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We are going to buy a single internet connection for our whole apartment complex, 6 people (non heavy users) over 3 floors. We will have the router in a room in the middle of complex. We already have the cable modem. Do you guys have any router recommendations? The signal will have to go through floors/walls and will be wifi for all users.

edit: ~120$ is fine, though lower is better if it satisfies what we need.

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closed as off topic by random Feb 20 '11 at 17:12

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D-Link or Netgear or Linksys or Engenius. They're all pretty good. –  user3463 Feb 19 '11 at 18:28
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Also, if you have coverage issues, routers that can run various third-party firmwares (Tomato/OpenWRT/DD-WRT) can be used as repeaters to extend signal range. –  user55325 Feb 19 '11 at 18:39
    
Other than educated guesses, this is going to be hard for people to know. i.e., Every building is different in size and shape as well as building materials. Some buildings it's hard to get a signal to span the distance of just one unit, whereas another the signal may easily span the entire building. user55325 is pointing you the right direction, though, because you can try a single router, and if you don't get the coverage you need, you simply add a second (or third) router. –  Uninspired Feb 19 '11 at 18:47

3 Answers 3

You'll want a router that supports b/g/n since the new computers have been shipping with 'n' compatable cards for a few years now. The 'n' standard increases the range. You also probably want to look for a router that can put out a fair amount of power (measured in milliwatts)

Here is one I found by googling, though I have never used it, it should provide enough coverage for the apartment complex.

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=1000mw+router+wifi+n&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=14899906101055230835&ei=8QtgTancB8XegQe2oMW0Ag&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=image&resnum=3&ved=0CDUQ8gIwAg#

Alternatively, you could get a trusty linksys that supports 'n' which will probably be enough. You can always return it and get the higher power one, but I find that linksys routers are more reliable. http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=linksys+wifi+n&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=1247111987560083148&ei=wQxgTfycGMrcgQfQpqT9AQ&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=image&resnum=5&ved=0CE0Q8gIwBA#

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You will have to consider a lot of practical issues as well as the need to get the service to all the participants - for example:

  • Isolation of each other's personal networks - with an off-the shelf access point/router everyone will be on one network via wifi.
  • Bandwidth sharing/hogging issues
  • Legal responsibility for the connection and what it is used for - eg: what if someone downloads tons of copyrighted material.

If all this matters, you will need a solution that allows everyone to be on a separate network, perhaps by using a multi-port switch that supports VLANs and then have separate wireless access points for everyone, or use an access point that supports multiple SSIDs. All this stuff is not cheap so if you are serious about setting this kind of network up, let us know what's important to you and we can help fill in the equipment blanks.

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Remember it does not matter how powerful your router is when it comes to range, all the users PCs will also have to have the enough wireless power to reach your router as well, a double edge problem you have.

String Cat 6 cable to each apartment, that way each user can use a router (wired or wireless-their choice) in their apartment, solves the distance problem and each apartment will have their own private network (if they choose to use a router).

This way you can use a Wired router and a small switch to distibute internet access to all apartments, this takes the wireless headaches out of the picture for you.

The initial investment may be more, but in the long run you will be glad you did.

Be sure to change the default password in your router that supplies the apartments.

.

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+1 Because of the number of installs I have seen where the router is up-speeced power-wise but the output power of the laptops or remote PCs has not been considered. –  Linker3000 Feb 19 '11 at 21:45
    
Thanks linker3000, trying to prevent more problems for them, do it right, do it once. I worked at a car dealership as a tech, you fixed it right the first time or you would not be employed very long, and massive toolboxes are a pain to move, needless to say the wheels on my boxes were like new. –  Moab Feb 19 '11 at 22:07

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