• Wi-fi booster or range extender help

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    I have an Actiontec router/modem supplied by Verizon (not paying a monthly fee for it).  We recently installed a Generac generator outside, about 25 – 30 feet from the router.  While the signal at the generator is ok – it could be stronger.  I know next to nothing about a booster or extender.  What I’ve looked at online seems to be smallish devices that would plug into a wall outlet, and hopefully get me a stronger signal outside at the generator.  Could anyone explain what I should be looking for, brands, etc. and if I wanted to add an additional one elsewhere in our house for better reception in other rooms, do I just buy 2 of these?  I’m not the most tech savvy person, so easy explanations would be most appreciated!

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    • #2260427
      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2260492

      TP link is good solution for me too, I use it at home. Setup is simple – via WPS buttons on the router and then on exteder, tho its not the most secure way.

      Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 20H2 Enterprise

      HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      PRUSA i3 MK3S+

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2260672

      I don’t know if this would be applicable but it works great for me… Then again I have FIOS service. But it gives me good wi Fi on both ends of the house and 2 ethernet connections for laptop and smart tv too….Actiontec.   Inexpensive too.




      • This reply was modified 3 years ago by DriftyDonN.
    • #2260676

      Not a big fan of Wi-Fi extenders, many of the models out there are not much more than snake oil.

      But when they work, they are a cheap-ish solution to your problem. One that I know works is the NETGEAR WiFi Mesh Range Extender model EX7300. Price should be around 150 usd.

      A better solution for home use is a distributed mesh system. Right now the best system in my opinion is the AmpliFi Gamer’s Edition WiFi System by Ubiquiti. Cost is around 350 usd.

      The best solution is a roaming Wi-Fi system with multiple wired access points on a controller system. But effort in installing, configuring and the cost involved is much higher than the two options above.

      ~ Group "Weekend" ~

    • #2260700

      If the signal is OK, why do you need a range extender?

      cheers, Paul

      • #2260712

        The signal at the generator is fluctuating, between 1 – 3 bars.  I’m concerned when it’s at the lower end the signal may not be strong enough for consistent wi-fi at the generator.  If it remained steady I’d be much less concerned!

    • #2260704

      Not a big fan of Wi-Fi extenders, many of the models out there are not much more than snake oil.

      Usually Wi-Fi boosters are the ‘snake oil’ devices. Extenders work fine.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2260772

        I would agree with you at the engineering level.

        Problem (in layman’s terms) is too many manufacturers have fuzzed the line in their marketing. Most folks cannot tell the difference anymore, and many products being sold as extenders are poor performing booster bridges that use the same radio for their back-haul as their client broadcast. It’s the same marketing trend that greatly exaggerates the actual throughput advertised on new Wi-Fi equipment with misleading numbers.

        Seen way too many cases where someone added a cheaply made “extender” and made their home Wi-Fi worse.

        Buyers beware indeed . . . .

        Disclosure: I am a partner (as a small part of my business) for a commercial grade networking company — which likely makes me a bit of a Wi-Fi (among other things!) snob.

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

    • #2260715

      There are other options, short of installing a wifi extender:

      * Move the router/modem closer to the generator, or move it higher. We have a Ring camera in our back yard, and it was getting a weak wifi signal; so I moved my router higher — I put it on top of a cabinet. It now sits about eight feet high, rather than the previous four feet high. Putting the router on top of the cabinet has allowed my Ring camera to get a better signal. I no longer get “poor wifi signal” error messages.

      * Get a better antenna for your modem/router. I don’t know what kind of antenna you now have, or if the antenna is even replaceable; but if you can get a better antenna, you might get a better signal. You might even be able to get an antenna that has a long cable, enabling you to put the antenna high up without having to move your modem/router.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2260825

        After checking the WiFi signal strength in the living room (router Actiontec T3200 via Windstream located in back bedroom floor, under the desk), I decided to try to increase the signal strength by repositioning the router to the top shelf of the desk.  Although the strength was OK, I noticed the Amazon WiFi stick playing a STARZ HD program would occasionally resort to buffering and like some people, I had additional time while staying at home so…  After a lengthy process of raising the router and redressing the cables into a nice neat appearance, the signal strength was actually worse lol.  Usually, a higher antenna IS better.  RF can sometimes be a ‘magic animal’.  The router is back on the floor, experiment/entertainment complete.

      • #2260912

        I think the answer is a longer more modern ethernet cable. Faster every time!

        Wi Fi is akin to CB radio and cell phones me thinks.

    • #2260854

      Here’s something that might help: Actiontec says that you can remove and replace the antennas on your modem/router:


      Check this out:


      I think the key is, get the same number of antennas that your modem/router currently has.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #2260856
      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2260860
      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2260945

      The router is back on the floor, experiment/entertainment complete

      Try it in other positions as well. 1 metre further left may be all it takes.

      cheers, Paul

      • #2260948

        Absolutely. Due to room geometry and a fairly massive high-backed desk, I observe the following (I’m running Linux Mint 19.2 which gives a signal strength in terms of per-cent):

        Normal position on the desk – 70%
        1 foot to the left – 85%
        2 feet to the left – 100%
        3 feet to the right – 35%
        1 foot closer to me – 85%

        I can go in several directions a bit more than 300 feet and still get a usable signal.

        (Distances refer to movement of my computer, but of course, it’s the relative position of computer and router that matters.)

    • #2272573
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2272622

      Here is our experience, hope it is helpful to you.

