WDS : Use it to Extend WiFi Coverage at Home

Surely many have seen it in the web menu of your router, but they do not know what the function is. As we are used to doing, we will take you out of doubt. We will explain everything related to the WDS function and how you can expand the Wi-Fi coverage in your home with this function. Yes, with this function you can put an end to one of the problems that affect many users, since the installed routers, in most of the cases, do not have a good performance in terms of the wireless interface.

WDS – Wireless Distribution System

WDS ( Wireless Distribution System ) we could say that it is a way to connect two devices, without going into technical details for the moment. In this case, routers or access points. This allows us to carry out two mutually exclusive actions:

  • Expand the coverage of an SSID issued by a router
  • Connect two devices to interconnect different subnets.

Surely the first option is the one that most interests the users. The second not so much, since, the wireless interface is reserved in its entirety for the link between the devices. That is, no wireless client can connect.

Going into a little more technical details. The two options mentioned above are known as:

  • WDS or Wireless Repeater
  • WDS-AP

It is convenient not to confuse with WPS. It is true that the similarity is enough, but the purpose is not. This allows the management of the connections to a wireless network in a simple way, avoiding resorting to the keys that in many occasions were long and difficult to remember.

Positive and Negative Aspects of WDS

Like everything, it is necessary to talk about the good and the shortcomings.

The main advantage is related to the treatment of the packages. To be precise, the original MAC address of the packets is maintained.

The other advantage is that it allows, in a relatively simple way, to extend the Wi-Fi coverage of our home.

However, the disadvantages are important, and you have to take them into account.

To operate the WDS in the home, we need the two devices to be compatible. But this does not guarantee the correct operation unless they are equipment of the same manufacturer. What we want to say is that we do not have an IEEE standard. This means that interoperability between equipment is not guaranteed. Hence, problems may appear, or the pairing simply does not work.

The other disadvantage is that the wireless performance is reduced by half with each jump. What we mean is that, if we connect three routers / APs using WDS, the loss of performance of the third with respect to the first will be 50%.

Operating modes of the devices

When a device has the WDS option, it can work in three different ways:

  • As an access point for clients to connect.
  • As a “bridge”, 100% dedicated to this function and not available for other devices to connect.
  • A dual operation, offering a client access point and a bridge to connect another device.

The purpose of the last point is simply to create a wireless network in which the routers / APs connect to each other wirelessly, allowing the connection of clients through the wireless interface or network ports.

Where can I find this option on my router / AP

In this case, we can only make an approximation of where this function is. Each router / AP has a different configuration menu, and it is complicated to match them all.

In our case, in the router Observe facilitated by the operator Movistar, we can find this option in the Advanced option of the menu, which can be selected at the top. It will be in the Wireless section where you place this option.

As a general rule, this option can be found in the section related to the Wi-Fi options of the router / AP.

Set up two computers using WDS to extend Wi-Fi home coverage

Before detailing the process, a series of considerations should be taken into account.

The first and we could consider basic, is that the devices must be compatible with WDS. That is, they must have this option on the web menu. Otherwise, the configuration cannot be performed.

Another aspect to keep in mind is that the routers / APs must be configured on the same channel. This is not an obligation, it can be configured and operated more or less correctly in different channels.

If the equipment to be used is very old, it is not advisable to use WPA security, having to comply with WEP or even MAC filtering.

Once we have taken these into account, we can start with the configuration of both devices.

Depends on what type of security we choose, the process will vary. For example, in the case of the previous capture we have made of the observer, we have to indicate the MAC of the other device that will be used to repeat the signal. Meanwhile, in which we want to connect, we must offer the MAC address of the router or AP to which we are going to connect and the wireless security. That is, the WEP or WPA password that the SSID has.

NOTE: To avoid problems accessing the equipment, we must modify the address of one of them, since, in most cases, it will be 192.168.1.1. It is also convenient to deactivate the DHCP server in which you are going to connect to the other, leaving this task to which we could consider router or main AP.

Make WiFi more Powerful and Faster

Having a bad or slow Wi-Fi signal can be exasperating. When we hire an Internet plan with Wi-Fi for our home or office, not only the speed of the same is important, but other factors that we usually do not take into account and that, in many cases, may be the cause of the problem with your signal

For a Fast and Powerful Signal

Yes, we can not deny that the speed of your Wi-Fi is important, especially if you consume streaming video platforms in 4K, play online or download large files. However, this is not the only factor that we must take into account.

Surely you have ever noticed how the bars of the Wi-Fi icon appear full on the screen of your devices and, even then, the signal you receive is still poor. This is because the bars indicate the state of the network, but not how it is working.

Check the Router

The first indication that something is wrong with your WiFi is the light signals that are in this device: make sure they are lit and that they are green. If one is off or red, it could mean that this is precisely the main cause of the problem.

As a second step, you should locate the router in an area that allows the waves of the wireless signal to propagate effectively through your home or office. Try to place it in high areas and free of physical obstacles. It is also recommended that you place the router away from other electronic devices, in particular those that emit electromagnetic waves (such as microwaves or some telephones). Wooden furniture or doors and related materials are no major obstacle to the propagation of your Wi-Fi waves, so do not break your head trying to position your router in impossible places.

Walls and blocking of signals

The walls (especially if they are very thick or have some kind of metal), can also become an obstacle to overcome. A good option is to adapt network extenders, an action that is neither expensive nor complicated (you only have to connect them to an electrical outlet). With them, the range of wireless waves will most effectively reach your devices.

Nowadays, more and more electronic devices are connected to the Internet. The more devices are working through your network, the greater the congestion that occurs in it and the worse the result in terms of the power of your Internet connection. With the following app WiFi Analyzer, you can determine the intensity of the connections and the channels in which the waves travel, which will be very useful when evaluating and repairing the problems in your signal.

