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Do I need a "repeater".

Posted by red_lover (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 18:16

My home is 3500 sq ft on one level with a finished basement. Dh has a home gym in the basement. I installed a Roku for the TV in there and it seems the signal is too weak for anything to stream.

The router is on my kitchen desk upstairs.

I have been googling to try to solve this problem. Do I need to install something like this?

We have pretty crappy Internet. I think it's 2. Does that make sense? But, we can stream Netflix in the family room next to our kitchen.

Thanks for any advice you can give me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Repeater

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

tell us what your router is, is it a b g or n router? if it is not an N you may want to upgrade to a newer faster router the N routers have a further reach.

Repeaters may or may not help in some situations.
Thick walls can be a problem.
Try moving your existing router around some where you have it try it up higher on something, if it has antennas on it you can sometimes buy a more powerful antenna to replace the one that comes with it.

Letting us know your router type and model will helo.

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

The water containing stuff (pipes, water heaters) and metal stuff (hvac equipment and ducts, etc) in the basement and between it and your ground level does a great job of blocking wifi signals. A TV stream requires a more consistent and continuous connection than internet surfing.

If your router is relatively new and moving it doesn't fix the problem or isn't feasible, and if signal strength is otherwise ok in the house for other uses, I'd try the following things, in this order:

1. Cheapest and easiest solution = can you run an ethernet cable from the router to the roku box? Or,

2.Try a Powerline network connection. Frequently used for home entertainment equipment that needs a solid signal connection, it's equipment that routes the network signal over your electrical wires. One unit plugs into the wall by your router, the second by the Roku box, and a short ethernet cable runs from each to the respective piece of equipment.

Powerline connections frequently don't work because of multiphase home electrical service or the condition of wiring. When it works, it works great. Try to buy from a seller that charges a minimal or no restocking fee, there's a greater than normal likelihood what you buy may need to be returned. Or,

3. Last choice, a repeater. Is there a location on the first floor that has a good connection to the router, and a metalically unobstructed straight line through the floor to the Roku? Or, the opposite, a place in the basement that has a metalically unobstructed path to the router, and then a normal household path to the Roku?

I don't know the one you linked, but the Hawking HWREN-1 is cheaper, has good performance, is easy to set up, and has features superior to other units I've tried.

This post was edited by snidely on Mon, Feb 11, 13 at 22:35

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

Ok..just spent time researching powerline connections. Looked at several different models on Amazon and the reviews. Who knew?? I had never heard of any such thing.

Raven--my router is a Belkin N+Wireless Router. It's not very old and was provided by my Internet provider...a local satellite company. Do not see a model #, just Belkin.


Option #1. Do not think so. Not sure what Ethernet wire is. But router is in kitchen and roku box is in basement down a flight of stairs and two rooms over.

Option #2 sounds promising. Had no idea there was any such thing. Why didn't my Internet provider mention this option to me when I call and ask them about Netflix not streaming well in my basement family room (blu ray DVD player) and exercise room (ROKU).? Internet provider is also a computer place FWIW.

If I want to try this option, is there a brand that you prefer?

If I want to try this in my exercise room and basement family I need to purchase 2 "sets".

Option#3 I can see why you think this is the least desirable option now.

Thanks so much....I will check back later.

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

does your Belkin router (there has to be a model number they make many N routers) have actual antennas that stand up and can be moved around? That is important because Amped makes a replacement antenna.
the Amped wireless High Power 1000mW Wi-Fi Signal Booster SB1000. This method boosts the signal X 20. The SB1000 replaces the removable antenna on your Wi-Fi router, which keeps you on the same SSID.
Amped Wireless High Power 1000mW Wi-Fi Signal Booster (SB1000)

Repeaters can cause degradation of your actual internet provided connection speeds using the antenna will not do that.

One more option.

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

Raven--I found the model# on the bottom of the router. It is the router in the attached link.


Here is a link that might be useful: Router

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

did you by any chance look at and read the user reviews there on that router? Not very good, I think you should read those there's some tips there, and if you haven't tried getting the latest firmware for it from the Belkin site I would do that.
Since it does have removable antennas you could definitely look into getting more powerful booster antennas to replace the ones on it.

