Help with Boosting wireless router signal

Discussion in 'Home Networking' started by Roy Amin, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. Roy Amin

    Roy Amin Guest

    I have a Netgear DG834gtUK router. some areas of the house suffers from
    very low or no signal. Is there any easy way to rdctify this situation. 4
    wireless laptops connects to router via PCMCIA wireless adapters Some
    802.11b and some 802.11g.

    Help would be much appreciated.


    Roy Amin, Oct 7, 2005
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  2. Roy Amin

    Justin Guest

    What is the house made of?
    Justin, Oct 7, 2005
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  3. Roy Amin

    dold Guest

    "No signal" is hard to measure or improve. I have no signal from my home
    wireless when I am at work. That would be hard to boost enough to make it

    "low signal" can be improved quite nicely for free. EZ-12, printed on photo paper for thick stock,
    with aluminum foil glued to the sail, provides a substantial boost in
    signal. The signal with
    the reflector is not only 13dB stronger, it's more stable.

    I use a glue stick to glue the foil to the paper before I cut out the
    template. When you cut out the "windsurfer" part, leave the tabs sticking
    out farther than the drawing shows. I spend more time trying to tape the
    little tabs in place than anything else.
    dold, Oct 7, 2005
  4. try channel 1 (lowest frequency = longest range)
    tilt the antennae
    put the router up high

    Phil Thompson, Oct 7, 2005
  5. Roy Amin

    Roy Amin Guest

    The router is in my garage (16'x16') which has been converted to my study.

    I just realsised that when the conversion was carried out, I chose the best
    insulation product for the walls ceiling and floor (Polyurathane foam,
    Aluminium foil backing).

    Nice and warm but I assume it is not much good for the signal to travel

    Roy Amin, Oct 9, 2005
  6. Roy Amin

    John Navas Guest

    [POSTED TO alt.internet.wireless - REPLY ON USENET PLEASE]

    In <[email protected]> on Fri, 7 Oct 2005
    Probably the easiest solution is to put a WiFi Repeater (aka Range Expander)
    in a part of the house that has signal, which can relay signal to parts of the
    house that don't have signal; e.g, Netgear 54 Mbps Wireless Access Point
    Model WG602 <> in Repeater

    Another option is the Netgear 54 Mbps Wall-Plugged Wireless Range Extender Kit
    Model WGXB102 <>.
    John Navas, Oct 9, 2005
  7. Roy Amin

    Roy Amin Guest


    Roy Amin, Oct 9, 2005
  8. Roy Amin

    Peter M Guest

    Indeed, making a pretty good Faraday Cage, too :)

    Still, moving the router out of the study, with a long and fairly cheap
    Ethernet cable back to you, should sort it all out. A couple of surface
    boxes (one in the study, one by the new location for the router, within
    the house) can be made to look fairly neat and ethernet cable is easy
    to fit... and under 20p a metre if you ring some local shops. Peter M.
    Peter M, Oct 9, 2005
  9. On Sun, 09 Oct 2005 14:13:58 GMT, John Navas

    [alt.wireless deleted as Newsguy claims it's an invalid newsgroup]
    I beg to differ. 4 laptops implies a rather spacious house. A
    followup indicated that there was foil backed insulation in the walls
    turn each room into an RF isolated screen room. The same followup
    indicated that the wireless router was in the garage, while the area
    lacking coverage was in a possibly disconnected house. Installing a
    single repeater might improve the signal in one area, but would
    probably not cover all the various 4 or more rooms which I presume are
    on the opposite side of the house.

    I find it difficult to recommend solutions that sound like "buy this
    contraption and all your coverage problems will be solved". In my
    never humble opinion, RF repeaters, range extenders, and WDS bridges
    are RF polluters of the worst kind. Details on request or you can use
    Google to search for my past rants on the subject. Most often, I can
    produce better and more reliable by working with the antennas, choice
    of equipment, or topology. I save the repeaters for the last resort.

    My guess is that the garage is at one end of the house and that the
    topology requires that the signal pass through multiple walls.
    Possibly, there are windows that will allow the signal to pass. As a
    rule of thumb, the signal will go through one wall without much
    difficulty. Two walls will cause problems. Three or more walls are a
    waste of time. The construction material is also important. Concrete
    and foil backed insulation tend to be fatal. As Clarence Dold
    suggested, I would first experiment with improving the signal in the
    direction of the house using reflectors and possibly replacement
    antennas. Unfortunately, the DG834GT only has one antenna, so you
    cannot replace one antenna with a directional antenna pointed at the
    house, while retaining the original antenna for garage coverage.
    Before you resort to a repeater, methinks it best to add a 2nd access
    point to the system. Under ideal circumstances, that would require a
    CAT5 cable from the garage to the house connected between a LAN port
    on the DG834gt to the added access point. The access point need not
    be any particular brand or model. Unlike repeaters, range extenders,
    and WDS bridges, adding access points do not have "compatibility"
    problems with different chipsets and brands. The access point can
    also be a wireless router converted into an access point by disabling
    the router section. Instructions on request.

