WiFi My Driveway
August 24, 2019 3:50 PM   Subscribe

I am currently staying in a family member's RV, until I can get my own place. The WiFi connection out here is pretty spotty, and I want to boost the signal from the house.

I need some sort of WiFi extender, but don't know how to choose one.

It needs to be dead simple for me to install.

If you have any specific models to recommend, keep in mind that it needs to be easily available (online would be perfect, but I have access to major tech stores as well). It also needs to be inexpensive, under $40 at most, and ideally in the $15-20 range.
posted by Archipelago to Technology (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Cheapest and fastest solution might be 100 feet of Cat6 ethernet cable for less than $20. You can get outdoor rated cable for a little more money but probably not necessary if this is a somewhat temporary situation.
posted by JackFlash at 4:40 PM on August 24, 2019 [7 favorites]

This 'un. It's Wirecutter's pick and super simple. My only difficulty was that I couldn't get into the configuration system on my phone and had to use a Chromebook instead. (The hardship, I know.)
posted by teremala at 4:52 PM on August 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

The TP-link may be wirecutter’s choice, but I own one and wouldn’t recommend it. It works only at a very short distance from the router and isn’t strong enough to get through nearly any obstruction of line of sight. I got it really cheap. It was sort of worthless for my very simple need to extend a network by one room.

YMMV but meh.
posted by spitbull at 6:34 PM on August 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have this TP-Link Nano which works fine at home with the router four rooms away but that's just lath and plaster. I also use it while travelling when the router has been much further, maybe 30 yards? across open air and stucco-covered cinder blocks and I still get a signal. It is a b*tch to set up though. Takes forever to be recognized. IIRC, I paid $30.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:47 PM on August 24, 2019

A repeater, placed in the house to best reach the existing connection, and broadcast signal to the RV where your computer at.

Is the connection good if you step out of the RV? If the RV has metal siding, this can be particularly difficult because it will shield the inside from the signal. Then an Ethernet cable might be preferred, in a low key ground or grey color.
posted by nickggully at 9:29 PM on August 24, 2019

If you have AC power running to your RV through an extension cord from the house, you might be able to use these powerline wifi extenders. They use your AC power wiring as an Ethernet cable. You plug one of the pair into an AC wall outlet near the house wifi router and the other into your AC outlet in your RV.

I can't vouch for their distance capability but I wouldn't doubt they should be capable of more than 100 feet. You might have to experiment a little, moving the in-house adapter to outlets in various rooms. This is because you will get a better signal if the two outlets are on the same of two power legs in the circuit breaker panel. Typically every other breaker in the panel is on the same power leg - all the odds on one leg and all the evens are the other leg.

Not as foolproof as running an ethernet cable, but maybe less hassle. Should give you at least 50 mbs which should be plenty for most purposes.
posted by JackFlash at 10:52 PM on August 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Huh, I've got that TP-link plugged into the first upstairs room, just on the edge of where the signal starts getting weak (router in room at bottom of stairs, near the front of the house) and it covers the whole rest of the upstairs and also the driveway. The downstairs room farthest from both devices is still spotty and the back yard isn't touched, but for twenty bucks (and actually I think I paid more like $16 for a "guaranteed refurbished" one) I'm satisfied.
posted by teremala at 5:51 AM on August 25, 2019

Maybe my house is weird.
posted by spitbull at 4:56 PM on August 25, 2019

Fyi, TP-Link is a brand, not a product.
Some of TP-Link’s range extenders are dead simple to set up, particularly the Powerline models (i have it, works better than my Apple products). A Powerline model which includes wifi is available, but not quite as simple to configure. Check out the TL-WPA8630 kit and see if it’s a go for you.
posted by artdrectr at 9:23 AM on August 26, 2019

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