One of the hassles of my house is that a natural gas furnace and its sheetmetal ductwork are centered in the basement, blocking wifi signals from reaching all areas.
Extension Through Powerline Adapters
My first attempt at extending the range was to use powerline wifi adapters. You buy two, plug one into a power outlet near your wifi box, and then attach the two with an ethernet cable. Repeat the process where you want the second wifi box located.
The idea is that the network signal goes over the electrical wires in the house. For the most part it works. But not all the time, resulting in irritating breaks when listening to music or watching movies from the Internet.
Extension Through 50-foot Ethernet Cable
For a second wifi box, I instead ran a 50-foot ethernet cable from my main wifi box, drilling holes through walls. This worked, because the wire primarily went through our basement storage room, where looks are not critical.
This has worked well, and I recommend it, if you can hide the wire sufficiently. It helps to have a white colored cable, or other color that matches your home decor.
Extension Through Range Extender
Because the powerline adpater did not work well, and I needed wifi in an area to which I could not run a long ethernet cable, I looked for another solution. I found it in a range extender, which is a wifi box whose primary purpose is to pick up the WiFi signal from one box, strengthen it, and then broadcast it further.
I got a unit ($70) yesterday from Amped Wireless. To get it to work, you have to take these steps:
1. Get a laptop computer, and turn off its wireless.
2. Turn on the range extender box.
3. Connect the laptop with an ethernet cable to any LAN port on the range extender box.
4. Enter its address: http://setup.ampedwireless.com (which connects to the range extender, not the Internet).
5. Follow the instructions, but the main limitation is that the range extender requires a wifi signal with a strength of 70 or higher. (The screen lists the wifis in your area and their signal strengths.) Move one or the other wifi units to get that 70.
6. Enter other items, like a new SSID and password.
Then it should work.
I did have a major headache that all my Internet service ground to a halt after I set up the range extender. After a few hours of debugging, I finally determined the problem lay in an IP address conflict. Here's what happened:
After setting up the range extender successfully, I plugged in several ethernet cables for devices like an XBox, DVD player, and BRIX computer. One of these devices had the same default IP address as the range extender (192.168.1.240), which caused the entire network to not want to work (a half-dozen computers, three wifi boxes, DSL modem). The visual effect is that all network activity lights on all network boxes blink at an insanely fast rate.
The solution is to keep those devices's ethernet cables unattached to the range extender until I have a chance to see which unit's IP address needs to be changed. It is possible to change the IP address of the range extender, but it's working now and I'd rather not mess with it.
Technology is so-o-o tiring.