She’s been incredibly patient.
I finally took some time with an Android tablet and used an app called Wifi Analyzer. It was able to see multiple wifi networks in the area. I had it set to continuously monitor the signal strength. Initially it spotted the house network ID fine and then in just a few minutes the signal disappeared. And then in another minute or so it would reappear just as strong as before.
I would normally expect that kind of behavior if a microwave or other machinery is between the router and the sensor. After confirming the problem was the signal strength, likely due to obstructions in the walls of the house, rather than the laptop she uses, I had to think up a plan.
Fortunately this house was pre-wired with coax and cat 5. And my mind ran through the options of switches, waps, organizing the cat 5 terminations, which would require signal trace, and on and on.
Our ISP’s router was located near a jack that was connected through to a jack in my office. As luck would have it, my office is over the master bedroom. Light bulb moment and I already had an option in mind.
Step One: I dragged out an old router. A Linksys EA 4500 plugged it into the wall jack and made sure the router was plugged into the jack on the other end. This put it in a cascaded configuration. Then I went and confirmed the signal strength for the marginal area and the cascaded router was coming through loud and clear.
But I wasn’t done.
Step Two: Knowing that the wife prints things I needed to improve more. A cascaded router has separate IP addressing from the primary router and none of the devices are shared, like NAS or printers. I needed the second router to use the same IP addressing pool and that can only be done if it’s performing as a Wireless Access Point. I followed this process to set the router up as a WAP bridge.
I used the option for Obtaining an IPV4 address automatically. Something didn’t work and I was impatient with the manual addressing.
Once set in Bridge Mode, I had to go to my primary router to locate the correct IP address, used the IP address in my browser and set the WAP Bridge with passwords. Apparently performing this reconfiguration will change the SSID and remove the passwords. I gave it a unique password and SSID and, VOILA!.
Step Three: I personally configured the laptops that the wife uses to have the wifi ready to be connected. So, if she is using the laptop and not getting a good response, she can switch from the router to the WAP as she needs.
Happy wife, happy life.