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Help to expand wireless network range.

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  • NICs
  • Wireless Network
  • Components
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June 13, 2007 10:23:26 AM

I currently have a Linksys WRT54G v5 (Yeah I know it sucks) and I was thinking of expanding the range of my network. Currently I cannot move the wireless router's location as I have about a foot of concrete to contend with, and running a long LAN cable also has its problems. I was thinking of getting an AP and running it into 'Repeater Mode' but as I have read, running such a setup cuts the bandwidth in half.

Will getting a MIMO router and converting my current one to a repeater (I would have to change the firmware to micro DD-WRT) retain at least most of the current bandwidth that I have?


Current set-up:

Modem->W.Router |Wall| Living Room |Wall| Wi-Fi signal dead




Thinking of:

MIMO Router |Wall| (Wireless Repeater) |Wall| Some signal




Note:

I cannot change the whole network set-up to a Super-G or Draft-N as it is way, way, way over my budget to replace 3 wi-fi cards with any of those stuff.

More about : expand wireless network range

June 13, 2007 11:46:47 AM

Any possibility of drilling a 1/4" hole through at least the first concrete wall? If this is your place of business, then I can see you might have little choice. Can you relocate the router into space above ceiling tiles?
You might look into antenna alternatives. Is there any conduit, wiring, or ductwork in the wall(s) that may be blocking the signal? If you can move your existing router horizontally a foot or two in either direction, that might help.
June 13, 2007 3:11:57 PM

Well I am now just exploring other options than drilling a hole through the wall, because of 2 possible reasons.

1.) There is one location where I could drill a hole but it passes through outside the house and I am avoiding holes wherein bugs or dust might simply get through.

2.) There are other locations where I could drill a hole, but it would everybody would be able to see the cable and it would generally make the wall a hell of a lot uglier.


Plus, even if I get through the wall with a LAN cable, there's a ton of furniture that I have to go through and a lot of LAN cable that would be lying around.

In general I'm just trying to avoid unsightly cables. Though if worse comes to worse, I'll probably try with a cheap-ass AP.

Also the router is already placed 6 feet high, and the ceiling is 7 feet. (Plus my ceiling is made of wood.)

My main problem is simply 2 really thick walls.

Thanks for the ideas anyway. :D 
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June 14, 2007 12:08:37 AM

Quote:
Well I am now just exploring other options than drilling a hole through the wall, because of 2 possible reasons.

1.) There is one location where I could drill a hole but it passes through outside the house and I am avoiding holes wherein bugs or dust might simply get through.
.
.
.


Hmmm, if it were me, I'd drill to the outside, and get some PVC conduit for weatherproofing. Fill the holes with "Great Stuff (tm);" nothing will get through. Just a thought. I'll be quiet now :) .
June 14, 2007 4:57:41 AM

Oh, I forgot one really important detail why I ain't considering on moving the router. There are two PC's that are currently connected by LAN to the router, moving the router through the next wall would force me to buy two more Wireless-NIC's thus easily costing me around the price of a decent router.
June 14, 2007 3:04:57 PM

I do not know how open you might be to a USB adapter to increase your lapop's internal wi-fi card's range, but if so, one I would recommend is Wi-Fire.

The Wi-Fire's strong range and fast connection would be able to pick up on the wireless signal in the other room, despite the concrete wall. I use it and I do not have to deal with annoying cords or wires. I can take Wi-Fire with me when I bring laptop to use in other municipal wi-fi areas. It is a really helpful device and it is easy to install. It works in the home and on the go. Just a thought. I think you can look one up on www.hfield.com if you are interested.
June 14, 2007 3:38:26 PM

Quote:
I do not know how open you might be to a USB adapter to increase your lapop's internal wi-fi card's range, but if so, one I would recommend is Wi-Fire.

The Wi-Fire's strong range and fast connection would be able to pick up on the wireless signal in the other room, despite the concrete wall. I use it and I do not have to deal with annoying cords or wires. I can take Wi-Fire with me when I bring laptop to use in other municipal wi-fi areas. It is a really helpful device and it is easy to install. It works in the home and on the go. Just a thought. I think you can look one up on www.hfield.com if you are interested.


