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Using multiple routers to boost/spread a signal

By dicejar · 12 replies
Jun 8, 2008
  1. Hey guys,

    I'm very new to networking so please forgive my lack of understanding!

    Recently moved into a mates house, the router for the Internet is a Netgear Super G and manages to transmit a pretty good signal to most of the house - apart from my room at the other side of the house.

    Now, I also have the same router (Netgear Super G) and was wondering if it was possible to use this to boost/spread the signal to reach my room?
    The router has one modem input and 4 Ethanet cable sockets...

    Any help/tips would be greatly appreciated!

  2. cosmos100

    cosmos100 TS Rookie Posts: 56

    I don't consider networking my strongest point.

    But I'm pretty certain you can't if anything they would probably knock each others signal out (if they're on the same channel).

    There are signal boosters you can buy but they're not very good either, if you want some extra speed out of your wireless I would advice getting a "N" router, it's one up from Super G but you need an "N" adapter for your computer as well.

    Hope this answered your question.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    You're not the first to assume that if you could have two connections you ought to
    get twice the download speed.

    Sorry, it doesn't work that way. The issue is once a connection is made from your computer
    to the other end (what ever that might be), all the traffic flows on that connection ONLY.
    The notable difference is the Torrent software which is designed to make it work.
  4. NetCablesPlus

    NetCablesPlus TS Maniac Posts: 228

    If the room next to yours is getting a good signal, it might be worth trying the antenna booster mentioned above, I believe that the one that you need would be:

    WLAN Antenna Booster RP-SMA 9dBi

    However, a cheaper and much better option (from a connectivity standpoint) would be to run a long Ethernet patch cable from your room to the router. A 100-foot Cat 5e Ethernet Patch cable does not cost that much and you may not even need that long of a length to do it.
  5. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    Looks to see if it has access point mode also called bridge and Wireless Access Point or WAP.


    You have this model?
    WGT624 (white) (shown in black below)

  6. dicejar

    dicejar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    No, my model is:

    DG834 GT.

    The guy has already run one Ethanet cable from the router to a room upstairs, and although he mentioned he could do it for me, I think he'd rather not.
    So, on that note, perhaps the signal booster is the best option?
  7. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    This one has ADSL modem feature..
    DG834 GT.

    Yes the signal boost is the option or you could run the cable yourself or run it outside on the side of a house. I do that if the house is older like from 1600s and to 1930s.

  8. dicejar

    dicejar TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Ok, so I bought a new aerial for my modem/router, only to find out that the one that was there wasn't the same as I thought! The new aerial, therefore, did not fit.
    Here are the details...

    He has a CABLE modem, which feeds into a NetGear WGR614 Router via Ethernet.

    This router has 5 Ethernet ports.

    MY Router/Modem, has 4 Ethernet ports and 1 Modem (phone line) input.

    What can I do?
    Is there any way I could send the Ethernet output of the Cable modem, into my phone line socket (with some sort of converter) then use my router to do the transmitting? My router now, of course, has the more powerful aerial and is always faster - 108mbps instead of 54mbps.

    Thoughts, guys?
  9. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,425   +112

    They have PoE Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a technology that sends both power and data through an Ethernet cable and switches cost from $122 and up Netgear The ProSafe FS108P

    Then their is Powerline and Wireless Access Powerline

    Turn any electrical outlet into a Home Network connection and share a Broadband Internet connection, files and printers with PCs in different rooms without running any new cabling. Remotely connect popular gaming consoles to a broadband Internet connection, or to other consoles in the same or other rooms with a high-speed interference-free connectio

    Wireless Access Powerline
    Powerline Wireless Access Points provide you with a wireless range extender in an easy to connect wall-plugged form factor. It’s plug-and-play installation means you’ll have a network set up in minutes without the needs to run cables throughout the house.

    The powerline uses copper in your electric lines in your dwelling to send the data/media just like you would do with regular Cat 5e Ethernet cabling.

    This is one way to do it... Just to let you know since you wanted more speed out of your router take a look at this image. This was done in 2006. Using a wired cable modem to wired router connected to external unmanaged 8-port switch then goes into wireless access point on top.


    In 2008 the setup now looks like this... wired cable modem to wireless router connected to external unmanaged 8-port switch

  10. dicejar

    dicejar TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Wow...I gotta be honest, all this stuff is confusing me somewhat!
    Had a look at the ones that plug in via your power outlet - like the idea, although looks like it's guna set me back a fair bit.

    I have the necessary amount of Ethernet cabling, so it's possible to run it through the house, and although it wouldn't be ideal, it's doable.

    However...looking at those pics you posted, it's made me think...

    The LAN sockets - Ethernet - are they only one way? Meaning, are they intended as outputs? Or could I just cut out the WGR614 router and use my one?

    So it would go...Cable modem, into one of my LAN Ethernet sockets? But again, if they only act as 'outputs', would it not work?

