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 what is required to extend the range of your wireless network outside, upstairs, in the basement or from your neighbor.
The Three Options
- (1) Get a better wireless router as your main router.
This is your best option if you are in control of the incoming internet connection.
It is highly likely that you have an old Wireless N router so you need Wireless AC to get better speeds.
To check your router, check for the model number on the bottom and search here. It will say if it is Wireless N.
- (2) Get a wireless extender which will amplify the wifi signal for you.
This is the best option to “boost” the transmission if it is coming from your neighbors house.
It is also the option if you are trying to extend the wifi to a guest house, basement, garage, upstairs or across the yard.
- (3) Get a cheap wifi phone extender.
This is only for phones and would be too slow for computers and TV’s.
Extending Your Neighbors Wifi
Now we will discus extending your neighbors wireless internet into your apartment next door. 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 the wifi extender above.
Option (1) Explained: 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. Generally the model number will display an N for Wireless N or AC for wireless AC. At this point you need AC. You should not try to extend Wireless N because it will continue to be an under performer.
- 802.11a: The oldest, toast, throw the router away. No longer out there.
- 802.11b/g: Also old and not worth investing in. Replacement time. No longer out there.
- 802.11n: aka Wireless N is the most common problem when it comes to weak signal. Last Gen WiFi.
- 802.11ac: The newest and best wireless technology. It is backwards compatible so your device will still connect if it’s not AC ready. Needed for fast speeds at range.
If you already knew that and have Wireless AC, on to the next step. A simplistic Wireless Extender to carry and extend the signal to remote locations of your house or apartment.
Option (2) Explained: Wireless Extender aka Repeater
This is the best way to make the wifi signal stronger from across the way. The image below demonstrates how it works.
The Netgear Extender makes it really easy to recast the signal to the rest of your home. There is a simple one time setup page.
If your neighbor has a password on their wifi, you will need to know it. You can not actually “steal” internet. You will need access to recast it.
In some cases you may find an open network and attach the extender to this. I still suggest you ask for permission.
The router effectively logs into your original WiFi router, grabs the signal and recast it from it’s current location extending the range by a lot. This is the easiest and most common method for extending the internet range in a large house or from a neighbors apartment.
Option (3) Explained: WiFi Phone Extender
This is the cheapest option because it is fairly old and weak but will do great for a person on a phone browsing Facebook and the news. It would not be a good option for TV, laptops, etc.
But with this, like the last, you must have the neighbors wifi password in order to boost the signal further. As with the Netgear Extender, it will also work with your own home router as far as extending into your upstairs, guest house, basement, etc.
Steal / Boost Neighbors Wireless Internet
As you know by now, you can’t actually steal your neighbors internet. It doesn’t work that way. There is no magical device you can buy that is going to bypass their password. Would anyone pay for internet if that were the case? You must have the password or find an open unsecured wireless network.
The repeater will attach to the open network if that is what you are looking for.
Share Your Internet With Neighbors
On the other hand, if you know your neighbor, you could really work out a deal for both of you. You can lower the cost of your monthly internet bill by sharing it with them. If you live in an apartment building you can maybe even get 2 or 3 neighbors in on the wireless sharing. Sometimes you simply don’t need all of those high download speeds to yourself and can’t justify spending $60 a monthly internet bill.
If you already have a router
If you already own a router and want it to cast your neighbors signal or extend your own, just open up the settings page and select “repeater mode”, enter the existing wifi password or connect to the open network and you’re on. Simple way to get sharing internet in no time!
Access Point Mode
My preferred method as it truly extends the range the furthest possible. How is this mode different?
Well for one, you need physical access to the primary router.
Instead of a mesh like wireless network as used with Repeater Mode where the two networks meet in the middle, you will actually have a long cat5 cable from your main router to the secondary router. The secondary wireless router will then cast out its own 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 SSID. 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.
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 “no one likes you” 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. Just don’t do “FBI Van”, it’s very played out.