Wireless router suggestions for a big house?

Discussion in 'Network Routers' started by Ant, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. Ant

    Ant Guest

    Hello.

    I have a client family who will be moving into a big one floor (but on a
    giant slope hill as if it had two floors) house. About 88 feet seems to
    be the longest distance from a small room with the new cable modem. This
    is based on Google Maps' aerial shot:
    http://zimage.com/~ant/MiCasa2/88ftLongestDistanceFromACableModemRoom.jpg ...


    Will an old wireless Linksys WRT54GL router be able to handle this far
    distance with fast speeds and stability? If not, then which wireless
    routers can do it? It would be nice to have third party firmware options
    like Linksys WRT54GL routers. Also, fast speed like gigabits for fast
    local file transfers between computers in the big house! 100mb/sec is
    slow these days! Stability and support are important too. The routers
    doesn't need to be the latest too.

    Thank you in advance. :)
    --
    "Look at them, fighting like ants. The fate's waiting them." --Kane in
    Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars
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    Ant, Aug 25, 2012
    #1
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  2. Ant

    Char Jackson Guest

    Impossible to say with certainty because of the variables involved.
    How many walls? How are the walls constructed? What are the specs of
    the 54GL's antennas? And so on...
    You want wireless *and* Gigabit? That's not gonna happen. Best case,
    the WRT54GL, which is limited to 802.11g, will get you about 24 Mbps.
    Toss a few walls and 88 feet into the mix and you're looking at
    potentially much less speed, not to mention iffy reliability.

    Your best bet is to string Cat5 cable to the rooms where you need it.
    That'll get you the speed and reliability you're looking for. Perhaps
    there's access via the basement or attic?

    Powerline networking can sometimes work pretty well, but don't believe
    the hype on the side of the box. Would that be an option?
     
    Char Jackson, Aug 25, 2012
    #2
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  3. Ant

    Ant Guest

    FYI, building information if they help:
    Year Built Source: Assessor
    Ground Level Entry (No Steps)
    Stucco Exterior
    Concrete Tile Roof
    Cathedral-Vaulted Ceilings
    Builders Tract Name: Custom (COST)
    Full copper plumbing
    3,900 feet
    Built in 1986
    16 rooms (4 bedrooms and bathrooms)
    Split-level and contemporary style


    -
    ...."Like me with the anthill in my backyard. I spent days watching the
    ants, trying to figure out which ones were good, and which ones were
    bad, but they all just looked like ants, so I started smiting all of
    them." "Well that's not --" "I was smiting them with the garden hose,
    and with lighter fluid, and with the lawnmower, and to be perfectly
    honest, I think I went a little crazy with the shovel. Those ants could
    have been praying to me all day, I wouldn't have heard them." "There was
    nothing they could do about it." "But, I don't think --" "Really, it's
    the same with us. There's nothing we can do about anything either, so
    why worry about it? Hey, this is making me feel better." "Well, that's
    good, but --" "I guess all we can do is live our lives with as much
    kindness and decency as possible, and try not to dwell on God standing
    over us with a giant shovel."...--Dewey and Teacher in Day Care episode
    from Malcolm in the Middle
    /\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
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    \ _ / If crediting, then use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
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    Ant, Aug 25, 2012
    #3
  4. Ant

    Ant Guest

    I don't know about the antennae specifications, but they should be
    online since it is a popular wireless router model for years.

    FYI, Building Information:
    Year Built Source: Assessor
    Ground Level Entry (No Steps)
    Stucco Exterior
    Concrete Tile Roof
    Cathedral-Vaulted Ceilings
    Builders Tract Name: Custom (COST)
    Full copper plumbing
    3,900 feet
    Built in 1986
    16 rooms (4 bedrooms and bathrooms)
    Split-level and contemporary style

    OK, how about a new wireless router like those "N" models?

    Only attic. No basement.

