How can we amplify the wireless internet signal in our concrete apt?
March 20, 2015 12:01 PM   Subscribe

How can we amplify the wireless internet signal in our concrete apt?

Our living room is where the modem must be located (without running unsightly cable). And we use the internet mostly in the living room. So were would like to leave it there.

All our walls are concrete and the floor is tile. There are two bedrooms down the hall before our master bedroom, so it is about 30 feet from the modem.

Wireless signal barely/intermittently makes it from modem to our back bedroom. Is there any sort of amplifying device we can put in our bedroom so our laptops and phones can have internet connection as good as in the living room?
posted by zyxwvut to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
We have one of these TP-LINK wifi extenders that work through your power lines (as long as the outlets run trough the same breaker box). We're happy enough with it that I bought one for my parents (modem in basement, wifi signal is amplified into upstairs room located above a concrete slab). It's pretty easy to set up (company video here)
posted by twoporedomain at 12:09 PM on March 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've always had another wireless router set up as a bridge... that is, it doesn't do anything but extend the wireless network that it's connected to. I use an Apple airport with an airport express as the bridge.

Here's a Lifehacker article about doing it with a non-apple router.

Here's how to do it with an Airport.
posted by Huck500 at 12:12 PM on March 20, 2015

An Apple Airport Express makes a great network extender. It should work just fine with your router.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:14 PM on March 20, 2015

Let me point out that twoporedomain's (excellent) solution is two components in one - a Powerline networking kit with a wireless access point built in. I use a similar system and I recommend it.

However, my experience is that wi-fi extenders that do not piggyback on powerline networking - and try to just listen to the signal and extend it - tend to work far less well. Make sure the solution you buy explictly mentions "Powerline networking" or "Powerline technology".
posted by eschatfische at 12:18 PM on March 20, 2015

Try to avoid WiFi Extenders or Powerline adapters.
If you can drill a hole trough the wall and install an other WiFi router in the room. A really neat solution is a UniFi AP These can be wall / ceiling mounted and receive power trough the network cable (POE).
posted by Mac-Expert at 12:30 PM on March 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Powerline has gotten pretty advanced by now. The current gen ones like those reviewed by the Wirecutter can max out most residential internet connnections. I'm using one right now to get 50 Mbps to our back office.
posted by smackfu at 1:23 PM on March 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

One answer I haven't seen suggested is simply getting a new, better router for your living room. We had this dilemma in our home last month, and we thought about it, and realized that the router we were using was several years old.

After $100 and a fairly moderately-priced upgrade to a highly regarded new model, we are getting faster speeds and much better coverage throughout the entire house.

If your router is pretty new and up to date, though, then I would go the powerline route. I would not recommend buying a wireless repeater... those are less reliable and by their very nature can't send/receive as much data.
posted by Old Man McKay at 1:36 PM on March 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

No idea if this would work, but have you tried passively bouncing the wifi through the house using a series of aluminum foil squares mounted on cardboard then stuck on the walls at 45 deg angles with blutack or sugru? I would imagine for extra points you could even align them using a cat laser pointer.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:18 AM on March 22, 2015

The new powerline networking kits are really very good (This coming from me, a hardcore run ethernet supporter for years!). You can get very good data rates, especially in a simpler system. Make sure you don't plug them into a surge suppressor - just put them directly into the wall
posted by defcom1 at 2:20 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Our house is brick and the modem is in a corner room (stupid Comcast employee who said that he wouldn't go under the house to install the cable so we couldn't have it in the living room), so our wifi wasn't strong enough in the living room to stream reliably. We got a TP Link Wifi extender (not a powerline kit, just a repeater; 30 bucks on Amazon) and are very happy. It eats some of the available bandwidth because it has to talk back and forth to keep the connection going, but it works great. We can stream TV and both be online on various other devices (tablet, phone, laptop, imp-powered organizer, whatever) and have a good connection.

Small gripe: every once in a while, it'll have a hiccup and forget the network info. But then it's just a matter of pushing the WPS button on the extender and the router and letting them find each other again (it's happened twice in a year).
posted by yggdrasil at 11:36 AM on April 2, 2015

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