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Troubleshooting the home wireless network...

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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June 1, 2006 4:38:59 AM

I have a network that consists of 6 computers. 5 of these computers are connected to the network wirelessly. My router is a Linksys BEFW11S4 Wireless-B Cable/DSL Router
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005ARK3/104-6740203....

As more computers are added to the wireless network it seems that the connection gets more and more sluggish. According to pcpitstop.com our wireless download bandwith is at an average of 200Kbps.

My question is should I consider upgrading to a new router? Maybe wireless-g? Or is there a way to tweak my set-up in order to get it running faster?
June 1, 2006 4:54:23 AM

also,

I noticed that when I connect to the internet through the cable modem my download bandwidth is 4000Kbps, however when I connect to the internet through the ethernet port (using a cable) on my router the bandwidth starts at 4000Kbps but deteriorates to 200Kbps. Why does it do that?
June 1, 2006 7:38:06 PM

11b with 5 user OUCH. lets do some math. 11mbps / 2 since it can not transmit and receive at the same time so if you divide 5.5 by 5 users that is a max of 1 mbps before overhead and trafic control. And this is in ideal conditions, with out wep security. 11g would improve some ONLY if NO 11b was present.

You need to see about using wired where ever you can.

Take a look at the router table. You have enough computer to move up to a 8 port router, then add an external AP. I'm using a Netgear FVS338 8 port VPN router with a USR5450 AP.

It's common for downloads to start high then drop down. Mostly due to some cacheing going on. And some website limit bandwidth. I know Firefox will start the download while you are selecting a location to save the file.
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June 2, 2006 12:45:48 AM

So if I went to wireless g would the speed of each comp on wireless be

(54/2)/5 = 5.4Mbps?

Is this a good speed? I actually think it is higher than what I get when connecting directly to the cable modem.

And if I do go wireless-g does anyone have any suggestions on wireless routers?
June 2, 2006 1:16:33 AM

minus overhead. 11g should be about 5x faster than 11b. If you get one that supports large packets your 54 turns into 100+ with matching pc cards. Remember just changing the router will only help if you upgrade all of your wireless cards to 11g.

I don't recommend wireless router due to the low gain antenna they come with give poor performance. I recommend router+AP= better performance.

Take a look at the router table, you want the highest bandwidth on the wan and lan ports, if your a gamer.

Here is an Review on real world test ( but old) , but it will you an idea on what to expect.
June 2, 2006 1:50:24 AM

So if I go with a router+AP and switch out all the wireless adapters, can I expect decent performance compared to me buying the new MIMO wireless routers?

Do you have any suggestions for router+AP combinations for the amount of computers in my house that will be wireless? (the number that are wireless should be 5)
June 2, 2006 2:29:30 AM

And I know you don't recommend wireless routers, but I am looking at the Netgear RangeMax 240 MIMO Router and I am wondering whether or not the extra cost is worth it, or will it just be overkill for my network?
June 2, 2006 2:44:47 AM

I would expect better than MIMO due to all of the driver issues and not playing well with others. And you know neighbors have wireless too.

You can add a AP to your existing router and turn off the internal wireless.

I have a USR5450 AP it has served me well, (18 mo) but I'm a single user. I did find out early on that everyhing in the neighborhood wanted to connect to it when set to high power. The main reason I turn down the power with NO SSID broadcast. My set uses the TI chip set. The key to getting good performace is matching chip sets and high gain antennas. Most any brand with this combo will work nicely, add the jumbo frames to double you speed.

All of the models have been upgrades since I purchased mine. Most of the router have gone to a single low gain 2dbi antenna. Saves cost, but better omni coverage, poor performance. The last I looked Liksys still had a AP (w/ speedboost) with dual Antennas, and I think they were highgain. You dont want to buy these as extra at $30 ea. You only need them on the AP.

When you are buying client AP's (pci or cat5), make sure you get one that has an antenna on a coax. This allow for better tuning.

I have noticed that Linksys has droped the price on there older models (non Speedboost). Buy local so it it doesn't work you can return them. Also AP's normally can work as Bridges, Repeaters, and Client AP, multifunction units. Stay away from Belkin, bad units.
June 2, 2006 2:50:48 AM

Just remember that you will have the old 11b/g wireless in the area. So the performance may not be any where near stated.

I have one room that has 5 pc's with nas and net printers in it. Then I ran one cat5e cable to the other side of the house where I have a switch and my AP.

You may want to consider something like that. Wired will smoke wireless any day.
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