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Extend your Wi-Fi reach Part:2 5:47 AM

Configure your Wi-Fi router

Extended Wi-fi

Connect your cable or DSL broadband modem, along with your desktop computer, to the back of the router.

To get started, remove your old 802.11b router from the network and connect your desktop PC to the first Ethernet port on the back of the new router via an Ethernet cable. Next, using another Ethernet cable, connect your cable or DSL modem to the router's WAN port. Now, plug the router into an AC outlet, power on your PC, and wait for the router to come online; this should take a minute or two.

On your PC, open a Web browser window and type in the Buffalo router's default IP address. (You'll find it in the manual.) When the router's configuration screen appears, you can change the router's Service Set Identifier (SSID), WEP key, and channel settings to match your old routers. Leave the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) feature enabled and select one channel the router will always use. Apply your changes, and exit.

Tip

Change a new router's factory SSID settings and add encryption immediately to ward off unwelcome Wi-Fi freeloaders.

Boost your Wi-Fi with a repeater

Extended Wi-fi

Once the repeater is physically linked to the router, you can access and configure it.

With the router up and running, it's time to configure the Buffalo repeater device. Start by connecting it to the router's second Ethernet port. Attach the repeater's power cord to an AC outlet, wait a few minutes. Because the repeater is now physically part of your network, you should have access to its Web configuration screen.

Open a browser window on your desktop PC and type in the repeater's static IP address (found in the manual). Once the repeater's configuration page appears, change its SSID name and WEP settings to match those of your router. Also make sure you set the repeater to operate on the same wireless channel as your router.

The repeater operates via a standard wireless technology known as Wireless Distribution System (WDS) or Wireless Bridge. Because the router and repeater come bundled as a kit, both devices' WDS settings are preconfigured. Were they not, you'd have to manually enter Media Access Control (MAC) addresses for the router and repeater in each of their setup wizards. Finally, apply the changes you've made and exit the configuration screen.

Tip

Setting the router and repeater to the same Wi-Fi channel, WEP encryption key, and SSID ensures stable interoperability.

Step 6:

Maximize your Wi-Fi range

Extended Wi-fi

Reliably expand your Wi-Fi network by placing the repeater close enough to the router to replicate a strong signal.

Now that you've set the repeater correctly, you need to deploy it properly to maximize your network's range. Using a Wi-Fi-equipped notebook, make sure you can easily connect to the router's wireless signal. While still connected, carry the laptop toward the area to which you'd like to extend Wi-Fi coverage.

Walk as far as you can while still maintaining a reliably strong signal (usually anywhere from 20 to 50 percent signal strength). This is where you want to install the repeater, provided there's easy access to AC power. Plug in the repeater's power cord. After a few minutes, the repeater should begin interoperating with the router and effectively double the reach of your home network.

Tip

Resist the urge to set up the repeater outdoors; it won't survive the rigors of the elements.

Check your Wi-Fi signal strength

The range of your Wi-Fi network will depend on the layout of your house. In an ideal environment, such as the wide-open expanse of a parking lot, a Wi-Fi network's theoretical range can exceed 500 feet. Inside the typical home, however, expect anywhere from 75 to 150 feet, depending on the layout and the amount and density of obstacles.

In our repeater-equipped setup, we were able to achieve close to 100 percent signal strength in a distant corner of the house where the signal had been either very weak or nonexistent. We tested the signal strength using Buffalo's included Air Station Client Manager Software, which we installed on our notebook. The handy applet, which takes control of your notebook's Wi-Fi radio, displays such pertinent information as the name of your network, its IP and MAC addresses, and, of course, the signal strength.

If necessary, you can extend your signal strength even further by adding repeaters. The WDS protocol allows you to link six repeaters to a central router. Just keep in mind that each time you add a device, you cut your maximum bandwidth in half. An extended 802.11g network consisting of a router and a repeater will have a maximum speed of 27Mbps, for instance. The same Wi-Fi network with a router and two repeaters will top out at 13.5Mbps.

Tip

Dense building materials, such as stone or concrete, will block Wi-Fi's relatively weak radio signals. Try placing the router and repeater so that their transmissions won't be hindered by such obstacles.

Cheers. I hope this article helped you.

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