    Apologies if this is seeming a little trivial, I'm just new to this game!
  11. dave2010

    dave2010 TS Rookie


    I am assuming your main issue is getting coverage to your distant room. This is a slightly different problem from increasing the data rate on the network. I refer to some situations as a black hole. You can detect a wireless black hole by setting a laptop running a YouTube video in an area where the wireless works, and then move around. When you get to the difficult area the video will stop, though it may take 5-10 seconds as some data is buffered. In my case there is a very sharp drop off in one room.

    If there is a reasonable signal just outside your black hole room, then one solution is to place a wireless adapter there, and run a cable into the room. In my case I tried just using a USB wireless adapter, and I used a couple of USB extender cables. This pushed the spec of USB somewhat and wasn't terribly reliable, though there may have been software issues with the adapters I used. Also this solution isn't good if you want high throughput, though it may be adequate for web surfing.

    Another option which has been suggested to me is to use a wireless extender. I know people who have tried these and claim good results. I understand that these may halve the max data rate, but they may make communications possible.

    My solution to this problem is to use a pair of HomePlug routers from ZyXel - 660 HWP, and to use these to get data into the remote room. It is possible to configure these in such a way that there will be wireless coverage at both ends, and seamless roaming is possible if the wireless is configured with both (all) routers using the same SSID, the same encryption key, but using different wireless channels. Some have said that it's necessary to use the same wireless channel - but it isn't. Some have also said that there may be interference between the wireless channels if all the devices are on the same channel. That''s possible, though trial and error may be the way to go. Personally I'd use different wireless channels for the WAPs.

    There may be problems with DHCP, and whether or not the routers are set up as servers, or to relay DHCP. I won't deal with this here. Some other routers may not be compatible, but I have had this system running either with just the two ZyXel routers, or all the routers - the 2 x ZyXel plus the original Netgear. One problem may be that some routers are reluctant to allow access to the configuration utilities unless the DSL line i
  12. dave2010

    dave2010 TS Rookie

    ... carrying on

    ... sorry - this computer gave up - happens sometimes - don't know why....

    One problem may be that some routers are reluctant to allow access to the configuration utilities unless the DSL line is connected. This may not always be the case, but some do seem to expect the DSL to be active. This may mean that you need to configure with the active DSL line, then if you don't want that router to handle ADSL traffic, disconnect the DSL. It may still work as a router and do what you want in the network.

    In my case I quite like the Netgear because it makes handling the MAC addresses of potential clients quite easy, and security is quite simple. With the ZyXels you may have to go round and gather up all the MAC addresses either by inspecting the devices, or using some other tools (e.g Net Stumbler), and then plug the MAC addresses into the tables in the ZyXel routers. Note, an obvious, but sadly easy to do thing, is to forget to put any valid MAC addresses into the tables, and then turn on MAC filtering. With the ZyXels this immediately cuts off all communications, so you can't reconfigure the routers. Factory reset is required in this case. Admittedly this may be a good feature if anyone wants to have a high level of security. The Netgear routers appear to continue to allow connections via attached devices connected by Ethernet cables - though this means that if you're really concerned about security you need to ensure physical security and not allow anyone to connect to your router, even temporarily.

    The systems I've developed so far are good for wireless and broadband, and I've also tested throughput using NETcps across the network. The worst figure I achieved was around 8 Mbps (across a wireless link, and across the HomePlug mains link), which is still satisfactory, with around 14 Mbps across the HomePlug link using cabled connections, and about 70 Mbps at the network at the other end of the HomePlug link. All of these figures are good enough for web surfing, and some local traffic can be done at high speed.The HomePlug link (nominally rated at 200 Mbps - roughly 100 Mbps in either direction) could prove a bottleneck for some high performance applications, but it seems to provide a fairly reliable way of distributing data without having to put in extra wiring.
  13. dave2010

    dave2010 TS Rookie

    Using HomePlug adapters

    I should mention that possibly a cheaper solution might be to use two 85 Mbps HomePlug adapters to carry the data from one end of your house to the other.. In the UK these can be bought for around £40, whereas the two ZyXel routers cost just under £100. Obviously using 85 Mbps adapters will limit throughput somewhat compared with the HomePlug AV adapters/routers running at 200 Mbps.

    One ZyXel guy I "spoke" to suggested that I shouldn't use two routers, and it would be better to use one adapter plus one router. However it turned out that the adapters cost more than the routers, so I bought two of those and just made them work.

    Using adapters or adapter plus router on the HomePlug link may not solve the problem of getting wireless distribution at the destination end, so you may still need more kit for that. In the 85 Mbps HomePlug range there are a few wireless adapters - e.g from Solwise and Devolo, but I still found that the total cost of getting the hardware to support wireless throughout the house was likely to be more with adapters/wireless adapters than just buying two routers.

    However, if you already have some kit to do wireless, then you may find a configuration using a simple 85 Mbps HomePlug link will do the job. Also, from the limite experience I've had with HomePlug, if it's going to work it's very simple. Just plug the two units in at each end of the link and they should just work - takes about 2 minutes. However, if the mains circuits are on different fuse boxes or consumer units (yes - I know about that one too) then there is a significant chance that the HomePlug link will not work. Buy them from Amazon, try them out, and if they don't work almost immediately, send them back.
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