Interesting, some company actually took the tin can method and actually made one with a warranty! :lol:  I'll take a look into it since only one laptop (usually) at a time would go on the dead spot. Thanks!
June 14, 2007 3:48:10 PM

Get one of those ethernet over building power kits (PLC) and route the wireless signal over to the AP unit you have. As the AP unit will be connected via 'wire' you won't lose the bandwidth.
June 14, 2007 4:03:02 PM

Well if your ceiling is wood, that should mean you have space above it and the walls (like a mini attic). This would be a good option since the signal would flow over the walls.

Other ideas.

If you do this right, it will look fine.
Drill a hole to the outside of your house and run cabling under ground. If you get certified cat6e (more expensive), you shouldn't run into any problems regarding length. Remember, your cable is ran the same way. This is really your best option to preserve bandwidth.
June 14, 2007 4:06:17 PM

There is a ton of issues running a network signal over power lines. One is: if the circuit shares equipment that draws alot of power, and cycles (aka a fridge, air conditioner), you will see a lot of instability.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_line_communication#H...
see for more info on how this works.
June 14, 2007 4:34:13 PM

I've read really good reviews of the Over Power Line networks and have been considering it myself. You can always buy at a local store to see if there is interference and return it if its not to your satisfaction.
June 14, 2007 4:39:20 PM

I've had good luck with a Belkin Pre-N router (it's also MIMO). I did need to add a Pre-N card to one of the desktops to get decent reception in one room but the laptops seem to get good reception in that location as well as better reception all over the house and outside. The only problem with that approach is that you won't know if it's any advantage to you until after you've made the investment.

If you want to use your existing router as a repeater, read the manual carefully to make sure it will work in that mode - some won't.
June 14, 2007 11:47:09 PM

Quote:
I've had good luck with a Belkin Pre-N router (it's also MIMO). I did need to add a Pre-N card to one of the desktops to get decent reception in one room but the laptops seem to get good reception in that location as well as better reception all over the house and outside. The only problem with that approach is that you won't know if it's any advantage to you until after you've made the investment.

If you want to use your existing router as a repeater, read the manual carefully to make sure it will work in that mode - some won't.


I really want to try Pre-N stuff (though I prefer at least v2), though one thing keeps on hindering me. COST, if the prices were only to go down then I'd get one. And if I'm lucky, the signal problem would dissappear, though as you said, I'd only know if I already bought one.
June 15, 2007 3:20:51 AM

It also depends on the construction of your wall.
Where I live, many houses are adobe which is built out of chicken wire. This deflects and destroys wireless signals very well N or not.

Not saying you should rent a N / MIMO router, but if you want to go that route, first buy 1 router (gigabit 10/100/1000) and one corresponding network card. I see N/MiMo cards on sale for $30 every week.

If that works for you, great, if not, take it back.

Investment $100.
June 15, 2007 5:28:27 PM

glad to help!
June 15, 2007 6:09:10 PM

Just a thought.

Originally the drivers for your router where based upon Linux, given the right revision it is possible to upload new firmware into the router, and given adequate cooling, you can increase the voltage to the transmitter thus increasing the range.

Might be something to explore before you splurge out on mimo, pre n, super g or the like

IS
June 15, 2007 7:55:59 PM

Quote:
Just a thought.

Originally the drivers for your router where based upon Linux, given the right revision it is possible to upload new firmware into the router, and given adequate cooling, you can increase the voltage to the transmitter thus increasing the range.

Might be something to explore before you splurge out on mimo, pre n, super g or the like

IS


Well I could flash it with DD-WRT micro version, but I just couldn't risk the router just dying out at any point in time. Since the internet connection is mostly used by my brother or sisters, it's just troublesome when they call me in the office and tell me that the router just died.

Though it is an interesting option and I might explore the other settings with ddwrt. (Not to mention free)
!