WiFi Boosters, Repeaters and Extenders

How does it work

UltraVnc Repeater
After reading all of the above, you may be asking why? If your first network is not available, your device will connect to the second. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer. Even if fan cooled it is not designed for an extended duty cycle. But there's no "requirement" to learn much Linux. And if you get stuck, a "anybody know how to?

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How to Use a Router as a Repeater

These keys are registered with the IRLP servers, and without the keys, there is no communication between nodes, or between nodes and reflectors.

If a node is setup in a way that intentionally ignores the guidelines, or if a PGP key is determined to be obtained through fraudulent means, the PGP key will be removed, which will remove your IRLP node from the system.

This prevents non-compliant systems from accessing the IRLP system. Note that there are several situations that will trigger an automated email from one of the IRLP servers to the node owner.

At least one of those situations will trigger a block on your node number. If you don't keep your contact information there up to date, the first time you'll notice a block is when the node announces that you can't connect.

So make it a point to use an email address that works and you should check it occasionally , and that you check and read! The collection of hardware that presents a radio system to the IRLP system via the internet.

Each node is different, and is custom-built to meet local circumstances and needs. Sometimes the "node" includes a router, maybe a node radio, maybe more. Depending on circumstances there may be a 2. The radio s used in the interfacing techniques 2 and 3 mentioned below. The telephone company offers 3-way calling in most areas, and that feature allows three parties to have a conference call. Another way of describing a reflector is to picture a internet "chat room", but with people on radios instead of people on keyboards.

The reflector computer itself is not connected to any radio or repeater but rather runs a conference bridge program that implements 10 separate IRLP reflector channels 10 separate simultaneous conversations at the same time. For example - reflector system hosts reflectors , , , , , , up to Each individual reflector channel appears in the IRLP numbering system as if it were a node number, but those "nodes" are multiconnect, and are the node numbers of each individual reflector channel.

Each reflector channel is as capable as any other channel - there is no advantage to being on for example channel 1 instead of channel 5 or channel 9. Reflector is a unique, special case, see the "Echo Reflector" below. Reflector computers usually sit at large data centers that have big data pipes to the internet so that they can support the large number of connections potentially several hundred connections on each of 10 channels.

This is like a software based repeater that records your audio and repeats it back to you 10 seconds later. You can talk to it and it will delay 10 seconds and loop it back to you. It is at address through and is used to set up node audio levels, or for node testing. The IRLP system software has a number of script files that collectively control the system behavior.

Scripts are inherently open source, and are the most customiziable part of IRLP. Many nodes use the stock IRLP script files and never make any changes, other system owners spend the time to become familiar with the script language syntax which opens the door to allowing you to make your IRLP node do exactly what you want it to.

There are collections of add-on scripts for common situations, for example scheduling a net, for remote node management, using the node computer to ID your node radio, playing Newsline or ARRL news over the repeater, for disabling or enabling the node on a timed schedule, for connecting and disconnecting on a schedule, and more. There's a script that implements a local DVR in your node so that you can let people actually HEAR just how bad that new radio actually sounds.

There's even a script that turns the node computer into a basic repeater controller, complete with a carrier delay hang timer, timeout timer, courtesy tones, etc.

The IDer portion of the repeater script will ID the node AND optionally periodically play a wav file that has more information about the node, but only if COS has been inactive for whatever amount of time you choose to configure. Any combination of scripts can be installed and then modified to suit your specific needs.

Or, since the scripts are plain text you can read through them, see what they do, learn the syntax, then modify them to there they do exactly what you want. Or you can write your own from scratch. Just remember rule 1 of script modifications: Never edit a script file without first making a backup of the untouched original script file Several repeater groups have web sites that offer a slightly delayed audio feed of their system audio on the internet so you can listen at home.

One such group is the Western Intertie Network at http: The Insomniac net at The term "codec" is a word that is a shortened form of the phrase "coder-decoder" which itself was derived from "encoder-decoder". A codec is a software module that turns an analog signal into a bit stream and a different bit stream into an analog signal. Three codecs are used in IRLP, and the one used for any particular connection depends on several factors, including the node owners personal choice, or the currently available bandwidth, or the reflector involved in the connection if a reflector is used.

The three codecs are: Plus there are the terms that are familiar to any PC user, such as directory, subdirectory, etc. There are two connection modes used on the IRLP network. You can establish a direct one-to-one link, or a one-to-many link via a reflector. A direct connection is just like it sounds, where node "A" connects directly with node "B". In this mode the two nodes repeaters are interconnected and no other IRLP connections involving the two nodes are possible.

This message is generated within the node computer attempting the connection. A one-to-many connection utilizes a reflector to connect many IRLP nodes together at one time. A reflector is required for anything but a one-to-one connection. As mentioned above, the reflector computer sits on lots of internet bandwidth and is capable of allowing many nodes to be inter-connected together by accepting the inbound audio from the currently talking node and streaming it back to all other connected nodes in real-time.

This functions just like a huge telephone party line, with one difference - the reflector will not mix audio - it is a "first come, first served" type of system and the first node to talk can continue until he is finished or his node times out.

So don't even try to talk over him - it won't work and you will not be heard. At that point you can connect to that reflector and call him - but realize that you will be joining an in-progress "round table" conversation with an unknown number of other nodes. You will find many node computers at the repeater site, with no monitor, keyboard, mouse or any accessories attached.

