How far can I stretch?
Last week we discussed the role of routers in your home network and some of the variables that impact wireless connectivity. Today, we’ll take a look at range extenders and how they can help you “stretch” your wireless signal.
Remember the act of networking is setting up your devices in such a way that allows them to communicate or “talk” to one another. The act of communication requires thoughts being shared back and forth between two or more points. The router will communicate with the extender and the extender will send information back.
You may hear range extenders also referred to as range expanders, repeaters or signal extenders, but they all help you to accomplish the same common goal. Extenders just like routers are available as wireless or power-line, the latter is used when a wireless signal simply cannot be achieved.
Range extenders are true to their name and assist you in extending the wireless footprint in your home. Layout, wall depth and signal inference from other household devices are common culprits that will impact your wireless reach and strength. The addition of range extenders often allows you to expand your wireless signal in areas where you previously could not access one.
If the Wi-Fi technology in your PC is a generation or more behind that of your other devices, you may want to consider purchasing a USB wireless network adapter that plugs into the USB port of your PC. This is a good alternative if you have an older PC are hesitant to purchase a new one and will help boost the signal sent by that PC back to the router and/or range extender.
Like routers range extenders are intelligent devices and require configuration and the occasional firmware update. The same principles apply to routers also apply to most extenders; power surges can cause equipment to lose configuration and in turn not permit connectivity and their effectiveness will vary from home to home.
Before purchasing any networking devices, be sure to make a list of all devices in your home that will be connecting to your wireless network, making sure to note name brands and Wi-Fi technology to ensure you don’t encounter compatibility issues. Wherever possible, try and carry out preliminary testing to determine how many devices are required and best placement to accomplish the coverage you desire.
And remember…..secure all your wireless devices!!!