Popular Telephony and Linksys WRE54G WiFi Extenders

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Popular Telephony and Linksys WRE54G WiFi Extenders

Check out Rich Tehrani's blog entry from yesterday about Popular Telephony announcing Commoca and Texas Instruments agreement to embed Peerio in color IP Telephony terminals. The news was made to coincide with the "opening day" of Internet Telephony Expo. I can't wait to see Popular Telephony's product live in action on the exhibit floor!

I would have blogged Popular Telephony's news yesterday, but I was too busy trying to get these damn Linksys WRE54G wireless expanders/extenders to work so I could extend the WiFi range at Internet Telephony Expo. Yes, in addition to VoIP blogging, writing TMC Labs reviews, and managing TMC's computers, I along withVahid Hashemian are responsible for configuring the show's WiFi network. So you know who to complain to if WiFi doesn't work. Maybe I shouldn't have admitted to being the WiFi guru? Ahh too late now. Cat's outta the bag.

You would figure Linksys (now Cisco) would be a plug and play affair - after all, Linksys targets the home consumer.

Well, let me tell ya, it was anything but plug and play. The WRE54G has two LEDs that are both supposed to be blue (though nothing in the manual tells you this, an exhibitor said he has one at home and it's supposed to be all blue). The units we had had installed had one blue light and one red light each. After some tinkering, Vahid and I got it to work, but still we had 1 red light and 1 blue light. I then upgraded the firmware on the WRE54G and finally was able to get both lights to be blue, but only on the unit closest to the access point.

Unfortunately, we were only able to use 1 extender. We thought maybe we could place an extender every 30 feet and it would amplify the 2.4Ghz radio frequency, but alas, we couldn't get more than 1 extender to work. Looks like unlike cellular phones which can "hop" from tower to tower as you drive, these extenders don't work like that. As far as we could tell, only 1 extender can communicate with the main access point (AP).

Fortunately, we have multiple APs, so we'll just wire up the weak spots where needed.

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