Wifi Extender to replace Powerline

Discussion in 'Broadband' started by Davey, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. Davey

    Davey Guest

    I currently use a pair of TP-Link Powerline adapters to feed the signal
    from my garage camera to the home network, but due to the considerable
    controversy surrounding any Homeplug's RF interference, I am looking for
    a good Wifi extender.
    I want a good reliable brand, easy to set up, with plenty of power, as
    the signal needs to pass through several walls, and over-the-hill to
    get to its final destination. My router, with which it will (hopefully)
    communicate, is a Zen-supplied Thompson TG585.
    Running a cable is a non-starter.
    I see the most advertised brands to be TP-Link and Netgear; I'm sure
    there are others, such as Addon, with whom I am totally unfamiliar.
    In the accumulated experience of this group, what is the best unit to
    buy?

    The camera I am using, which is a small unit, and the Thompson do not
    work well together now unless they are in the same room, but I would be
    prepared to buy a better camera, or router. But how can I test the
    strength of signal coming out of either the router or the camera, to
    track down where the signal could be stronger?

    One problem I have with the Powerline RF interference debate is the
    different standards that are referred to:
    The Powerline units refer to IEEE standards, whereas the 'Ban-all-PLT'
    crowd always refer to EN55022, but I can find no way to compare them,
    and neither mentions the others' standards.
     
    Davey, Jun 24, 2014
    #1
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  2. Davey

    Woody Guest



    Try contacting Solwise in Hull. They do some very good and
    inexpensive pieces of kit that might do the job for you and
    are not only very helpful but they also know what they are
    talking about.
     
    Woody, Jun 24, 2014
    #2
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  3. Davey

    Davey Guest

    I see that they are very keen on selling Homeplug technology!
     
    Davey, Jun 24, 2014
    #3
  4. Davey

    Martin Brown Guest

    Are you actually experiencing problems of RF interference with it or do
    you belong to the tin foil hat wearing worried well?
    Walls and roofs are doable but lack of a decent line of sight above
    ground is a problem. A high gain antenna at one or both ends will get
    you a decent link up to 300m from the router for about £40.
    Any one of the various signal strength apps that monitor all frequencies
    and display the SSIDs and signals they can see. Chances are you and all
    your neighbours are all on the exactly same band.

    AFAICT BT sits almost all its customers on 11 by default.
    Why do you think you have a problem with powerline ethernet?
     
    Martin Brown, Jun 24, 2014
    #4
  5. Davey

    Ian Jackson Guest

    All PLT devices have one thing in common, and that is that they are
    unlikely themselves to cause interference. What causes the interference
    is the RF radiation from the mains wiring. Any differences in the amount
    of interference they are likely to cause depends essentially on the RF
    spectrum they use, and the RF power level fed into the mains. These
    days, they generally don't transmit (much power) in most of the amateur
    bands (well, up to 30MHz), but that leaves the rest of the RF spectrum
    vulnerable to being interfered with.
     
    Ian Jackson, Jun 24, 2014
    #5
  6. Davey

    Davey Guest

    None that I know of. But there is, according to the 'Ban-all-PLT'
    website, and several folks on these NGs, a problem, so I am trying to
    decipher what exactly, or even approximately, the actual level of the
    problem is.

    http://www.ban-plt.org.uk/
    I can probably position the extender so that it is near a window, on
    the side of the house nearest the garage, but it still won't be line of
    sight. Crow-flying distance would be about 40'-50', I guess.
    I'm with Zen, and I'm not sure what what you mean by 'band'. Otherwise,
    I am beyond my knowledge here. And if the apps you refer to mean
    something to work on a smartphone, no luck, mine is dumb, by choice.
    See above ref. to the 'Ban-all-PLT' website. It might be right, it might
    be wrong, but there are enough other folks who agree that there is a
    problem. I don't know, hence the questions.
     
    Davey, Jun 24, 2014
    #6
  7. Davey

    Martin Brown Guest

    RF leakage at about 2x the threshold level into the AM radio band
    judging by the graphs in one of the reports I just scanned. If you
    listen to AM radio then either you will have a problem or not.

    My brother-in-law uses PLT and has some expensive sensitive tuners with
    no signs at all of anything causing interference.
    Direct line of sight will get you a lot more signal.

