Improving WiFi Upstairs with AP or Powerline ?

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by topgazza, Jul 10, 2018.

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  1. topgazza

    topgazza
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    I have an area upstairs that is not great for Wifi... its OK but not great. I want a more consistent WiFi and have a hard wired run to my iMac from the router. Can I plug that into a small 4 port switch and run a Cat cableout to an AP as a solution to cover upstairs?

    Or should I just use a powerline pair ? I put a TP Link WPA4226 kit in my daughters Uni house and she get great WiFi now in what was a poor spot.

    Ap is around £80-100 and TPLink is around £50 but I am more concerned with performance. I would mount the AP in my study on a wall
     
  2. cjed

    cjed
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    Yes. Although small switches are usually 5 port. It's worth paying the extra for a Gigabit one (even if you don't need that at the moment). Here's an example.

    The TP-Link kit you mention *is* an AP (Access Point), it's just connected via your mains wiring rather than a direct ethernet cable. You'll get better performance from a wired (via a switch) AP than from one linked via Powerline technology. However, if all you want is internet connectivity via WiFi, the Powerline solution may be simpler.
     
  3. mickevh

    mickevh
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    This is by far the best way to do it.

    If you wanted to save on a "box" and the location is convenient, you might consider using a "crippled" SOHO router as a combination switch/AP in the outpost locale, (even better if you have an old router lying around, as it could potentially cost you nothing.) There's a few hoops to jump through to cripple a SOHO router as required, but it's not difficult and is described in the "Using Two Routers Together" FAQ pinned in this forum.
     
  4. topgazza

    topgazza
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    Thanks cjed.

    And yes, I would get a gigabit switch to be on the "safe" side. Good tip

    I think the issue is either cabled AP of just use the TP Link. As I get an OK signal as is I might as well try the TP Link as a cheaper option just to give me that better performance upstairs. If that doesnt do what I want I can always go for a seperate AP..Uquititi probably
     
  5. topgazza

    topgazza
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    My instinct was to go for the cabled AP mick. I mught well buy both from Amazon and send the one back I dont want. In some respects the cabled is easier than the TP Link due to spare sockets
     
  6. mickevh

    mickevh
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    All Wi-Fi is availed by "AP's" in one form or another - things like HomePlugs and SOHO routers just happen to have an AP built into a box that does other things too - there's nothing particularly "magic" about stand alone AP's versus ones included in HomePlugs and SOHO routers (and phones, and printers, and servers, and, and, and...)

    BUT: :D There's AP's and AP's:- some are most decidedly more feature rich and perform better/worse than others. There's nothing for it but to trawl the spec. sheets. (Though some SOHO manufacturers seem to be a bit coy about the amount of information that provide.)
     
  7. topgazza

    topgazza
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    I have a Billion BIPAC 7300N which is "N" compliant. I'll have a read up but assume I can connect the cat6 straight to the router and out to my iMac as a "switch" and with a bit of a play broadcast the WiFi upstairs as an AP. I'll read that sticky
     
  8. mickevh

    mickevh
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    You should be able to. The LAN ports in a SOHO router are a built in ethernet switch.
     
  9. topgazza

    topgazza
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    Billion not working properly so I ordered TP_Link AV600 kit and installed and it worked a treat. However I now had two WiFi networks...the Sky one and the TP Link one. WPS didnt work to copy SSID and password to the TP Link so I manually did it. Then the fun started. I now had two Sky networks one of which asked for user name and password...haven't got a clue as nothing in the settings page stated what they were, other than the manually inputted Sky SSID and Sky password. It also wanted the radius IP which I assumed to be the WIFi IP. But in any case the Sky router then decided to stop letting devices log onto it.

    So not sure if I should just have used the one SSID that worked or what. In the end I decided that something this simple should not be a hassle so its going back.
     
  10. mickevh

    mickevh
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    Sounds like you've opted for the wrong security "type" somewhere in the setup.

    If it offers choices of things like "WPA-PSK" "WPA-Enterprise" "802.1X" or "RADIUS" you want a "PSK" (Pre-Shared Key) variant. It may be styled as "WPA-PSK" "WPA2-PSK" "WPA/WPA2-PSK" or similar, but the point it it's not any of the others.

    PSK based security is based on the use of the ubiquitous "Wi-Fi key" much beloved of lay people (and incidentally in security terms, a rather poor solution.) PSK means you set up the SSID and key, and that's it your done. With all the other versions (Enterprise, .1X, RADIUS, etc.) the authentication is handed off to a back end system, hence your AP is asking about where those systems are if you've inadvertently chosen one of those regimes.

    Once it's set up, assuming you get the SSID name the same as your Sky router, you should no longer see both networks listed on the client device. Client devices regard multiple AP's advertising the same SSID as belonging to "the same" network and only list the SSID once. (Which incidentally means you will have no choice as to which one you connect to - the client device will choose for you.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  11. The Dude

    The Dude
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  12. topgazza

    topgazza
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    As always... thanks guys.

    Mick, as I was playing with the devices I read an article about using PSk which as you say is an option on the TP-Link. But by then I was fed up with it with WPS not working.... a hissy fit I know. I prefer WPA at the very least, which the Sky router is on, for at least some security comfort but in this case there is little choice. I will have another go for the sake of my sanity tomorrow as I have to say the performance of the TP-Link extender was superb.

    Failing that I'll buy the Dude some stamps.....

    Now here's the thing. The problem I'm solving, having a rethink about it, is something that has come up a couple of times. WiFi is generally good throughout the house but I have been suffering very intermittant speed drops upstairs when downstairs its fine. It's very intermittent and impossible to fault find when it does it. However, I have a new, spare SR102 I can swap out as it's possibly a faulty WiFi module. My thinking was I might as well give the whole house and upstairs, at a minimum, a more consistent WiFi feed rather than rely on the SR102. I was going to install a mesh and disable WiFi in the 102. But thats expensive although I suspect I only need two devices three sounds more ideal ? Next door has the BT Whole Home setup and he says its powerful and rock solid and £179. So a consideration.

    I was hoping the TP-Link would be alternative that would do the job and as I said when I first installed it throughput, measured on OOkla, was faster than before and never wavered for and hour on Wireshark. So am I using a spanner to drive a screw in here and as I'm not solving WiFi blank spots go for a mesh solution ?

    Thanks for your patience :smashin:
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  13. mickevh

    mickevh
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    https://static.tp-link.com/TL-WPA4226 KIT (UK)_V1.20_ User Guide.pdf

    Looking at a TL-Link WPA4226 manual, section 3.4.2 in the manual I have is the "wireless security" settings: Choose the bottom radio button of the four; "WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK" (not the one above labelled "WPA/WPA2".) You may as well leave all the options as "automatic" and all you should need to do is set the "PSK Password" same as your other router (that's the "Wi-Fi Key".)

    The SSID Name is set up in the previous "wireless settings" screen (3.4.1) - make that the same as your Sky router if you want to avail clients automatically roaming between the router and extender.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  14. topgazza

    topgazza
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    Thats the one mick. Thanks for confirming I'm not going mad and I'll try it tomorrow.

    More later....
     

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