Extending WiFi access range

From: Dan Lyke 
Cell network coverage at the house ain't all that. Both our phones do
WiFi calling just fine, but drop when we wander from house to

I've currently got two WiFi networks, one in my house (Zyxel ZTE300)
and one in my workshop (Linksys WRT54GL). I want one WiFi network, on
which my devices can roam between the house and the workshop.

When I've set up both with the same ESSID, I believe I had problems. I
don't remember all the details.

I'm not averse to buying a new gateway/router and just setting the
ZTE300 to passthrough, and a new AP or (preferred) AP+hub combo.

What should I buy so that we can seamlessly wander between house and
workshop without dropping WiFi coverage?


=============================================================== From: Dave Brockman ------------------------------------------------------ -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 How seamless are we talking? VOIP call not dropping seamless or browsing session appears uninterrupted seamless? Regards, dtb -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v2.0.17 (MingW32) Comment: Using GnuPG with Thunderbird - http://www.enigmail.net/ iQEcBAEBAgAGBQJSabimAAoJEMP+wtEOVbcd2GMH/iqqgW6bM1rQVfl8pUTE0Zus gVQJfdl+oZ4UHTcljErboPFYpIdGrjwQDZVHCbSyb0nmeCduc14fr5JbEhU1Yt+8 2SpA9L1lvx48rMnFPpA7iRtgDg6aCZq8wNNHFyisjVsKjhMzR5I+yOstSVIrf8kE l+0TLgm7Og0iNmxMf+3q1+PAV/xRsilpJFS97i1IbC/qXLC5MmQ2WiF+1DmVA1o1 fgrVc8NUlLGBgUjxYezu96nd/WeNmNeacE+oykDzaMkKg+Qv2bEMVfhVP1zjmfuA NA1qIVWk+lIk2l43h9dahvgcpprzHtj1P6CWGOVf8njDB9RzgG0gV49SbhxJPJQ= =s84G -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 On Thu, 24 Oct 2013 20:17:42 -0400 Dave Brockman wrote: VOIP call not dropping seamless. Dan -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.14 (GNU/Linux) iQEcBAEBAgAGBQJSad2NAAoJEAvds6IeGLPDOWcH/2o3L+KbtXJa6OZkIw9B8rRF KsVlt/3iiC8ivOIUxZSio56cNL+68wuT8Dby7lCCTxrAGqNgqNXR8MjwjAfC+YG4 Y+ZIPriGKntTchYEGTh/KCnhkV+FhyVu94B66uBMuVNHnSGHskumgwpl8/B7fbxx /lAveUyic2DSqHZCkLUoMVLYCQIls9iv3oM3bl5XsX2ca7XI9RYZNOgbzkslMEn9 IGh6YnSqFSdZs4/OXSSAENQGoSLSuU8arEjTLkTabiAi80eBY348e7GJj+1qt4T/ Jh7+N5HRQDS4PV/5x/ieTFFguSi9BQ8KfOba7nk8ZnKXbNogmgb4jV8WYNtFI/k= =C/GH -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

=============================================================== From: Bret McHone ------------------------------------------------------ That's going to be tough without some kind of controller based system. When switching between APs you'll run into delays/jitter when you roam because of the MAC tables on your switch having to update.Your device will also have to reauthenticate every time it roams between APs, so that will also cause delay/jitter/dropped calls unless it's able to do some kind of pre-authentication before it actually roams. Dave or someone else more Guru-like than I may be able to give some suggestions on mitigating those issues. I've not tried it so I have no idea on how to make VoIP work outside of a controller based wireless environment. Much of that will also rely on your wireless device. For instance, we attempted to setup iPhones as VoIP endpoints for our phone system (no cell service, only wifi) and while it worked great on the iPhone 4S, they are limited to only 2.4GHz. We tried to go with the iPhone 5 and discovered that they are *REALLY* bad at roaming. We gave our findings to Apple and they couldn't tell us how to make them work, so we have five iPhone 5s just collecting dust because we can't use them and they won't let me sell them... However, the polycom spectralink 8440 phones we have worked flawless on the 5Ghz range (802.11a/n). Best of luck on your project! Thanks, Bret

