Suggestions on Wifi


Active Member
I am looking around for a good solution for getting wifi coverage in a house I am building.

The house is basically 4 floors, basement, 1st, 2nd and walk-up attic (which will be finished at some point). 7200 SF finished and about another 1500 unfinished in the attic.

I've been thinking about using multiple access points on each floor (the recessed ONQ) models.

However, I'm not sure this is going to work as the roaming from one access point to another may not work so well (i've had this problem before).

Anyone aware of perhaps a unit I could install in the attic and get full coverage in the house?

I know this may not be the best place to ask this, but maybe some of you can refer me somewhere.

I'd try something in the middle of the house, make it an equal distance from the outermost rooms in the attic and basement. I had an access point in the basement of a 5000sqft 2-story house (2 finished floors plus basement) and it covered the whole house just fine.
You might consider using a pair of high gain antennae on something like a LinkSys dual antennae model. I've only got a single story 1500 sq ft house, I have the router at one end of the house and get full coverage with the stock antennae throughout the house. The transmit power is limited by the FCC so your best bet for a single unit is to use a good antennae system.

I can also connect to other networks two houses away, which brings up a point, you may already know, but for general info:

Do not broadcast your wireless SSID and Always use some form of the built in encryption (wireless LAN 101 :( ).

I added multiple access points. This way I get a strong signal no matter where I am. I used some refurbished MIMO access points that cost me about $50 per unit and buy what a difference that makes. I also did this as I have wireless IP cameras and they work great with this setup.

I ran one cat5 to the attic from the basement and then split it to the rooms using a switch and now almost the entire has really good signal.

KenM said:
You might consider using a pair of high gain antennae on something like a LinkSys dual antennae model.
High gain antennas do not work well for multiple floors. As you increase the gain of the antenna, you flatten out its radiation pattern. So it will send more RF straight out to the sides, but not quite as much up.
Why not simply use one of the new N wireless routers. The range is about 3 - 5 times the range of a typical G router which should easily cover this area.
I'd also consider quality AP's vs the cheapies Numerous times I've gone to sites with Linksys/dlink etc AP's installed and they are getting spotty coverage best. I let them try out a Cisco 1231 or similar and it never comes back.

7000 sq feet is quite a bit for one AP. I always over design by a fair margin when I am unable to actually walk the site and test it out so it would probably be wise to figure at least 2 Cisco's or 4+ cheapies. But buy/borrow one and install in the best location and walk the house is the only way you will ever know for sure.
All good advice.

If you do use more than one AP, be sure to run then on the same SSID but on different frequencies. Also, the bandwidth of each frequency is an "umbrella" that overlaps about five channel frequencies in either direction. For this reason, there should really only be three "channels" in use in the 802.11b/g RF variants in the US (802.11a is a different frequency and outside the US, there's a bit higher RF range): use channel 1, 5 or 6, and 11 if you run three APs. If you run two, you may want to consider using channels 2 or 3 and 8 or 9 to avoid the fact that the default frequencies for most APs are either 1, 6 or 11.

So configured, I have not had roaming issues in a few years: not since the earliest versions of APs (some in the 1Mbps range, actually).

Oh... and the above data is the basic as taught for complex wireless implementations such as the ones we did (years ago now) at UCI and other locales. Good data on the antennae "gain" concepts, BTW: I used to use a balloon to teach how RF works. A standard dipole has a (more or less) spherical coverage and all the various antennae do (without an amplifier) is push and shape that same volume in the balloon; you can gain in one direction, but it is always at the cost of another (without an amplifier - which are not legal :wink:).