Thursday, August 11, 2005

A rather sophisticated approach to extending wireless networks

Macintouch: Wireless Networking (Part 30)

A very clever approach to extending wireless coverage in the absence of any standard for the extension (I think WDS may be a standard, but it is not well supported):
Wireless Range Extender For Travelers

Gary Ralston

I travel frequently, and often need to extend a wireless signal by 50 - 75 feet. Commonly, I can pick up a signal by a window from the next building, but lose the signal deeper inside the structure, where I wish to work. Wireless Range Extenders are the black sheep of wireless. The various WI-FI standards do not specify how a wireless signal should be captured and repeated, so each manufacturer rolls their own, resulting in incompatibility between brands.

Yesterday, I found a deal on D-Link's TINY and versatile DWL-G730AP Wireless Pocket Router/AP™. As of August 10, 2005 Office Depot in Chicago was selling them at $30 EACH after rebates.

This little device is smaller than a PCMCIA card - about the size of two graham crackers, stacked - and SMART! An external switch changes the mode between client, access point OR router. It draws power from A/C OR USB, and is fully configurable using D-Link's standard web interface. To boot, it supports WPA PSK.

I bought two, switched one into client mode and the other in router mode, taught the client which SSID and channel I wanted to bag,plugged them together, and for $60 USD, had a universal range extender.

To change the default settings, Mac users DO need to know how to create a manual IP on either Ethernet (to customize client or AP mode) or Airport (to tinker with the router). In the Network System Preference, create a location for configuring my various d-link contraptions. Set the IP to, subnet mask and gateway Use a browser to connect to The username is Admin, and the default password is blank.
Two devices so the proprietary link is hidden.

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