Ditching Cable – Part 2 (Dealing with a Dead Zone)

In order follow through and ditch cable, I first needed to address the dead zone in my house. One can accomplish this with running a wired connection all the way down to the dead zone from the modem. That is not ideal (and it’s ugly). I set up a quasi-wired solution with 2 routers and a Powerline Adaptor Kit. Got that first set of equipment all set up an working super fast, too!

I had to do manual set ups of everything. I use a Mac updated with Yosemite – which doesn’t gel with the set up software of most routers. Your routers likely have set up utilities you can use. It took me a long time to find the confidence to try this and many hours of researchto know where to start. I wanted to put it in one place for the next fellow. So, if you need to know the details on how to do this yourself, read on.

Preliminary Instructions:

  1. Find your dead spot and before you begin.
  2. Gather all your materials: Ethernet cables, 2 Routers, Powerline Adaptor Kit and your Computer.
  3. If your computer is not near your Modem, you need to relocated it there to complete the set up.
  4. Establish the difference between a LAN and a WAN connection. (WAN will usually be marked ‘Internet’):
    Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 6.46.20 PM
  5. We are going to use one router as a true router and the other as an access point. These instructions refer to Router 1 as ‘Router‘ and Router 2 as ‘Access Point‘.


Instructions to Set Up Router:

  1. Connect the Modem to the WAN on your Router using an Ethernet cable.
  2. Connect your computer with a second Ethernet cable to one of the Routers LAN ports.
  3. Connect the Power to the Router.
  4. Open a browser and navigate to the Routers IP address. [Some routers print it on the bottom so look there first, otherwise check your documentation. Last resort, ask the Gods of Google. If you are using a Lynksys router try 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.1.0, leave the login blank and password should be admin.]
  5. Under the MAC Address Clone tab check off Enabled. Then click Clone My PCs MACClick Save Settings
  6. Under the Status tab check to see if the Internet IP address is working. If you see all 0’s, click Release then Renew.
    Clone MAC
  7. If you still have 0’s (like me!) then turn off the modem. Then unplug the Router and powerdown the computer. Turn on the Modem. Wait 2-3 minutes for all the lights to come on. Plug the Router back in. Wait 2-3 minutes for all the lights to come on here, too. Reboot your computer last.
  8. These remaining steps are recommended: Under Setup change your Router Name. Click Save Settings.
    Router Name
  9. Under Wireless > Basic Wireless Settings change your Network Name (SSID). Click Save Settings.
    SSID
  10. Under Wireless > Wireless Security use WAP2 and set yourself a password so the neighbors can’t use your internet! Click Save Settings.
    WPA2
  11. Under Administration change your Router Password. If you use Linksys you will still have a blank username, but you can have a unique password. Click Save Settings.
    Router Password

Instructions to Set Up Access Point:

  1. These instructions refer to Router 1 as ‘Router‘ and Router 2 as ‘Access Point‘.
  2. Open a browser and navigate to the Routers IP address. Record the following: Under Wireless > Basic Wireless Settings note your Network Name (SSID).
    SSID
    Under Wireless > Wireless Security and note your security type and password.
    WPA2
    Under Setup > Basic Wireless Settings. Note your Router’s IP Address and IP Range. Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.51.43 PM
  3. Turn off Wi-Fi (or otherwise disconnect your computer from the internet) so you’ll be certain you are working on the right router. Connect the Access Point to your computer using an Ethernet cable. Make sure and use a LAN port.
  4. Open a browser and navigate to the IP address of the router you are using as an Access Point. (See above Router Set Up for help.)
  5. Under Wireless > Basic Wireless Settings change your Network Name (SSID) to match that of your Router settings. Click Save Settings.
    AP SSID should match
  6. Under Wireless > Wireless Security and change your security type and password to match your Router settings. Click Save Settings.
    AP security and password should match
  7. Under Setup > Basic Wireless Settings. Disable DHCP on your Access Point so that your actual Router can take over and handle things.
    Disable DCHP and change IP
  8. While still in Setup > Basic Wireless Settings. Recall to your Routers IP Address and IP Range? Here you need to change the Access Point IP address to something outside that range. In step 2 you can see I have a range of 192.168.100 – 192.168.149. I chose 192.168.1.99 for the Access Point IP. You may also need to enter the subnet mask here.
    Disable DCHP and change IP
  9. Restart your Access Point and connect it to the Router with Ethernet or a Powerline Kit using a LAN port.

Instructions to Set Up Powerline Adaptor Kit:

  1. If you don’t want to use Ethernet cable to connect your Access Point to your Router, you can use a Powerline Adaptor Kit.
  2. Plug an Ethernet cable into one of your Routers LAN ports and then into one of the Powerline Adaptors from your kit. Plug the adaptor into an outlet.
  3. Plug an Ethernet cable into one of your Access Points LAN ports and then into the other Powerline Adaptors from your kit. Plug the adaptor into an outlet.
  4. All set! There may be some buttons available on your kit that you can click (within 5 minutes of another) to secure your Powerline connection. Refer to the Kits instructions if you have any issues with this.

Check out the other posts in this cord-cutting series:
Ditching Cable – Part 1 (Why I’m Going There!)
Ditching Cable – Part 2 (Dealing with a Dead Zone) (you are here now)
Ditching Cable – Part 3 (Options to Watch & Stream) 
Ditching Cable – Part 4 (How To Stream By Network)
Ditching Cable – Part 5 (How To Stream By TV Show)
Ditching Cable – Part 6 (How Low Can I Go?) (coming soon)

Equipment I am using thus far:
• Modem from cable company
• 2 Linksys N300 Wi-Fi E1200 Wireless Routers) •
Linksys PLEK500 AV2 Powerline adapter Kit
•Apple TV ($65-120)
• Google Chromecast (I don’t really use this right now)

 How I watch TV as of today:
• Amazon Prime (99/yr)
• RCN standard bundle ($148/mo package)
• Current spend: $156/mo
Thanks for watching, err, reading!
❤ Roni

4 thoughts on “Ditching Cable – Part 2 (Dealing with a Dead Zone)

  1. I am fortune enough to have a house which has to be renovated a lot. So I have placed cat 6 all over the place. At least outside – in the garden – I’ll use a similar approach with a repeater.
    Your instruction is really, really good. Pretty sure this one will help a lot of people.
    Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

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