Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Extending Your Wifi Network with an Old Router

Here's some timely information from Lifehacker. A couple of months ago, the unreliability of the aging Airport express I was using as a wireless access point in my detached garage pushed me into action. Ok, I'm exagerating a little here. I had been annoyed by this for a while, but it was fairly low on the priority list.

I use a wired gateway/router provided by my ISP as the router for my network, then I have two wireless access points, one for the house and one for the garage. In the house I have an Asus RT-N66U (I realize I don't need a router here, but I wanted the option to use it as one in the future). This replaced a Linksys WRT610n, which is a fairly new router, but gave me enough problems that I wasn't happy with it. However, when I set up the Linksys router as an access point in the garage, it works like a champ.

The Lifehacker article primarily deals with setting up an old router as a wifi repeater. Since I ran an Ethernet cable under the house  to each of the access points (fun, let me tell you) I didn't need this functionality. There isn't much to do technically. Go into the setup for each access point using a browser, to make life easier, I recommend connecting to the access point directly using an Ethernet cable. Set it to act as an access point instead of a router and set each access point to broadcast the same wireless network. I have 802.11g and 802.11n 5GHz networks broadcasting, for 802.11g, you want to make sure they are operating on different channels with minimal overlap. For two access points, use channels 1 and 11. I haven't played around the 802.11n settings yet, both access points are set to their automatic values. Generally, my understanding is that there is much less interference possible in this band. I may come back to this in the future.

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