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From the author of Adding a Wireless Range Extender

Adding a Wireless Range Extender

Another approach to extending wireless network range is to boost the signal when it starts to drop off. This is accomplished by means of a wireless range extender (sometimes called a repeater), which you position somewhere between your wireless router and the farthest wireless adapter or device in your home.

For example, if you have your router at one end of a large house and a notebook PC way at the other end, install range extender somewhere in the middle of the house. The extender will receive the wireless signal from the router and then re-transmit it, effectively doubling the range of the original signal.

In practice, then, a range extender functions as both a wireless adapter (to receive the original signal) and a wireless router (to re-transmit the signal). Installing a range extender is relatively simple, although not as simple as adding a booster antenna; there’s some network configuration stuff you have to go through.

Most networking equipment companies offer range extenders, typically priced at $100 or less. There’s one thing to look out for, however. Most range extenders currently on the market only operate with 2.4 GHz networks; some only work with 802.11g networks. If you’re using an 802.11n router, especially in 5 GHz mode, look for an extender that supports these newer standards, such as the D-Link DAP-1360.

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