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Buying and configuring a router to extend my home network
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MartinB
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Joined: 12 Feb 2003
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Location: Apeldoorn, Netherlands

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 11:03 am    Post subject: Buying and configuring a router to extend my home network Reply with quote

Hey everyone.

I wasn't sure where to ask this question, but I figured there would probably be some knowledgeable people around these forums. :)

I'd like to improve network connectivity in my home. I have a wireless four port router supplied by my ISP. This router works OK, but the wireless signal can be very weak and intermittent, especially at the other end of my apartment. I can't change the router (because it's required by my ISP) and it's not really practical to move it either. Currently, most of my fixed devices (consoles, etc.) rely on wireless connectivity, which is obviously not ideal.

Here's what I'm thinking:

I would buy a second wireless router and "daisy chain" it via Ethernet cable to my existing router. In this case, I could also put the second router in a more central location within my apartment, to hopefully improve wireless coverage at the opposite end. Ideally, I'd also like the router to have at least eight Ethernet ports, so I can connect all the fixed devices in my entertainment center via Ethernet to reduce my wifi usage, which would hopefully improve network performance for devices that rely on wifi.
  • 1. Is it even possible to accomplish such a "daisy chain" configuration like I envision?
  • 2. What router would be recommended for accomplishing this? (eight ports, wireless, strong/broad wifi coverage - Ideally, I'd like an all-in-one device rather than say, a separate eight port switch and wifi spot)
  • 3. Should I disable wifi on the first router and only use wifi on the new one, or can I use both at once? Would it degrade performance or cause any other issues to have both enabled?
  • 4. Anything else I should be aware of before trying to set this up?
  • 5. Any alternative suggestions? (maybe I'm thinking along the wrong lines here)

I've posted some additional background details below.


The current configuration:

Cable Internet wireless router (four Ethernet ports):
- Ethernet Port 1: PC (Gentoo Linux), acting as a media server using Samba.
- Ethernet Port 2: HTPC (OpenELEC), connected to my TV.
- Ethernet Port 3: <none>
- Ethernet Port 4: <none>

The reason ports 3 and 4 are unused is because the router is located at the other side of the living room where the cable comes into the apartment, so connecting devices in my entertainment center would require installing additional cables around the room (across doorways, etc.). The router is right next to my PC (hence port 1). The HTPC was originally using wifi, but the wifi performance was very poor, so I ended up installing a cable for that.


The proposed configuration:

Cable Internet wireless router (four Ethernet ports):
- Ethernet Port 1: PC (Gentoo Linux), acting as a media server using Samba.
- Ethernet Port 2: Second eight port wireless router.
- Ethernet Port 3: <none>
- Ethernet Port 4: <none>

Second wireless router (eight Ethernet ports):
- Ethernet Port 1: Cable Internet wireless router
- Ethernet Port 2: HTPC
- Ethernet Port 3: PlayStation 3
- Ethernet Port 4: PlayStation 4
- Ethernet Port 5: PlayStation TV
- Ethernet Port 6: Wii U
- Ethernet Port 7: Home Theatre System
- Ethernet Port 8: <none>

In this case, the only wireless devices would be the Vita's, Smartphone, Tablet and guest devices (i.e. anything that doesn't have an Ethernet port).

Anyway, I'm not really sure if this is feasible or not. Hopefully someone knows better than I do. :)

--
With Kind Regards / Met Vriendelijke Groet,
Martin Brentnall
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Syl20
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Joined: 04 Aug 2005
Posts: 316
Location: France

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, you can do what you want to do. :wink:

Chaining ethernet switches isn't a problem. At worst, the "uplink" link (this name is obsolete since nearly all the ethernet modules are able to autocross themselves when necessary) between the switch and your ISP router could be a bottleneck if you need to transfer large files on several cumputers at the same time. That's all.

About the wifi, the simplier is to deactivate it on the ISP router, and use your own wifi Access Point only. Then you're sure to fully control your network, and you don't have to deal with the potential compatibility limitations between two different boxes. But you can also use a wifi repeater.
AFAIK, there isn't many wifi AP with more than 4 ports. Perhaps you'll have to buy both an AP (or a repeater) and an ethernet switch even though to be able to plug all your stuff. If the power cables and AC adapters annoy you, look for a PoE (Power over Ethernet) switch.
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Bigun
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Joined: 21 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll try to answer as best as I can before the thread is derailed, welcome to OTW BTW.

1) Use wireless repeaters. It requires no configuration on your original router. Configure it as a repeater, with the same SSID, on a different channel, and you should be done.
2) And/or use AC (as in your house wiring) ethernet jack. in most cases, plug them in and they just work.

Either option totally depends on whether you need an ethernet port or wireless access.
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patrix_neo
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My humble advice: If you do not want NSA to spy on you, use another than Netgear, 3COM or LinkSys. A better chance not to be?
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pjp
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Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

patrix_neo wrote:
My humble advice: If you do not want NSA to spy on you, use another than Netgear, 3COM or LinkSys. A better chance not to be?
Do you have any recommendation which you believe are safer from the NSA?
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patrix_neo
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
patrix_neo wrote:
My humble advice: If you do not want NSA to spy on you, use another than Netgear, 3COM or LinkSys. A better chance not to be?
Do you have any recommendation which you believe are safer from the NSA?


No, not really. When I read about it, nowhere did I see D-Link. So that's what I'm going with.
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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The NSA already has a firm grasp on your testicles; I checked.
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patrix_neo
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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably, and more. I just hate buying their solution for checking me out - with my own money. I get that "big brother" vibe and it makes me cringe.
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