    Maybe. Is it safe though since it involves power?
    --
    ...."Like me with the anthill in my backyard. I spent days watching the
    ants, trying to figure out which ones were good, and which ones were
    bad, but they all just looked like ants, so I started smiting all of
    them." "Well that's not --" "I was smiting them with the garden hose,
    and with lighter fluid, and with the lawnmower, and to be perfectly
    honest, I think I went a little crazy with the shovel. Those ants could
    have been praying to me all day, I wouldn't have heard them." "There was
    nothing they could do about it." "But, I don't think --" "Really, it's
    the same with us. There's nothing we can do about anything either, so
    why worry about it? Hey, this is making me feel better." "Well, that's
    good, but --" "I guess all we can do is live our lives with as much
    kindness and decency as possible, and try not to dwell on God standing
    over us with a giant shovel."...--Dewey and Teacher in Day Care episode
    from Malcolm in the Middle
    /\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
    / /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net
    | |o o| |
    \ _ / If crediting, then use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
    ( ) If e-mailing, then axe ANT from its address if needed.
    Ant is currently not listening to any songs on this computer.
     
    Ant, Aug 25, 2012
    #4
  5. Ant

    Char Jackson Guest

    Ahh, stock omni antennas, then. I assumed you'd replace them with
    something much more directional. I don't think you'll be satisfied
    with the stock antennas.
    N is all about speed, usually at the expense of range. I don't think
    you'll be happy. Sometimes it comes down to a try and see approach.
    Seriously consider running cable, then. If you personally can't do it,
    or simply don't want to, the home theater installation guys are
    usually pretty good at it. At worst, it may involve opening some
    access holes in walls, (very easily repaired if it's standard
    drywall), drilling through top plates, terminating RJ-45 connectors,
    etc. I like the home run approach if you're doing multiple rooms,
    bringing all of the cables back to a single point, say in the utility
    room, where you can either use a punch down block or switch panel.
    Ethernet isn't a daisy chain deal like phone wiring or TV coax, as you
    probably know.
    I've been using it for about 3 years without any problems. Last time I
    checked reviews I didn't see any mention of the kinds of issues you're
    hinting at.
     
    Char Jackson, Aug 25, 2012
    #5
  6. Ant

    Ant Guest

    Well, I could if I needed to assuming it is easy to do. Or just get a
    new one that can handle this situation. Someone told me to get APs to
    connect to the router.

    Ah. I thought N was supposed to help its distance beside speeds. OK,
    forget gigaspeed then. Distance and stability then! I have been out of
    the loop with the latest wireless technologies. ;)

    OK and thanks.

    OK and cool.

    For now, I am going to take an old wireless Linksys WRT54GL router and
    see how it is over there. I am going to take a MacBook Pro and see how
    it is in various places of it.
    --
    "What is that?" "Some kind of insect?" "It's an ant." "Girl, you needed
    an exterminator. She had ants on her face." "Well, these aren't your
    garden-variety dumpster ants." "And they aren't ... to decomp." "Why are
    they in her stomach?" "La hormiga culona--leaf cutter ants. It's a
    Colombian dish." "Are you saying that people eat them?" "Fried." "Okay,
    so we are looking for a club that serves fried ants." --CSI: Miami
    (Wannabe episode; #218)
    /\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
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    \ _ / If crediting, then use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
    ( ) If e-mailing, then axe ANT from its address if needed.
    Ant is currently not listening to any songs on this computer.
     
    Ant, Aug 25, 2012
    #6
  7. Ant

    Char Jackson Guest

    Excellent idea.
     
    Char Jackson, Aug 25, 2012
    #7
  8. Ant

    dg1261 Guest


    Okay, no basement, but what about crawlspace? Any way to run cables
    under the house? Or is it cement slab foundation?

    Attic access doesn't appear promising. You said it's got cathedral
    ceilings in at least some of the rooms, so no attic in those parts of the
    house. And looking at the shadows in the aerial photo you posted, the
    roof looks pretty complex with lots of breaks and angles, so hoping you
    could go from one side of the house to the other through open attic looks
    dim.

    If you can't string ethernet cable, I'd try powerline networking, as Char
    suggests. I've used it in several installations, and it's a good
    "second-best" solution. It won't hold a candle to wired ethernet, but
    its speed, reliability, and simplicity is better than wifi--especially if
    your wifi alternative involves resorting to multiple repeaters and access
    points.
     
    dg1261, Aug 25, 2012
    #8
  9. Ant

    Ant Guest

    I got the results with an old 15" MacBook Pro and a Linksys WR54GL
    wireless router (both were from late 2008).

