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#21586 - 04/15/12 12:35 PM Dumb wireless router question
Douglas Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Seattle, WA
Comcast installed a new wireless telephone modem when my old modem went belly up. My office is in the south west basement room and I can't get wireless coverage for my ipad on the main floor bedroom which is in the north east corner of the house.

Is is possible to install another wireless router upstairs so I can use my iPad upstairs? One that operates on the same frequency(maybe that's a dumb question) I know nothing about networks and am very new to wireless.

Thanks

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#21587 - 04/15/12 02:00 PM Re: Dumb wireless router question [Re: Douglas]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
In theory you can extend wireless networks, but in practice this depends on the hardware involved. For instance, you can extend a WiFi network provided by Apple's AirPort Extreme router with one or more Airport Express units. However, the Airport Express unit may not be able to extend the WiFi network provided by another brand WiFi router. The other brand may (or may not) have their own range extender hardware.

So my question is: exactly what did Comcast install with you? We'd need to know the brand name and model to find out what the extension options are (if any).
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#21588 - 04/15/12 02:26 PM Re: Dumb wireless router question [Re: alternaut]
Douglas Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Seattle, WA
The wireless modem that Comcast put in is a Wireless Gateway SMC D3 eMTA

thanks

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#21590 - 04/15/12 04:10 PM Re: Dumb wireless router question [Re: Douglas]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
AFAICT, you've got something like this, possibly using Comcast's Xfinity moniker. If not, please correct. That said, such a gateway serves 4 functions:

- cable modem
- router
- WiFi access point
- VOIP telephony interface (eMTA)

To improve your home's WiFi coverage, you basically have 3 (sets of) options:

1. Relocating the Gateway to a more central location in your home. This may obviate the need for a WiFi extender.

2. Adding a compatible range extender to the Comcast Gateway*. Ideally, you'd like the two WiFi access points (gateway and extender) to be part of the same network, so that you can move your portable devices throughout the house and automatically switch to the best access point depending on location. It may be easier to set up two separate WiFi networks given possible hardware limitations with available extenders, but then you'd have to manually switch when needed.

3. Putting the modem in bridge mode, effectively disabling routing and wireless, leaving only the modem and VOIP functions (although keeping the latter in bridge mode is firmware dependent). You'd then need another WiFi router and WiFi extender (assuming you'd need the latter; see #1). If you like Apple equipment this could be an Airport Extreme or a Time Capsule (for router/WiFi) and one or more Airport Express units to extend the WiFi network.


*) At this point I cannot make a specific suggestion. That requires some research, or (ideally) someone with the necessary experience to chime in.
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#21591 - 04/15/12 09:09 PM Re: Dumb wireless router question [Re: alternaut]
Douglas Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Seattle, WA
That appears to be the wireless modem I have with an Infinity moniker on it.

I had thought of moving the modem to higher ground but I have a hard wire cable to my desktop computer and wires for my 2 phones, regular and fax. That sort of limits my ability to move it.

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#21593 - 04/16/12 08:40 AM Re: Dumb wireless router question [Re: Douglas]
MacManiac Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
It sounds like you are pretty well locked into leaving the cable modem where it is, so the issue becomes how do you get your wireless access more centrally located while leaving the main gizmo in-place.....

One possible solution would be to use a Powerline networking pair to deliver your network signal to another part of the house using the existing household power outlet wiring....an example of such a solution can be found here -- LINK -- this particular pairing includes a wireless access point at the remote Powerline adapter so you don't have to buy any more wireless gizmos.....the other adapter would be connected by ethernet cable directly to your original cable modem / router right there in the basement office and the remote would plug into any suitable outlet upstairs where it would be centrally located for the wireless network.

Ideally, you would get "under the hood" on the cable modem / router to turn off the wireless transmitter, but keep it as the source for DHCP and DNS for your network......the remote Powerline wireless gizmo upstairs would be the sole wireless network point for your house and would be configured to merely pass-through (bridge) the network data, DHCP and DNS services from the cable modem / router in the basement office which originates your home network. With that setup, you would have one contiguous network that shared data wirelessly between all connected devices (whether by ethernet cable or WiFi card).

The less technically challenging solution using the same hardware above would be to simply create a second wireless network upstairs and then you would have two separate networks which each go to the internet through the same cable modem.....you wouldn't be able to share data across all the devices connected to the downstairs cable modem / router from your upstairs wireless network, but it would be more "plug & play" to setup.

Hope this helps your situation.
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#21595 - 04/16/12 10:43 AM Re: Dumb wireless router question [Re: MacManiac]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
There may be wireless band interference with the Powerline-wireless solution you describe, in which case the Gateway's WiFi channel selection needs to be adjusted. Because of its limited firmware you cannot disable the Gateway's wireless other than by putting it in bridge mode*, or inside of a Faraday cage.

*) One caveat with the bridge mode is the fact that resetting the Gateway (occasionally necessary to address ISP connectivity problems) will switch it back to the (default) router mode. If the final solution relies on the Gateway being in bridge mode, you'd need to call Comcast again to put it back in bridge mode since you apparently cannot do this yourself.
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#21597 - 04/16/12 11:21 AM Re: Dumb wireless router question [Re: Douglas]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Wireless extenders tend to be hit or miss, as some wireless extenders will work with some brands of hardware but not others. In theory, they should all work together, as they all use the same standards, but in practice two "standard" interfaces or protocols in the computer world are typically about as similar as two snowflakes.

What I would do is go to a place that has a good return policy, like Best Buy (do those still exist?), and do a bit of trial and error. Get a wifi extender. Set it up. If it works with your Comcast hardware, great! If not, take it back and get a different brand of wifi extender.
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#21600 - 04/16/12 12:43 PM Re: Dumb wireless router question [Re: tacit]
Douglas Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Seattle, WA
Thanks for all the assistance. I'm going to look into the range extenders. There is a Staples less than a mile from my house and they have several different models. Hopefully will find 1 that works with the Comcast Gateway modem.

This is my first foray into networking so the learning curve is steep for an old guy like me. Didn't think it would be this complicated.

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#21604 - 04/16/12 04:27 PM Re: Dumb wireless router question [Re: Douglas]
Ira L Offline


Registered: 08/13/09
Loc: California
You might look into an extender that uses your home's electrical wiring. It consists of at least two components: the first plugs into a wall jack to which your router is then connected. The second plugs into a wall jack in the room where your computer is located, which then in turn is connected to this jack.

By the way, the last time I checked, Best Buy had a restocking charge on computers, TV's and related components. If you are contemplating returning an item, check before you buy.
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