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Will I get better wifi reach if I swap my freebie talktalk router for an Apple airport Extreme base station?

(11 Posts)
RoobyMurray Sat 20-Oct-12 10:26:40

I've asked for help here before and kind of ended up thinking we need wired internet to some rooms, but before we send my FIL under the house with a wire, here goes...

Current set up:
freebie TalkTalk wifi router thingy (EchoLife HG520s) in living room. Fine.

Separate Apple Time Capsule in the back of the house (on a separate network). Can log onto this in the playroom and sometimes in the kitchen. Sometimes.

One Apple Airport Express in the hall to boost the signal to the dining room, but this comes and goes.

I really need to be able to get internet in the dining room for when I'm studying, but it is driving me mad switching between the two networks all the time because neither of them reach that room consistently. And then sometimes I can't get on either of them. GAH.

So, can I upgrade my wifi router to get, erm, a stronger signal?? I have no idea how to find out about how strong a signal a router can give. What do I look for?

TIA you lovely clever MNers smile

RoobyMurray Sat 20-Oct-12 21:50:12


Mibby Sat 20-Oct-12 21:54:36

DH is good with tech. He also works for Apple. He says you would get the best, most consistant internet if you hard wire it.

RoobyMurray Sun 21-Oct-12 08:14:07

Thank you mibby, I suspected as much.

KenDoddsDadsDog Sun 21-Oct-12 08:18:34

Have a look at BT Home Hub 3 , currently one of the best on the market. But it would all depend on price / speed for you as to whether it was worth it.

RoobyMurray Sun 21-Oct-12 08:50:41

Ken, do you know what I would look for to compare it with what I've got? Like what's the unit measurement for signal strength?

KenDoddsDadsDog Sun 21-Oct-12 11:00:14

Somewhere like Which? Is a good place to start. BT Hub uses Smart technology so automatically uses the channel with the best signal / least interference , as far as I know it's the only one that does this but I would use a comparison site.

KenDoddsDadsDog Sun 21-Oct-12 11:03:16

Sorry, massive sentence! Also depends on how thick your walls are - I'm in a brand new house.

Snorbs Sun 21-Oct-12 11:08:25

Mibby's right - wired will give you the fastest and most reliable connection.

However, that doesn't mean that wireless is a dead loss. Wireless is very affected by the environment. How big's your house? Are the walls particularly thick stone? Whereabouts are the wireless routers actually located? Are they squeezed in a corner next to lots of metalwork or are they up high without anything around them?

I haven't heard anything about the Airports being particularly special. They've got some neat features that work well with Apple kit but in terms of being wireless routers they're fairly average.

NetworkGuy Sun 21-Oct-12 12:56:13

I'd have thought that the no-wires solution would be a triple pack of HomePlug adaptors. They send the data via the existing mains power wiring.

I put 'triple' as I assume it would make sense for the two networks to really be 'one'. Although I have 5 iMacs and a few other older Mac systems, I don't know what the 'Time Capsule' provides (but am guessing it is giving you a wireless signal as you can connect to it... does it have an ethernet port too?)

Look > here < (Solwise have their own site but others sometimes undercut them. Solwise have been around for years and a firm I am happy to recommend. Their website prices include VAT but not delivery - delivery charges are fair, in my view.)

In the dining room, you could perhaps plug in the Airport Express to provide a wireless signal that can be used there, allowing connection to both router and Time Capsule.

I have to admit my wireless knowledge is limited - 20+ years in Networking, but I still prefer cabled over wireless, for the greater ease of troubleshooting (you can see an LED on or off with a cable, whereas with wireless there are all sorts of invisible problems, such as shielding by mirrors etc etc).

NetworkGuy Sun 21-Oct-12 12:58:31

That 'no wires' was 'no wires through the walls, along corridors, or from one floor to another' of course... not no wires completely, as the adaptors have an ethernet cable to connect to nearby devices.

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