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Hello and thanks for reading,

I have been struggling for MONTHS to configure a network in my new home and am hoping you can help. For some reason, the wireless signal does not carry well in my house and anyway, I like being hooked up on a lan whenever possible. For those reasons, I have set up a primary wireless N router and then run LAN cable from the back of it to two end-points in my house (media room and office) where they are connected to older wireless routers.

I am a freelance software developer and know diddly squat about networking. I have spent so much time on this already but I just don't seem to "get" networking. So, hoping someone will have pity. . .

AVAILABLE HARDWARE:

  • Main Hub connected to cable modem: Frys Wireless N Router (http://www.frys.com/product/5978974?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG)
  • Office: Linksys Wireless G (WRT54G)
  • Media room: D-Link Wireless N (DIR-655)

CURRENT CONNECTIONS:

  • Frys Router is our primary wireless N service and has LAN connections to the office and media room. (this wireless N is working great except for the limited range)
  • Linksys in my office has LAN connections to my HP laptop and to our HP C7250 printer (these LAN connections don't currently work, I don't think the wireless is working either)
  • D-Link in media room has LAN connections to my PS3 and LG tv (these LAN connections do work, not sure if the wireless is working).

GOALS

  • Strengthen wireless signal throughout the house under a single network connection.
  • Get the LAN connections in my office working so that I can use LAN to connect to the internet and to make my printer available on the home network.
  • Would be AWESOME if I could connect my laptop to my PS3 over LAN and stream a movie to it.

NOTES

  • Some of my clients need me to connect to their networks through a VPN. Don't know if that matters.
  • I spent time on this site (http://www.sveasoft.com) as they have some firmware that supposedly accomplishes what I need to do, but the supporting docs seem geared toward hardware pros.

Anyway, I am sure I will get a few RTFM comments, but please rest-assured that I have and am just stuck here.

Many thanks!

Matt

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 26 '11 at 21:39

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2 Answers 2

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You are using 3 different routers. Most SOHO Routers have a WAN port and 4 LAN ports. The WAN port on your main router should be connected to your modem. On the other routers, DO NOT use the WAN ports. Only use the LAN ports to connect the routers together, and to connect other devices to your network.

Based on your description it's really hard to tell what the problem is, but the first thing I'd check is that you're not using the WAN port when you shouldn't. WAN is for connecting your local network to the outside. You are essentially using the other 2 routers as switches, bypassing their WAN capability.

You might also consider replacing the extra 2 routers with regular 5 port switches - that will reduce the chances that the routers are interfering with one another.

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Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Thank you Jason! Who would have thought it was that simple?? I now have access to my printer, the LAN connections are all working--it's great! The last piece of the puzzle it to set up a media server on my PC so that I can stream content to my PS3. Thank you sir!! –  Matthew Patrick Cashatt Jul 26 '11 at 22:33
    
For your wifi signal problem, you can try setting up the wifi on each router to use the same SSID, effectively making them one big WiFi network. Never tried that myself, but here is a good writeup: hanselman.com/blog/…. You can also look at devices like Adrien mentioned (repeaters/extenders) that are specifically made for extending a WiFi signal. –  Jason Jul 27 '11 at 14:19
    
Thanks again Jason. I REALLY appreciate your help! –  Matthew Patrick Cashatt Jul 30 '11 at 13:46

You are trying to use the Linksys and D-Link devices (routers, as others have pointed out) as access points. Similar to @KCoutreau, I have also had difficulty with Linksys devices when trying to use them as anything other than a router, even in a mode that they are documented to support.

Also, between the various devices, you're mixing N- and G-mode WiFi in the same network. It can theoretically work, but you need to make sure that all of the devices are set up correctly and complementing each other.

I would start by simplifying: take down everything but the "main" WAP/Router (the Fry's unit). Get the wireless settings on it set up correctly (especially security), make sure that all of the client devices can play nicely together as one happy network, adding one device (Laptop, printer, PS3, TV) at a time.

Once it all works in one room, start extending. I agree with @Jason and @KCotreau: get a wireless extender (or two if necessary) and switches. At this point, everything is "Layer 1", logically the equivalent of stringing cable. Since you made sure it all works in one room, once it's extended, even with the switches and wireless extenders, everything should still work.

As for the VPN, it should work. The client's IT staff should be able to provide you with the appropriate software and settings, and it should fairly well be click and go.

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Wow, Adrien, thanks this is also great info. I am a noob to Stack Overflow/ Super User so I don't know how to give you credit also. But I will click "yes" on "Was this post helpful?" –  Matthew Patrick Cashatt Jul 30 '11 at 13:48

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