TP-Link TL-WR702N: Extending your wireless network

Having switched to fibre-broadband, I have enjoyed the faster upload/download connection compared to ADSL. However, it presented a new problem for my home. You see, the Wifi router used to be in my study, and all the PCs/notebook had the best connection in the study room.

However, now that the Wifi router/home gateway is now in the living room (where there is no computer) next to the ONT (run for free by the network company), I had to come up with a solution to continue getting good Wifi signals to the study and bedroom. The problem statement – to repeat Wifi signals using a small compact low-power consuming device. I have considered and even implemented home-plug powerline Ethernet, but the performance/throughput was terrible to poor, for some strange reasons (and yes, I have installed them on the wall plug, and not on the power extension strips), and I would probably need another one or two APs at the end of each homeplug to broadcast WiFi.

You can see the the simplified layout of the house with the Home gateway (HG) far from the bedroom and the attached toilet in the diagram a few paragraphs below here (okay, I don’t really need a good Wifi signal in the toilet, but then, if the solution can do that, why not?)

So I went down to Sim Lim square for a look.  Found out that TP-Link has come up with a really small and compact solution for you. How small is small? It’s about the width of a credit card, and less than 2cm thick. Very compact. And comes with 3 years warranty. And uses 1 watt of power. How much more can I ask for?


Small size means it is very portable, even for overseas use in the hotel room or for a quick LAN game.

This little box can run from a regular USB port on your notebook or PC, no USB adapter required at all!

The best part, is that it comes with a type 5V 1A USB adapter that you could use to even charge your iPhone, and also a micro-USB connect for the device. If you do your maths, the USB adapter is $10, USB cable about $5, and that means the device itself costs about about $20. The power consumption is also low. This little gem sips 1W when in operation. Comparing this to a typical 22W or 32W or 40W fluorescent tube you switch on everyday at home, this is like nothing.

Before installing, bedroom had poor Wifi signals as the Fibre-Broadband point was in the living room, and it’s a good 15 to 20m throw to that room from the home gateway, with about 2 walls between (if drawing a straight line).

The device’s setup was very easy, just plug it in, login to the web-based admin console at 192.168.0.254, choose the operating mode to repeater, key in the SSID to repeat, enter the password and also clone the MAC address of the home gateway (the original wireless router), and the device reboots itself as a repeater. It’s that easy to setup.

After surveying the home’s layout, I decided to plant the TL-WR702N somewhere mid-way near the door way of the study room. Firstly to receive better signals from the home gateway, and secondly to repeat the signals strongly in the study & the bedroom. I am getting good Wifi signal now in the bedroom room (8 – 10), even a respectable signal strength in the toilet (12 metres) of the that room.

To do some quick empirical measurements using inSSIDer software, the following are the Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) for the link at different location and distance from the portable repeater:

Distance between
repeater and receiver
Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI)
/ No. of Wifi Bars in Win7
Receiver Location
Remarks
0.3 metres -8 dBm / 5 bars Direct Line of Sight (LOS)
3.0 metres -30 dBm / 5 bars Direct Line of Sight (LOS)
3.0 metres -36 dBm / 5 bars 1x 90 degree turn -|
5.0 metres -43 dBm / 5 bars 1x 90 degree turn -|
8.0 metres -50 dBm / 5 bars
(-70 dBm for non-repeated signal)
2 x 90 degree turns -|_ (Z shape)
Average data rate indicated is 58-72Mbps
12.0 metres -52 dBm / 5 bars 2x 90 degree turns -|_ (Z shape)

 

From the quick measurement, signal strength for respectable for such a small gadget (and therefore antenna size and reach). For SGD$35-40, this is a nifty solution which provided pretty good signals for a small profile and low cost.

This is the layout of the house and final placement of the repeater, as the picture might give you a clearer picture.

If this meets your needs to improve signals in your own home, you can get this easily in the Sim Lim Square.

[gmap width=”600″ height=”400″ address=”1 Rochor Canal Road, Singapore 188504″]

 

Some features and specifications:

  • Compatible with IEEE 802.11b/g/n
  • Wireless speed up to 150Mbps
  • Compact and portable, small enough to take on the road
  • Powered through a micro USB port by an external power adapter or USB connection to a computer
  • Compatible with almost all 2.4GHz Wi-Fi devices
  • Supports AP, Router, Client, Bridge and Repeater operation modes
  • Supports WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK encryptions


HARDWARE FEATURES
Interface 1 10/100Mbps WAN/LAN Port
1 Micro USB Port
1 Reset Button
Wireless Standards IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11b
Dimensions ( W x D x H ) 2.2 x 2.2 x 0.7 in. (57 x 57 x18 mm)
Antenna Type On-Board
WIRELESS FEATURES
Frequency 2.4-2.4835GHz
Signal Rate 11n: Up to 150Mbps(dynamic)
11g: Up to 54Mbps(dynamic)
11b: Up to 11Mbps(dynamic)
EIRP <20dBm (EIRP)
Reception Sensitivity 135M:[email protected]%PER
65M:[email protected]%PER
54M:[email protected]%PER
Wireless Modes AP Mode, Router Mode ,Client Mode,
Repeater Mode, Bridge Mode
Wireless Functions Enable/Disable Wireless Radio, WDS Bridge, WMM,
Wireless Statistics
Wireless Security 64/128/152-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK
SOFTWARE FEATURES
WAN Type Dynamic IP/Static IP/PPPoE/
PPTP/L2TP
DHCP Server, Client, DHCP Client List,
Address Reservation
Quality of Service WMM, Bandwidth Control
Port Forwarding Virtual Server, Port Triggering, UPnP, DMZ
Dynamic DNS DynDns, Comexe, NO-IP
VPN Pass-Through PPTP, L2TP, IPSec (ESP Head)
Access Control Local Management Control, Host List, Access Schedule, Rule Management
Firewall Security DoS, SPI Firewall
IP Address Filter/MAC Address Filter/Domain Filter
IP and MAC Address Binding
Management Access Control
Local Management
Remote Management
OTHERS
Certification CE, FCC, RoHS
Package Contents TL-WR702N
Power Adapter
USB Cable
Ethernet cable
Quick Installation Guide
Resource CD
System Requirements Microsoft® Windows® 98SE, NT, 2000, XP, Vista™ or Windows 7, MAC®OS, NetWare®, UNIX® or Linux
Environment Operating Temperature: 0℃~40℃ (32℉~104℉)
Storage Temperature: -40℃~70℃ (-40℉~158℉)
Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
Storage Humidity: 5%~90% non-condensing





Gleeful Gleescaper

Gleeful Gleescaper is passionate about technology and shares interesting and useful stuff that come his way daily. He loves to travel to interesting places and keeps himself updated on technology & gadgets. When relaxing, he loves to sip on a freshly brewed cup of Espresso coffee to the tunes of Bossa Nova and easy Jazz.

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