Extending signal on Rachel

I am new to this whole process… I am in Harare and am working with FHI360 and UCSF to help nurses and doctors in government hospitals maintain skill base etc. UCSF has purchased and donated 5 machine to be put in different hospital. They have been loaded with a lot of COVID ICU and anaesthesia material. This is call “Anaesthesia Classroom in a Box” Many of the hospitals are large concrete structures and I am wanting to know if it is possible to extend the range of the wifi signal to enable a somewhat wider spread rather than limited to just the ICU?HDU area. Many thanks Laurie

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Hello @drlaurie,

I helped with your project and It’s great to hear from you! I hope all is well and you’ve found the device and it’s content useful.

The contents of this post on our forums applies to the V3 device that you have as well.

Since the device produces a WIFI signal, you can use a WIFI range extenders to extend the range. For a concrete building, you may want to look at “mesh” WIFI range extenders to get better coverage. Mesh means that each range extender will connect to another which allows you to keep extending the range. This would help you with concrete or getting access to different floors and is what I would suggest trying. If you need help with this method please let me know.


Many thanks James
We will look at this as an option
We are only getting approx 15m max and our hospitals out of Harare are really spread out so this does mean that the area of access is only close to the ICU
What have schools done in the use of Rachel?
Do they use this in one classroom at a time?
There is much excitement from the nurses and doctors as there so much scope for learning and training

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Hi @drlaurie

RACHEL is most commonly used in a single classroom at a time, however, if you have the permanent infrastructure and access to power, it’s not uncommon to create a large WiFi network to provide access to RACHEL.

First, you should confirm that you don’t already have a facility or building that has a network.

In countries where Internet is common, almost all buildings are built with wiring in the walls or ceilings called ethernet, which is the basis for a “LAN” or Local Area Network. Buildings are wired for networks just like plumbing is laid or electricity is wired.

If this is the case, you can plug RACHEL into your building’s network and it can be accessible anywhere that network reaches.

If this isn’t the case, you have two options.

The more traditional option is to wire buildings together with ethernet and put up Wireless access points. This sometimes requires thousands of feet of ethernet (aka CAT6) cable and access points.

The more advanced option is now to forgo wires for a number of “mesh” wireless access points that talk to each other. They can usually be spaced about 20 meters apart, so if you wanted to cover 100 meters you could need 4 or 5 in a row. Each requires power and if that power fails, wireless access points further down the line would fail also. Something like this; https://www.bestbuy.com/site/eero-ac-dual-band-mesh-wi-fi-5-system-3-pack-white/6375348.p?skuId=6375348&ref=212&loc=1&extStoreId=119&ref=212&loc=1&gclid=CjwKCAiA3L6PBhBvEiwAINlJ9B38OSMFXbjfvHfG_rEFqkFMxjvxdShcyzmAIu9b2iB8zUaMPCcKQhoCnfkQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

You’d probably want to first investigate if you have any LAN available to you, and then, if not, consider finding someone with network infrastructure or LAN building to assist you.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: RACHEL Range Extension

Just to add one more option that may be possible if the others aren’t. You could look into using powerline ethernet if the building isn’t wired for networking with LAN outlets. With these plugs - powerline ethernet you can create a network over your existing powerlines. With the RACHEL-Plus connected using the right ethernet port, you may be able to have other devices connect to it in a different part of the building.

This would entirely depend on the wiring of the building and testing would be required to see how many of these could be plugged in to connect to the same network. I would try the other options first as they’re definitely more reliable.

Hi Guys,
Many thanks for this feedback, really appreciate your help. Nurses and junior doctors in the hospitals are very excited as to the options available for learning.
One of the IT team in Bulawayo had suggested doing this so I will feedback to him. His concern was that then there is the potential for people to access secure data on the network. His suggestion was to use the ethernet hardwired to another smaller router from which staff can access RACHEL information without having access to secure info.

Another concern is on one info chat there was mention that RACHEL should not be powered all the time as it is not designed for permanent connection. Is this so? Please could you advise as if it is connected into a network it will be powered all the time.

Many thanks

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Hi Laurie,

We’re always happy to help. It’s really great to hear the feedback that Nurses and junior doctors are excited about using the device.

The device can operate with a permanent connection without issue as long as the back containing the battery is removed. If the back isn’t removed and the battery is always connected to power and charging, there is a chance it will swell and cause damage to the device over time. For more permanent settings it’s best to remove the back. We can provide more information on this if you need it.

For security, the device is a fully functional wifi router and you can enable a password/encryption on the wifi which might help. Another device may not be required. These are the steps to enable a password on your SSID

  1. On the main page of RACHEL click Admin

  1. Navigate to the hardware tab

  1. Scroll down to the bottom and under “advanced hardware control” press “click here”

  1. At the login screen use the default admin/Rachel+1 to log in. The IT team can change this password to make the device more secure in these settings

  1. On the left hand click “Wireless” to get to Wireless settings

  1. On the next page scroll down until you see “Encryption” and choose “WPA/WPA2 Personal PSK ( mixed ) AES”

  1. You can now set a passphrase below it for the password. Click “Save and Apply” to save your changes. You should now have an encrypted and passworded signal.

  2. There are 2 signals on the device. 2.4G and 5G. At the top of the page repeat the same changes to add encryption/password for the 5G signal.

That should secure the connection. If you want to use another router to do this, you can use the left port of the device with an ethernet cable connected and users connected to that other router should also be able to connect to it. I also suggest your team change any defaults passwords on the device. The RACHEL admin password, and the advanced hardware password.

Hope that helps.

I have managed to set up the device and connect it into our exisiting LAN Connections and WIFI as well so now every ward now has access.


Fantastic news @Kuda . Great work. Please let me know if there’s anything else we can help with.

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Thank you very much. I would like to know if its possible to have or source more of these devices? Also would like training in how to upload more content.

You’re very welcome. We sell the devices on our website, but the version you received was customized and included custom content. Your project was coordinated by @Sam_Percy and their team. It may help to reach out to Sam for more information on acquiring more devices.

I can provide you tutorials and information on adding content. Would you like to upload more custom content? or are you interested in some of the existing content we have available?