Signal Strength Variations

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking' started by Poddys, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. Poddys

    Poddys Guest

    The signal I pick up from our local free network is weak (1 bar), and
    sometimes I can connect well, sometimes it's flaky, and sometimes I
    can't connect at all.

    I don't know why the signal quality would vary so much. Is it due to
    the humidity or temperature in any way?

    Also sometimes I can detect only 3 wireless networks operating in our
    building, but at other times up to 8. I'm sure thay aren't all
    switched off. The building is a condominium and we are on the top
    floor (7).


    To try and boost the signal I purchased a Belkin Repeater (F5D7132)
    which I hpped by having a better antenna than my Dell Laptop might
    pick up the signal better.

    Well it does sometimes, and I get a strong connection to the repeater,
    but the signal strength to the original router is just as weak and the
    connection is still as before - sometimes quite strong and at other
    times I can't connect at all.

    My questions are:

    (1) What could cause the signal to vary so much, or is it just noise
    on the line.

    (2) Could I boost the reception in any way by using a different
    antenna on the repeater?

    (3) The incoming signal is on channel 11, and the repeater is set to
    channel 11 also. Can I change channel or by using it as a repeater am
    I locked into the same channel as the originating router?

    Thanks in advance.
    Frustrated........
    Poddys, Nov 2, 2007
    #1
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  2. Poddys

    Chuck [MVP] Guest

    On Fri, 02 Nov 2007 17:00:18 -0000, Poddys <> wrote:

    >The signal I pick up from our local free network is weak (1 bar), and
    >sometimes I can connect well, sometimes it's flaky, and sometimes I
    >can't connect at all.
    >
    >I don't know why the signal quality would vary so much. Is it due to
    >the humidity or temperature in any way?
    >
    >Also sometimes I can detect only 3 wireless networks operating in our
    >building, but at other times up to 8. I'm sure thay aren't all
    >switched off. The building is a condominium and we are on the top
    >floor (7).
    >
    >
    >To try and boost the signal I purchased a Belkin Repeater (F5D7132)
    >which I hpped by having a better antenna than my Dell Laptop might
    >pick up the signal better.
    >
    >Well it does sometimes, and I get a strong connection to the repeater,
    >but the signal strength to the original router is just as weak and the
    >connection is still as before - sometimes quite strong and at other
    >times I can't connect at all.
    >
    >My questions are:
    >
    >(1) What could cause the signal to vary so much, or is it just noise
    >on the line.
    >
    >(2) Could I boost the reception in any way by using a different
    >antenna on the repeater?
    >
    >(3) The incoming signal is on channel 11, and the repeater is set to
    >channel 11 also. Can I change channel or by using it as a repeater am
    >I locked into the same channel as the originating router?
    >
    >Thanks in advance.
    >Frustrated........


    Paddy,

    WiFi radio is unbelievably fragile - it's best at line of sight, and with
    anything like ceilings, walls, and floors in the way, deteriorates considerably.
    And not always consistently. There are dozens of factors which could explain
    your problem, and they aren't always going to be consistent.
    <http://nitecruzr.blogspot.com/2005/10/wifi-will-never-be-as-fast-as-ethernet.html>
    http://nitecruzr.blogspot.com/2005/10/wifi-will-never-be-as-fast-as-ethernet.html

    I believe that repeaters use the same channel for both incoming and outgoing
    traffic, which is why you lose bandwidth by halves when you include a repeater.
    What options does the manual for the F5D7132 offer?

    --
    Cheers,
    Chuck, MS-MVP 2005-2007 [Windows - Networking]
    http://nitecruzr.blogspot.com/
    Paranoia is not a problem, when it's a normal response from experience.
    My email is AT DOT
    actual address pchuck mvps org.
    Chuck [MVP], Nov 2, 2007
    #2
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  3. Poddys

