When Laura and I first moved in, we had a list of utilities that needed to be changed over into our names. Gas, electric, water, and garbage – but the first utility that I took care of was the internet. In this day and age, the internet has really becomes one of those utilities that you “can’t live without,” especially when your girlfriend is a master blogger.
While I was able to set up the internet and connect it to my NETGEAR N600 Wireless Dual Band Router from day one, we noticed that we had very little signal strength upstairs, in the basement, and on the patio. My office is upstairs, my ‘toy room’ will one day be in the basement, and Laura and I love to sit on the patio and watch the dogs while we work/play on our computers. So it was an issue that had to be fixed.
In order to do that, and not being a tech guru, I had to do a lot of research on what product would not only increase wireless internet coverage, but also provide consistent and reliable connectivity. One of the first things I learned that I had to do was to make sure that my existing router was properly placed to maximize its coverage. However, I was at the whim of both the cable company and the landlord, who dictated that the incoming cable stay in the southeast corner of our family room. I could have run Ethernet cable from the modem up to my office and have my router in a central location, but I can’t drill holes in the wall and I would have needed to do in order to do that. So I continued my search to learn more about increasing my wireless network coverage.
There are a lot of appliances and devices in everyone’s households that potentially conflict with wireless signal strength, such as microwaves, baby monitors, garage door openers, and television remotes. But alas, I live in a rental home, so in lieu of changing out a garage door opener or buying a new TV and microwave, I went on to the next idea.
After much research, it seemed that the easiest thing to do would be to bite the bullet and buy a wireless network extender/repeater. Contrary to what you might think, an extender/repeater doesn’t just boost the signal of your router under the same name – you have to invest in a more powerful wireless router. Instead, an extender picks up the original wireless signal and retransmits it as a new signal.
I went to Best Buy and grabbed a NETGEAR Universal WiFi Range Extender and went through the setup wizard, which was easy as pie. Simply plug it into the wall, hit the WPS button on the extender, then hit the WPS button on your router, and you’re good to go. Now, we have two networks that our devices can connect to – wirelessnetwork1 (I’m very creative with my network names), and wirelessnetwork1_EXT (the extension). And BOOM – nachos.