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[Solved] [HELP] Signal Repeater/Amplifier for Incoming WiFi Signals


Ballistic Gelatin

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Ballistic Gelatin

My Internet connection is based solely on accessing WiFi hotspots within my condominium complex. I subscribe to Xfinity WiFi Access Pass and just pay a flat monthly fee. That way, I don’t need to worry about renting/buying equipment or installing cabling.

 

Typically, I connect to a specific “xfinitywifi” hotspot using the hotspot host’s router MAC.  What I am looking for is a repeater/amplifier to boost the Xfinity hotspot signals that come into my home. That way, I can have a greater choice of hotspots with stronger signals (and, in some cases, much higher speeds).

 

I know there are such devices out there for people who want to improve their WiFi signal coverage in their homes where routers are used. Can anyone recommend some hardware for my kind of application? I know there are similar repeater/amplifiers used to boost weak cellphone signals, but I need something specifically for WiFi.

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Alfa makes some nice usb wireless devices, like Alfa AC1900 which has 4 antennas and increases the signal strength to a laptop.  Depending on the security that Xfinity has on the system you could try one of the wireless boosters and see if you could get it to connect, but if you are limited in any way to the number of connections you are allowed then it wouldn't work because it requires the use of DHCP to get IP addresses for each device connected to it plus the one it uses to connect to the network.  You would need something similar to the Linksys N600 Pro Dual-Band WiFi Range Extender.  If you know someone that has one and would loan it to you to test that would save you the cost of buying one.  I don't think you are going to have much luck with your current plan.

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stylemessiah

I would do the following:

 

Put (or buy and put) a good quality router that can run in bridged/repeater mode at the origin of the strongest signal from the AP

 

Then:

 

Iif your square footage is small to medium and your wall material isnt solid concrete, do a site survey with anything you can run a wireless signal analyser on (i use my android phone and an app) and put a good quality repeater inside the the "good" signal arc of the router, and nearest to where youre likely to use most of your devices

 

caveats: everytime you repeat a signal, you forfeit somewhere around half the bandwidth, as most if not all repeaters are half duplex...i.e. they can only either transmit or receive at any given time, not do both.  repeaters are only as good as the original signal they try and repeat, hence they have to be within the "good" original signal arc...no point putting one where the signal is weak...

 

OR

 

If you have dense wall material, or longer linear distances to cover, and an electrical wiring circuit wired in the last 30 years, or if you just want the best performance/reliablity:

 

Powerline adapter into a wall socket near the router, and cat5 cable from router to powerline adapter, then powerline adapter in socket in room equally central to where youre likely to use most devices, and cat5 from powerline adaptor to a 2nd router, either capable of running in bridged/repeater mode to the first, and/or with its own SSID, acting as a standalone AP. Ive done both - bridged and same SSID (best option/outcome) and bridged and diff SSID... Sometimes when ive been lucky, ive had 2 ISP supplied modem/routers at the site that were capable of being bridged ive set up (one modem/router with ADSL enabled, the other ADSL disabled, DHCP enabled on the ADSL enabled one, DHCP on the other disabled (bridged)) and used the same SSID on both, in that persons very long house, the transition from one end to the other carrying a device is seamless....as in you can walk form one end to the other watching a HD strea on an iPad and no buffering even...

 

pros: no half duplex penalty, thanks tot he powerline adapter, as the second router is, via cat5 > powerline > cat5 > original router, a wired dhcp client of the original router (not that its going to make much difference if youre routing a signal youre originally sourcing wirelessly)....so depending on the original routers ethernet ports and the powerline adapters capabilities, you could have gigabit to the second router, and then via whatever wireless standard the router puts out..

caveats: if running a different SSID there is a switchover between zones

 

Thats a simplified 5 second explanation, if youre interested, theres google or i can find articles to explain better. It is more complex in your case because the originating signal is a wireless one, more hoops to jump through. When you have no control over improving or even moving the source, then its a PITA

 

Hands down powerline has been the only reliable solution for me in long single story houses (the setup i referenced i put in 8 months ago for a friend of a friend who had spent 2 years trying various (and expensive, as in new gear tried every x months) gear and was at her wits end, havent heard form her except to say thanks again every x months), or long runs...repeaters are often the worst choice in any situation though....i only use them where theyre best suited...small coverage areas/condensed hub areas/no hard wall surfaces

 

 

 

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Ballistic Gelatin

Thanks to straycat19 and stylemessiah for responding.

 

Yeah, obviously the one factor I don't have any control over is that the APs are, of course, located within my neighbors' homes. If one of my neighbors decides to relocate his/her router within the home, there's no telling what effect it will have on the outgoing signal strength. And if the AC power goes out in their home, there goes my Internet access unless I switch over to another MAC whose associated router is not affected by the power outage.

