Instructables

HELP! I want to extend my wireless signal!

  Can I simply get an old router and connect it to my laptop, which is already in range of the signal? Would that allow the laptop to take in the signal and spend it back out, stronger?

rickharris4 years ago
No - you will need to improve you antenna, improve the sensitivity of your receiver, increase the output of your router, add a relay to the system to pass on the Wifi signal.

From http://howwhatwhy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1090

"There actually is, it's how Wi-fi "hotspots" work across, for example, airports. In fact I've two wifi transmitters in my house, both transmitting the same wi-fi connection .. and the way it does it is by using channels. If you've played around with your Wifi settings you may have seen that option in your configuration. Now the bad part, the primary Wi-fi transmitter needs to support this, so it may well not work. It's called WDS (Wireless Distribution System) and you can read lots about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_D ... ion_System For me it's easy, I have an Apple Airport which is extended by an Apple Airport Express (which has the nice side effect of working as a distribution point for streaming music too). What devices are in use in your situation will ultimately decide if WDS is an option for you. You may well have more luck with an external wifi receiver, or some kind of booster as has been mentioned."

OR

"Have you considered making a parabolic reflector? I have found (but not available to me right now) some information using 'Google', and have had some success. The advantage (also the drawback) of a reflector like this lies in its directionality. This type of device is much easier to use if you have an exact location for your antenna. I don't know precisely where the built-in ant is in my laptops, so I use one that plugs into the USB port. The ideal would be slightly less in-expensive and have a removable ant that can be extended by cable a short distance so you can sit more comfortably, and see the screen. Try these (but no guaranty it is late for me tonight.) http://www.associatedcontent.com/articl ... tml?cat=15 http://www.usbwifi.orconhosting.net.nz/ http://binarywolf.com/249/ http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template/ http://www.educypedia.be/electronics/Wl ... ennas2.htm http://forums.remote-exploit.org/tutori ... tenna.html"

I've done exactly this at home using a spare Linksys (Cisco) WRT54G router. I can now get WiFi all over my entire house and even out in to my back and front yard.

The term for the device you're looking for is a repeater. You can buy them commercially or convert a router that supports the open source dd-wrt firmware.

dd-wrt is one of several open source firmware replacements that makes setting this up a piece of cake.  In addition, it allows you to increase the transmit power considerably (may not be legal in some areas).  Just be careful not to overheat the router by cranking it up too high.  Do some research before attempting this.

Some routers may also support WDS (Wireless Distribution System). I've yet to look in to that yet myself because I haven't had a need for it yet.  The advantage of WDS is that it will keep the same MAC address across devices that you are connected to. That should mean no broken sessions as you walk around the house.  As far as your device is concerned, you are still connected to the same network even if it is actually connected to a different piece of hardware.

I have to admit though.  The process is easy, but I would only recommend to those that are comfortable with such hardware hacking.  You could "brick" your router if you don't know what you are doing.

Hmmm..I should do an instructable on this if one doesn't already exist (which I would be surprised if one didn't)
Would you please explain how you used the spare Linksys (Cisco) WRT54G router.

I would love to try this. I can get two of my computers on great but the one furthest away has a lot of problems.

LJHoopes
Forgot to include. Link for various commercially available repeaters (also called Wireless Extenders):

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=repeater

jeff-o4 years ago
You could use an Apple Airport router. It works with Macs and PCs, and can be used to extend a wireless signal. You just plug it in within range of the router connected to your internet modem, and you're good to go (though you may have to adjust some settings) You can also use it as a wireless music player, wired access point, and USB print server.
sjo232 (author)  jeff-o4 years ago
how much do those Apple Airport routers go for?
jeff-o sjo2324 years ago
New they're about $100, but you can find them on ebay for half that. There are a few different versions, as wireless was upgraded from B to G to N.
orksecurity4 years ago
See previous Answers about extending wireless signal.
Summarizing those: Some routers can be used as "bridges", to connect to another router; check the manual. But in that mode most of them bridge only to the wired connections, so you'd need two of those back to back to make a range extender. Yes, if your laptop has both wired and wireless support you can configure it to bridge those two networks, configure the router as a bridge (if it supports that mode), wire them together and wind up with an extender.

Or you can get a commercially-made extender, which you just plug in and the right thing happens, probably for not much more than the old router. (And you won't tie up your laptop as part of that setup.)

Or you can experiment with directional antennas on one or both ends; websearch "cantenna" or look at the instructables on that topic.

Or you can try connecting at a slower speed -- 802.11b does have greater useful range than 802.11g .

Or you can try getting one of the serious 802.11n routers, and/or upgrade the remote device to .11n; n also has greater useful range than g, if I remember correctly, though that works best if both ends of the connection fully support n.

Or you can run wire.

Or you can move the existing router closer to the center of the area you want to cover. Most routers SHOULD cover most wood-frame homes, if placed properly.
Re-design4 years ago
kcls Re-design4 years ago
That's a mighty big link you got there, fella.
Re-design kcls4 years ago
ONce it got started it ate up my whole post! It's a monster.