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13. Re: Out of the Blue Oct 3, 2012, 15:34 jimnms
sauron wrote on Oct 3, 2012, 11:02:
I tried a dual-band router to extend coverage in my apartment, but the problem turned out to be a load-bearing wall in the way of the signal. The place is L-shaped and the router is in one end of it.

A repeater seems to have fixed the problem, bouncing the signal around the corner of the L, but the repeater I have (Netgear) isn't that great. Anyone know if Cisco makes a better one?

Have you tried powerline networking HomePlug AV as it's generally called? For a long time I was using two wireless G routers with Tomato firmware to create a bridge between my bedroom and the living room. It worked fine when the PC in there was only recording SDTV, but after getting a few HD channels and upgrading my HTPC with a digital HD card, I could not stream the HD shows to the PC in my room. I tried a Wireless N setup, but was disappointed in its performance. There are also a lot more Wireless networks in the neighborhood which probably had a lot to do with it.

I ended up getting a cheap 200Mbps HomePlug/router combo deal on sale. It was only $35, so I figured it was worth the shot. It blew away the Wireless N gear despite being an 80 year old house with original wiring. I sent the Wireless N stuff back, but kept my old wireless G stuff. I use one for a router and the other as a dedicated AP. I disabled the router part of the HomePlug kit, and it acted as a 4-port switch in the living room. The HomePlug part of the router kept dying every 5-6 months, but they kept replacing it for the two years it was under warranty.

I now have a 500Mbps Netgear HomePlug deal which has been going strong for over a year. I don't know what the actual performance of it is because both of my router's switches are 100Mbit and it's maxing that link out. It's a hell of a lot easier to setup too, it really is just plug and play. Out of the box they're unencrypted, sort of like an open wirless network. They'll connect to any other HomePlug device without encryption automatically. Generally you won't have to worry about anyone getting access to it, but in some cases the signal can travel to adjacent apartments (and sometimes homes even neighboring houses). Setting encryption on them is easy. Plug them both in, press a button on one, then within 30 seconds press the button on any other HomePlug adapters and they will set up a private network with a random encryption key. You can use the included software to set your own if you don't trust the automatic deal.
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