Speed Meters and their values

Our last advice would be to measure the speed and know how to interpret the numbers that appear. With Speedtest you can measure the speed of your Internet, either in its web version or in its Android app. In these evaluations, you will find three variables: ping, loading speed and download speed.

The ping is the time it takes your connection to react when your device makes a request on the Internet, so a lower value indicates better performance. The loading speed is the time necessary for the data of your device to upload to the server, and the download speed is the opposite, that is, the time it takes for the server data to go down to your devices. The last two values are measured in Mbps, and the higher they are, the better.

And well, it is good to recommend that you have a Wi-Fi password safe enough so that neighbors can not catch it. What do you think of these tips? Are you satisfied with your internet speed?

WiFi 6 – Why is it Going to Improve your WiFi Home Network

the Wi-Fi Alliance is expected to ratify the new 802.11ax or Wifi 6 standard that is now in the development phase. In addition to the change in the way we refer to devices and networks compatible with this new standard, Wifi 6 brings much interesting news in increasingly common situations where we have many devices that want to access the Internet at the same time.

We tell you what their technical characteristics, improvements and advantages of WiFi 6 are.

Why Wifi 6 and not WiFi 802.11ax?

Although it will be a while before we get used to it, the Wi-Fi Alliance introduced a new denomination for the devices and networks compatible with each standard last October. The objective is clear: to facilitate the identification and differentiation between WiFi networks in a direct and unique way in the consumer market.

In this way, products and networks that are capable of operating under the 802.11ax standard will actually do so under WiFi 6. The previous standards, such as the current 802.11ac, collect other names, in the latter case Wifi 5. This will happen from now on with the standards of the Wi-Fi Alliance, although they will only receive simple designations type Wifi 6 the standards destined to the market of consumption.

The new WiFi 6 standard is compatible with previous protocols, so if you buy one of the new WiFi 6 or 802.11 ax routers, your current equipment can connect to it. However, in order to obtain the advantages and advances of the new WiFi 6, we need both the transmitter and the receiver to be compatible with WiFi 6.

More reach and coverage even in saturated spaces

As we see in the following table, WiFi 6 does not improve much the speed of data of original link that we have in the standard 802.11 ac. A stream goes from 433 Mbps in WiFi 5 to 600 Mbps in Wifi 6. Neither in the theoretical maximum data rate that we can achieve using 8 streams (160 MHz), there is a very large quantitative leap since WiFi 6 goes up to 10 Gbps when with Wifi 5 the most we could get was about 7 Gbps.

The advance achieved is thanks, in part, to its 1024-QAM modulation, which allows a greater amount of information to be sent per symbol in a given bandwidth than with previous WiFi protocols. This is especially interesting in scenarios of high-density connections to a WiFi network, which is where the new standard expects to increase by 4 times the average performance per user compared to the previous one.

The interest in the future WiFi 6 is therefore not the maximum speed per device but the overall improvement that users will experience in increasingly common situations and where we want to have many devices connected to the same WiFi network. Even at home. There will also be an improvement in latency, which will be much lower, and of course in security, being prepared to use WPA3.

How does the next WiFi 6 get it you have to look for it in different technologies that release or improves the 802.11 ax standard? Among them, the most relevant is OFDMA, MU-MIMO bidirectional or Color BSS.

The true value of WiFi 6 is in the increase in the efficiency and maintenance of connections even when the network is very congested.

Another important feature of the new WiFi 6 is that, unlike the WiFi 5 or 802.11 ac, the new standard can operate on both the frequency of 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz. The current WiFi 5 can do it too but in reality, it gets ” taking ” the 2.4 GHz band of the 802.11 a protocol.

Better management of several devices at the same time

At home, it is usual that we have connected to the WiFi network not only smartphones, consoles or televisions, but increasingly, different gadgets and devices that require and need network or Internet connections. From refrigerators to thermostats or loudspeakers with virtual assistants.

ODFMA is a technology that increases the amount of data that can be sent and received simultaneously with WiFi 6

The technology that will significantly improve these conditions of use is OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access). Thanks to it, WiFi 6 networks offer lower latency when there are many devices that want to access the router.

In a simple way, until now, when a router sent information to a device, it made use of the entire bandwidth of the channel, regardless of the type of data or the amount of information that needed to be transmitted. With OFDMA technology, these channels can be subdivided in turn to offer access to different clients or devices, thus achieving that desired lower latency and better efficiency of the WiFi network when there are many devices that want to use it.

Another technology such as MU-MIMO, already used in previous standards, becomes essential in WiFi 6 to achieve consistency in the flow of data to many users. Now it is also bidirectional, counting on Downlink and Uplink of multiple users. The upload mode of multiple users is exclusive of the new standard and did not exist in any of the previous ones.

In environments with the high density of devices and connections, reducing the interferences that make the efficiency of the data flow reduced has also been taken into account in the Wifi standard 6. For those situations, a very curious technique has been used: BSS coloration.

Its operation is very intuitive and the name is not accidental. What happens with this spatial reuse technique is that in a multi red location, different colors are assigned to each network so that their identification is easier. Thus, when the access points detect an 802.11ax frame, they check the color bit of the BSS and make decisions to avoid interference.

Less consumption for connected devices

The third pillar on which WiFi 6 is built is one of the most important since it affects the autonomy of the devices that are going to be connected to the wireless network. The Target Wake Time (TWT) technology is in charge of this improvement.

With WiFi 6, instead of having the devices connecting and shutting down every certain fixed time in search of transmissions from the access point, there is a negotiation to set in advance specific times to access the communication channel, knowing at all times the expected duration of the activities of the network.

With this operation, the devices can be kept in sleep mode (and save energy) until their fixed and negotiated time arrives.