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Can I get same download speed upstairs in my basement

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by ambertape, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. ambertape

    ambertape Addicted to LI Member


    I am using a Linksys router WRT54GL and the Tomato 1.19 software. I have Times Warner cable modem and the Linksys router on my second floor, front of my house. I connected two 9 dbi antennas to the Linksys router, one antenna in vertical position and the other antenna in horizontal position. My setting in Tomato are wireless transmission 69, QOS enabled and selected channel 1. When I download upstairs with my HP computer, download speeds are between 600-700 kb/sec downloading files.

    I turned off the HP computer upstairs but the Linksys router and the cable modem are on only.

    In my basement, I am in the back of my house and am using my laptop connected to a Cantenna (supposedly 12 dbi ) and a Engenius USB lan driver model EUB-362 EXT device. The EUB-362 is connected to a USB port. The cantenna is in a vertical position. I turned off the internal wireless antenna because if it is on, it reduces the speed to about 150 kb/sec - 200 kb/sec and if the wireless is off I get about 300Kb/sec.

    I don't understand the following :

    it states that the internet connection is connected. status 100 mps
    I am now connected to Internet through a shared connection on another computer.

    I would like to get the same speed downloading upstairs downstairs. Are there any
    changes I can make that will increase the transmission power in Tomato going
    downstairs ? I read somewhere that raising the router higher in my room will improve
    the transmission ? Will this help ?

    Might it be an idea to add another router to pick up the signal from the original
    router ?

    I look forward to your suggestions.


  2. szfong

    szfong Network Guru Member

    Basements tend to use VERY strong re-inforced building materials to support weight of house. 3 common options to choose from:

    two sets of DIRECTIONAL antennas + upping tx power and make sure client adapter + AP use same chipset.

    Use ethernet cable, they are pretty cheap, but can be a bit difficult to lay, depending on your situation.

    draft-n MIMO routers and/or APs are fairly cheap now and can string it off of your Tomato router if you can't be without Tomato ;-), may even be cheaper than buying those directional antennas. Make sure both client + AP use similar draft-n chipsets.

    Anyhow, good, luck.. Please tell what you chose and any difficulties encountered.

  3. ambertape

    ambertape Addicted to LI Member

    Hi Simon,

    I will appreciate some help on your suggestions. This stuff is new to me.

    I am using two 9 dbi antennas connected to the Linksys WRT54GL. I didn't buy another
    Linksys router yet but just suggested the idea. If I were to buy another router, where
    should I place it and should I buy another set of 9 dbi antennas for the second router ?

    I have laying around two 6.5 dbi antennas. Could I use them on the second router if I buy another router ? Should the second router use the same settings as the first
    router in Tomato ? Would the first Linksys router be a client or the second one ?

    Would it pay to use 2-6 dbi antennas on the first router and the 9 dbi antennas on the
    second router ?

    You suggested upping transmission power. On my Linksys I have the TX set to 69. In
    reading aMaximumPC magazine article, it states that 70 should be the highest setting
    so not to overheat the components. Would changing TX from 69 to 70 improve anything ?
    Could I go higher to 80 ? Could I get away with it ? Will it be safe ?

    Are there any tweaks in Tomato I could change before I buy another router ?

    If I were to use a different antenna would I get a better signal ? A friend of mine
    said he would loan me a 16 dbi yagi antenna to use instead of the Cantenna. It might
    be a interesting test ?

    Is it possible to use different antennas on the router ?

    Does Linksys make a draft-n router that is compatable to the Linksys WRT54GL router ?


  4. szfong

    szfong Network Guru Member

    The thing is, that in many basements the signal is bouncing all over the place or being absorbed, you would need an extremely powerful transmitter on both ends. I would run ethernet to a router or a switch to your basement floor and string an AP or wireless router off of it on the basement floor for your laptop.

    draft-n routers need a set of draft-n adapters to gain performance. You would be spending additional money, unnecessarily. I had a basement once that BOTH 5GHz & 2.4GHz signals can't pass thru easily. Only my 900MHz Panasonic Digital DSS cordless phone can work. I got dropout and 1Mbps transfer rates using 802.11g, which were in real-life MUCH lower than that.

    If you must, there are 900MHz wireless AP + client card combinations available. They are speciality items, so a bit more expensive.

    If it were me, I'd use cheap ethernet and get the wireless AP in the basement closer to my wireless client computers, there's very little options when dealing with re-inforced steel beams and re-inforced concrete that probably has as much steel in them as the beams themselves :-(

  5. ambertape

    ambertape Addicted to LI Member


    I have run a battery of tests with the equipment I posess and the maximum downloading speed I can get is about 280 kb/sec which is about 40% of the speed I am getting upstairs when I am on line. I would like to get about 75% signal strength and will appreciate all suggestions to try and get it. I cannot run cat-5 cable over my roof and down the backside of my building inasmuch as I don't have those kind of tools.

    I saw under sticky a printout of someone in Germany how his Tomato setup is and I printed it out. Might tweaking the tomato firmware improve receiving a stronger signal down in my basement ? I am using 9 dbi antennas on the Linksys. Would raising the router as high as I can get to the ceiling help ? Would changing antenna to a higher signal strength antenna help ? Might you have some suggestions. I am using 9 dbi antennas supposedly.

    Would adding another router on the first floor help getting a stronger signal downstairs ?

    I ran a battery of test with the equipment and antennas I accumulated over the past two years and if you are interested I can send it to you. How can I attach it and send it along ?


  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa LI Guru Member

    You don't get something for nothing. A high gain antenna gets its gain by "stealing" it from other directions. An omni steals it from above and below while a directional steals it from everywhere except where it is pointed to. You need to keep this in mind when using a high gain antenna and orient it for best reception.
  7. szfong

    szfong Network Guru Member


    Could you consider running the cat-5e/6 cables through an electrical outlet between the walls.?

    OK... ummm.. I've recommend another option to a friend in a similar situation like yours, I personally like ethernet as it allows for VERY fast, gigabit level transfers within the home, very immune to interference, and practically trouble-free when dealing with difficult situations.

    Two external antennas mounted outside can also help, assuming your basement has outside access. The most important thing to remember is line-of-sight, with as few obstructions as possible, in particular thick walls, metal, or concrete. Other than this, there are of course, "powerful" external amplifiers you can purchase, but NOT legally use in most places (you need two of them....)

    Anyhow, if your dead-set not wanting to spend the time for cables for your basement install, the other "best" option I've recommended to others is ethernet over powerlines, eg the newest being the "Belkin Powerline AV - Ethernet over power at 200Mb/s". If you don't mind spending the $$$. All it needs is an AC oulet, you data travels through the copper on your AC lines.

  8. rizsher

    rizsher Network Guru Member

    That really means nothing, that is just the theoretical maximum speed your lan port can operate at.

    If I were you, I'd look at gettig another Tomato compatible router and setting up WDS between the 2. This should increase your wireless range quite substantially. One the first router, setup Wireless Mode as Acces Point+WDS, add security (I use WEP and it works flawlessly), Under "Link With", put the wireless MAC of the 2nd router (the one u'd be placing closer to the basement (the MAC to use appears on the setup page on the "Basic" screen under Wireless.

    Go to the 2nd router, disable DHCP, setup as WDS, enter the Wireless MAC of the 1st router in "Link With", make sure both the routers have the same SSID and are on the same channel.

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