    Jim Guest

    "Chuck [MVP]" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Fri, 02 Nov 2007 17:00:18 -0000, Poddys <> wrote:
    >
    >>The signal I pick up from our local free network is weak (1 bar), and
    >>sometimes I can connect well, sometimes it's flaky, and sometimes I
    >>can't connect at all.
    >>
    >>I don't know why the signal quality would vary so much. Is it due to
    >>the humidity or temperature in any way?
    >>
    >>Also sometimes I can detect only 3 wireless networks operating in our
    >>building, but at other times up to 8. I'm sure thay aren't all
    >>switched off. The building is a condominium and we are on the top
    >>floor (7).
    >>
    >>
    >>To try and boost the signal I purchased a Belkin Repeater (F5D7132)
    >>which I hpped by having a better antenna than my Dell Laptop might
    >>pick up the signal better.
    >>
    >>Well it does sometimes, and I get a strong connection to the repeater,
    >>but the signal strength to the original router is just as weak and the
    >>connection is still as before - sometimes quite strong and at other
    >>times I can't connect at all.
    >>
    >>My questions are:
    >>
    >>(1) What could cause the signal to vary so much, or is it just noise
    >>on the line.
    >>
    >>(2) Could I boost the reception in any way by using a different
    >>antenna on the repeater?
    >>
    >>(3) The incoming signal is on channel 11, and the repeater is set to
    >>channel 11 also. Can I change channel or by using it as a repeater am
    >>I locked into the same channel as the originating router?
    >>
    >>Thanks in advance.
    >>Frustrated........

    >
    > Paddy,
    >
    > WiFi radio is unbelievably fragile - it's best at line of sight, and with
    > anything like ceilings, walls, and floors in the way, deteriorates
    > considerably.
    > And not always consistently. There are dozens of factors which could
    > explain
    > your problem, and they aren't always going to be consistent.
    > <http://nitecruzr.blogspot.com/2005/10/wifi-will-never-be-as-fast-as-ethernet.html>
    > http://nitecruzr.blogspot.com/2005/10/wifi-will-never-be-as-fast-as-ethernet.html
    >
    > I believe that repeaters use the same channel for both incoming and
    > outgoing
    > traffic, which is why you lose bandwidth by halves when you include a
    > repeater.
    > What options does the manual for the F5D7132 offer?
    >
    > --
    > Cheers,
    > Chuck, MS-MVP 2005-2007 [Windows - Networking]
    > http://nitecruzr.blogspot.com/
    > Paranoia is not a problem, when it's a normal response from experience.
    > My email is AT DOT
    > actual address pchuck mvps org.


    Chuck: Perhaps he is seeing what happens near the end of the broadcast
    range. A weak signal has an especially hard time getting through the
    slightest obstacle.
    Jim
    Jim, Nov 2, 2007
    #3
  4. Poddys

    Poddys Guest

    Sounds like you could be right, thanks.
    The signal is weak, but sometimes pretty good.
    I was hoping as I said that a better antenna on the repeater might
    pick up better than the internal one on my laptop, but not really any
    better.
    It's weird how it comes and goes though, sometimes pretty good and
    sometimes no connection at all.
    If it was just the 1 network I would understand, but to vary from 3 to
    8 detected networks seems odd to me. I'm sure the others aren't just
    switched off.
    Will keep trying to reposition the repeater to get a better signal.

    I will check the manual to see if I can change the channel. I know
    how to do it in Access Point mode, but it's unclear as to what
    functions in Repeater mode.

    Thanks to both of you.
    Poddys, Nov 3, 2007
    #4
  5. Hi
    If the Source of the Wireless is Not yours there is very little that you can
    do about it.
    You cannot change the channel of a Repeater since it depends on the channel
    of the source.
    One Radio (which is all the regular Repeaters bellow $500) cuts the
    bandwidth into half and there is nothing that can be done about it.
    You can improve what you get if you build you own Two Radio repeater system.
    Buy a second Access Point equipped it with High gain directional Antenna and
    configure it to a client Mode. (http://www.ezlan.net/Wireless_Modes.html ).
    Connect the RJ-45 port of the new Access Point to the port of your old
    Access Point.
    Change the old Access Point to work as a regular Access Point (Not a
    Repeater) change the channel of the old Access Point to the best channel for
    local Wireless.
    By doing the above, you created your own dual radio repeater system for the
    cost a second Access point and a directional Antenna (should be less than
    $100).
    Jack (MVP-Networking).

