the access point to the repeater anyway so it makes no odds if both are trying to reply

In my old office we had a naff wifi router locked in one of the rooms upstairs and the signal was pants in downstairs areas not directly under the router so I brought in a DD-WRT router, set it up as a repeater and used the same network name/key combination and it worked a treat for roaming and general internet use

If you use the same network name/key/channel combo, the mobile devices will switch over automatically and you wont need to do anything as the devices will think they're on the same network
 

Terryl

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Take a look at the Amped Wireless R1000G, you will never go back to the weak output type routers again, I have several all over the farm, I can play on the Ipad while on the tractor.

It also has two removable antennas so you can go with some extreme gain yagi's or omni's.
 

hairybadger

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If you use the same network name/key/channel combo, the mobile devices will switch over automatically and you wont need to do anything as the devices will think they're on the same network
.... and it works :) Thanks for the suggestion! When one goes out of range, the other kicks in and I get a new IP address. I'll report back if I encounter any problems.

The repeater itself is assigned an IP address via the router's DHCP server, or you can give it a static address. I'll probably add it to the static allocation table on the router.
 

hairybadger

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Take a look at the Amped Wireless R1000G, you will never go back to the weak output type routers again, I have several all over the farm, I can play on the Ipad while on the tractor.

It also has two removable antennas so you can go with some extreme gain yagi's or omni's.
Looks interesting - too many toys too little time :)
 

Terryl

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And now a 10 foot "C" band dish.

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Be retired like me, too much time on my hands, but not enough $$ to play.
 
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