WIFI Range Extender Confusion!

Evokazz

Well-known Member
Hiya guys, I have my router downstairs and the connection upstairs at the rear of the house has always been a bit iffy, but usable. However now my kids are getting older they both have a tablet and play games like Roblox etc with each other, when playing it's fine until they come into their bedroom at the back then they will randomly disconnect.

Due to the constant moaning and upset I bought a WIFI extender, set it up, got 4 bars on it then moved it to the upstairs landing as suggested on Youtube. It's a TPLink N300.

It doesn't say anywhere in the manual to do anything else other than initial setup. So I presumed the girls tablets would connect to my router as normal, and then when they come into their bedroom, the extender will help keep them connected, however nothing has changed at all, they still get kicked off?? I even moved the extender into their room (3 bars there) and it still happens? Am I supposed to connect to the extender exclusively in WIFI connections? (Theres an entry appeared called SKY_WIFI_EXT since setting it up.) I would of thought this would be an automated thing?

If I have to switch everytime they come upstairs it's going to get really annoying really fast lol.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
In Wi-Fi networking, it is the client devices not "the system" that decide which Access Point (AP) to connect to (called "Associate" in Wi-Fi speak) and if/when to "roam" between AP's. (All Wi-Fi is availed by AP's - AP's are built in to lots of other things such as "routers" "extenders" "HomePlugs" and so on.)

If the SSID names (and passphrase) of the AP's differ, the clients will never roam between AP's, you have to manual disconnect from one and connect to another (AP's with different SSID's are regarded as belonging to "different" networks.)

If the SSID names (and passphrase) of the AP's are the same, then the clients may roam between them automatically without any user interaction. However, beware of "Big Wi-Fi Myth Number 2" that clients are always "hunting for the best signal" - they do not and some clients need it to get pretty grotty before initiating a roaming assessment. You can potentially be sat next to an AP but if your client device has decided that it's getting "good enough" service from an AP further away, it may continue to use it even though there is a better alternative available.

There's no real "right" or "wrong" way to do this (same SSID's or different) it's a matter of personal choice as to which you find most convenient.

Don't move your extender too far away from your router - it needs to be "In range" of good signalling conditions of both your router and the "bandit" coverage area you are trying to improve. Wi-Fi "Repeaters" (which is what you have) can also have a detrimental effect on performance if "speed" is your thing.
 
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Evokazz

Well-known Member
Thanks, I'll try moving it again and test, I just tried connecting to the SKY_EXT option on my devices and it doesn't supply a internet connection even though it connects, so I think it's just a placement of sorts to show it's on the network?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
By chance, I happen to have a TP Link extender (mine is model number RE200) and I know it does something a bit unusual in the way it handles network (IP) addressing. If your model operates similarly, it may be that's what the "problem" is rather than a "signalling" issue.

By way of a test, you could give the extender a different SSID from your router (if it's not already,) plug it in somewhere near to you router and test that you can get connected successfully to the extender. Thence, if/when that's OK, move it further afield and check it's still working. Thence if you have decided to go with the "SSID's the same" operating paradigm, change the SSID/passphrase.

BTW - I wouldn't use "generic" SSID names like "Sky" "BT" "Virgin" etc. etc. (both for your router and extender.) I'd choose something a bit more "personal" or unique to your household - though bear in mind anyone passing by can "see" it so don't use your address or anything that has personal information about you.
 

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