=============================================================== From: Dave Brockman ------------------------------------------------------ -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 I don't know of any solution to hop between APs and keep a VOIP call up w/o a controller. In addition to what you mention above, most devices/drivers will not "hop" to a new AP just because it has a stronger signal. You usually have to lose packets to trigger the "hop". Would a stronger, centrally located unit reach all of your coverage area? Regards, dtb -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v2.0.17 (MingW32) Comment: Using GnuPG with Thunderbird - http://www.enigmail.net/ iQEcBAEBAgAGBQJSama+AAoJEMP+wtEOVbcdyS4H+wbdRIeuBHDMKURH+AroIsaL Ig/9SZ28W8lzFntPU0P/gzNnO5M1pbtUCg0HalAX1H/OMIylFXOLiZ0J/COIAf8p DxZtTVaTYMPpef8/jJoeQBAbU4/ZIICLKDNY1qV9dKHVRrHQHW22l7xCL/rHfvxV FOwAwW/0jvPkHlpYv49ApzNTkO2y3qhhUFi5/5q8ADmq6xqcU9HBr22t+cyOb+kf HpZMB5bIGxpICA7xZXdvX8rB2ilnw5aNLO2/ID5QKv3GD8C9Zw3h3P9/Z/yNn3ss JtcSTcWq5f+4AUtQWfa+Wuio5hZToby1fxUcDJIQxP/pWDAtwHCf7oDi+0Uovpk= =Jfa9 -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 On Fri, 25 Oct 2013 08:40:30 -0400 Dave Brockman wrote: Yes. I need some sort of system that gives me full coverage that will leave a TCP/IP stream connected as devices get further or closer to a particular AP. Or, as you suggest: Probably. The lot is 52x80 deep, the house is set back a ways, and I could put the AP somewhere in the attic of the house, possibly near the back. House is plaster over button board, shop is similarly stick-built with interior and exterior layers of 5/8" drywall. Still means that the devices have to reach the AP, but... ...so what's the ass-kicking-est AP out there right now for under a few hundred bucks? Or, what's the cheapest sort of system one might deploy with a controller? Dan -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.14 (GNU/Linux) iQEcBAEBAgAGBQJSapJYAAoJEAvds6IeGLPDAiEH/RcKH/zOBVz9zWAy0zb4Z1m4 ONL2aKZQxDWfeh44gcXcZ5Mx5lBXz2cxpSChuX1pmCp7osch9QyIPzj8J0MzYBlQ 3enzmdRHL0E3/5IY09PnKPi6hIsA5MDdwMqd7V3pxraJHRnnIA0s4/N6EufnDVFX W5yiYAiJ+2CTMbw9mvK8Oz+Im5mlxU+3kLIUIsD18U2bt5V9iwuEZuQ3eJSEZULU jiwZDxNmCKegZtdwon6kt+Tf3tuyKR9d0lJK2WPCo98kaMpgqFmpN1ekxma+ysyo bogMItbzyEbWBfQI2pLoJgL4yoYTmAX2clV8lyZldJvx4iBtfnvYDMY5G9N2V8s= =+VPA -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

=============================================================== From: Stephen Kraus ------------------------------------------------------ Got an attic? Put some repeaters up.

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 On Fri, 25 Oct 2013 12:15:10 -0400 Stephen Kraus wrote: So can those repeaters also just take a Cat5e cable in (because that'd be perfect)? And what brand repeaters should I buy to make this work? Dan -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.14 (GNU/Linux) iQEcBAEBAgAGBQJSapqVAAoJEAvds6IeGLPDUEkIAMvK7qj3m81afcIVkpIn+u5R FxX4DJj433Zws0wJPnynWOSEqlIzH5v9foPNVIg79CZ6qfJ+Sk+iKYxi7PZ/cIhu L9NzOzRR6xFhMrUfhExct+3eByPuiLUpfzUBgWP51A4o0V/zg1AAF6ts9OzlF5I2 DAWvCqmKHM7WXOFJ6zTwwIlfeqHRoORt1zQc4JSeLAo+A7DvL3jhzu0H3NAuKR6o BOmNxE1Ik6gDDSOLvOLOIcD3LkX7/CEzBmlLvxSE4PZRYDOmShNDw1fZliSgEi8V AGZImhd7oBYTPRggReNwHPkopnyCF7X2s6XulNs9X6tG1CAVLljT7P3WKKCXDpY= =ZvuF -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

=============================================================== From: Bret McHone ------------------------------------------------------ Keep in mind if bandwidth is an issue a repeater will drop your speed, adds co-channel interference as well as latency. You may be better off with an AP with external antenna and an amplifier.

=============================================================== From: Ed King ------------------------------------------------------ pringles :)

=============================================================== From: Mike Harrison ------------------------------------------------------ I'd put a single AP with good omni antenna's on the side of your house near the shop, or directional antennas focused on the direction needed. http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template2/ There really work as well.

=============================================================== From: Mike Harrison ------------------------------------------------------ Bret: Amplifiers work, and increase noise as well as signal. 1st step: Big antennas. 2nd step, Directional Antennas strategically placed to cover the target area. 3rd step: Amp. I actually took off my high gain antennas at the house because the reached too far..

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ First your AP has to have external antennas. :( that's my biggest problem -- my router doesn't have an external antenna. :(

=============================================================== From: Know Juan ------------------------------------------------------ In addition to moving the unit somewhere central and using parabolic antennas - what about installing custom firmware and upping the Tx power? http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Advanced

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ So, summarizing: It seems like I've got three obvious paths forward: 1. Get a modern AP with pluggable antennas. 2. Get a high gain antenna to add to #1. Don't really want directional antennas unless I can have two on an AP, one omni for the house, one pointing at the shop. 3. If that doesn't work, get something like the Ubiquiti UniFi 3 AP pack for $200 and run controller software on a server. Unfortunately, #1&2 are a different technological direction than #3. But I probably want #3, really. Dan

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=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Quoting cluon : Hmm... just had a thought. Maybe you can get a high-gain omni, put it on a cable and run it out towards your shop and one over the main living space in the house???? Not sure if that would work or not.

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ So I don't know how "in tandem" the two antenna devices are, because the antennas on the last one I had were re-orientable and my impression was that the reason you had multiple antennas was usually related to wavelength spacing. Which basically says that I'd need an AP that allowed 4 antennas. That $200 Ubiquiti 3 pack is looking better...

=============================================================== From: Andrew Rodgers ------------------------------------------------------ You need a AP with a very good SNR on the receive side of the transceiver.