      At one urban home, I linked two areas, using TP-Link AV2000 2-port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline model TL-PA9020P.  The kit comes with two small boxes, each one plugs into a regular electrical outlet and has two Ethernet jacks on the bottom.  The specs say it will send a gigabit Ethernet signal through 1,000 feet of existing electrical wiring.  You can encrypt that signal if you are worried about snooping.  It was literally plug and play, working in 3 minutes.  So, it does not broadcast WiFi at all, unless you plug a WiFi router into one of the jacks.

      Meanwhile, in rural Texas, we have an open breezeway between the house and a 3 car garage, and there is a one room office on the far side of the garage.  Our internet comes in via a Wireless ISP, so there is a 50-foot antenna mast with a radio at the top, just outside the office.

      The radio delivers a max internet speed of 1.4-1.5 megabits per second, and connects via Ethernet cable to a basic Mikrotik router (model RB951Ui-2HnD) which is inside the garage.  It offers 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n, and does not have any external antenna connection.

      When we got here 5 years ago, I added this Wireless-N 600mW Range Extender SR10000 from Amped Wireless, to send a signal across the breezeway from the garage to the home.  Any wifi device in the office connects to the Mikrotik, and any wifi device in the house connects to the Range Extender.

      This setup works OK, given the slow speed, and I have never fiddled with it.  I am not advertising these specific companies, just saying what has worked so far.

      Good luck!

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    • #2281445

      I have Eero extenders. I have two HP Envy laptops (one a year old, the other essentially new). The old one has well-behaved download speed; works with Zoom, works with Skype, etc. The new one keeps displaying “Your network bandwidth is low.” And the gaps in Zoom audio and video show that the diagnostic is accurate. Any hints how to figure out what configuration tweaks I need, either in Win 1909 or in the Eero network? Thanks.

      • #2281460

        Do you have the same issue if the laptop is next to the router?
        Do you have low signal on other nearby wifi networks?
        You need to test with both laptops next to each other.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2281581

          There are places in the house where the bitrate can change by a factor of 4 moving the suspect laptop only a few feet. The “now what” moment came when the two computers were 3 feet apart, and only the suspect computer had speed issues. However, the “good” laptop was only web browsing, while the suspect one was on a Zoom call. I didn’t have the Microsoft speed monitoring window open on either one at the time. Maybe we need to have a Zoom call involving the two laptops and move ’em around the house to see if it’s just the laptop or if it’s the network (we could, e.g., swap positions to see if it’s location or hardware-specific).

          • #2282027

            Dont forget eero, the router shows the signal strength to each device. use the app on a phone right next to your computer. To see full details of WiFi from the perspective of a Windows pc, try out WiFiInfoView by Nir Sofer at nirsoft.net. Its free and portable.

            Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org and Defensive Computing at DefensiveComputingChecklist.com

            3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2281457

      Eight years ago we installed a Generac generator.

      At one time we considered making a WiFi connection to the machine but didn’t.

      At this point, the generator is fed by two 100 gallon propane tanks.

      When the power goes out the generator automatically turns on and when the power comes back on it turns off.

      Maintenance is simple, we check the propane tanks periodically and change the oil, oil filter and spark plug of the generator on schedule.

      Other than that, it is set it and forget it.

      Do you really need a WiFi connection for the beast? We don’t.

      More importantly, do you have standby uninterrupted power supplies to bridge the gap between when the power goes out and the generator kicks in on each of your computers and modems?

      And if you live in an area that is exposed to lightning strikes and/or power surges, I recommend a whole house surge protector or plug in surge protectors on each device/appliance that has a circuit board.

      We just lost a dehumidifier to a power surge.

    • #2282028

      Security of TP-Link devices is, as a rule, poor. Word to the wise.

      If you just need to boost the signal in one spot, a Wi-Fi extender makes sense. Likewise, the advice to try moving the Internet box, upgrading to better antennas (if possible) or use a powerline extender is valid – if you are only concerned with WiFi to one location.

      If you have a poor signal in multiple areas, then upgrading to a mesh router system is the better option. Mesh is more money, but more expandable, smarter and faster. The smart approach to any mesh system is to buy one or two units and see if that’s all you need. If not, then add another unit to the system. Both Eero and Amplifi sell a single device that can be expanded later, if need be. No doubt other mesh systems can also start small.

      Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org and Defensive Computing at DefensiveComputingChecklist.com

    • #2515912

      Hello all who might read,
      I bought a Linccrass Wifi Extender online.
      Spent $30 and would like to try to get the thing to work. I installed a different brand of one years ago, and I remember it being tricky to get it going, but then it worked well.

      On this one, the instructions are bad – very limited. I’ve plugged it in, and through my mobile phone found the signal, gave it a password, told it I wanted Repeater mode versus AP mode, etc. So, the repeater’s signal shows up on any wireless device (as a very strong signal), but when I try to connect to it from any device, it will not. One of the instructions I found online (very little info out there on this brand), said to hit the WPS on my router. My router does not have this button. Another instruction I tried was connecting my laptop via ethernet to establish the connection. So, I had the ethernet from the router to the wifi extender and then to my laptop (the extender has two ethernet ports – nothing else…just these and a reset button). It was showing that I was connected to the wifi extender, but when unplugged it went away. Obviously, I don’t understand how this thing works, but I’m trying. Anyone know of a way I can tap into the magic of this thing? hahaha

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