Little WIFI router/hotspot to keep me offline
September 1, 2018 12:37 PM   Subscribe

I’m looking for a WIFI extender that is small enough to fit in a box and can be shut off and on so that I can manage my internet use.

I’m working on controlling my access to the internet so I can get stuff done. Currently I only have access via my phone (which I tether my computer to when needed). I lock my phone up in a Kitchen Safe (it’s pretty awesome) for large parts of the day. Usually 10pm to 3pm on my days off.

I just moved into a place that has WiFi. I don’t know the password and don’t want to know (it I know it, I’ll put my laptop on it and will go into full brain melt mode shortly thereafter.

What I would like is a wireless router/extender. I’d like to be able to attach it to my computer, and have the landlady come down and type the access code into it while I’m not looking. I’d need it to be small enough to fit in the kitchen safe. And it would have to stay programmed so that I could just plug it in and it would work.

Does such a thing exist?
posted by sully75 to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
I've got one of the cheapo TP-Link ones (Amazon link to one that looks like it) which they sell for $20 currently. I think mine was even cheaper when I bought it at Fry's, a couple of years ago, like $10.

It does Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi, creating a new differently named network with its own password, which is what you asked for.

I use mine to make a new network near the front door for the use of a Ring doorbell, which otherwise can't see the Wi-Fi router at the back of the house.
It would however serve your purposes as described.

The level of self-manipulation described by the poster might sound unusual but I had a friend who was much worse than this and his books continue to sell long after his death. He had his agent lock him in a hotel room to finish one book.
posted by w0mbat at 1:56 PM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

The problem with the ultra cheap range extenders is that they only have one radio, so they are sharing airtime with the parent network. What that means in practice is that any time you are using it the overall capacity of the network everyone is sharing is reduced by over twice what it would be if you were directly connected or were using a range extender with two separate radios that can operate on independent channels (preferably in different bands).

Point being that in a situation where you are sharing the network with others, it's not very nice to do that because you are literally wasting bandwidth other people could be using for no (technical) benefit whatsoever. It's less of a thing for low bandwidth IoT devices as long as there aren't a bunch of extenders in use (or worse, they are chained).

Spend a few extra bucks and get one that advertises simultaneous dual band operation. If nothing else, a Mikrotik hAP ac lite should cost no more than $50 and will happily use a WiFi network as its Internet connection.
posted by wierdo at 10:51 PM on September 1, 2018

I should note that if you use one with an Ethernet port, even the cheap ones are fine, since it's just acting as a client bridge. In that case it's no different than using a device's built in WiFi in terms of network usage. If you don't disable the wifi repeating entirely it wastes a bit of airtime on beacons, but that's a fairly minor fixed impact to the parent network that's only a problem if there are already a lot of other APs on the same channel.

In short, the cheap ones are fine if they have an Ethernet port and you use it. If you want to connect your device over WiFi, but not directly, spend a bit more to be a good neighbor and preserve the commons as much as you reasonably can.
posted by wierdo at 12:07 AM on September 2, 2018

Thanks for the detailed info.

I think it would be ok because generally I would probably not have it plugged in or functioning, I just would use it if I were going to download files or use a lot of bandwith.

I ended up buying this one:

I assume it has the flaws you're talking about?
posted by sully75 at 2:34 PM on September 4, 2018

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