Help: Pairing WiFi extenders (TP-Link)

Astraeus

Well-known Member
I have two AV600 Powerline kits, which each have an adapter and a WiFi extender.

The first kit that I bought is setup via Powerline, so I have a connection via ethernet from the router to the adapter then use the circuit to take it to the extender. I am now trying to pair the second extender to the first adapter...

The instructions seem to suggest that multiple extenders can be added to one adapter and, sure enough, the lights on the new extender suggest that it is connecting. However, it isn't pushing out WiFi and the signal in the room with the extender has not improved at all.

Does anyone have experience with this type of setup please? Am I doing something wrong?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Can you ping all the powerline adapters from something connected (ideally cabled) to your router?

How are you measuring the "Wi-Fi signal?"

In Wi-Fi systems with multiple hot spots (Access Points) each AP will be sending/receiving Wi-Fi transmission to/from any client devices connected (called "Associated" on Wi-Fi speak) independently of all the others.

If you gave each of your AP's a different SSID, you'd know which AP you are Associated with based on the SSID. However, if you gave all the AP's the same SSID you won't know which one a client device is Associated with.

In Wi-Fi networking, it is the client device, not "the system" that decides if/when to "roam" between AP's with the same SSID, (with different SSID's the client never roam until you force them to.) There's something of an Internet myth that Wi-Fi clients are always "hunting for the best signal." In fact they do not, and some need signalling to get pretty grotty before they initiate a roaming assessment. So it's quite possible you could be stood next to an AP, but you client device continues to talk to one further away. This does not imply that the one you are stood next to isn't working.

So I suggest you test as follows: First ping all your plugs as I've indicated above and ensure they are all paired up correctly. Then give each "remote" plug a Wi-Fi SSID that is different to each other so you can be sure which one you are testing against, then repeat your signal assessments and check you can bind to each one.

Then if you want to avail the ability to automatically "roam" between AP's, change their SSID's to be all the same (and same passphrase.) But be aware that clients won't necessarily roam to the AP they are nearest to. Wi-Fi is "just like that." iSomethings used to be notorious for not roaming until signaling conditions got really bad - we call it the "sticky client" problem in the business.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
You will probably need to log into the new extender from a web browser, using the IP address allocated to it once it has joined the powerline network. Once you have access to the unit you can configure the wifi settings from there, and they may not be switched on by default.
 

Astraeus

Well-known Member
Thank you both.

I've downloaded TP-Link's management utility and it has identified the adapter and the two extenders.

The new extender did have a different SSID and password (which I presume was the one entered by the person who sold it to me) so I have changed that to my WiFi SSID and my WPA password - is that correct?

Interestingly, the management utility is telling me that there are no wireless clients connected. We have various mobiles and tablets connected so they all appear to be taking their connection from the router directly (as confirmed by the router utility) rather than any of the extenders.

Popped up to the top of the garden, changed to the 2.4gHz network and - voila! It's working.

I appreciate your helpful replies, gents.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
I would prefer to use WPA2 if the kit offers it as WPA got "cracked" ages ago (come think of it, WPA2 might be also.) But if WPA is all you have, then that's the one to go for.

If you want to avail automatic roaming between AP's, then the SSID and passphrase need to be identical in all AP's.

If you want to explicitly choose which AP you connect to, the make them different. But note, clients will never automatically roam between dissimilar SSID's.

There's no real "right" or "wrong" way to do this, both have their virtues and vices and which approach to use is a matter of personal preference. On big sites with dozens/hundreds of AP's I would never dream of giving them all different SSID's and requiring our used base to make explicit roaming decisions, so I make it all the same and let the automation handle roaming. But some SOHO users with a more sophisticated/trained user base and small number of AP's prefer to be able to choose their AP's and roam manually. You pays your money...

For optimum performance, you would want to tune each AP to different radio channels, but that's a whole other discussion to get into.
 

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