 

Right now, at any given moment, I have access to anywhere from 8 to 12 nearby unprotected "xfinitywifi" APs that are available for use with my monthly Xfinity WiFi Access Pass plan. The one I use the most provides connection speeds up to 150-180 Mbps on Ch. 157. Others are considerably slower.

 

I'm waiting for a new neighbor to move in next door to me in a few days in the hopes that he/she will install Xfinity Internet access instead of AT&T or other brand of Internet service. If so, my WiFi signal strength issue could be solved with no action on my part. We'll see. :whistle:

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those people above have no idea what they're talking about. lol

 

Speaking from experience what you need is a good USB Wireless network adapter. the AP you're trying to connect to will assign a local IP address to you automatically, adding a router is unnecessary, useless expensive and complicates everything. an AP as the name tells us is an Access point, there is already a router behind it.

 

buy this long range wireless network adapter I personally use it myself and it's one of the best. 

 

https://www.alfa.com.tw/products_show.php?pc=34&ps=178

 

add this omni-directional antenna to it

 

http://www.tp-link.com/us/products/details/cat-5067_TL-ANT2412D.html

 

and these 2 cables needed for the connection

 

http://www.tp-link.com/us/products/details/cat-5067_TL-ANT24EC5S.html

 

http://www.tp-link.com/us/products/details/cat-5067_TL-ANT200PT.html

 

 

done.

 

 

 

p.s if you already know which AP you wanna connect to and where it is exactly located then buy one of these instead.

http://www.tp-link.com/us/business-networking/wireless/outdoor-access-points

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For 2.4GHz indoor use, replace all the 2.4 GHz oem antennae with a Hi-Gain 15dbi Corner Antenna

One on each 2.4GHz SMA connector. This is best for stationary, as the antennas must be aimed, but the extra throughput is worth it.

Works for me. Or just buy one of these Radar Active Electronically Scanned Array. Done.

AN/APG-79 AESA Radar Active Electronically Scanned Array

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4 hours ago, jabrwky said:

For 2.4GHz indoor use, replace all the 2.4 GHz oem antennae with a Hi-Gain 15dbi Corner Antenna

One on each 2.4GHz SMA connector. This is best for stationary, as the antennas must be aimed, but the extra throughput is worth it.

Works for me. Or just buy one of these Radar Active Electronically Scanned Array. Done.

AN/APG-79 AESA Radar Active Electronically Scanned Array

 

 

Hahahah man! you're helping him build an EMP xD :D:D 

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stylemessiah
10 hours ago, saeed_dc said:

those people above have no idea what they're talking about. lol

 

Speaking from experience what you need is a good USB Wireless network adapter. the AP you're trying to connect to will assign a local IP address to you automatically, adding a router is unnecessary, useless expensive and complicates everything. an AP as the name tells us is an Access point, there is already a router behind it.

 

buy this long range wireless network adapter I personally use it myself and it's one of the best. 

 

https://www.alfa.com.tw/products_show.php?pc=34&ps=178

 

add this omni-directional antenna to it

 

http://www.tp-link.com/us/products/details/cat-5067_TL-ANT2412D.html

 

and these 2 cables needed for the connection

 

http://www.tp-link.com/us/products/details/cat-5067_TL-ANT24EC5S.html

 

http://www.tp-link.com/us/products/details/cat-5067_TL-ANT200PT.html

 

 

done.

 

 

 

p.s if you already know which AP you wanna connect to and where it is exactly located then buy one of these instead.

http://www.tp-link.com/us/business-networking/wireless/outdoor-access-points

 

 

Thanks for the insult

 

Regards,

 

Someone with decades in IT....

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8 hours ago, stylemessiah said:

 

 

Thanks for the insult

 

Regards,

 

Someone with decades in IT....

 

there was no insult.

and decades in IT tells you that in order to connect to an AP located in a distant range you need a router to double the DHCP servers and multiple subnets instead of using of a long range wireless network adapter or another long rage AP?  in that case then I'm sorry, you stay with your knowledge. good luck

 

I have years of practical and real life experience with Wireless signals and specially their outdoor long range equipment.

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Ballistic Gelatin

Looks like I will be going with the Alfa AC1900 (AWUS1900). Rokland Technologies has it for USD60 and free shipping. Not a bad deal.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Ballistic Gelatin

UPDATE:

 

The Alfa AWUS1900 USB Wireless Adapter is a real speed demon and a great tool for locating distant (and faster) APs. Connection speeds to Xfinity-based APs (ac) in my condo complex range from 877.5 Mbps to 975 Mbps. This adapter is replacing an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 WiFi card that came with my Lenovo laptop nearly 4 years ago.

 

I was also able to modify the MACs of the Alfa and Intel adapters so that both can now be used on the same Xfinity WiFi Access Pass account, which officially only allows one device per Access Pass account. ;)

 

Needless to say, the Alfa adapter will be seeing much higher use. The four 5db antennas seem like overkill, but what the hell?

 

Thanks again to all who responded to my request for help.

 

 

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