I set up a wireless network at home and was quite surprised how weak a signal I got on my PC.
The setup looks like this: our router is in the living room (it can unfortunately not be moved since we only have the one phone box in the apartment). Next is my friend's bed room, and then there's my bed room. So the signal will have to travel through one room, or two walls, to get to me. I'm using the following equipment:
- Netgear WG311T PCI wireless card in my PC. The PC's standing on the floor, if that matters.
Now my friend's laptop gets full bars of signal strength in Win XP's wireless network gadget. The signal is "perfect", even when I carry the laptop into MY room. My PC gets between 70 and 80% signal strength in the Netgear's own wireless network manager, or 2 out of 5 bars in Win XP's manager. Pinging the router yields about 20-30% packet loss, which is just unacceptable. We have a 15mbps ADSL connection and I've yet to see a download from a good server go faster than 20kb/s. I would have run a speed test but I was frustrated enough without one.
I found another thread on these forums that suggests it could be interference from the laptop, but I doubt that. To begin with, I had the laptop in the living room when I first ran these tests, and then I've also switched off the laptop just to be sure.
Now I have a bunch of questions, of course. First of all: can anyone see anything that's plain wrong about my setup? Something that screams "this is causing the low signal strength"? I guess not. Now, what would be my best options for increasing signal strength? I really don't want to run an RJ45 cable through the corridor--my girlfriend would kill me--but I also don't want to pay for 15mbps when I get something closer to ISDN.
Would a wireless repeater help?
Should I try a directional antenna for the router?
Are external USB wireless adapters better than internal PCI solutions?
Would getting a stronger router/wireless card help? And come to think of it, how can I tell how STRONG a router/wireless adapter is? Is there any numerical value I could look up that would tell me something about their signal output?
Thank you very much, in advance, for any advice you may have to offer.