    The exact location or number of added access points is largely
    dependent on the layout of the house. 4 laptops implies a two story
    house, which may be difficult to cover with a single access point.
    However, this added access point will be closer to the client radios
    and therefore will probably have a more reliable connection.

    If a CAT5 cable between the garage and the house is impossible, then
    power line networking can be used. See:
    Instead of using a power line repeater as suggested above, I suggest
    you install an ethernet to power line bridge in the garage, and a
    power line wireless access point in the house. You could also just
    install power line networking directly to the client computers.
    These power line bridges essentially replace the CAT5 cable to the
    house. You can plug the computers directly into the bridge, or
    install a wireless access point to connect via wireless.

    The problem with power line networking is that it is somewhat slow,
    doesn't work through the usual two phases found in home AC wiring, and
    may not be available in UK 220V 50Hz devices. It is also susceptible
    to local interference from everyone on the single transformer. I
    recently fixed a HomePNA system that would die whenever a well pump
    motor was running. The fix was easy enough (ferrite clamp on filter)
    but finding the cause was a problem. I would run the CAT5 if

    Good luck.
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 9, 2005
  10. Roy Amin

    ComPCs Guest

    Not always.

    I have a Netgear DG834G sited at the front of the house, on an upstairs
    2nd floor. I am in a 'heavy duty' wooden garden building at the back of
    the house, some 15 foot away from the rear house wall, and at ground

    In between me - line of sight - and the router, there are 3 brick walls
    (the bricks are known as 'clinker' as they contain metal particles I
    believe) and 1 thick wooden 'wall', the wall to the garden building.

    I have a Draytek USB wireless adapter plugged into the front of the
    PC... signal low, but a 'respectable' 12.0 Mbps

    Of course, bear in mind that the actual thickness of the wall will
    increase with angle, so a 14 inch wall will have considerably more
    'cement' to pass through if the angle is greater.

    This house is 'solid', in that it was originally built to a very high
    specification back in the late 1950's, and doesn't have the timber
    frames found in many modern homes in the UK (England) these days.

    Quite possibly an exception rather than a rule I would imagine, but it
    works, and it works well enough to surf the net, email et al. In fact,
    this reply was sent using said connection.
    ComPCs, Oct 9, 2005
  11. Roy Amin

    John Navas Guest

    [POSTED TO alt.internet.wireless - REPLY ON USENET PLEASE]

    In <> on Sun, 09 Oct 2005 08:49:24
    That's not a repeater. Regardless, in my own not so humble opinion, a 2nd
    access point is no better than a repeater, and arguably worse.
    That's essentially what the WGXB102 is, an Ethernet Bridge and a Range
    Extender (access point), connected by power line networking.
    John Navas, Oct 9, 2005
  12. If the 2nd access point is on a different channel (1, 6, and 11),
    there's no interference with the main wireless router. Why is a 2nd
    access point worse than a repeater? Store and forward repeaters
    retransmit everything heard on a given SSID thus doubling the number
    of packets floating in the air. Since only one radio can transmit at
    a time, this cuts the maximum thruput in half (or worse). An access
    point on the same channel as the main router will also compete for air
    time but is more selective about when it transmits as it only belches
    traffic to the connected client radios, not regurgitating every
    Oops. You're correct. It does plug into the wireless router at one
    end doing the same thing as what I suggested. I thought it was a
    Jeff Liebermann, Oct 9, 2005
  13. Roy Amin

    Roy Amin Guest

    Thanks everyone for their input.

    Just to clarify my situation:

    1. The house is a Modern 4 bedroom detached house.
    2. The garage, where the wireless router is located is the only room with
    the polyurathane (aluminium foil backed) insulation. My brainwave to
    achieve good insulation when the garage was converted into a study. With
    hindsight, when I converted the garage, I should have omitted the al.foil in
    one area where the signal needs to pass through.
    3. There is one laptop in each bedroom. That is where the signal is low
    (still surfable in 3 of the 4 rooms).
    4. The reason for the router to be in the garage is I do most work in the
    garage and the router is connected (via ethernet cable) to a large heavy
    colour laser printer which I really do no wish to locate.

