- Issue: Need to connect a Windows 7 PC to the network without running network cables.
- Issue: Windows 7 computer does not have a wireless WiFi card
- Issue: Need a port for IP phone
Solution? WiFi receiver with a 4 port switch.
NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender - Desktop Version with 4-Ports (WN2000RPT)
I decided to set Carrie up with a home office in our circa 1960s home in the foothills. There is no crawl space, no attic and no way to run a network cable to the 3rd bedroom. PLUS, I wanted to have a hub in that office for a potential VOIP phone. I did some research (Google) and found all kinds of articles about how to convert old wireless WiFi routers into receivers but the ones I have are not supported. I could have installed new software/firmware onto the old routers but in the end, I would have a patchwork network that would be problematic at best.
My decision was to spend a few dollars and get equipment that was made for my situation.
Back to Google, I searched “Access point” and “Wireless receiver with hub” and followed links to Walmart, Amazon and Best Buy. I had a good understanding of what was available and what might solve my conundrum but at the height of the Christmas shopping season, it was hard to figure out which of my many options were actually in stock. Toss in the ‘promise’ I made to Carrie to have her online on Sunday sent me to an actual brick and mortar retail store; during the Christmas shopping season no less. (gulp)
Most of these Access Points or Range Extenders are made to connect home theater and gaming equipment to the network, fortunately, I’ve installed enough networks to kind of know what I was looking for.
- A WiFi Receiver
- A basic hub or switch
I ended up at Best Buy on Wetmore Rd.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the store relatively peaceful – at least in the area I was interested in. Well, it was before 10:00 AM on Saturday morning so I guess that helped. A young man offered assistance which I tried to decline but he was persistent (read bored I guess). I had the device chosen and in my hand already, but the boy in blue wanted to help. After a series of questions and answers – him asking, me answering, him not believing my answers – it was decided that what I had already chosen was what I needed.
What did I choose? A Netgear (I like the brand) “Universal WiFi Range Extender, 4-port WiFi Adapter.” I really wasn’t looking for a “range extender” but this thing looks like it will do the trick. After being assured by the blue blazoned helper that I could return it if it didn’t work, I purchased it – well after turning down the club card, credit card and the extended warranty.
If you want to buy it online, here is a link to Amazon, should you choose to buy it, they may send me a few pennies too. NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender - Desktop Version with 4-Ports (WN2000RPT)
Saturday December 7, 2013 means it’s college football extravaganza so there would be no networking on this day. (grin)
Speaking of December 7th, it is also the day to remember Perl Harbor!!! 72 years ago, so many souls. Sad.
Sunday, the day of reckoning for me and my network. I never believe things will install as easily as they say they will. Throw in the fact Netgear used the word “universal” in the product name, I was very skeptical. So I unwrapped the plastic, opened the box to find the black device and a small (5”X5”) pamphlet of instructions. Okay, here goes!
Option 1 (preferred) : Plug in the Netgear WiFi Extender, press the WPS button and then press the WPS button on the existing router. (Oh sure, it’s that easy.)
I plugged it in, pressed the buttons and … it worked. WOW! No seriously, it actually worked! I have renewed faith in the word universal and this has confirmed my confidence in the Netgear brand.
Okay, now for the geeky part – as if this post is not geeky enough.
Since I’m a security conscious kind of geek, I went ahead and logged onto the new “range extender” so I could change the default password. Yeah I know but I don’t need anyone messing with me or my network. I also changed the network id of this unit because I will be installing another in the house. (Actually, I did that after two units were running (fine I might add) with the same Network ID.)
More geekiness… this range extender also solved some intranet issues I was having with my MAC Mini server too. I’m so excited. (grin)
Oh – another thing, the range extender works too! All you have to do is log onto the new device, it will be listed just like your existing one with _EXT added (example, originalrouter and originalrouter_EXT). Bonus? You use the same password as you have been on your original router. SWEET
I guess I should let you know that my original WiFi router is a Linksys X2000 which is about a year old and pretty up to date. How this range extender will work on older networks is unclear.
The bottom line? If you need several network outlets (a hub) for your computer, DVR, game console or anything that doesn’t connect via wireless WiFi – and don’t want to run wires all over your house – this Netgear range extender works beautifully.
I have not tested the VOIP yet, but the system is very proprietary and local so that information would be of little use to anyone other than me.
<update> The VOIP worked fine too! One hub with a Windows 7 PC and VOIP phone and the other hub with a Windows 8 PC, A MAC Pro and a VOIP phone. All working flawlessly.</update>
As always, thanks for reading!