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I have a camper in the back field of my house. I use it as a guest living quarters for family. It is connected to the electricity for the property, and also I have ran aprox a 200 foot ethernet cable, and cable tv cable to have internet and tv in the camper. But we would like to be able to use wireless also in there and not just a hardwired connection. Our current router is through NETGEAR.

my home is made out of concrete and cinder blocks. my garage is also made out of cinder blocks. the camper is on the other side of the garage. When we sit outside of the camper we can get wireless on 2 out of the 3 laptops, but not on any other devices.

If I buy a second router to put in the camper connnected to the ethernet cable, will this fix my problem? OR is there a more efficient/effective way to do this?

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3 Answers 3

Adding a second router will work. You could also buy a wireless access point (AP), which is similar to a router, but does not do provide the routing part. It cannot connect to the internet on its own. But because the internet is already coming through the Ethernet link, it does not need to. The advantages are that it might be a little cheaper and you do not need to disable the routing part.

Regardless of which kind of device you chose, there are some issues you should take care of when configuring your second AP:

  • Use another WiFi channel than the one in the house, and also another one than the neighbor is using as this will (in layman's terms) increase your performance.
  • Use different SSIDs (name of the WiFi network). Your laptop's software might not like it if there are two APs with different MAC addresses that use the same SSID. You can try to do it anyway, and if it works, do it, as it saves you the need to create two profiles on each computer. Note that you will have to set the same security pass-phrase as well in that case.
  • Disable the DHCP server on the new AP/router.
  • Tell it to fetch its own IP address via DHCP or assign a fixed IP address from the same pool your current router is using, as well as the correct subnet mask.
  • Set up security for your new WiFi!

Also note that this should work pretty much out of the box. There is no need to install custom software on the device. You only need to follow the manual to set up the configuration once.

Edit: Also, you do not need to buy the same brand. Netgear, Linksys, Cisco or even a cheap TP-Link will work together with what you already have. I use TP-Link whenever I set a new WiFi up for friends because the devices are very reasonable and get the job done. They are easy to set up and the customer service (in Germany, at least) is very professional.


A more technical approach would be to buy a bigger antenna, but that will probably not work. You could also buy several WiFi bridging devices that have two WiFi connections each and build a chain out of them to cover your whole property, but that is expensive and complicated. I would not recommend either of these two additional options.

A third option would be to use Cat7e cable, which is the fastest available Ethernet cable right now. It usually has a orange jacket and you can put it in the ground. (I've got in my walls together with power lines, works like a charm). It can handle gigabit LAN without problems. That way, you would never see it. But remember to shield the socket from rain and humidity. You could also talk to an electrician company that has experience with warehouse setups about it.

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Running a cable and a wireless access point is definitely the way to go here if you can run a cable to it. –  Joe Taylor Jul 31 '12 at 8:58
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If you don't mind leaving the cable there, a second router might be your best option. Unless you feel like mounting an antenna on your roof (which would be super cool, let me know if you do it) you're going to have a hard time getting through cinder blocks.

You can pick up a Linksys WRT54G for cheap ($50 bucks right now) and flash it with DD-WRT, Tomato, or OpenWRT, and extend the range of your wireless network without having multiple SSIDs being broadcasted. That way you might be able to get some decent coverage out of the two routers. For the price of a fancy antenna setup, you could get a small army of these and blanket your property in WiFi. It's fairly easy to set up actually, and while flashing a router may seem daunting at first you get the satisfcation of turning a cheap little box in to a workhorse. It's well worth it in my opinion just for the "cool factor" of not having multiple SSIDs, and you'll soon be addicted to all you can do with a router like that.

I'd be happy to explain more if you're interested in going this route.

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I'd say a WiFi Repeater should be a good idea here:

A WiFi repeater is used to extend the coverage area of your WiFi network. It works by receiving your existing WiFi signal, amplifying it and then transmitting the boosted signal. With a WiFi repeater you can effectively double the coverage area of your WiFi network - reaching far corners of your home or office, different floors, or even extend coverage to your yard.

This requires no additional cables (except for power supply), no additional Wifi net is set up, and thus all use the same network and should be even able to "switch between repeater and router", whatever provides the stronger signal at their position. Even if multiple repeaters are used (if necessary).

Of course, this is only valid if you already have a Wifi router running (i.e. if your Netgear router also serves Wifi). Otherwise, one of the other solutions is more suitable -- but can be used together with this one, if needed.

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This would require both WiFis to overlap. I'm using this setup inside, and it works fairly ok, but there are downsides. The devices need to be close to each other, and the Laptops (and especially smartphones) at my place often forget to switch to the next AP and thus the internet connection vanishes. I'd only recommend this if there is no way to use a cable to connect a second AP. –  simbabque Jul 31 '12 at 9:02
    
@simbabque I believe when operating correctly, the transition is transparent to the device. One downside to this however is that the chipsets of the radios must match. Atheros radios won't work with Broadcom radios, and even then things might get a little dodgy if the routers aren't by the same manfucaturer. I've been meaning to try this setup for some time, but have yet to bother buying identical routers. –  Tanner Jul 31 '12 at 14:07
    
In my case, the devices do not match, and the router actually is crap. So it works sometimes, but sometimes it doesn't on mobile devices. I've got an AP with one LAN port where a credit card machine is hooked up to have inet connection. Since that works all the time the actual WiFi bridge is ok. The confusion is with the mobile clients. –  simbabque Jul 31 '12 at 14:30
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