    Kitchen's tables next to windows = 2-5 bars

    Downstair/Lower Elevation Family/Living Room:
    Couches and table = 1-2 bars ; laggy when ssh to an outside server; a
    few packet losses to router.
    Behind the bar counter = 0 to 2 bars

    Room Near Kitchen and Garage = 3-4 bars

    Garage = 4 bars

    All other rooms look good/high.

    So it looks like they will need a network cable/repeater/something to
    the downstair area. :( However, the folks did not want network cables so
    it would have to be wireless to bridge or power cables (getting crowded
    --
    Quote of the Week: "The ambitious one makes friends with the elephant, then tramples upon the ant." --Indian
    /\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://antfarm.home.dhs.org (Personal Web Site)
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    Ant, Aug 26, 2012
    #9
  10. Ant

    Ant Guest

    I got the results with an old 15" MacBook Pro and a Linksys WR54GL
    wireless router (both were from late 2008).

    Kitchen's tables next to windows = 2-5 bars

    Downstair/Lower Elevation Family/Living Room:
    Couches and table = 1-2 bars ; laggy when ssh to an outside server; a
    few packet losses to router.
    Behind the bar counter = 0 to 2 bars

    Room Near Kitchen and Garage = 3-4 bars

    Garage = 4 bars

    All other rooms look good/high.

    So it looks like they will need a network cable/repeater/something to
    the downstair area. :( However, the folks did not want network cables so
    it would have to be wireless to bridge or power cables (getting crowded
    on the oulets with strips already!). :(
    --
    Quote of the Week: "The ambitious one makes friends with the elephant, then tramples upon the ant." --Indian
    /\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://antfarm.home.dhs.org (Personal Web Site)
    / /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net
    | |o o| |
    \ _ / Please nuke ANT if replying by e-mail. If crediting,
    ( ) then please kindly use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
     
    Ant, Aug 26, 2012
    #10
  11. Ant

    Ant Guest

    Your best bet is to string Cat5 cable to the rooms where you
    There is an attic, but not the whole house.

    Yeah, this will have to do since they don't want network cables. So it
    is either wireless or power outlets, but isn't power dangerous and does
    it matter if many outlets are used up?
    --
    Quote of the Week: "The ambitious one makes friends with the elephant, then tramples upon the ant." --Indian
    /\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://antfarm.home.dhs.org (Personal Web Site)
    / /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net
    | |o o| |
    \ _ / Please nuke ANT if replying by e-mail. If crediting,
    ( ) then please kindly use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
     
    Ant, Aug 26, 2012
    #11
  12. Ant

    Char Jackson Guest

    All of the standard things apply:
    - run Ethernet cable to that area, perhaps via the attic and then
    down inside an interior wall, terminating at a wall-mounted RJ-45 port
    - add an access point that serves that area
    - use Ethernet over power
    - use Ethernet over TV coax
    - use Ethernet over phone lines

    Those would probably be my suggestions for things to consider. They
    discuss this sort of problem over in alt.internet.wireless on a
    regular basis, so you may get better replies over there.
     
    Char Jackson, Aug 26, 2012
    #12
  13. Ant

    Char Jackson Guest

    I wonder what that means. It's not like running Ethernet cable results
    in loops of cable running across the floor from one room to another.
    It's just a port on the wall, like an electrical outlet, that you plug
    an Ethernet cable into.
    Don't rule out Ethernet over TV coax, (MoCA), if you have coax outlets
    in the right rooms. The cost and performance seem to be about the same
    as Powerline networking, from what I've read.
    Do you keep asking just to see if you'll get a different answer? ;-)
     
    Char Jackson, Aug 26, 2012
    #13
  14. Ant

    Ant Guest

    Yeah, but they didn't want that I said earlier. ;)

    Yeah, is that easy to do? How does that work?

    Is this safe and require spare outlets? Power outlets are crowded.
    Does that work with over the air (OTA) antenna and cable services?

    No interferences with the phone services?

    Good idea and thanks. :)
    --
    "... [Let us inquire] what glory there was in an omnipotent being
    torturing forever a puny little creature who could in no way defend
    himself? Would it be to the glory of a man to fry ants?" --Charlotte
    Perkins Gilman
    /\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
    / /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net
    | |o o| |
    \ _ / If crediting, then use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
    ( ) If e-mailing, then axe ANT from its address if needed.
    Ant is currently not listening to any songs on this computer.
     
    Ant, Aug 26, 2012
    #14
  15. Ant

    Ant Guest

    Yeah, but they didn't want network cables in the wall and other areas in
    the house. :(

    Yes, the rooms have coax outlets but will that interfer with over the
    air (OTA) and cable services (TV, Internet, and digital phone)?
    --
    "No, I'd prefer a cooler WITHOUT an ant-door, thank you..." --unknown
    /\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
    / /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net
    | |o o| |
    \ _ / If crediting, then use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
    ( ) If e-mailing, then axe ANT from its address if needed.
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    Ant, Aug 26, 2012
    #15
  16. Ant

    Char Jackson Guest

    I'll take your word for it and won't pretend to understand it. :)
    No personal experience, but they claim it works fine in those
    situations, with the exception of satellite TV.

    Here's an example of a pair selling for $124.

    Actiontec Ethernet to Coax Adapter Kit for Homes with Cable TV Service
    (ECB2500CK01)
    <http://www.amazon.com/Actiontec-Eth...ECB2500CK01/dp/B008EQ4BQG/ref=dp_ob_title_ce>
    The reviews are pretty fantastic.
     
    Char Jackson, Aug 26, 2012
    #16
  17. Ant

    Ant Guest


    --
    "Ants can carry twenty times their weight, which is useful information
    if you're moving out and you need help getting a potato chip across
    town." --Ron Darian
    /\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
    / /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net
    | |o o| |
    \ _ / If crediting, then use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
    ( ) If e-mailing, then axe ANT from its address if needed.
    Ant is currently not listening to any songs on this computer.
     
    Ant, Aug 26, 2012
    #17
  18. Ant

    Ant Guest

    Interesting. I will need to do research.
    --
    "Ants can carry twenty times their weight, which is useful information
    if you're moving out and you need help getting a potato chip across
    town." --Ron Darian
    /\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
    / /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net
    | |o o| |
    \ _ / If crediting, then use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
    ( ) If e-mailing, then axe ANT from its address if needed.
    Ant is currently not listening to any songs on this computer.
     
    Ant, Aug 26, 2012
    #18
  19. Ant

    Ant Guest

    Here are two previous owners' photographs/photos. of the downstair
    family/living/den room, with its bar, with the weak wireless feeds:
    http://i.imgur.com/auseC.jpg (facing the direction where wireless router
    is; note the kitchen on top left)
    http://i.imgur.com/Cxulk.jpg
    --
    "Whoops, there goes another ambulance ant." --Seymour and Pepe (Rick
    Moranis episode from The Muppets)
    /\___/\ Ant(Dude) @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
    / /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net
    | |o o| |
    \ _ / If crediting, then use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
    ( ) If e-mailing, then axe ANT from its address if needed.
    Ant is currently not listening to any songs on this computer.
     
    Ant, Aug 26, 2012
    #19
  20. Ant

    dg1261 Guest


    I notice you reannotated the previous aerial photo; that helps a lot.
    With the new photos it's clear the kitchen is directly between the bar
    and the router. All those appliances and ductwork in the kitchen is most
    likely blocking the wifi signal.

    It appears you've got decent wifi coverage everywhere except in the
    kitchen's "shadow". You might be able to get away with adding a repeater
    near the downhill side (south?) of the living room (in the area where
    your aerial photo is annotated "4 bars").

    I trust you're gently reeducating the owners that their refusal to use
    ethernet means anything close to gigabit speed will be out of the
    question. They may be okay with that tradeoff, but you don't want them
    blaming you when it isn't as fast as they thought it was going to be.

    Also, don't forget that as the wifi signal level drops, the speed also
    steps down. That's something to keep in mind if their plans include
    something like Netflicks on a big screen in the living room. You may
    still have to resort to a powerline bridge plugged into a wall outlet
    near the TV to get smooth streaming.
     
    dg1261, Aug 26, 2012
    #20
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