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problems using netgear

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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November 6, 2002 4:43:31 PM

i'm using a netgear ma 314 wireless router and on 2nd puta ma401 & 301 pcmcia. 2 rooms away it will connect at fair to good, move 2nd puta back upstairs and it won't connect. i've had the items returned and replaced no change,tried all channels,updated router,moved router to different positions in study downstairs,still will not connect with upstairs puta.am i doing something wrong or missing something,i thought radio signals were not disturbed by brick walls.guess i just wasted £200 and going to have to connect by cable after all,unless anyone here can help me
i'm using a cable modem connected to router,win xp pro on both puta's,zone alarm which i've tried shuting down on both machines.
regards waggers<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by waggers on 11/06/02 01:49 PM.</EM></FONT></P>

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Anonymous
November 6, 2002 6:54:59 PM

It sounds like a signal strength problem to me.

You could try fancy antennae.

If it were me I might look into manually boosting broadcast signal strength possibly by retuning the boadcast equipment circuitry. Like people used to/ still do with their CB's. PS that wouldn't be legal.
November 7, 2002 5:44:01 AM

sounds good to me,so how do i go about manually boosting my signal strenght, no seals on the unit so they won't know i've been inside it,it's under 5 yr warranty
regards waggers
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Anonymous
November 7, 2002 1:20:18 PM

The openning the box part is the downfall probably no more warranty.

I'm not for sure on the details or if it is even possible for 802.11b type circuits.

There are a couple of radio dudes down at work, I can ask them for leads. A quick search on gooogle is leading me to think it may be more complicated than the old CB trick, but I'll still ask.
November 7, 2002 4:41:11 PM

thanks,fingers crossed
Anonymous
November 7, 2002 11:55:20 PM

Now I've searched far and wide. No luck, damn I really thought there might be something too.

About all I can come up with is home made, high gain, directional antennae. Probably not really what you need, but I could be wrong.
November 8, 2002 6:40:09 PM

thanks for your time and trouble,guess this post should tell others not to get this gear.i will e netgear asking them but don't really expect any reply,once people have sold you something they loose interest in you.
anyway in process of running cable to 2nd puta and i guess the wireless part will just be used in the laptop which is a shame as they say this router should be good upto 173feet away indoors for x machines. will post again if any improvements and again thanks for your time
regards waggers
November 9, 2002 9:46:16 PM

Swap it in for a Linksys. Mine is specked at 1700ft. My sons home is 600ft away and we connect at 11mbs with a signal strength of 60/40 using a Linksys USB network adaptor version 2.5.

I searched for months waiting on dsl to be available and the Linksys had the longest range of all devices available. It also has removeable antennas so that you can hook up an outside or higher gain interior antenna.

I aint signing nothing!!!
November 29, 2002 2:38:21 PM

well i got a reply from netgear,try this an that!!!!!!!!!!! in the end i put the pcmcia card in a laptop and moved around the house and garden,the signal moved from 93% to nothing,some rooms 93% if you position it right,others (upstairs front) nothing. basically the more brick walls between router and card the weaker the signal. in one room upstairs at rear if i put the laptop on the floor i got a 80% signal,but if i put it on the desk only 50%!!!!!!!!!
other disturbing thing i found was that after positioning laptop to get a 93% signal i tried a download,and i was shocked to see that it was only a third of normal downloads speed.
maybe if this router is placed below rooms (cellar)it would work ok in rooms above,my house in the uk it's in extension to the house at the rear and all this is really good for is the internet on the laptop
so in conclusion with my experience of wireless and poor download speeds+slow speed DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY
regards waggers
December 2, 2002 9:49:07 AM

To be honest, this is the kind of behaviour you would expect for a wireless system (well, except for the speed - that shouldn't suffer very much even down to 50% signal strength). You'll have to look at the dot11 statistics on your system to find out whats wrong there, could be an interference problem. In that case, adjusting settings or removing the source may help out.

More generally, it helps to use higher power systems (not all can use the full 100mW, and may not be factory-set to maximum if they can). Also, avoid cut-price systems which use a single antenna if range is an issue for you. External antennas are an obvious plus here, its far less hassle to position an antenna than the whole access point.

