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Poor wireless signal strength

EK
I Plan to Stick Around

I have my modem in the study inside my bedroom on the second floor. Then I have two laptops on the ground floor. The laptops get disconnected all the time due to poor signal strength. I read on the internet that I should either get bigger antennas for the modem or get a repeater(access point) and place it somewhere between the modem and the laptops. What do you recommend?

 

Thanks,

EK

 

 

***edited labels***

36 REPLIES 36

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

Chris
I'm a Senior Advisor

HA awesome! **bleep** computers (I love them and hate them all at the same time...)

 

Well it depends on the mode of the network did you setup it  with wireless g and wireless n?

 

The other thing is it should all show up as the same network not a new network.. So your laptops shouldn't really notice which access point it is connected to..

 

Try moving to an area that you wouldn't normally  have coverage and see if it's helping.. Maybe moving the AEX to an area somewhere in the middle where it can still see the wireless fairly well but also push out some wireless to the in accessible area..

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

EK
I Plan to Stick Around

So, I don't need to install Airport Utility on the laptops that I want to connect to internet via this Airport Express? Just want to make sure.

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

Chris
I'm a Senior Advisor

Nope Airport Utility is just for configuring the AEX. You can install it if you wish if you want to manage it from other computers but there is no need for just regular using it..

 

Really wireless devices shouldn't notice the difference except that they have better coverage (at least thats the theory) 🙂

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

EK
I Plan to Stick Around

Thanks!  I would not have come this far without your help!! Will test the coverage tomorrow.Smiley Happy

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

Chris
I'm a Senior Advisor
I'd just like to note that I did not swear above where it says 'bleep' I was actually talking about computers that are used to block waterways to either create a habitat for beavers or used in the production of hydro electricity.....

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

Chris
I'm a Senior Advisor
@EK any luck with the signal?

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

guru
I Plan to Stick Around

so does the airport express just simply connects to the SMC router from router that easy to extend the wireless signal?  I've been trying to connect a netgear N600 router to do this but have had no success wirelessly.  Does the SMC router have to be put into bridge mode?

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

skinorth
I'm an Advisor

@guru:

 

the Airport Express functions as a wireless Access Point, not a router. See the Wiki on wireless Access Point:

 

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

 

The SMC should not be put into bridge mode for your requirement. In fact you will still need the router functions on the SMC if you want to use the Airport Express, as I  do not believe it has that capability.  So putting the SMC into bridge mode will shut down the router functions that are essential to your network should you choose to use the Airport Express.

 

I know you can connect the Airport Express to the SMC by wired ethernet to make it act as a wireless Access Point and hence as repeater for your network.  I believe it will also do this wirelessly.  Perhaps others can confirm.

 

The Netgear N600 is a router, not an Access Point so it functions differently than the Airport Express.  You could make it function in this application as well, but it would require a wired ethernet connection between the N600 and the SMC.  As well, you would need to configure the IP addressing on the N600 to suit the requirement so it would connect to, and fit into the IP subnet which the SMC uses.

 

skinorth

 

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

guru
I Plan to Stick Around

ok, so I think with this information I am going to go with the airport express as it sounds like it will be the easier option to configure and just may be all we need to get a further wifi range to the house from the studio.  I had thought the router option would be a better option till I come up again the settings in the SMC router from Rogers.

 

Back to drawing board....lets see what happens now 🙂

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

skinorth
I'm an Advisor

@guru:

 

I don't think you need to change any settings on the SMC.  The addressing on the N600 needs to be set up to complement the IP address subnet used by the SMC.

 

The SMC router uses the IP address range/subnet 192.168.0.1 - 192.168.0.254.  The SMC router itself has the IP address 192.168.0.1.  The N600 defaults to 192.168.1.1.

 

You would merely need to change the N600 address to, let us say 192.168.0.2, and connect it to the SMC with a wired ethernet connection.  Make sure the wireless is on on the N600 but on a different channel than the SMC.  You would just use the N600 as a switch, rather than a router, by plugging in the wired ethernet cable into any of slots 1 - 4.  Plug the other end into any of slots 1 - 4 on the SMC, that is currently open.

 

And, oh yes, I nearly forgot, you need to disable the dhcp function on either the N600 or the SMC too.  I would probably disable it on the N600, as you will already need to access the management interface on it anyway.  And you will now access that management interface at 192.168.0.2, of course.  And I would do all of this with a wired ethernet connection between your computer and the N600, before you connect it to the SMC.

 

The Apple Airport Express is a really nice device, and I too would be tempted to get one of those, but you can do it with what you have on hand.

 

That should work for you.

 

skinorth

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

guru
I Plan to Stick Around

this is probably a dumb question, but does the SSID on the N600 need to be setup as the same as the SMC router or does it matter? basically you're saying to setup the N600 with a IP address of  192.168.0.2 and have it connected via ethernet cable (does this need to be connected all the time or can the N600 be moved to another location)??

 

Are there any other settings that I would need to change on the N600 other than the IP address and the DHCP setting. I would leave all the settings on the SMC router untouched but just change those few settings on the N600 ... making it an access point only?

 

Sorry for the questions I'm just trying to understand this better 🙂 Really appreciate your help!

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

skinorth
I'm an Advisor

@guru:

 

you state "...this is probably a dumb question...".  No, not at all.  It's a very good and reasonable question to ask.

 

I wrote my posting based on my base of experience with the technology.  Naturally, I do not know your experience level.  For all I know, you may be a real expert in, let's say, picking winning stocks on the TSE.  While me, I can't even reliably pick up my wife from her GO station on time.

