Question Would appreciate help to extend/improve Wi-Fi signal with no access to modem/router

Mar 25, 2019
2
0
10
Best answers
0
(Besides just improving my wifi signal, I'm trying to learn, a little at least, if anyone has info, links or suggestions they would like to share, it's greatly appreciated!)

The Situation: I'm getting a weak Wi-Fi signal on the network I'm sharing, varies between 7Mbps to 43Mbps. This seems to vary depending on traffic/use, I'm assuming. This is in Canada, Bell Business Hub 1000 (not home variant), transmitting at 2.4 GHz, 802.11 g/n
DSL Mode: ADSL/ADSL2+/VDSL2 and WPA2 PSK Security
and being used by about 8-9 people, each with multiple devices (cannot give much details about other devices but would say one desktop/laptop and one smart phone per user). I am only using my smartphone but would like to connect a PS3 to the network if possible.

Restrictions: I cannot move or change the modem/router. I cannot use Ethernet cable or any direct connection to the modem/router (so no mesh, access point or electrical repeater options, I believe). I cannot verify the speed as I don't have administrator access. The internet packages available from Bell are 25Mbps-940Mbps, but have a suspicion it is a 500Mbps connection. I can try to verify the speed, but it is certainly capable of much faster speed than what I'm receiving. I am separated from the signal by two brick walls and about 30 feet of open space with a fair line of sight from my window to the window of the apartment with the router. A directional antennae on the outside of the building is not allowed, and may not be functional for this situation (e.g. theft). There are also multiple network signals and channels being used in close proximity, both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

Own Thoughts/Questions: Trying to minimize hops and packages and maintain as much of the signal quality as possible, I have in mind an extender or router in repeater mode would be the best options, and if I have understood what I have been reading online, finally, I don't think there are any others to consider, given the constraints.
Now the signal on these two options should be at least an 802.11 ac capability to maximize quality, correct? Minimum bandwidth to consider?
I read about extenders/routers that will receive in one signal and transmit in another (e.g. 2.4GHz into a 5GHz via extender, dual or triband) or creating a secondary network (with a fixed IP?) for more privacy, but not sure if the latter would help.
I also had concerns with a secondary device being compatible with the original modem/router. Maybe just my own VPN instead, but concerned with speed and my knowledge again.
Any product references would be appreciated. If there is a DIY/tech savvy option, I am probably more capable than my post may read.

As a final note, I am trying to minimize cost but I get that will effect my connection, so I'm open to suggestions...
 

bill001g

Titan
Aug 9, 2012
16,996
168
115,140
Best answers
5,042
Your best way to test the maximum speed is to take your cell phone as close as you can to the router. That should give you a good indication as to what your maximum is.

brick walls are going to eat the signal and there is no real solution to get that signal back. The router likely transmits at maximum legal power but even if it didn't the amount the walls absorb actually increases as you increase the transmit power it is not some fixed amount that is absorbed.

So if you can get signal via the windows that is your best option. At that distance you should be able to use directional bridges inside the building looking out the windows. The glass will cut the signal but not enough to worry about at those distances. Best if you can put one on each side f the connection. You might get away with just a bridge on your end but it is best if it is on both.

You can look at ubiquiti for devices they sell many.

You will need a router or AP to connect to the bridge to re transmit the wifi signals in your apartment. You are in effect making your own repeater but it does not suffer from many of the problems of repeaters that use only a single radio/device.

You can not really use 802.11ac to talk to the main router since it only runs on 2.4 band and 802.11ac only runs on 5g.

Now after all this I would not be real surprised if you can not get more than 50mbps maximum. Even the very best devices using 4x4 mimo on 2.4g are lucky to get 100mbps.
 
Mar 25, 2019
2
0
10
Best answers
0
Your best way to test the maximum speed is to take your cell phone as close as you can to the router. That should give you a good indication as to what your maximum is.

brick walls are going to eat the signal and there is no real solution to get that signal back. The router likely transmits at maximum legal power but even if it didn't the amount the walls absorb actually increases as you increase the transmit power it is not some fixed amount that is absorbed.