    A passive cantenna pair along the way is supposed to get signals round
    corners but I have never tried it.
    I should probably have said "channel" to avoid confusing terminology. See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WLAN_channels

    You can get PC ones. ISTR This one is fairly serviceable:

    http://download.cnet.com/WirelessNetView/3000-2162_4-191039.html

    Although there are much cuter ones on Android.
    Unless you are a huge fan to receiving distant AM radio stations then I
    would completely ignore that site. Bit like the banDHMO site for PLT.

    http://dhmo.org/facts.html

    Looks like moon howling kookery from the tin foil hat brigade to me.
     
    Martin Brown, Jun 24, 2014
    #7
  8. Davey

    NY Guest

    That DHMO page is even better than I remember it :) "Married couples have
    found that regular ingestion of DHMO can improve their marriage-related
    activities, while couples that never ingest DHMO often find that their
    marriage suffers as well."
     
    NY, Jun 24, 2014
    #8
  9. Davey

    Graham J Guest

    Please explain why running a cable is a non-starter. Is there a river,
    railway line, or main road in the way?

    WiFi is limited in output power by design and regulation, this is why it
    is license-exempt; so virtually by definition it won't work through
    walls or over hills.

    There are free space optical systems (see: http://www.cablefree.net/)
    but of course these require line-of-sight.

    I have yet to meet a circumstance where cable is impossible, apart from
    the aforementioned river, railway line, or main road. So do tell ...
     
    Graham J, Jun 24, 2014
    #9
  10. Davey

    Ian Jackson Guest

    It's right, all right.
    That's ignoring the fact that your highly ingenious and convenient PLT
    link could well be interfering with someone else's radio reception in
    the immediate vicinity (and maybe even a little further afield). I'd be
    fully in favour of such things provided the user would immediately, and
    without argument, abandon it at the first reports of causing
    interference outside the confines of their own premises, and promise to
    install a proper, cabled link!
     
    Ian Jackson, Jun 24, 2014
    #10
  11. Davey

    NY Guest

    Sadly for most people it would be a case of abandon it and abandon all
    prospect of getting a network feed in a certain place, because most people
    don't have the skill to drill holes through brick walls and run cable down
    the side of buildings or bury it in plaster so it's not unsightly indoors or
    bury it underground from one building to another (or "fly" it from an upper
    storey through the garden).. For most people, wifi or PLT are the only means
    of getting network around a house, outside the confines of a single room,
    without it looking a mess. If only all modern houses were pre-wired with
    Ethernet cable and sockets from every room to a central place where the
    router could live.

    I wish someone would devise a PLT device that uses a narrow enough band and
    has sharply defined cutoff outside this band that it doesn't interfere with
    anyone's radio. Presumably if such a device existed, the same band could be
    used for every PLT because the signal would stop at the electricity meter
    and so the PLT network in one house wouldn't interfere with one in a
    neighbouring house, and the level of RFI in that band would presumably be
    much lower than the level of wired signal so a neighbour's RFI wouldn't
    interfere with your wired mains signal.

    Just a case of finding a suitable "unused" frequency and design devices that
    produced only this and no harmonics. "Just" :) Easier said than done, I'm
    sure.


    How good is a daisy-chain of wifi repeaters to get a signal from one place,
    through thick stone walls to another part of the house? I've only ever used
    a single one as an intermediate from the router to the PC, but can you have
    a whole series of them where each can only see the one immediately adjacent.
    Does each repeater introduce lag? Do you run out of available channels,
    assuming that no repeater can be on the same channel as its neighbours?
     
    NY, Jun 24, 2014
    #11
  12. Davey

    Davey Guest

    Well, I can make that promise, no question, once the first reports were
    turned into actual evidence. I would pursue the Wifi route rather than
    running a cable, in this circumstance. Cable-running would require
    digging up concrete, and I have no intention of doing that here for
    this purpose.

    I see that you and Martin have opposing views of the extent of the
    Powerline problem. This is exactly what I have found, there is no
    conclusive proof of a real problem being inevitable, only possible.
    I will ask my closest neighbour if he has suffered any interference
    since I started using the Powerlines, I will try whatever devices I
    have (Short Wave and AM radios) to search also. The other neighbour, to
    be honest, I don't care about, as he doesn't worry about running cement
    mixers and chain saws on summer evenings and Sundays. He once woke me
    up at 8 am on a Sunday morning with his hammering. He is further away
    from my system, too.
    Assuming no interference is found, I will continue to use them until
    such time as some is identified, at which point I will look for
    something else.

