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I'm not sure this is the right place to post this but couldn't find a networking site or similar! Let me know, if this is wrong!

Later this year, I'm moving into a large (3-story) house of 10 people. I'm the guy responsible for setting up the network etc. We've agreed that we will go for 100mb Virgin cable as we are all students and, in evenings, will often all be using our computers for work/youtube/spotify/downloading/xbox/ps3 etc. The price difference between 50mb and 100mb when split 10 ways is tiny, so yeah :)

Obviously Virgin will provide us with their cable router, but I don't think it'll have the power to reach three floors! To this end, I've been looking at a few options & just need some advice as to which would be the best!

  • Option 1: Repeater / Range Extender - Obviously this will be the cheapest (good for students :P) but I've heard that this effectively halves the bandwidth?
  • Option 2: AP w/ Wired Ethernet - This, I think, solves the bandwith problem as above but a little more expensive & would have to run a cat5 cable through the house - which is fine, just annoying.
  • Option 3: AP w/ Ethernet Powerline - I've never used these powerline connectors before so not sure how good they are? Any downsides? Are they guaranteed to work?

Or perhaps there is something I haven't considered? Or maybe someone knows that the Virgin router will be plenty strong enough?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 5 '12 at 23:48

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3 Answers

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It's good that you give this a lot of thought, b/c even if the Virgin router was powerful as hell you wouldn't want to serve all the hardware of 10 people with one wifi router anyways. I'd suggest you use as much cat5 as you can afford. The more stations, the worse the performace you will gain with wifi and with 10 people i'd guess there are (at least) 15 stations at any moment in time connected to your wifi and if those are doing stuff like HD videos and gaming performance will drop severely and fast.

Powerlan is probably not an option as it's very likely to not work across stories, as both powerlan endpoints need to be on the same electric circuit. And it's always a bit of coin flippy as it's performance depends on your wiring. How recently was your building built?

You should at least get one AP for each floor and connect each AP to the router with cat5. Make sure each AP uses different channels, at least 2 apart from one another and reduce their output wattage as much as possible (while still having wfi access in every room) to reduce interference. Also, place the APs strategically: don't just put one on each floor at the stairs.

With 10 students all being at home in the evening doing data-rate intensive stuff you man still run into performance issues, but those aren't trivial to resolve. Good luck ...

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Hi - Thanks for your response! Yeah you've affirmed all of my thoughts! Could you possibly recommend a good AP for this purpose? I'd probably only look at getting one AP, for the top floor to start with, but if the middle floor is only getting a low signal, then invest in another! Let me know, Dave. –  swiss196 Jun 5 '12 at 13:53
    
Well, I'm on old hardware but I loved the g series from ASUS b/c they have a very decent firmware with good functionality and if all hell broke lose they would accept an "alternative" firmware. So I would give some of the new ASUS n series a shot. –  user1129682 Jun 6 '12 at 8:04
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Try Apple Airport Extreme It's the best. Don't be shamed grab re-factored model to cheap the deal. Got two of those and it's worked flawlessly for 2 years. I guess it's up to 50 devices but not sure.

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Even refurbished these are £100/£120 a piece, and then I'd need a cable modem as well. For students, this solution is just too expensive. I'm pretty sure you can get a cable router for £60~ and repeaters for even less. Any other reccomendations would be welcomed! –  swiss196 Jun 5 '12 at 16:11
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If you are going to use more than one AP i would recommend you more than 2 channel distance.

If we are speaking about the 2.4GHz band, one has a channel width of 22MHz. But the channels have only a distance of 5 MHz.

The width on which all channels are is 2.4GHz to ~2.5GHz.

So you should use channel 1/2, 7 and 12/13.

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