I really like to always read those user reviews before I purchase anything.

RE: Do I need a "repeater".


I'd probably stick to one of the better known names for powerline wall warts like Linksys or Netgear. You might want to try a twist, by using a powerline system to connect not to your multimedia boxes, but to one Wireless access point (AP) set up in the basement. What's that? Just like the Wifi portion of your router, but no router portion.

Since your only challenge seems to be finding a way to sidestep the heavy metal in the basement ceiling, once you've done that, you should be able to use a basement located wifi transceiver for the two connections down there. Maybe it would work, or maybe there would still be obstructions such that you'd need three powerline connections and no AP. Either approach is about as likely to work, except for my general concern of powerline difficulties due solely to electrical wiring issues.

I'm not sure I'd pursue the hi gain antenna suggestion if you can clearly envision metal or water obstructions in the signal path. Just like trying to push your hand through a brick wall, pushing harder won't change the result. Also, having a two foot tall piece of equipment on your kitchen desk may make it look more like the desk of a tow truck dispatcher than something nice in a place where guests are entertained.

It's true that a repeater reduces the capacity of a wifi link, but at the speeds you're talking about, I promise you'd never notice an effect. I'm able to pass a TV signal at HD quality at a speed the app says is 8 megs up AND then down through the repeater using two different nodes at the same time. You said your internet is at 2, you'll never perceive an effect of a repeater's reduction because the repeater link capacity would be several times greater than the signal it carries.

Whatever you get, and feel free to try different things if one doesn't work, remember to check on restocking/return fees so that you're not at risk for unnecessary costs.

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

A few other disadvantages of hi gain antennae I didn't mention (the post was too long anyway):

-The signal patterns differ from one to another. Many but not all have 360 degree coverage horizontally but any one could potentially have a weaker vertical signal than what you now have.

-If you have nearby neighbors, a more sensitive antenna will increase the chance of a neighbor's signal interfering with yours (because a hi gain antenna boosts listening range as well as broadcasting range)

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

I have read all of the advice given including yours Snidely.

Not sure what I should try at this point, but didn't want you to think I hadn't checked back.

I really appreciate all of you taking the time to try to help.


RE: Do I need a "repeater".

Wife was cleaning and on a whim put a metal dish behind our old Belkin and bars went up from 3-4 to 4-5. We see no difference in reception.

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

Red -

You've gotten a number of different suggestions, I'm sure at least one will work.

Will the internet provider/computer place you mentioned work with you at a moderate cost or for free (by supplying different equipment on a trial or loan basis) to get your system functioning the way you want it to?

Good luck

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

Thank you all. I just ordered a powerline adapter kit from Amazon. Trying Cheapest alternative first.

I will get back to you and let you know how it works.

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

Thank you to everyone that tried to help me with this problem.

I just wanted to come back here and say thanks for all of the good advice.

I tried the cheapest advice first which was the Powerline Adapter kit.

It actually worked!! I used one of the 2 adapters upstairs with my router.

Then I tried to use the other one in the same outlet that dhs corner TV is plugged into in the basement exercise room. The TV is mounted on the wall up high in the corner. The mount is so close to the outlet that the adapter (which is large) wouldn't fit into the plugin.

So I plugged the adapter into an outlet closer to the floor. Then I tried to stream Netflix and it worked perfectly.

I went into the basement family room and tried to stream Netflix on that TV (it had never worked either). It worked perfectly :-)

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

That is good news. I had read your original post and all the bits of advice given, so glad to hear that this worked for you.

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

I'd be curious what Brand Name and Model you have given your approval to ?

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

Excellent, I'm so glad the powerline plugs work for you. Does that eliminate one excuse for not using the exercise room?

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

Mikie--this is the set I purchased, based on the price and the reviews.

Snidely--you will be happy to hear that I have watched two episodes of The Walking Dead from season 2 while on the treadmill. Lots less boring than music!

Thanks again.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

RE: Do I need a "repeater".

That's a funny title to watch while on a treadmill. Here's some more you'll like:

Dead Man Walking
Running Scared
Running on Empty
Running Woman
Run Baby Run

You get the idea.

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