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Which to upgrade first? Router or dongle?

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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September 25, 2012 4:44:54 AM

So, a short background:

I've got Comcast Blast Plus which supposedly gets some 40ish megaBITS per second, so around 6 megabytes a second down, and like 3 up.

I've got a Netgear WGR614v9 for a router. It is capable up to 54mbps and wireless g.
I connect to our network wirelessly. I am unfortunately about 60-70 feet away from the router, and am unable to move it closer, so I'm stuck with the range.

I have a Netgear WNA1100-100ENS network adapter/dongle which is N compatible.

There are 3 people on our network, spread across about 4 devices. My computer (the mains source of bandwidth draw), my girlfriends computer and her tablet, and a separate laptop mostly used for video streaming on the other side of the house.

When multiple people are on our network, doing almost anything, it lags to molasses. If I am just browsing the web, and my gf is watching netflix on the tablet, my speed drops to well under 1 meg. If I am gaming, her connection lags to the same. If we are BOTH gaming, well it's not pretty.



So, all that in mind, I do monitor my speed every so often and I usually get 600k-2 megabytes a second down. It shoots all around, which I assumes is because of a combination of lackluster equipment, and a lengthy distance for the wifi to travel.

I ran a speed test with my laptop hardwired to the router, and was getting about 2.2 megabytes down at top.

Which should I upgrade first? A better wireless dongle since I am so far away? Or a better router (like the Netgear WNDR3700 for example) which puts out a stronger, faster and wider wifi signal?

More about : upgrade router dongle

September 25, 2012 1:39:49 PM

Don't believe everything you read from the vendors.

All routers and dongles put out exactly the same signal levels they are regulated by law.

Will a new router running in N mode help ? maybe a little but I suspect that is not your problem.

The key problem with any wireless is only a single device can transmit at a time. There is no coordination between them so the more there are the more they stomp all over each other causing packets to have to be retransmitted.

So what you really need to do is try to reduce the number of machines sharing. If you are looking at buying a new router I would run both routers using one as a AP.
You could leave all your G devices on the old router and put all your N devices on the new one. I am going to assume you also run different SSID and channels.

Then for example if you wanted to machines to running games and keep them separate you could manually select the SSID to connect to. Still games run much better wired even when there is only a single machine and router on the wireless.

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September 25, 2012 3:14:27 PM

bill001g said:
Don't believe everything you read from the vendors.

All routers and dongles put out exactly the same signal levels they are regulated by law.

Will a new router running in N mode help ? maybe a little but I suspect that is not your problem.

The key problem with any wireless is only a single device can transmit at a time. There is no coordination between them so the more there are the more they stomp all over each other causing packets to have to be retransmitted.

So what you really need to do is try to reduce the number of machines sharing. If you are looking at buying a new router I would run both routers using one as a AP.
You could leave all your G devices on the old router and put all your N devices on the new one. I am going to assume you also run different SSID and channels.

Then for example if you wanted to machines to running games and keep them separate you could manually select the SSID to connect to. Still games run much better wired even when there is only a single machine and router on the wireless.


Hmmm, I am not sure if I fully understand what you are saying. So, run two routers at once, and put the tab/laptop on one, and then the two gaming pc's on the other?
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September 25, 2012 7:17:09 PM

Up to you how you device out the load. You technically don't run them both as routers it makes the config to complex.

You want to change it to run as a AP, you can also do the same by disabling DHCP and use a lan port to cable to the main router...setting the router to run as a AP is a little cleaner.

I would put one game pc on each. This would let them each have their own radio channel. Of course this is not permanent all you do is select the other SSID and they can both be on the same radio when you need them to be
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September 26, 2012 12:00:35 AM

But it IS possible to run two routers from one modem? I assume that I would just use a splitter from the modem and run one cat5 to one router, and one cat5 to the other?
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September 26, 2012 11:50:00 AM

Its not a splitter you need a switch to do that.

Technically its easy to cable it....will it work most likely not unless you pay Comcast more money to allow it. They in general only allow you to have a single IP address.
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