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Increasing Wireless Range
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Ω
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Aug 31, 2006, 04:05 AM
 
Currently I am using a Linksys WAG54G v2 with Firmware Version: 1.01.23 on a TiBook with an airport card.

My problem is that my TiBook is located on the edge of my Linksys routers range (or so I believe) as sustaining a connection can be an exercise in futility on occasions, where a small movement of by 'book can mean I lose or gain two bars of signal strength.

To solve this issue I was thinking or purchasing a bridge/repeater (?) to increase the range but was told by the expert (?) at the store that this was not really a good option and I would be better off buying another router to act as the bridge/repeater.

To complicate it more I see that Linksys has moved to wireless-n (draft) which promotes increased range and speed, of which speed is irrelevant as I am on a crappy connection anyway. However these new routers are not ADSL which means I think I need to keep my old router as the access point (?) which then communicates wirelessly with the new router which then gives me the stable connection that I am seeking.

Would this work? Or there are problem with my reasoning? Or can it be done a better way?

Any help/thoughts appreciated (even thread crappers - at least you looked! )

"angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress"
     
ghporter
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Aug 31, 2006, 08:04 AM
 
Let's look at simple stuff first. Where is your router? If it's on a desk or table, raise it up higher off the floor. My access point is about 6' off the floor, and moving it that high got me a lot better coverage throughout the house. Also, those little antennas on the back can be angled through two planes-tilt one to the outside and back about 20 degrees, and the other to the outside and forward about 20 degrees (in both cases that's about 1/4 the way down from vertical toward horizontal). That changes the radiation characteristics of the antennas to something more compatible with the typical angles of antennas on laptops, and should help.

But also keep in mind that some building materials will absolutely mess with your signal. Brick, and especially reinforced concrete walls will block much of your signal. So will significant amounts of wiring or plumbing, even plastic pipe because it'll be full of water.

Finally, just where was this place with the "expert?" BestBuy? Really, the utility of a repeater or range booster versus a wireless bridge all depends on the layout and construction of the place you're trying to cover. My standard-construction-practices house has about 1800 square feet of floor space, and my access point is in the front-most room, but my patio, some 60-70 feet away gets great coverage from that one device.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Ω  (op)
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Aug 31, 2006, 03:16 PM
 
The router is placed upstairs on a wooden floor about 8m (horizontal) from where my laptop is. To get to me I would say that the signal travels through the floor (or takes the stairs) needs to go through a wall and then through the hot water cylinder. Movement of any of these things, from router to me, is not too much of an option hence the boost signal approach.

The 'expert' was from one of the larger PC parts distributors where I come from, and has a good name as far as service and parts. However I know full well that no knowledge can be hidden. Act confident, know a few terms, and an ignorant customer (read: me) can be told anything.

"angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress"
     
ghporter
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Aug 31, 2006, 09:36 PM
 
That hot water cylinder (the water heater?) is doubtless an important obstacle. Considering that you should be able to put a substantial amount of Cat5 cable between ethernet devices (the standard says up to 100 m, but with consumer equipment I think 50 m max is a better bet-but still, that's a LOT of cable), you could move the router so that it's not on the other side of a metal object full of water.

And I'll shut up now and see if anyone else chimes in...

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Ω  (op)
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Sep 1, 2006, 04:50 AM
 
I thought this was your forum?

Wouldn't my plan of having another wireless router work? Can they 'speak' to one another, and if yes which range is 'dominant'?

"angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress"
     
slpdLoad
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Sep 1, 2006, 07:10 AM
 
Pringles can.


Seriously though, there are quite a few Do-It-Yourself ways to make better antennas for your router, as well as some commercial ones. A few searches and you should be able to find any information you want. That might be enough to do the trick.
     
ghporter
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Sep 1, 2006, 08:32 AM
 
The "cantenna" idea is good, but only if a) your wireless router has a standard connector for an external antenna and b) if you can put up with keeping your laptop in ONE spot forever-the cantenna is very VERY directional.

The "other wireless router" idea works too, but there are some things to think about. If you set it up as part of a roaming system, it can really help out coverage, but that requires a little setup fiddling, and a pretty long ethernet cable. If you set it up as a wireless bridge, you'll get connectivity in another place, but only WIRED connectivity unless you get yet another wireless access point and plug that into the second router. It all depends on how you want to go and whether or not you think you can route cables where you will need them.

