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Can I strengthen my signal without spending too much?

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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August 2, 2006 6:03:05 PM

Hello! Hopefully some of the folks here can help me with my question.

The situation is two houses, about 100 feet from each other. I'd say the approximate range of the router to the PC is around 100 - 130 feet.

I'm currently using a RangeBooster N Router (DIR-625) at one home, while the laptop is currently using an external D-Link AirPlus G DWL-G120.

Currently, the Laptop is geting 15% signal strength and 95% - 100% signal quality. The connection actually runs very well considering the setup.

I'd like to use the internal wireless card on the laptop instead of the external card, but the signal from it is not strong enough to pick up. If that's not possible, I'd like to simply strengthen the signal to around 50% if possible with the current external card.

What options should I look at, considering the equipment I have? Everything is as-is, such as no higher gain external antennae have been added to the D-Link router.

Should I:
*Buy a later model wireless card that matches the Rangebooster series router (such as a Rangebooster N DWA-642)?
*Buy high-gain antennae for the router (it would need 2)?
*Buy some sort of repeater?

Or, do I have about as good a signal as I can get currently?

I've tried many, many setups in the past, and this is the only one that's maintaining a signal without dropping and staying at the 15% mark. It downloads at a decent rate (they have 1Mbps DSL, and the downloads usually run between 60kbps and 100kbps over the 100ft range, so that's almost at peak).

Thanks for the help!
August 3, 2006 2:51:34 AM

I'm not too sure what the specs are on the DWL-G120, but what I would try to do in your position is get a wireless bridge to replace it. I think the Linksys WET11 bridges were 100mW, that may be more than your D-Link adapter, so it may pick up the signal better. Another benefit to bridges is they can go places your PC can't...in other words you could stick up in a windowsill and run the cat5 cable from it back to your PC. Or if you're adventurous, you could try sealing it up real good in a weatherproof box and putting it on the outside of the perimiter wall which is closest to the router. I've done things like that for friends before. It usually works pretty well provided moisture doesn't get into your box and nobody steals it.
August 3, 2006 2:09:00 PM

Quote:
I'm not too sure what the specs are on the DWL-G120, but what I would try to do in your position is get a wireless bridge to replace it. I think the Linksys WET11 bridges were 100mW, that may be more than your D-Link adapter, so it may pick up the signal better. Another benefit to bridges is they can go places your PC can't...in other words you could stick up in a windowsill and run the cat5 cable from it back to your PC. Or if you're adventurous, you could try sealing it up real good in a weatherproof box and putting it on the outside of the perimiter wall which is closest to the router. I've done things like that for friends before. It usually works pretty well provided moisture doesn't get into your box and nobody steals it.


Thanks for the reply! So you're saying use a bridge in place of the wireless adaptor because the signal strength is more? I hadn't though tof that, since a PC doesn't really need a bridge for "bridge" purposes. If that strengthens the signal though, that would be excellent. I do have a bridge I could try using, although it is an 11b bridge. That shouldn't matter though as their internet connection only runs 1Mbps, and they never transfer large files from PC to PC. The current setup is at 1Mpbs wireless anyway because of the distance the signal has to travel. I pegged it there so it would have the most time to "think" over that range. If left in auto mode, it jumps anywhere from 11Mpbs to 2Mpbs, but doesn't seem to have a noticable effect on the speed of the network.

I'll try the bridge I have first, then if that doesn't work, possibly look into an 11g bridge and see if that makes a difference.

Would buying higher gain antennae that would screw in where the router's stock antennae go help at all? Antennae like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...

I assume I would need two of those since the router has 2 by default.

Then again, I'm not sure if the problem is on the router side (not putting out enough power) or on the laptop side (same issue, I guess).
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August 3, 2006 3:25:48 PM

Well, I'm saying that if the bridge has higher tx power than your D-Link does, then you might get a better signal. If you're looking for high power solutions, bridges are usually easy to find. What kind of bridge do you already have?

As for the antenna, maybe... I guess you probably have something like 2.2db antennas now, so the 4db could potentially improve the range.
August 3, 2006 6:22:13 PM

True, I just don't want to waste money on antennas with 2 db gain that doesn't do anything. :roll: I bought one for another router I tried, I believe it was a 6 db gain, and it didn't seem to help at all.

I currently have some sort of D-Link bridge. I bought it for use with an xBox a couple of years ago (maybe 3 or 4, actually). It's an 11b, I know that much. I really don't remember the model of it now though. I'm just hoping it would connect up ok with the newer D-Link Rangebooster gear.

It looks just like this one:
http://www.dlink.com/products/?sec=0&pid=267

But, it's only 11b.
August 3, 2006 7:26:59 PM

Well fortunately, 11b and 11g have to interoperate regardless of any vendor specific add-ons, says so in the spec. Unfortunately, vendors sometimes like to lock you in to only their brand. Linksys, for example, used to enable their WAP11 access points to do bridging, but ONLY if you had two WAP11s. But since you have an actual bridge, I would guess it should be able to connect to any wireless network regardless of the vendor. I think Linksys justified their tactics by saying, well it's sold as an AP, bridging is an addon feature we put in so it doesn't have to work with other brands.
!