Easy How To Guide – Extend Your Wireless Network
In today’s modern apartment living society a lot of people have issues with their wireless network range due to walls, interference and other obstacles in the house. Even those with large houses have issues with getting WiFi coverage across all floors of the house or outside on the porch, where it’s wanted most. But with this guide I’ll show you how to extend the range of your wireless network with ease.
- Get a better wireless router as main router.
- Get a secondary router(my personal router) and use as an extender aka repeater.
- Get a cheap wireless repeater. Best cheap option for boosting wifi range.
- If you rent your cable modem and router, BUY YOUR OWN.
Extending Your Neighbors Wifi
Yes, we will also cover extending your neighbors wireless range. Now for this to work, you do need access to begin with. You can’t get on the wifi unless you have their password or they have an open network. If it is open or you have the password, you can boost their signal with your own wireless booster.
Get The Newest Best WiFi Router Technology
First, it could be your ancient wireless router. Technology has changed a bit over the last few years and there are many standards with different throughput, ranges and powers. You should find out which you have and upgrade if need be, this could be your only problem.
- 802.11a: The oldest, toast, throw the router away.
- 802.11b/g: Also old and not worth investing in. Replacement time.
- 802.11n: aka Wireless N is currently the most common but still old and not your best bet.
- 802.11ac: The newest and best wireless technology. It is backwards compatible so your device will still connect if it’s not AC ready. This is my personal router and recommendation for so many reasons I’ll cover later.
Now that you have the newest router technology, or maybe you already had it, let’s look at the next step.
This is the easiest and fastest setup option. You could have this setup as soon as you get a secondary router. The ASUS above is the same router I have because it is ASUS Quality and long range. The easiest way is to just buy the secondary router and set it up in “Repeater Mode”. To do this you simply log into the new router and select the Repeater Mode option. It will then ask you for your wireless networks password which you should know by now.
The router effectively logs into your WiFi, grabs the signal and recast it from it’s current location which can double the range depending on where you place it. This is the easiest and most common method. There is only one better way which I myself use and will explain next.
Steal / Boost Neighbors Wireless Internet
I should also mention repeater mode is the best way to steal your neighbors wireless internet, or borrow, however you look at it. If you already get a weak WiFi signal from them, this should boost it into your house. For this to work though, you have to either know their password or they have to have an open unsecured wireless connection. But this will indeed work if you’re already on their wireless. Not that I suggest you do this without their permission, but you can. Often times in apartment buildings a few neighbors will all go in on one fast internet package and share with each other. This would be the way to go.
Share Your Internet With Neighbors
It can also be a good way to lower the cost of your own monthly internet bill. If you live in an apartment building you can work something out with your neighbors where one or two of them buy repeaters to boost your internet into their home and then have them pay you half or a 3rd of the bill. Sometimes you simply don’t need all of those speeds to yourself and can’t justify spending $60 a monthly internet bill.
Access Point Mode
My preferred method as it truly extends the range the furthest possible. How is this mode different?
Instead of a mesh like wireless network as used with Repeater Mode where the 2 networks meet in the middle, you will actually have a long cat5 cable from your main router to the secondary router mentioned above which will then cast out a wireless signal. So instead of 2 signals meeting in the middle and connecting, you get 2 full strength signals for a much stronger connection. This is exactly how I have mine set up in Access Point Mode.
This way if you have to set the second device in a room on the other side of a thick say stone or brick wall you take no loss. You just run the long cable along the wall into the area you wish to set the router up in and plug it in. If you can do this I suggest it. If not the method above, wireless repeater will work. I just prefer a zero loss situation and extending as far as I can via hardwire before casting my second WiFi signal. However this is not going to be an option for most people so the repeater mode will suffice.
Below is the ASUS Router Firmware and just how easy it is to do this. I mean could it get more simple? Click Administration and pick your mode. It’s that intuitive and easy enough for anyone to do with no technical expertise.
Electrical Wireless Extenders Suck
To be fair I should mention the more expensive unreliable method of plugging into your electrical outlet to extend your wireless to any room in the house. I myself have never and would never use this method. I have read enough to find out they constantly fail, operate at high temperatures, consume a lot of power, disconnect from the main router all of the time forcing you to troubleshoot and so on. So why spend more for something that isn’t going to work? I mean it sounds like a great idea but the bottom line is that it’s not. Proceed with caution, read others reviews and know I do not recommend this method. To each their own though.
Why ASUS Routers Are The Best
Now, about my beloved ASUS and why I love this router / firewall combo so much.
As someone who has owned everything from a Linksys / Cisco to Dlink, Microsoft, Belkin and even other off the wall brand routers, I have never had a better router. Not only have I owned all of these brand name devices, I have also worked Tier II Tech Support and helped people with brands I have never even heard of.
The ASUS Firmware is so easy to use and provides so many options. The biggest and most awesome thing about my router is the fact that it has 2 USB Ports built into the router itself. Do you even understand how awesome this is? No? Well let me tell you. I am able to plug an external USB hard drive into my router and access it from any computer in my home and even if I am away from home I can get my files via a private FTP Server. It’s so easy to set up that it’s almost plug and play. This serves as a hard drive backup for me so that I do not loose any data if my PC crashes as well. Learn how to easily back up your hard drive.
Another cool feature is the fact that it has up to 8 guest network SSID’s. So I am able to mess with my neighbors and make a bunch of fake WiFi names like “your girlfriend is ugly” and “move out already”. Ok, he tried to get me evicted so I did not like that guy but you can make any names you want with all of those extra SSID’s. It’s fun.
But before we go extending the range of the WiFi, let’s make sure it’s not an easier problem that you can fix right now. What many people don’t realize, living in dense city residential areas, they are competing with up to 30 other wireless signals in their apartment complex. Check out this article on changing your wireless channel to see if you can fix the signal strength with a few simple steps before going any further. You will need access to the router to change the channel. But the app listed there can help you test where the signal is strongest and I highly recommend it.