Personally, I'd go with the "roaming" system, because it takes only one cable, can work with any wireless device that acts as an access point, and the "setup fiddling" is pretty simple. But it still requires placing the second access point somewhere closer to where you're working, and running an ethernet cable to it. If that's cool, I can give you instructions.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
holstien
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Sep 1, 2006, 11:02 AM
 
I currently have a similiar problem. We switched from cablemodem to DSL, partially due to cost, and partially because my housemate was cloistering the AP in her room where it was hard to get at to reset when it crashed. Now it's in the kitchen, and has to shoot through 2 floors and numerous walls to talk to the third floor.

Here's what I've tried with various success:

-High gain antenna: the built-in wireless on my Thinkpad worked ok on the 3rd floor before, but worked better with the high gain antenna.... however, PCMCIA cards still can't maintain a reliable connection.

-Re-orient attentena: Verticle antennas don't project much on the verticle. if you can aim you antenna at the powerbook, you might have better success. Aiming a verticle antenna means that the long part of the antenna is perpendicular to the direction that you wish the signal to go to. My high gain antenna has a 23 degree "window" up and down from the horizontal where it is most sensitive. PCMCIA cards now can have low signal strength connection.

Things yet to try:

-802.11x repeater. Putting this between the AP and your(or my) device would certainly cure the problem. The only difference is cost.

-802.11x bridge. These have an 802.11x radio bridged to an ethernet port. You configure it with your browser, then it bridges the ethernet and the 802.11x network together. These cost the same as repeaters. The ones i've seen (linksys and buffalo) have external antennas, so you could also apply a high gain antenna there.

Cheapest thing is probably to buy longer cable(s) and move the access point. Which is what I'm personally going to do next.
->Crafted with care by the red-bearded pirate<-
     
draggerman11
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Sep 2, 2006, 12:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter
The "cantenna" idea is good, but only if a) your wireless router has a standard connector for an external antenna and b) if you can put up with keeping your laptop in ONE spot forever-the cantenna is very VERY directional.

The "other wireless router" idea works too, but there are some things to think about. If you set it up as part of a roaming system, it can really help out coverage, but that requires a little setup fiddling, and a pretty long ethernet cable. If you set it up as a wireless bridge, you'll get connectivity in another place, but only WIRED connectivity unless you get yet another wireless access point and plug that into the second router. It all depends on how you want to go and whether or not you think you can route cables where you will need them.

Personally, I'd go with the "roaming" system, because it takes only one cable, can work with any wireless device that acts as an access point, and the "setup fiddling" is pretty simple. But it still requires placing the second access point somewhere closer to where you're working, and running an ethernet cable to it. If that's cool, I can give you instructions.
Linksys APs also function as repeaters, which works rather well. Unfortunately though, Linksys only allows the use of WEP security while in repeater mode at the moment.

Getting the router closer to the ground, and moving it to as central a location of your house as you can are both options to try before buying anything. Absent that, hooking a second access point up to the router via ethernet is your best option.
     
ghporter
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Sep 3, 2006, 12:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by draggerman11
Linksys APs also function as repeaters, which works rather well. Unfortunately though, Linksys only allows the use of WEP security while in repeater mode at the moment.

Getting the router closer to the ground, and moving it to as central a location of your house as you can are both options to try before buying anything. Absent that, hooking a second access point up to the router via ethernet is your best option.
Not all Linksys AP hardware or firmware versions work as repeaters, and in most cases they ONLY work to repeat signals from other Linksys APs/routers. This is common-all of the vendors I've looked into set their stuff up to repeat their brand of equipment, and if it works with some other brand, it's mostly accidental.

Centrally locating an access point (within the footprint of the floorplan) and keeping it from being blocked by furniture (as in putting it on a high shelf in a one-story house) are both excellent strategies for improving coverage.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
MacBook91
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Sep 4, 2006, 11:17 PM
 
Because u have a linksys, try getting a range expander. If you only have one computer getting wi-fi then u dont nessicearly need it. Jus an idea; there about 75 bucks maybe
     
ghporter
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Sep 5, 2006, 08:08 AM
 
Range expanders are one way to do this, but they work best where the distance to the client is an issue. Range expanders simply amplify the signal from the access point, which may or may not help in Ω's case. I'm not saying that a range expander is a bad choice, but it sounds like there's more than a distance issue involved, so spreading out the coverage seems to be a better idea than just making the signal stronger.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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