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Be a good neighbor and Extend your WiFi Network in your backyard :p

Getting free network gear from family is quite nice sometimes, and that is how the tale of the Luxul XAP-1500 PoE WAP Install begins… The main reason for extending the WiFi network into my Dads backyard and throughout the house was to ensure surrounding wireless security cameras receive great reception due to a recent Coyote problem, and we have 4 cats. They even need to be locked in the house every night.

Since this article was written I have installed an enterprise-level WAP, the Ubiquiti Unifi 802.11ac Dual-Radio PRO Access Point ($128 on Amazon) inside the house

My dad has a mechanical mind and installed 8 foot fencing. I have a technical mind and wanted to have the highest powered WiFi coverage throughout every inch of our property. Neighboring interference? I’ll choose to out-muscle the interference or go around it if possible.

Increasing the wireless signal strength is not always the best method because you may also be decreasing the signal to noise ratio

All it took for me was a cousin with ties to a company throwing away good network equipment, prior network wiring skills, and a $60 1000 ft spool of CAT6 UTP 23AWG ethernet cable.

I chose CCA (Copper Clad Aluminum) network cable because it is a lot cheaper than solid copper cable. CCA cable is also more fragile, less flexible, and may decrease performance over the long term due to aluminum corrosion. CCA cable is generally not recommended for PoE installations but I decided to take my chances.

Amazing how low prices are today time comparatively. To do a job like this would easily run into the multi-hundreds, however due to the reason for this and free equipment provided (although not 802.11ac) it was all worth it.

The total ethernet cable run was 130 ft, but I always like to have too much cable than too little. If you need some cut to a specific length, leave a comment and If I’m feeling generous I just might send it to you as long as you cover the shipping cost (about $5). Wireless networking is simple and complex at the same time. The deeper you go into that rabbit hole, you’ll usually end up with more questions than answers so I’ll try to lay out the basics as quickly as I can:

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  • The current practical wireless standards are: 802.11G, 802.11N, 802.11AC, with N being the most predominant.
  • PoE WAP: Power over Ethernet Wireless Access Point. No need to run an extra power cable to the wireless access point as electricity is carried along with the data on a single cable.
  • Repeater: a hardware device which “repeats” the current WiFi signal to give it a boost if coverage is low in certain areas of your home or office. Since this device only repeats, or “replays” the signal you do not have the chance to change the channel so you’ll naturally be creating your own interference but the benefits are outweighed by the increased throughput to your end devices such as laptops, desktops, smartphones. However, a true WAP will always be more advantageous than any repeater. That’s also why they are more expensive.
  • There are two primary “bands” of WiFi which are 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz.
  • On the 2.4 Ghz frequency spectrum, the primary channels in the U.S. are: 1, 6, 11. Most consumer wireless routers use these channels so it may or not may be a good idea to squeeze in-between them: 3, and 8. You can use a simple WiFi Analyzer app on your smartphone for the purpose of site surveying.
  • On the 5 Ghz frequency spectrum, things get a little trickier, but in general: 149 153 157 161 36 40 44 48 NON-DFS CHANNELS. Pictures will be displayed further down.
  • CCA (Copper Clad Aluminum) network cable is generally not recommended due to the Aluminum in the wires corroding but solid copper is usually much more expensive.
  • The key is to ensure that every AP has fewer neighboring APs within radio range than non-overlapping channels available.
  • There are two 802.1 wiring standards – T568A and T568B. I prefer B as that is how I was taught, although the federal government requires T568A most likely for consistency reasons. The next time you see a network cable, look at it close up to see the colors of the individual wires that feed into the connector, or read the print on the cable itself.

How to improve the signal strength of my 5GHz wireless connection?

Before getting to far with 5GHz deployment, please pay attention to your geographical location and confirm the local law or regulation for 5GHz Wireless LAN required.

Symptom:
– Weak wireless signal showed on client device;
– Cannot detect the 5GHz wireless radio

Cause:
Generally, the lower the frequency the farther a wireless signal can travel. Therefore, devices on a 5 GHz network will tend to have a shorter range than those using 2.4 GHz. This can be mitigated somewhat with sophisticated antenna technology, but if a given device is relatively far from the wireless access point, you may have better luck connecting via 2.4 GHz.
Also the higher frequency will be more sensitive to obstacle and more attenuation caused when passing through the walls, ceiling, etc due to the relatively poor diffraction.
Here we take two pictures as example:

SNR: Signal-to-noise ratio is a measure used in science and engineering that compares the level of a desired Signal to the level of background Noise. It is defined as the ratio of signal power to the noise power. A ratio higher than 1:1 (or 0dB) indicates more signal than noise.

Solution:

Since the intrinsic properties of 5GHz wireless radio, there are no true sense solutions to improve the performance immediately, here we recommend following steps to optimize the wireless connection.
– Please confirm your wireless router/access point or client can support 5GHz wireless radio;
– Deploy your wireless router/access point close enough to your wireless equipment vice versa;
– Avoid the physical barrier because they will absorb the wireless signal dramatically;
– Try to change another channel within the local regulation;
Here we take TL-WDR4300 as an example. Please log into the management page refer to this link then select Wireless 5GHz->Wireless Settings, and choose another channel to deploy. You can take the following picture as reference;

– If you really need better wireless coverage, however, the 5GHz frequency cannot meet your demand after following the suggestions above, switch to 2.4GHz.

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