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Wireless router with external vs internal antenna

Last response: in Networking
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September 29, 2012 12:20:46 PM

I am in need of changing my router. My problem is that I am at my max distance at the farthest end of my house ie. garage or patio. I now have an old WRT54Gv8. Antenna's can not be changed for increased range. I'm told by Linkys that their E2500 or EA2700 will get 300 ft where as mine now is rated at only 150ft. My question here is that although being dual band it has internal antenna's. Are external antenna's better or is the difference a mute point, keeping in mind that externals can be replaced with better performance ones. I really do not want to do this. Any suggestions or comments on my dilemma would be appreciated. FYI I have two wireless laptops,one computer hardwired, two wireless printers,DVD player streaming and 3 smart phones using WIFI constantly.
September 29, 2012 4:52:05 PM

All routers transmit exactly the same power it is regulated by the government. This means you will see little if any difference. 150ft or 300ft are all magic numbers that occur only in the lab. Part of the difference is that the N encoding method is less susceptible to interference so you get a usable signal further....but that does not actually increase the actual strength of the signal, it just means if you receive the signal its more likely to not contain errors.

Your key issue is most likely related to how your house is built. Some houses block signal much better than others. Think about a microwave and how much energy is blocked by coating on the door glass. In many cases too much of the signal has been absorbed and you can never get it back.

With that much equipment I would already be running 2 routers (the second as a AP). First it allows you to split the G and N equipment onto different channels and second it allows you to divide your equipment a bit so they do not stomp each other as much.

External antenna is a valid option in some cases but there really is no way to tell for sure. They do not cost a lot so many times its worth trying. Most the antenna information assumes outdoor use with no obstructions. On key example of the issues in a house would be if you were to use a large directional antenna on the router you may be able to concentrate the legal power to punch it though a wall but the return signal from the little built in antenna on a phone still does not have enough to be clearly detected.

Still you might as well just try it and see if you get lucky. The other solution to this all require you to have a second router anyway which if you look though this forum you will see discussed on a regular basis.
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