    Having reviewed what people have said in this NG, my best solution may be to
    locate thewireless router in the house (I have tried it before and the
    signal is great everywhere except the garage). Then perhaps have a wired
    router in the garage which is not too difficult.

    Many thanks.

    Roy Amin, Oct 9, 2005
  14. Roy Amin

    Peter M Guest

    A 4 (or more?) port hub/switch is probably all you need in the garage,
    with a cable to the existing wireless router, once relocated in your
    house. There's surely no need for a further router in the garage -
    you cannot have two ADSL modem/routers active on one phone line. PGM.
    Peter M, Oct 10, 2005
  15. ISTR they only repeat other instances of the same device, and won't
    repeat an 834 router. You could wire a 602 to the router and then use
    a second 602 as a repeater to that, but ??

    Phil Thompson, Oct 10, 2005
  16. Roy Amin

    John Navas Guest

    [POSTED TO alt.internet.wireless - REPLY ON USENET PLEASE]

    In <> on Sun, 09 Oct 2005 10:43:23
    This all depends on the type of repeater. A dumb repeater is of course the
    worst case. But in a connection-based system like WiFi, a repeater need only
    repeat traffic where there is a connection.

    Consider a home WiFi system with access point A and repeater B, with two
    clients X and Y, where X is connected to A, and Y is connected through B. The
    access point A does send and receive traffic for both X and Y, but the
    repeater B need only repeat traffic for Y.

    With two access points, each would have only one client, and thus A would only
    send and receive traffic for X, but with both on different primary channels,
    two of the available three primary channels would be taken up, which is
    considerably less friendly to other users of the band (e.g., neighbors). Plus
    there is the problem of connecting them together with some sort of wired
    connection, the basic problem that wireless is intended to solve.

    In effect, a WiFi access point and a repeater are like two access points that
    share the same channel with a wireless link between them. True, the extra
    wireless traffic will slow overall network throughput, but for most home
    803.11g networks the speed loss won't be much (if any) of an issue, especially
    in return for the wireless convenience.

    This why I said that in my own not so humble opinion, a 2nd access point is no
    better than a repeater, and arguably worse. I should have made it clear that
    I was only talking about typical home networking, principally the sharing of a
    broadband connection.
    John Navas, Oct 10, 2005
  17. Roy Amin

    John Navas Guest

    [POSTED TO alt.internet.wireless - REPLY ON USENET PLEASE]

    In <BZt2f.405491$> on Mon, 10 Oct
    p.s. I recall two situations in the past year or so where I was called in to
    help people that had home 802.11g networks with two access points. In both
    cases the access points were on the same default channel, thus interfering
    with each other. In one case I switched the 2nd access point to a different
    channel. In the other case I switched one of the access points into a
    repeater. Both cases resulted in improved operation, fully satisfying the
    people involved. In the case of using two primary channels (probably 6 and
    11), those people were taking up twice as much spectrum. I only did it that
    way because (a) they had a large amount of property with no nearby neighbors
    and (b) neither existing access point had a repeater mode.
    John Navas, Oct 10, 2005
  18. Roy Amin

    Roy Amin Guest


    Is ther no simple solution such as fitting a more powerful ariel to boost
    the signal?

    My router model is Netgear DG834GTUK

    Roy Amin, Oct 10, 2005
  19. Roy Amin

    John Navas Guest

    In general, what a better antenna does is concentrate the signal in a given
    direction at the expense of other directions. That's why you'll often see
    them referred to as "directional" antennas. To be really effective, you may
    need them on both ends (wireless clients as well as the access point), which
    can be inconvenient. If you want a stronger signal in general, then you need
    more transmit power, again perhaps on both ends. That's why it often makes
    more sense to (a) relocate the access point; (b) switch to units with longer
    range [e.g., new MIMO technology]; (c) add a repeater; or (d) add another
    access point.

    In <[email protected]> on Mon, 10 Oct 2005
    John Navas, Oct 10, 2005
  20. Roy Amin

    David Taylor Guest

    Is ther no simple solution such as fitting a more powerful ariel to boost
    Yes but antennas don't have "power" as such but rather take from one
    area to provide gain in another.

    Pop to and have a mooch around on the wireless
    antennas page but you'll need a minimum of 6dB gain to roughly double
    your range and in doing so will remove the signal from other locations.

    You'd probably get good results by just locating the router somewhere
    near the middle of the property instead of the usual corner where the
    phone/cable comes in.

    David Taylor, Oct 10, 2005
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