 

So, let me try to explain:

 

What you will be doing is setting up two different WiFi networks to which you can connect.  You connect to the SMC-sourced one in that part of your house where it is stronger.  You connect to the N600-sourced one in the other part of your house, where that one has the better signal strength.

 

So, the best thing to do is to set them up as two different WiFi networks.  Each network should be set up with its own SSID as that will allow you to identify them when connecting to them.  Other than that, you can set them up any way you want.  But in order to prevent radio signal confusion and interference, the SMC and N600 should use different channels, preferably separated as much as possible.  For example, you could put the SMC on Channel 3, and the N600 on channel 11.  Normally these devices pick their own channels, so you need to go into the management interface for each one of them, and explicitly set that up so they use the channel of your choosing.

 

Please do not hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you.  There are many of us here that will be happy to help, should you need it.

 

skinorth

 

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

guru
I Plan to Stick Around

"You would merely need to change the N600 address to, let us say 192.168.0.2, and connect it to the SMC with a wired ethernet connection.  Make sure the wireless is on on the N600 but on a different channel than the SMC.  You would just use the N600 as a switch, rather than a router, by plugging in the wired ethernet cable into any of slots 1 - 4.  Plug the other end into any of slots 1 - 4 on the SMC, that is currently open."

 

As you had wrote the above, I had to think....when I have the N600 wired in the SMC router to setup, I wanted to ask...after the setup is complete will I be able to disconnect the N600 router and move it to another location and be able to use it wirelessly OR will it need to be connected (wired) to the SMC all the time to get use of the 2nd router as an access point?  As well, you meantioned changing the IP address to like 192.168.0.2  will I need to change any other settings like the gateway, or DNS settings? 

 

The N600 is wired to the SMC router thru one of the 4 ports, while I'm setting up the N600 it is wired to my computer thru the WAN port or any of the other 4 ports?  This whole process seems much easier with just one router, I'm just trying to get a better understanding of how to setup the N600 to actually communicate with the SMC and hopefully be able to use the N600 in a different area of the house for an access point.  I always thought using a router for this puurpose was better, but it seems complicated to setup to me.  I'm sure once I get it working all of this will make sense.  🙂

 

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

skinorth
I'm an Advisor

@guru:

 

 

I agree with you that the whole process is a lot simpler with just one router.  But so far, it seems Rogers has not yet been able to source a device that has all the capabilities we require in even reasonably straightforward situations.  And, on top of that, Rogers manages for their own reasons to make inaccessible or cripple some of the capabilities these devices have, so we cannot implement some of the more complex network configurations.

 

The finished setup will require a wired ethernet connection between the SMC (any port 1 4) and the N600 (any port 1 - 4).  The distance limitation on a cat5 wired ethernet is, I think 100 metres, so you have lots of distance to work with in the average house.

 

To set up the N600, you connect your computer also to one of ports 1 - 4.  Connect your computer to the N600 before booting it up, as it needs to get its IP address from the dhcp on the N600.

 

I will get back to you later, as my lunch break is over, and I must go.

 

skinorth

 

 

 

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

skinorth
I'm an Advisor

@guru:

 

well, here I am, back again.

 

I have been racking my brain trying to develop a way to explain this network configuration we have been discussing.  Well, here goes.  But believe me this would be a lot simpler if we could just sit side by side at a keyboard, and work our way through the process.........

 

As you know, the N600 was designed to function as a wireless router.  For several reasons, the approach I am proposing will not use its router capabilities.  This approach uses only its ethernet and wireless functions as a switch.  It will do no routing.  It will do no dhcp or firewall functions.  We will leave all that to the SMC router section.

 

But befor the SMC and the N600 can play together, they need to use the same IP subnet/address space.  To make this work, we need to use the 192.168.0.1 - 254 address space within which the SMC functions.  So, as mentioned in my earlier posting, the N600 address needs to be changed from its default 192.1681.1 - 254, to 192.168.0.2, which is in the address range used by the SMC. Also, we do not want to use exactly the same address on the N600 as the SMC uses, for obvious reasons!

 

You need to connect your computer by wired ethernet directly to just the N600.  You need to make sure that you boot up your computer while connected to the N600 so it gets its IP address by dhcp from the N600.  Then you log into the N600 management interface with a web browser and find where you change the N600's address.  You probably should consult the N600 documentation for this information.

 

Changing the N600's address is something like pulling the rug out from underneath yourself.  The N600 will restart itself, and suddenly the IP address on your computer will not allow you to connect to the N600 anymore.  So, it is time to reboot your computer again to see if you can now reconnect to the N600 at its new address.  The assumption is that dhcp on the N600 will now give your PC an address in the N600's new address range.  If you can't connect, obviously it is time to reconsider, and determine what went wrong. Go to Command Prompt>ipconfig /all to find out what happened and what IP address (if any) your PC got from dhcp.

 

In the final analysis, you can always reset the N600 to its factory defaults and start over.

 

As mentioned previously, you need to turn off dhcp on the N600.  You should set up the wireless channels on the two devices to suit your needs.  As well, while connected by wired ethernet, you should make sure that all the other wifi parameters on the two devices are set to suit your needs.  So set up SSID's and passwords on each, etc.

 

You can locate the N600 in the area where you want it, in order to optimized the wireless coverage in your house.  But you need to run an ethernet cat5 cable between the two devices to keep them connected.

 

Good luck, and let us know how it works out for you.

 

skinorth

 

 

Re: Poor wireless signal strength

guru
I Plan to Stick Around

WOOT!!!! it works!!! YEAH!!!  thanks for your help. 🙂

 

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