    "Poddys" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > The signal I pick up from our local free network is weak (1 bar), and
    > sometimes I can connect well, sometimes it's flaky, and sometimes I
    > can't connect at all.
    >
    > I don't know why the signal quality would vary so much. Is it due to
    > the humidity or temperature in any way?
    >
    > Also sometimes I can detect only 3 wireless networks operating in our
    > building, but at other times up to 8. I'm sure thay aren't all
    > switched off. The building is a condominium and we are on the top
    > floor (7).
    >
    >
    > To try and boost the signal I purchased a Belkin Repeater (F5D7132)
    > which I hpped by having a better antenna than my Dell Laptop might
    > pick up the signal better.
    >
    > Well it does sometimes, and I get a strong connection to the repeater,
    > but the signal strength to the original router is just as weak and the
    > connection is still as before - sometimes quite strong and at other
    > times I can't connect at all.
    >
    > My questions are:
    >
    > (1) What could cause the signal to vary so much, or is it just noise
    > on the line.
    >
    > (2) Could I boost the reception in any way by using a different
    > antenna on the repeater?
    >
    > (3) The incoming signal is on channel 11, and the repeater is set to
    > channel 11 also. Can I change channel or by using it as a repeater am
    > I locked into the same channel as the originating router?
    >
    > Thanks in advance.
    > Frustrated........
    >
    Jack \(MVP-Networking\)., Nov 3, 2007
    #5
  6. Poddys

    Poddys Guest

    Thanks Jack, that sounds like a good plan.
    Thanks to a good deal from buy.com I got my repeater for under $10,
    now I just need to look for an access point that can act as a client.
    Doesn't look as if many do. Also need a decent antenna.
    I plan to do some good research before I buy.
    Poddys, Nov 4, 2007
    #6
  7. Poddys

    Poddys Guest

    I went to CompUSA last night and purchased a TRENDNet Dual-band 7/5dBi
    Indoor Omni Antenna with Mounting Base, 802.11a, g, b (TEW-AI75OB) to
    see if a better antenna would make a difference to my signal strength.
    Not having anywhere decent to use the base for the antenna, I screwed
    it into my repeater and for a while I thought my reception was
    improved, however later last night and also this morning I had trouble
    connecting.
    I did some speed tests last night with the original and new antennas
    and there was about a 5% improvement in speed, which could have just
    been due to internet traffic or other factors, so it really hasn't
    made a difference at all.
    However, maybe if I could find an optimum location for the repeater,
    which I have failed to do so far, that might help.
    Poddys, Nov 6, 2007
    #7
  8. Hi
    High Omni Directional Antenna when used indoor does not really improve much
    (if at all).
    Since you have only one radio you can not put on it a directional Antenna.
    So you are back to square one.
    Another avenue to research, is to try a High Power Wireless Router that can
    work as a Repeater.
    Like this, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833162134

    Disclaimer - I have no connection with any Brand that manufactures Network
    Devices (or any other computer hardware) of any kind, nor any connection
    computer's hardware vendors. My comments are as a frame of reference based
    on hardware that I buy with my own money.
    Jack (MVP-Networking).

    "Poddys" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I went to CompUSA last night and purchased a TRENDNet Dual-band 7/5dBi
    > Indoor Omni Antenna with Mounting Base, 802.11a, g, b (TEW-AI75OB) to
    > see if a better antenna would make a difference to my signal strength.
    > Not having anywhere decent to use the base for the antenna, I screwed
    > it into my repeater and for a while I thought my reception was
    > improved, however later last night and also this morning I had trouble
    > connecting.
    > I did some speed tests last night with the original and new antennas
    > and there was about a 5% improvement in speed, which could have just
    > been due to internet traffic or other factors, so it really hasn't
    > made a difference at all.
    > However, maybe if I could find an optimum location for the repeater,
    > which I have failed to do so far, that might help.
    >
    Jack \(MVP-Networking\)., Nov 6, 2007
    #8
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