The node owner can connect to the node computer via its internet connection or if he is on site, from a laptop , and do everything via that connection I have seen several node computers that haven't had any attention except to blow the dust out, to replace the CPU fan, or the hard drive unfortunately moving mechanical parts do wear out. Some systems are configured so that the browser built into an internet-enabled cellphone can be used to control the node.

Adding features like the cellphone control costs nothing but the time to install the features but they are not supported by the IRLP support volunteers.

On the other hand, these days, Pentium 3s and early Pentium 4s are common as mud in secondhand circles or on eBay, or at used equipment dealers, or even the local thrift store , plus have the advantage of better supported motherboard sound chips, readily available RAM, local USB ports for file transfer using thumb drives, etc , etc.

As far as AC mains power goes, however they are hungrier than a P1 or P2. Laptops in general have not been popular as node computers. It CAN be done, but, as I understand it, can be quite difficult.

The biggest issue has been sound card compatibility, plus some have had problems with the parallel port for the IRLP interface card , etc. Also, there aren't as many laptops as desktops in the surplus marketplace, so the price is higher. Also, it appears that laptops aren't as durable - as one person put it "laptops just aren't designed for 24x7x operation in dusty mountaintop radio buildings".

Desktops have a price advantage over laptops, plus some on-the-motherboard sound chipsets work fine, others sound really bad and end up being disabled and a higher grade sound card installed which is very difficult on a laptop.

There are also "embedded" nodes that are built strictly for IRLP. They have no fans, no hard drive, boot off of a thumb drive or a flash memory card, and run strictly from RAM.

These single-box-solutions are available from multiple sources - two that I know of are: Originally the Red Hat flavor of Linux was used on the node computers, but they switched to Fedora when Red Hat was discontinued after version 9.

Each node is individually owned, and as such is subject to being heavily customized to suit the owners needs and environment. The setup of the IRLP node computer and the repeater controller needs to be well thought out as they have to play nicely and get along with each other.

This means that the DTMF commands for one have to be ignored by the other. As a result any given node may use different DTMF commands from any other node. As mentioned above, the node computer runs Linux. This scares off a large number of people as Linux is thought to be difficult to learn. But there's no "requirement" to learn much Linux. In fact, the two most common Linux problems node owners have are: Installations going badly, usually because of hardware issues completely out of their control, for example the computer using an audio chipset that isn't supported by the Linux distribution.

A post on the IRLP yahoogroup frequently results in as much help as the person can use. Backups, or lack of them. No one does them. The self-inflicted lack-of-a-backup problems are totally unnecessary. It needs to be highlighted more in the docs that a nice working backup system comes already built-in, , and if you use it BEFORE you need it you can recover your own node when not if, when the hard drive fails or other problems occur.

Used as designed, it rarely needs anyone to log in or mess with it. It comes up fully operational, and like most Linux systems just plain works. There are several ways to interface the node computer to a repeater or a simplex radio. However it is done the connection method MUST prevent all courtesy beeps and IDs from being fed to the IRLP computer and from there to the internet and to the far end node or reflector.

Picture the scenario where a large number of nodes are connected together on a reflector for a long period of time. After every unkey the system's controller, pauses, then goes "beep".

Every 10 minutes each repeater has to ID. If every nodes courtesy beep and ID was sent to every other node connected to the reflector the result would be that every node would be carying almost nothing but beeps and IDs from the other systems remember - reflectors don't mix audio. Don't think that can happen? At the time I was creating this web page I looked at this reflector usage page.

Reflector had 60 nodes connected. That would be a lot of courtesy beeps - and if each ID took 3 seconds that's a worst-case scenario of seconds 3 minutes of every seconds 10 minutes taken up with just the IDs. And we haven't considered the time that is wasted by the unkey pause courtesy beep pause from 60 different repeaters.

Enter the username and password. Many routers will use "admin" as the default entry for both the username and password, though you may need to consult the manual for your specific router. After the password is entered, the router will display its initial status page, with links to the various administration settings. Locate the page that allows you to change the IP address of the router. The address should be changed so that it is not the same as the main router on the network, or any other network devices.

If the main router on the network is set to use Disable the router's DHCP server. This setting should be on the same page as the IP address, but each router is a little different. When the router is operating normally, this server assigns an IP address to every device that is connected to it.

Because this router will be used as a repeater only, the IP addresses will now be handled by the main router on the network. Turn off the DNS server, if it is activated. One of these wireless routers picks up the existing WiFi network. It then transfers the signal to the other wireless router, which transmits the boosted signal.

WiFi Repeaters are very easy to install. All you have to do is place the repeater in a location that can receive your existing WiFi network, and then attach the power supply. You can then log into the WiFi repeater via your computer, and input the login details and password of your existing WiFi network, to allow the WiFi repeater to connect and extend. Got a tricky situation like a pool house in your garden? This kit is very flexible and can be moved easily.

For example, if you are RVing and the campsite has weak WiFi signal, this repeater can be fixed to the roof of your RV to boost the signal inside. Only if you go entirely out of range of the first network. A WiFi repeater creates a second network. If your first network is not available, your device will connect to the second. But in some parts of your house, your device will be able to detect both networks at the same time. This means that if you wish to change from the original network to the boosted network you will have to disconnect and then reconnect.

All WiFi repeaters have some speed loss, but some are much worse than others. WiFi repeaters work by receiving wireless signal and rebroadcasting it, but single band repeaters have to receive, then retransmit each packet of data using the same radio on the same channel. Dual band repeaters get around this by connecting to the router on one band and outputting a WiFi signal on the other.

One final feature that helps reduce speed loss is dual radios.

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