Monday, June 22, 2015

Range Extender Solves Wi-Fi Problems


Wireless networking has become something that most of us use on a regular basis and, in fact, demand in many public places.  I know when I travel  if there isn't free Wi-Fi in my hotel and in  every airport, I start to wonder about their levels of customer service.

The same goes with our homes and offices.  While I'm still preaching hard wired  ethernet connections for mission critical workstations in the office, Wi-Fi permeates the rest of my world like an invisible fog of connectivity.

Of course, the problem with Wi-Fi is the reliability issue.  Wireless strengths & signals vary & that means a screaming connection in one room can be a squeaky connection in another.

However, I think I've found a solution.  The device pictured above is the Netgear N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender.  This little $35 gizmo is the answer to those of you who have ever spent long tedious evenings cursing the 802.11 gods because your connection keeps dropping or is so stinking slow that you could send a fax faster.

The N300 has beauty in its simplicity.  Not visible in the photo above are the prongs that allow this device to plug directly into an AC outlet.  Once it has power, the setup is so easy, it's frightening.  It literally took me about 5 minutes, maybe less, to have it up and running.

In a nutshell, it connects to an existing Wi-Fi network where there is a strong signal and then it becomes a separate router that broadcasts a signal into an area that does not have coverage.

Here's an example.  A Wi-Fi router is on one side of the building and coverage on the opposite side of the building is weak or no there at all.  Placing the N300 halfway across the building allows it to get a great connection to the original router while also covering the portion of the building that had weak or  no coverage previously.

This is a great way to solve the problem for low cost both for the hardware as well as IT budget to deploy it.

It's available from Amazon and other retailers...

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