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Wireless D-link DWA-556 Range question?

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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February 22, 2010 7:44:30 AM

Hey, so i just spent 60 dollars on a Wireless D-link dwa 556 adapter at frys for my desktop computer. It's supposdly supposed to get 300 mbps and have a super long range (6x! to be exact..) now my question is, is this acutally a good wireless adapter or did i get ripped off because, although the router is all the way on the other side of hte house AND downstairs, i only get two bars of signal strength, when my laptop and my brothers laptops gets full signal even when it's a little further. i feel like since i spent 60 dollars on this it should have just as far of a range. it also has 3 antennas if that makes a difference haha.

so yeah my question is, is this adapter supposed to be weaker than a standard laptops signal would be? cus it definatly is. thanks!
Anonymous
a b F Wireless
February 22, 2010 8:02:57 AM

The signal strength and quality indicators are largely fictional in what they claim and are certainly liable to vary from adapter to adapter.

The only fair test is to do some transfers of identical large files and time them on the various machines at as close to the same time as possible (because wireless reception is quite variable).
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a b F Wireless
February 22, 2010 12:55:32 PM

Although your brother may be further away from the router, it's not just distance that matters. It's also obstructions and the environment in general. Suppose in your room you’re closer to possible interference by a neighbor w/ his own wireless router than your brother. Or suppose you have to navigate around a couple of corners and he doesn't. Suppose you’re living in a room w/ lead walls! LOL.

IOW, it's more complicated than just throwing more signal strength at the problem. More signal strength is always nice to have, but it’s not guaranteed to solve the problem if you have other non signal strength related issues. Yes, all other things being equal you would expect similar results, but that’s the problem, things rarely are equal.

FWIW, I’ve found most laptops to have better wireless performance than their desktop counterparts. In all the years of dealing w/ wireless reception, laptops just seem to be less of a problem. And I believe the reason is the antenna solution. Most place it around the screen frame which makes an almost perfect antenna. You’re using a desktop and PCIe adapter, which puts you at a disadvantage. The laptop can be easily reoriented for best reception, but the desktop is problematic. And even a slight reorientation or repositioning (even a few inches) can have a dramatic effect. Most ppl have their desktop under a desk, perhaps blocked by a desk leg, close to other electrical devices, etc. All this stuff plays a role.

That’s why I rarely use PCI/PCIe (or even USB) for desktops. Instead, I use a wireless Ethernet bridge. They’re aar more flexible in terms of orientation and placement (limited only by the length of an Ethernet cable, up to 100m). And probably better signal strength $ for $ compared to PCI/USB adapters (has its own AC adapter, doesn’t rely on the bus). Works w/ any OS, no driver compatibility issues, etc. And probably less expensive than that adapter!

[wireless router]<--wireless-->[wireless ethernet bridge]<--wire-->[desktop]



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February 23, 2010 5:08:46 PM

Alright so i have a new question. Ive looked into it and the overall range on this card just isnt that great, but people say its still a pretty fast card. (almost every review i read said they only had 2 bars of signal strength which is exactly how much i have) but not i starting to realize a new problem, its just straight up laggy and it will randomly dissconnect me from the internet every once in a while but only when i'm using it, it never goes out when i'm not using it.

I read somewhere that its not fully compatible with 64-bit OS's and i have 64 bit vista, could this possibly be a problem?
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a b F Wireless
February 23, 2010 5:21:16 PM

nuttinwong said:
Alright so i have a new question. Ive looked into it and the overall range on this card just isnt that great, but people say its still a pretty fast card. (almost every review i read said they only had 2 bars of signal strength which is exactly how much i have) but not i starting to realize a new problem, its just straight up laggy and it will randomly dissconnect me from the internet every once in a while but only when i'm using it, it never goes out when i'm not using it.

I read somewhere that its not fully compatible with 64-bit OS's and i have 64 bit vista, could this possibly be a problem?


"...never goes out when i'm not using it." ??

How would you know? LOL

As far as compatibility, if they provide a Vista 64 bit driver, then presumably it’s compatible (that’s the definition of compatible). Of course, that doesn't mean it can't have bugs, or be designed poorly, etc. It's just software. Sometimes users/vendors find “issues”, perhaps requiring a firmware update or new drivers. It happens. But I can’t speak to your adapter specifically. You’ve probably learned more about the likelihood of that being an issue through your own research.

As I said before, that’s why I typically use wireless Ethernet bridges (at least for desktops), to avoid even this possibility.


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a b F Wireless
February 23, 2010 7:01:10 PM

I have this one and i average 270 mbps!MY DLINK router a DIR 825 is on the top floor and i am 2 floors down in the basement.RARELY do i hit 300 mbps!
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a b F Wireless
February 23, 2010 7:16:39 PM

SR-71 Blackbird said:
I have this one and i average 270 mbps!MY DLINK router a DIR 825 is on the top floor and i am 2 floors down in the basement.RARELY do i hit 300 mbps!


Just so we don’t add more confusion…

Those speeds reported by Windows (270mbps and 300mbps) don’t represent MEASURED speeds. They’re merely Windows’ lame attempt to correlate the detected signal strength w/ some THEORETICAL speed. But in actuality, you won’t come anywhere near those numbers when MEASURED. Not even half. Consider yourself in the top echelon if you hit >100mbps real world.

Do me a favor. Using NetCPS and/or Iperf, run several tests between two machines, one of which is wired (important). Then report the results.

http://www.netchain.com/NetCPS/

http://www.noc.ucf.edu/Tools/Iperf/
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