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Wireless signal loss

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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February 15, 2010 12:40:31 PM

I have a D-Link 624 wireless router in a 2 story home and can not get even a poor connection with my 2 laptops and 1 desktop upstairs. I was looking at either an anntena booster or a range extender. What would the best choice

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a b F Wireless
February 17, 2010 3:19:00 PM

Sometimes simply repositioning the wireless router will help. Even small changes can sometimes lead to dramatic results. Also be sure to keep the router ELEVATED a bit, at least a couple feet off the ground. And of course avoid obstacles as much as possible. I would also try different channels. Sometimes a neighbor can be using their own wireless router on the same frequency and it might be causing just enough interference to stomp to on your signal. Use channels 1, 6, and 11 for maximum separation. These are all SIMPLE changes you should try first.

But let’s assume nothing helps, you’re just in a bad environment. Yes, you could use a better antenna. And it helps a lot more if you improve the antenna on BOTH ends. But based on years of experience, I find better antennas tend to NOT be the solution, esp. if the signal is already very weak. They tend to help when you have at least a decent signal, perhaps adding one more bar.

The next option is a wireless repeater. You place this somewhere between your wireless router and your wireless clients. Your wireless clients connect to the repeater, which then relays your wireless signal to the wireless router. This assumes, of course, you can find that “ideal” location that’s still within reach of the wireless router AND wireless clients. On the downside, a repeater cuts your effective bandwidth in HALF (minimally). That’s because there are two wireless connections per wireless client, one from the repeater to the wireless router, the other from the repeater to the wireless client. But only ONE transmission can occur at any given time. IOW, one of those two transmissions is always waiting for the other to complete. The net effect, a loss of bandwidth. For simple Internet access, probably not a big deal since the bandwidth provided by your ISP is very likely far less than the bandwidth capabilities of your local wireless network. But you might not be too happy if you do a lot of LOCAL file transfers since they *would* feel the pinch.

IOW, there’s no free lunch here. A wireless repeater both giveth and taketh away. But sometimes that’s the best solution.

One other option is to bridge using powerline. In this case, you use your home wiring as the bridging medium:

[cable modem]<--wire-->[powerline adapter #1](ac outlet)<--power lines-->[(ac outlet)[powerline adapter #2]<--wire-->[wireless router]

Using this configuration, we’re essentially extending the reach of the connection between the wireless router and the cable/dsl modem so we can locate the wireless router MUCH closer to your wireless clients. Sorta the “if Mohammed can’t come to the mountain, bring the mountain to Mohammed” approach!

Or you could choose to use TWO wireless routers w/ powerline, giving you the option to connect to the nearest one:

[cable modem]<--wire-->[wireless router #1]<--wire-->[powerline adapter #1](ac outlet)<--power lines-->[(ac outlet)[powerline adapter #2]<--wire-->[wireless router #2 (or AP)]

On the downside, due to a wide variance in power line installations, it won’t work everywhere. Sometimes the outlets you want to use are not on the same circuit, so it won’t work, at least for that combination of outlets. Or it might work but performance may be subpar (but perhaps good enough for Internet access). Or it might work GREAT. There’s just no way to know ahead of time. Powerline can also be a bit pricey unless you wait for a deal (we just had a deal earlier this month for a pair of ZyXEL 200mbps HomePlug AV powerline adapters @ Newegg.com, $40 shipped, that’s a STEAL!). Anyway, it’s one more option to consider.

Finally (and maybe this is the best solution given that router is getting a bit old in the tooth), maybe you just need a better router! Even if you don’t need it, wireless N routers often have better antenna solutions that will help even wireless G networks. Let’s face it, that D-Link DI-624 is not the strongest contender in the universe of available wireless routers. Some routers do perform better than others wrt to wireless signal strength, all other things being equal.



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February 26, 2010 2:46:12 PM

Thanks for the information that you gave it was very thorough. I did try going to different channels and various positioning and found that nothing really worked. I then decided to get a Linksys WRT-54GL and it totally fixed the entire wireless problem. I guess my dlink that I've had for 5 years just was going up.
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February 26, 2010 2:46:32 PM

Best answer selected by kmann67.
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