Help - Need tips on boosting wireless signal and range

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking' started by Guest, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I’d like some suggestions on ways to boost the signal for my wireless network
    without spending a fortune.
    Basic scenario is I need to provide Internet access from a wireless G router
    in a basement to two wireless machines, a non-wireless machine, and a
    non-wireless IP phone in a basement next door (devices approx 75 feet apart)
    There is a paved laneway between the two buildings so wired connections are
    not an option.
    I have this currently working with a Dlink di-524 router at the Internet
    source that is hooked up at a window facing the second basement. The Second
    basement has a Linksys WRE54G range expander in window facing the Dlink
    di-524. The signal between them is fair even with a reflector around the
    antenna on the Dlink router. In the second basement is a wireless laptop,
    and wireless server. The wireless server is bridging the network to provide
    net access to the IP phone and the non-wireless laptop.
    The problem is the signal is fairly weak throughout and I’ve located the
    devices to get optimal signal performance. A few days ago I had 942kBps
    download and 3660kBps upload (asynchronous fiber Internet connection) between
    the Net, router, and my wireless PCs. Now it’s a lot colder out and
    there’s more snow on the ground so I think that may be a reason why my
    bandwidth tops at 199kBps download 1534kBps upload. Both windows aren’t that
    high above ground level. My range expander is just outside and slightly
    higher than the window (it’s covered by a deck and won’t come in contact with
    snow)
    I also managed to snap the antenna off the Linksys card in my server so I
    will be returning that and purchasing a new card. I may return the range
    expander at the same time because it’s not that helpful either.
    In case you’re wondering, no I’m not stealing somebody’s Internet. These are
    both work locations. One has a fiber uplink, and the second I’d rather just
    set up to tap into the fiber as well.
    My question is what would you recommend in this situation for devices to buy
    to provide a strong signal between two basements?
    Or should I stick with the same setup but use better/stronger equipment?
    Any suggestions?
     
    Guest, Jan 10, 2007
    #1
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  2. Guest

    Lem Guest

    There are some suggestions for extending the range of wireless networks
    at http://www.ezlan.net/Distance.html Also, you might consider
    replacing the D-Link equipment. The Buffalo WHR HP G54, for example,
    has a built-in RF amp to increase power
    (http://www.buffalotech.com/files/products/WHR-HP-G54_DS-101905.pdf)

    Buffalo (among others) also sells various high gain antennas, e.g., :
    http://www.buffalotech.com/products...14-dbi-high-gain-outdoor-directional-antenna/

    Or, for a perhaps less expensive solution, you could buy an older model
    Linksys WRT54G or WRT54GS or Buffalo WHR G54S and use one of the
    available third party firmwares (e.g., DD-WRT) that enable you to
    control the output RF power (and thus increase it considerably beyond
    what the stock firmware runs at). See www.linksysinfo.org for more details.

    Bear in mind, however, that increasing xmit power from the router is
    only a partial answer: the link is 2 ways, and the laptops in the
    remote location will not be high-power.

    What probably will give you the best solution is to set up a wireless
    bridge using two Linksys routers with DD-WRT firmware or two Buffalo WHR
    HP G54 routers, each of which is connected to a suitable directional
    high-gain antenna. You would then connect the two laptops, the VoIP
    phone, and the other box to the LAN ports of the end of the bridge in
    the remote location (don't use wireless here). The stock Buffalo
    firmware supports WDS, but (read below) this cuts available bandwidth.
    See http://www.ezlan.net/Wireless_Modes.html and
    http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Wireless_Bridge
    http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Client_Mode_Wireless
    http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/WDS_Linked_router_network
     
    Lem, Jan 10, 2007
    #2
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  3. Guest

    Lem Guest

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_Distribution_System for some
    of the disadvantages of WDS. It's not clear to me whether the
    "wireless bridge" or "client mode wireless" modes available with DD-WRT
    similarly result in bandwidth loss. I haven't thought that one through.

    I can tell you, however, a Linksys WRT54G running DD-WRT v23 sp2 can
    definitely use WPA-PSK (AES) encryption. I doubt that the Buffalo
    native WDS does so, although a Buffalo running DD-WRT would. I use a
    WRT54G v3 running stock Linksys firmware together with a WRT54G v4
    running DD-WRT v23 sp2 in "wireless bridge mode" to connect a Slingbox
    to the Internet, and it works very well.

    If no one else here comments, you might post a question re the relative
    merits of "wireless bridge," "client mode wireless," and WDS on the
    DD-WRT forum. http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/
     
    Lem, Jan 10, 2007
    #3
  4. Hi
    Just small remarks to augment Lem advise.
    The Buffalo HP is a better solution then the Linksys because of the High
    Power.
    The Linksys WRT54G from a power perspective are like the regular Buffalo
    (Not High power).
    This page explains from a Wireless point of view why Native High Power is
    better.
    http://www.ezlan.net/WHR-HP-G54.html
    As is, the Buffalo WDS/Bridging can do only WEP, so using DD-WRT adds
    security.
    Bridging is Better, WDS results in loosing 50% of the bandwidth. One radio
    unit in WDS (Repeater) Flip-flops between Transmit and Receive, thus loose
    half of the cycle.
    Jack (MVP-Networking).
     
    Jack \(MVP-Networking\)., Jan 10, 2007
    #4
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