    Thanks everybody for the help, advice, and thoughts.
     
    Davey, Jun 24, 2014
    #12
  13. Davey

    Davey Guest

    It would require digging a trough in concrete for the cable, and I
    have no intention of doing that for this purpose.
     
    Davey, Jun 24, 2014
    #13
  14. Davey

    Java Jive Guest

    I use WiFi to connect my bedroom upstairs to the rest of the house.
    It's really a temporary measure, but it works perfectly well. I have
    two nearly identical routers running dd-wrt builds, and the one in the
    bedroom is configured as a client-bridge. I had some difficulty
    initially in getting the system working, but now that it is the only
    occasional problem is that on the rare occasion I have to power down
    or reboot the main router, I have to remember to reboot the upstairs
    router once the main router is back up - it's easy to forget.
    How wide is the concrete? Any possibility of rodding underneath it?
    I've known contributors to other groups curse them for their
    interference to their own homes.
    I'd advise doing those in reverse order. See what you can pick up,
    and then ask you neighbour. You then can guage the likely accuracy of
    his response in the light of your findings.
    I try to avoid using any unnecessary machinery out of doors on
    Sundays. It's a personal choice, I'm not religious at all, but I just
    think it's nice to have one day in the week when all is peace and
    quiet. When I live in suburbia, Sunday used to be the noisiest day of
    the week, not the quietest. Here it is the quietest day of the week,
    but most days are pretty quiet, unless the RAF are flying low, but
    they're soon gone!
    Seems reasonable.
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    Java Jive, Jun 24, 2014
    #14
  15. Davey

    Andy Burns Guest

    I think they try to choose the "best" channel automatically now, from
    here I can see multiple BT/Fon and mutiple Sky SSIDs on each of channels
    1, 6 and 11.
     
    Andy Burns, Jun 24, 2014
    #15
  16. Davey

    Martin Brown Guest

    Your evidence for this outlandish claim?
    It might also attract passing Martians looking for inbred halfwitted
    Merkins to abduct but unless and until I see *EVIDENCE* of it actually
    causing a problem I am content to use them. In fact I have some but
    don't actually use them since my house is hardwired for ethernet.

    My brother in law has very high end hifi radio gear and PLT ethernet
    with no problems whatsoever in an urban environment.
    I can imagine that these powerline things might just possibly cause
    trouble in close proximity to very sensitive radio astronomy class
    receivers but for domestic kit the local taxi firm is more of a threat.
     
    Martin Brown, Jun 24, 2014
    #16
  17. Davey

    Martin Brown Guest

    Could be that early adopters are all on channel 11.

    When I scan my local environment to decide on my best interference free
    channel I see many BT SSIDs all sat on channel 11 with parasitic BT-FON
    offerings all overlapping. It must hammer their throughput.
     
    Martin Brown, Jun 24, 2014
    #17
  18. Davey

    Davey Guest

    I suppose it's about 20 feet across, and somewhere in there are the
    240v mains cable and an oil line, both unmarked. But this ain't going
    to happen, folks, for a variety of reasons. This kind of thing wasn't
    thought about when they built the place a few hundred years ago.
    But so far, I have only seen comments from folks who report that it
    didn't cause a problem, even under terrible conditions.
    Good thinking, yes.
    Exactly. The German idea of weekend Quiet Time has a lot going for it.
    Thank you. It seems to me to be a sensible practical solution.
     
    Davey, Jun 24, 2014
    #18
  19. Davey

    Graham J Guest


    What about suspending some cat5 cable from a support wire at roof level?
    Ideally you would need outdoor grade cable.
     
    Graham J, Jun 24, 2014
    #19
  20. Davey

    Java Jive Guest

    Too wide, even without the services underneath.

    IIRC, Brian Gaff in uk.tech.digital-tv is a radio ham, and has been
    plagued by it ruining his hobby, may still be suffering. Another ham
    who lives about five miles from me says he can also detect WiFi for
    miles around.
    Agreed.

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    Please always reply to ng as the email in this post's
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    Java Jive, Jun 24, 2014
    #20
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