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Hard to find the right wireless router with range?

Discussion in 'Networking' started by booey1, Apr 5, 2008.

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  1. booey1

    booey1 Thread Starter

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Messages:
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    Hi

    I'm not sure which wireless router would be best.I'm trying to help my father get one for his bed and breakfast, so they need:
    - good signal for 30m on two floors
    - 8-12 simultaneous connections
    - maybe bandwidth limiting for each connection
    - good security options for users and themselves
    - anything less than £100

    I've had a look at:
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/127028

    Does that look good, or should I be looking at something else?

    It seems like a real challenge to find the right thing.

    Thanks!
     
  2. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2002
    Messages:
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    Truthfully, you'd be better served IMO with several more inexpensive routers wired as wireless access points placed at strategic locations. I'd use three, one about at about 5m from each extreme end and one in the middle. I'd configure them on channels 1, 6, 11 (or similarly spaced to avoid interference and channel overlap. One of the routers would be connected directly to the broadband service the other two would be configured as access points. You can also use real WAP units, but it's common to be able to buy wireless routers for far less than a WAP, and they offer the same functionality for your use. You would need to run a cable between the three router locations and to the broadband modem (if not located with one of the routers).

    The advantage of this configuration is it gives you much better coverage than any single router, and it also spreads the wireless access over multiple connections. Eight 802.11g connections on a single wireless router or WAP results in very slow access for all of them. 802.11g is half duplex and operates on a contention basis, the more connections you have, the slower things get. By the time you get to 8-10 connections, it's starting to look like poor dial-up service! Spreading the wireless connections over multiple wireless access points will greatly ease this congestion.

    Here's the recipe for configuring the secondary routers as WAP units.

    Connecting two (or more) SOHO broadband routers together.

    Note: The "primary" router can be an actual router, a software gateway like Microsoft Internet Connection Sharing, or a server connection that has the capability to supply more than one IP address using DHCP server capability. No changes are made to the primary "router" configuration.

    Configure the IP address of the secondary router(s) to be in the same subnet as the primary router, but out of the range of the DHCP server in the primary router. For instance DHCP server addresses 192.168.0.2 through 192.168.0.100, I'd assign the secondary router 192.168.0.254 as it's IP address, 192.168.0.253 for another router, etc.

    Note: Do this first, as you will have to reboot the computer to connect to the router again for the remaining changes.

    Disable the DHCP server in the secondary router.

    Setup the wireless section just the way you would if it was the primary router, channels, encryption, etc.

    Connect from the primary router's LAN port to one of the LAN ports on the secondary router. If there is no uplink port and neither of the routers have auto-sensing ports, use a cross-over cable. Leave the WAN port unconnected!

    This procedure bypasses the routing function (NAT layer) and configures the router as a switch (or wireless access point for wireless routers).
     
  3. booey1

    booey1 Thread Starter

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Messages:
    123
    Thanks, that was really useful. What do you think about limiting the access for guests though, maybe the bandwidth, are there any easy ways of doing that? For example having two network passwords - one with limited bandwidth and one with unlimited? Or could you limit the bandwidth on two of the three routers? How easy would it be to do that and what different ways are there?

    Thanks again :)
     
  4. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    106,418
    You probably want the main router to be one with QoS capability, which will at least allocate the bandwidth so real bandwidth hogs don't chew it all up. Some routers can actually do real bandwidth shaping by limiting the bandwidth of a single connection to a specific throughput. My Actiontec MI424WR and some of the Billion models will do that. Also, I believe that a Linksys that's compatible with the DD-WRT 3rd party firmware may have bandwidth shaping as well. The secondary routers are just being used as access points, so they just need to be able to supply wireless access.
     
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