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Extending the range of a wireless network

Learn about the best ways to expand the range of your client's wireless network while taking into account the fact that 802.11n is quickly becoming the WLAN standard.

What's the best way to expand the range of my client's wireless network?

Well, that depends. Why do you want to do this? More range usually involves less reliability and lower throughput, so it's better to add more access points, at least in enterprise settings. But some other options include turning up the transmit power (some products allow you to do this), using add-on booster antennas (which will be specific to your particular AP), using repeaters (some vendors include these in their product lines), and using MIMO-based (802.11n) components on one end or the other.

802.11n is going to replace all other WLAN technologies over the next few years, so it's not too early to get started here. Look for the Wi-Fi Alliance "Draft n" logo on the box, or check to make sure the product has Wi-Fi approval before you buy it. The older "Draft 1" MIMO products work just fine, but they aren't very interoperable. Some Draft 1 products can be updated to the latest Draft 2 version; check with your vendor if there's any question.

This was last published in September 2007

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