Are you looking to have Wi-Fi in your home, but you don’t have a router? This may sound strange, but it is possible using the mobile hotspot feature on your computer. Many of the newer and more popular computer operating systems support this feature (for free).
Pros and Cons to going router-less
- Saves money up front – No router to purchase
- Slightly lower power consumption due to the lack of a router (this only applies in cases where you leave your computer running all the time anyway)
- It’s an easy fix when you’re in a bind and don’t have a router
- Excellent for travelers
- More complex – Traffic is going to be double NAT’ed in some cases, which can also impact performance
- Worse performance – Depending on the speed of your computer and the other tasks that are running, your computer may not be able to route packets as quickly as a regular router can
- Worse coverage – Most computers lack an external wireless antenna, and the ones that do have one are quite small. A router can easily cover a larger area than a computer can
- Must keep the computer on all the time – That’s right, if you shutdown or reboot your computer, other people in the house that are using your Wi-Fi network will be disconnected
- Difficult to expand wireless coverage – adding additional access points to your network to increase the range won’t work in some cases because the wired Ethernet adapter on your computer is likely already being used to connect to your Cable/DSL modem
- Limited to 8 devices (Windows 10) – Windows caps the amount of devices that you can share with at 8 total
There’s no reason why you couldn’t rely on this set up permanently, however, most people will only use it temporarily – such as when they are on travel or if they just moved in to a new place.
A router isn’t THAT expensive and the benefits of using a traditional setup versus a mobile hotspot are many.
- A computer with an Operating System that supports mobile hotspot functionality (Windows 10, MacOS)
- The computer must have a wireless adapter (any modern laptop will have a wireless adapter built in, and some desktops have them too)
- An internet connection to share – either your own Cable/DSL type service, or a nearby Wi-Fi network that you have access to (Windows 10 only – MacOS can’t be connected to WiFi and share via WiFi at the same time like Windows 10 can)
If you are wishing to share your own Cable/DSL service, your computer will also need to have a wired network adapter for connection to your Cable/DSL modem. If you are sharing a nearby Wi-Fi network, a wired adapter is unnecessary.
Best Home Wireless Extender Options
These options are for those who do not have a direct line of site. Say they are a floor above you or next door through some walls or who knows. These options are for a stronger wireless network in your own home or through walls of a neighbor. Check them out and see which option is best for your home network.
- (3) Best Wireless Router – Most Common [Price] This is your best option if you are in control of the incoming internet connection. It is highly likely that you have an old Wireless N router, so you need Wireless AC to get better speeds. To check your router, find the model number on the bottom and Google it, it will tell you if it is Wireless N or Wireless AC.
- (4) Build A Mesh Network – Best Performance [Price]There is no better option than this on the market. It is the newest home business class mesh for homes up to 4,000 square feet or more. The way to go if you control the connection and have the funds. Peak performance.
- (5) Wireless Range Extender – Budget Lower Performance [Price] The is the option to “boost” the transmission broadcasting from your neighbor’s house if they already have a router. It is also the option if you are trying to extend the wifi to a guest house, basement, garage, upstairs, etc. It is much weaker than the wireless mesh option but also much cheaper. You will not get full speeds as recasting will always half the original speed. It is better than no signal though. If you want to recast the signal without reducing the speeds in half, the wireless mesh option is the only way to do this.
Extending Your Neighbors Wifi For A Better Signal
Now we will discuss extending your neighbor’s wireless internet into your apartment next door. For this to work, you do need access to begin with. You can’t get on the wifi unless you have their password or they have an open network. If it is open or you have the password, you can boost their signal with any of these methods.
Antenna Booster Explained: Get A Stronger Wireless Antenna
To boost the signal from your neighbor’s house, this is the only true option. The directional antenna sends a stronger signal from point A to point B. It is directional though so you will need to point it in the direction you would like to send the signal. This is a best first bet if you already get signal from them but want it to be stronger. They will need to screw this antenna into the back of their existing router and place it where it has a line of sight with your house. If you do not have access, you can use the stronger wireless adapter on your computer which will pick up a better signal if it is your only option.
Stronger Router Explained: Get The Best WiFi Router Technology
First, it could be your old wireless router. Technology has changed a bit over the last few years, and there are many standards with different throughput, ranges, and powers. You should find out which you have and upgrade if need be, this could be your only problem. Generally, the model number will display an N for Wireless N or AC for wireless AC. At this point you need AC. You should not try to extend Wireless N because it will continue to be an underperformer.
- 802.11a: The oldest, toast, throw the router away. No longer out there.
- 802.11b/g: Also old and not worth investing in. Replacement time. No longer out there.
- 802.11n: aka Wireless N is the most common problem when it comes to weak signal. Last Gen WiFi.
- 802.11ac: The newest and best wireless technology. It is backward compatible, so your device will still connect if it’s not AC ready. Needed for fast speeds at range.
If you already knew that and have Wireless AC, on to the next step. A simplistic Wireless Extender to carry and extend the signal to remote locations of your house or apartment.
Wireless Repeater Explained: Recasting The Wireless Signal
This is the best way to make the wifi signal stronger from across the way. The image below demonstrates how it works. The Netgear Extender makes it easy to recast the signal to the rest of your home. There is a simple one-time setup page. If your neighbor has a password on their wifi, you will need to know it. You can not actually “steal” internet. You will need access to recast it. In some cases, you may find an open network and attach the extender to this. I still suggest you ask for permission.
The router effectively logs into your original WiFi router, grabs the signal and recast it from its current location extending the range by a lot. This is the simplest and most common method for extending the internet range in a large house or from a neighbors apartment.