The range of your Wi-Fi network will depend on the layout of your house. In an ideal environment, such as the wide-open expanse of a parking lot, a Wi-Fi network's theoretical range can exceed 500 feet. Inside the typical home, however, expect anywhere from 75 to 150 feet, depending on the layout and the amount and density of obstacles. In our repeater-equipped setup, we were able to achieve close to 100 percent signal strength in a distant corner of the house where the signal had been either very weak or nonexistent. We tested the signal strength using Buffalo's included AirStation Client Manager software, which we installed on our notebook. The handy applet, which takes control of your notebook's Wi-Fi radio, displays such pertinent information as the name of your network, its IP and MAC addresses, and, of course, the signal strength. If necessary, you can extend your signal strength even further by adding repeaters. The WDS protocol allows you to link six repeaters to a central router. Just keep in mind that each time you add a device, you cut your maximum bandwidth in half. An extended 802.11g network consisting of a router and a repeater will have a maximum speed of 27Mbps, for instance. The same Wi-Fi network with a router and two repeaters will top out at 13.5Mbps.
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