Optimal Location and possible router for 2 floor town house
I currently have two laptops, a PS3, one desktop (technically two, but right now its not working, hoping to make it wired, but we will see), a smart phone and an Ipod touch. The first few are used the most though. I have the router currently downstairs in the kitchen in the corner (I know terrible place) unfortunately it was the only place beside the room upstairs, which tbh I don't know why we didn't do, which is still towards an end to the house. The middle most part of the house would be in between the kitchen and the dinning room on the first floor, although it doesn't have a great place for the coax jack to be installed. The other room would be mine upstairs. So the question is; is the router better off upstairs or down stairs. Also the router is a Linksys WRT54GS so its only G sadly. I'd like the best signal strength as possible spending the least amount of money as possible. Sadly I game (PS3,Laptop,Desktop) which also would make it awesome to have some of these wired, but theirs no great location to get the best of both worlds. If I had to choose it would be my desktop to be wired which is why my room for the router would be nice if its a good place for the signal. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciate.
It's very hard to make specific recommendations when it comes to a suitable location for the wireless router since everyone's environment is so different. Wireless is subject to so many sources of interference, including competing wireless routers by neighbors, other wireless devices on the same freq (microwave ovens, cordless phones, etc.), and even the effects of construction materials. All we can do is speak in generalities.
In general, since most wireless routers use an omni-directional antenna (which radiates its signal equally in all directions), it’s best to keep it centrally located. If you must keep it in a corner of the house, then you might want to consider replacing the current antenna w/ a more directional one, so the signal is concentrated more towards your wireless clients. You can even make an inexpensive one w/ paper and aluminum foil ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3_KJdJ4FAk ). You can also use wireless repeaters to extend the range of your wireless network. And you might also consider running powerline adapters from one room to another as a sort of poor man’s ethernet backbone, then dropping wireless APs locally in those same rooms, rather than trying to have one wireless router cover everything.
IOW, knowing how wireless works, you can employ various strategies to mitigate the fact you can’t place the wireless router in the most perfect location (assuming such a place even exists). If you want to keep the wireless router near you for gaming purposes (so you can use a wired connection), that may be your best hope.
Using both a power line adapter and a wireless access point? why would you do that when the power line is already there? Unless of course your assuming there isnt an outlet nearby where you want to connect them? Speaking of power line adapters are they better then wireless? Also is it better to keep a wireless router high or low, aka first floor or second?
I'm suggesting powerline + wireless because the powerline adapters are only meant as a bridging mechanism, one that's more reliable than trying to force the wireless signal to reach long distances, or around obstacles. But I presume you'd still want the convenience of wireless for your clients. And so you can place your wireless access points in the same room as those clients. But if you'd rather use powerline exclusively and dump wireless completely, sure, go for it, whatever floats your boat.
I can't say if powerline is always better than wireless because everyone's environment is different. For some, powerline won't work at all due to wiring issues, line noise, etc. In other cases, it works but the performance is poor. And in still other cases, it's good, perhaps 15-20Mbps, sometimes more, esp. if you’re using the most modern powerline technology. And whether that's enough or worth considering depends on what's happening on the wireless side. If you can't get a reliable wireless signal at all, then powerline may be your only option (something is better than nothing). Powerline is generally more reliable than wireless simply because it is wire.
As far as which floor to place the wireless, I would assume those accessing the wireless router are far more likely to be located on the first or second floor. And you’re probably going to get more range at and above the wireless router than below it. The wireless signal tends to radiate out and up, more than down. So the first floor is probably your best bet.
Sometimes I wonder how much better a wired connection would be. It's why I wanted to try a powerline adapter to see if I can get better performance. For my laptop and my desktop when it worked the signal strength was always good, but as a gamer I always wondered if my connection would be better with a wired signal or even the power line adapter. The best place for the first floor would be on the "island" counter that is between our kitchen and the dinning room. Problem is its across from the microwave then, although still a better location then in the corner next to it practically. The laptops and PS3 would have almost a direct line of sight for it there although it would be slight higher then all of them. The desktops on the other hand will be tricky since they are on the second floor. Both are heading towards one end of the house, mine is close, but the other is pretty far away, then again that computer doesn't do to much gaming so its not problem as long as it works, mine on the other hand I would be worried about as its then going through floor and walls while at a distance.
Is upgrading from G to N worth it? Most of my devices are N except for the PS3 which would mean it would bog down the entire network. Plus I wouldn't get any speed boost since my connection isn't any faster then the data transfer rate. The only thing it might do is give me a slight performance boost because the hardware is newer. Opinions
Using wireless G devices w/ modern wireless N equipment does NOT bog down the rest of the network. Only two wireless stations can be communicating at the same time anyway, so even under the best of conditions, other stations are always waiting. It’s just that the wait times are longer when slower devices are actively communicating. Otherwise, there’s no impact at all!
Wireless N doesn’t help much for Internet access since few ISPs provide anywhere near that much bandwidth. But it can certain help w/ local file transfers. And wireless N typically has superior antenna solutions. So it’s possible wireless G devices might actually run slightly better/faster on a predominantly wireless N network.