Of course, high powers and dual antennas drain battery on the portable machine, so the cure might be worse than the disease...
December 5, 2002 4:41:22 PM

Everything you have mentioned sounds normal. Had you researched a bit you would have seen that. Signal strength is not the graph or number you need to be looking at. Signal QUALITY on most SOHO AP's, or Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) is a much more telling number as it relates to throughput. One thing you didnt really mention but I would add. Your not saying it's 1/3 of the advertised 11 Mb are you? If so then that's another thing your misinformed about. Theses are wireless hubs, use CSMA/CA and you can pretty much cut half the bandwidth right off the top for that. The enterprise level AP's will rate at around 6 Mb. Most budget AP's get in the 4-5 Mb range. 2.4Ghz at the very low power that these devices are, 100 milliwatts or less, are affected by any kind of obsturcion to varying degrees. Multipath, basically self induced interference also affects signal quality. One thing you can try if you haven't already is antenna polarization, antenna tile North/South vs East/West. The chances are that what you gain in one area might be affected negatively in another but AP placement and antenna placement are critical in most home environments as it relates to cell coverage.

"Cantennas" or home made antennas are not what you want in this circumstance. All I have seen are directiona. You would want an aftermarket omni directional antenna with some decent gain. They can be had for under 100 bucks american.

Finally this statement "so in conclusion with my experience of wireless and poor download speeds+slow speed DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY" is based on ignorance and improper expectation. Had you done the slightest bit of looking around before you bought your AP your experience might have been different. After installing wireless LAN's and WAN's for 5 years I can say with certainty that wireless data transfer technology is not a waste of money in the slightest, if you spend your money wisely and understand what your getting before you spend it. It works and works well if engineered properly and the environment is condusive to the technology. Solid brick building are not the best environment for these devices if you want wide cell coverage and good throughput overall, unless you use mulitple AP's to ensure proper coverage.
Anonymous
December 10, 2002 7:17:57 PM

"Signal strength is not the graph or number you need to be looking at."

Why not? Boosting signal strength by default would increase SNR ratios, assuming that you don't simultaneously boost noise strength.

Unless you are worried about FCC regulations or something this is one area real gains could be had.

I mean your right about optimizing what you have as a first step. I just don't understand how you could make the claim that boosting signal strength wouldn't increase range and reception quality.
December 11, 2002 12:13:50 PM

" I just don't understand how you could make the claim that boosting signal strength wouldn't increase range and reception quality"

Where did I say that? I didn't.
Anonymous
December 11, 2002 1:27:36 PM

Obviously it wasn't my intent to quote you directly, but I guess when you gave the advice "Signal strength is not the graph or number you need to be looking at." for his problem of reduced reception at farther ranges or through obstructions, that was how I interpreted it.

I'm sorry if I have misinterpreted what you said.
December 16, 2002 11:36:22 AM

And I'll stand by that statement. SNR is more important than strength graphs. Higher strength numbers usually will equal a better link back to the AP but not always. Signal to noise ratio is a direct parallel to link quality, throughput, and so on. When I do a site survey, I won't completely ignore strenght. That's a good baseline but its SNR that ultimately determines AP placement on a job.
Anonymous
December 17, 2002 6:58:22 PM

While it isn't completely obvious to me why what you are saying is true, it is certainly seems noteworthy.

Thanks for replying.
January 13, 2003 2:24:37 PM

sorry for taking so long to get back on this but netgear,bless there hearts,kept e-mailing me with suggestions from different people there, from try positioning the router as close to the ceiling in your study as you can !!!! and yes i did try in all 4 corners,with no improvements. there last and final suggestion was buy a access point (another £120/$150) and hardwire it to another point in my house. now excuse me if i'm wrong,but i thought the idea of wireless was to be wireless!!!!!!!!!??????????
anyway in reply to kwebb68
my statement of don't waste your money was NOT based on ignorance or improper expectations.i did more than the slightest looking around as you put it. i spent SEVERAL MONTHS looking in numerous forums and asking questions.any magazines with reports on wireless networking i bought. i sent e-mails to 3com and netgear explaining the set up of my propertie (brick built,from a rear lower extension to a upper front room ) and what i wanted to connect.they replied explaining what equipment of there's would do the job.i next asked a network manager, who said use netgear i use it all the time,and so i did,and its c---p.
the connection speed on the laptop on the internet is fine until you try downloading something, and then the download speed is very poor,about a third of the speed of the same download on one of my hardwired putas ( no i'm not trying that at the same time )
wireless for general office use in an open plan office,great,anything else,hardwire it.unless your not able to drill a few holes that is
i'm not in the habit of wasting my money but in this case i did
regards waggers
!