So if you can get signal via the windows that is your best option. At that distance you should be able to use directional bridges inside the building looking out the windows. The glass will cut the signal but not enough to worry about at those distances. Best if you can put one on each side f the connection. You might get away with just a bridge on your end but it is best if it is on both.

You can look at ubiquiti for devices they sell many.

You will need a router or AP to connect to the bridge to re transmit the wifi signals in your apartment. You are in effect making your own repeater but it does not suffer from many of the problems of repeaters that use only a single radio/device.

You can not really use 802.11ac to talk to the main router since it only runs on 2.4 band and 802.11ac only runs on 5g.

Now after all this I would not be real surprised if you can not get more than 50mbps maximum. Even the very best devices using 4x4 mimo on 2.4g are lucky to get 100mbps.
I wanted to thank you Bill as you helped me with a specific setup to search for. I had a couple questions I couldn't find clear answers to, if you or someone would kindly help me out. I'll try to be more concise.

Just some info on my wifi; max signal at closest range to the 'Hub' I read was 140Mbps which I was on the other side of the first brick wall, and all of the channels are crammed with overlapping signals.

Questions: For routers, I'm still under the impression that many are backwards compatible and the preceding generations' signals can often be improved when transmitted or repeated through newer models (e.g. ac router improving n bandwidth and/or throughput), but not necessarily.
I was confused when I read that Ubiquiti doesn't always use the same wifi on there devices, not 802.11, but then I read if one of their devices are used as an invisible wireless media bridge, it's ok?
Still, I looked over many googled posts searching for a similar setup to the one you recommended, undecided of even the choice type of bridge (which seems like it is mostly a directional antenna with an Ethernet to the second router or AP) after reading other people's situations, but have not found something similar as I understood it. These questions may be from poor researching/ understanding also...

I've been having a great time reading and spending as much time as I can, but I'm not feeling confident about solutions. As you mentioned with the max 50mpbs (thats throughput and not bandwidth talk I hope) and my pocket book in mind, maybe there is something that I could do to achieve 'surf web' wifi status for the time being. Then I can budget to buy better hardware soon and keep doing my major download and high bandwidth usage at alternative signals for the time being.
 

bill001g

Titan
Aug 9, 2012
16,996
168
115,140
Best answers
5,042
You have no choice on the channels or radio band to connect to the remote router. You need to to buy a bridge that works on the 2.4g band a example from ubiquiti would be a nano loco m2. It would be best to have a pair one on each building but I suspect it will work with one only on your end. There is no real way to predict how well it will work.

So at this point you now have a ethernet port. You can of course plug into this directly but to get wifi in your house you need another device. You could of course buy the top end router/ap with all the fancy tri band stuff. All that means is you would go really fast between your PC and this router in your house and then be limited to 100mbps by the ethernet port going across to the second house. I doubt you will get anywhere near 100mbps even plugging a pc directly into the bridge. So you do not need anything fancy for the AP in your house a basic 802.11ac device that has a 1200 number will likely be all you need.
 

gggplaya

Distinguished
Jan 27, 2011
765
26
19,020
Best answers
1
Really the only thing you can do is mount a directional antenna inside your apartment and point it directly at the modem. If you have access to an attic or crawl space in your aparment, that would be better since there's less insulation and basically just a sheet of plywood and sheetrock to get you outside. In my experience it's significantly better for tv signals, though haven't tried it with wifi.

Read the reviews on this, they also have a catch and share kit to add a wifi access point to it as well:

https://www.amazon.com/USB-Yagi-directional-Antenna-802-11n-2200mW/dp/B003LLS5JI/ref=lp_2530669011_1_1?srs=2530669011&ie=UTF8&qid=1553888289&sr=8-1
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS