Improving Wireless Reception

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  1. #1

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    Improving Wireless Reception

    I have a Netgear wireless router on the upper floor of my home connected to two pcs. A third pc is downstairs and is currently connected wirelessly through a Linksys USB adapter. My problem is that the connection is not stable and drops regularly. Other than running an ethernet cable out of the window and down through another window to the third pc what else can I do to improve my connection?
    By the way I have a spare Linksys WRT54G router sitting around - can I use this in some way?

    Last edited by discobay; 21-08-2008 at 09:07 AM.

  2. #2

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    Amongst your possible options are:

    Belkin F5D4071 Powerline Turbo Networking Adapter Kit - Belkin F5D4071uk (this is supposed to work in the UK, whereby it uses your existing electrical cables to extend your range, but HK ... dunno).

    Belkin F5D7132UK Wireless G Universal Range Extender
    (Wireless range extender - sometimes v. tricky to set up ... don't know why)

    Get a router that is higher powered (perhaps).
    (This may not be a solution if your current router is plenty powerful already )

    I've only selected Belkin because I was looking into them recently - I don't know much about the other router brands, but I'm sure they have equivalent products.

    To summarise - these are the available solutions to you - but I'd go and ask in a specialist forum (try in Wireless Router, ADSL Modem/Router, Broadband/Cable Router, VoIP, NAS | Broadbandbuyer.co.uk).

    Last edited by miaoux; 21-08-2008 at 09:43 AM.

  3. #3

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    You may be able to run your spare WRTG54G as an ethernet bridge.

    I say "may" because whether this can be done in your case depends on which of the many hardware versions of the WRT54G you have (older is better) and whether you are comfortable re-flashing the firmware on your router.

    Installing a firmware version like Tomato will allow you to use the WRT54G to extend your wifi range:
    Tomato Firmware - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Tomato will only install on WRT54G versions 1 to 4.

    This is how tell what version of the router you have:

    Inksys WRTG54 routers - how do you tell which version you are looking at buying?

    Note: If you are not comfortable with techie stuff, you should probably just go out and buy a box that already has the extender fuction built it. They are cheap. The downsides to trying to mod your WRT54G are that it's a pain in the ass if you are not comfortable with semi-techie stuff, and you can wreck the router if you do it wrong.

    Last edited by jgl; 21-08-2008 at 11:01 AM.

  4. #4

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    I have a v2. Does firmware DD-WRT do the same?


  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by discobay
    I have a v2. Does firmware DD-WRT do the same?
    I think so: Wireless Bridge - DD-WRT Wiki

    Hang on, I suspect that my terminology might be a bit off. I'm not sure if the bridging function extends the range of a wireless network, or whether you need to use physical cable at the secondary device as shown in the linked diagram.

    Maybe someone else with experience can chime in- I've never had to bother with extending wifi range, I've just tried different firmwares for QoS functions.

    Note: To avoid bricking the device, I think you're supposed to reset to factory defaults before flashing. Hold down the reset button in the back of the device whilst it's on.

    Note II: I have overlooked a rather more obvious solution to your range problem. dd-wrt should allow for you to boost your Tx output power by a factor of ten or so. You could try that first and use the WRT54G as the sole wifi device. I'm not sure if this is bad for the device long term- I did it for a couple of weeks, then switched the power down again.

  6. #6

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    I am considering going the route of flashing the Linksys with the DD-WRT firmware and adding it to my network but before I do that could I do anything to improve reception by saying moving from the usb adapter to a pci-based adapter?


  7. #7

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    A larger antenna in a good position is the best thing you can do to improve reception.
    USB dongles are great if you have clear line of sight to the access point.
    PCI cards are great given the same condition above, but they usually don't have that, they are sitting behind the metal case of your PC on the floor or in some cases inside a cabinet.
    The WRT running tomato or dd-wrt is a good option, it is very easy to install and configure, and the router can be placed high enough so that it is not at a disadvantage for the signal path.
    I recommend tomato over dd-wrt as I have found the latter to be very unreliable for DHCP use.
    If you need a hand I'd be willing to help out, this isn't rocket science.

    dot.zen


  8. #8

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    Kind of you to offer. I don't need DHCP as I was keen on allocating a static ip to the pc downstairs for VNC - beats going downstairs by foot! Does tomato allow gain control over transmit power?


  9. #9

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    One other thing to try is just re-orienting your router antenna. If the PC with the connection problems is downstairs, try rotating router antenna so that it lies flat. Should take all of 1 second to do.

    See the first image- hopefully this explains what I mean.

    Liveport.ca - Wireless Antenna properties


  10. #10

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    Fair number of high gain WiFi antenna available in 298 Comp Center


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