How to cover dead spots and use access points .


Nov 1, 2009
So I've spent a better part of the last 6 months trying to find a feature packed, easy to use router which is backed up with good after sales support and won't break the bank. And I have failed. My main objective was to have a single router with enough coverage to enshroud 2 floors and 5 rooms and go through 3-5 concrete walls. But unavailability of certain models combined with exorbitant prices for ones that do land on our shores left me with no option but to explore other means and drop the single router idea.

Most of my research was done by reading Amazon and Newegg user reviews and browsing with its nifty router charts detailing LAN and WAN throughput and extensive reviews.

My setup was not ideal. Infact it was terribly flawed. In optimal coverage situations, the router should by placed in a central location so as to provide uniform coverage and prevent large dead spots. But since the cabling was already done in my room, which is situated at one end of the house, extreme ends of of same floor and entire top floor were devoid of any signal. Changing routers made little difference so instead I opted for a single access point on the top floor(free of many obstacles and walls), while centrally locating a wireless repeater on the bottom floor. My connection is a little too perfect now, with neighbours complaining of their connections being trumped.
I also came across powerline networking components, which utilize your homes existing copper wiring to transmit an internet connection. I didn't opt for this as I wasn't sure how it would work with my electrical system, which seems to be utilizing different grids on each floor. But i find this tech fascinating.

The first (primary) device that allows my desktop to connect to the internet and my most recent purchase is the TP-link 1043ND. I traded it for 3000Rs at Primeabgb and while i still need to upgrade the 3Dbi antenna, it's serving its purpose well for now. Its default firmware is decent, but not as customisable as DD-wrt, which is fully compatible with this device. It may not have excellent rage and its routing performance is best described as 'on a whim'. But its easy to setup and use, while being affordable and carry's a 3 year warranty period. An alternative is the Buffalo WZR-HP-300, but unfortunately it costs 50% more. Its also hard to find locally, which would lead me to believe after sales support may not be great.
TL-WR1043ND - Welcome to TP-LINK

The second device is the wired access point. Originally the plan was to use the recently RMA'ed Asus RT-N13U router for this purpose. I purchased it for 3100Rs at a shop close to my vicinity. The first one developed a snag with its WAN port and after a dreadful month and a half exchange process with RASHI Peripherals, I finally picked up my replaced piece. It has repeating and access point capabilities on the fly (small switch at bottom to select router, AP or repeater mode). The lights are annoyingly bright. Full list of features can be found on the manufacturer's site.
ASUSTeK Computer Inc. - Networks- ASUS RT-N13U

The third device wasnt even in contention to be part of the network. But being at my wits end trying to make the RT-n13U work, i resurrected my 2 year old Linksys WRT120N and it worked perfectly. This device is entry level and basic by most standards, and has been EOL'ed by the manufacturer, but is still widely available. I read somewhere it isn't even a true wireless N certified device as it can only provide speeds of upto 150Mbps, as opposed to the mandatory 300Mbps of N class devices. Coverage isn't great but routing performance is supposed to be good.

Also used : Cat5e cable no more than 100 ft. This seems to be the limit for access point distances. A crimper and a few RJ45 clips are also required.

The setup
The primary router is connected to the internet and wired to my desktop.
No special settings are needed for this device to function as the primary router, except for the normal ones you need to connect to the internet in the first place and a little tweak to prevent IP clashing.

I was planning to install the Asus RT-n13U (Rs3100)as the access point on the upper floor, but the device refused to function correctly. As we know, an access point disables its DHCP server and NAT, thereby being assigned an IP by the primary router on the network. But for some reason, the RT refused to retrieve the IP and I couldnt pinpoint the problem. Even funnier (and hair pulling) was the fact that it was working perfectly fine using another small CAT5 cable which only extended about 2 feet. I replicated the same setting on my previous Linksys WRT120N, a router I had previously discarded into the depths of my cupboard for being too basic. But i quickly understood why linksys continues to charge a premium for its routers. Its recommended to assign an IP to the access point LAN address which is not in the DHCP pool of the primary router and it makes the process easier (to avoid accidentally giving out a duplicate IP address). There are other complicated ways to prevent this problem, such as Reserving IP's bound to MAC addresses.

To reduce dead spots and incomplete coverage on the same floor caused by incorrect placement of the primary router, I ended up using the RT-n13U as a wireless repeater. A repeater acts as a WiFi extending device and must be place within the coverage area of the WiFi. It then logs on as a client, while transmitting a WiFi signal of its own (integrating the signal with that of the primary router)allowing you to extend your coverage without the use of wires (except the power cord). This went off without a hitch and the few horus i had spent engaged in trying to make this work finally paid dividend. (Picture indicated incorrect placement of repeater at low signal strength location, causing frequent dropping of connection)

I will upload pictures of the devices at their locations along with a devicemap of the entire network. Please do point out any mistakes, grammatical or factual. And let me know if any information is missing or you would like me to add some more information. I have read many articles and PDFs on the internet to try and gain a slight understanding on the basics of networking. They may be useful to go through if you need certain concepts cleared.

How to configure a TP-LINK router to become an Access Point

ere's a link that displays the simple settings that are required to setup a seamless WiFi signal thought your entire home(Same SSID settings on all access points).

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