Is Likuda 9dBi Antenna worth it?

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by Planiwa, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    I was very happy with the new RT-N16, until the Wifi became unusable.

    It may be because of the 30 networks in the neighbourhood, 7 are stronger than 75 dB.

    So, for now I have had to go back to the old WRT54GL with the long antennas.

    I have read that some antennas being sold on Ebay are not worth buying. So I wonder whether the Likuda is worth it. Anyone with experience, good or bad? Thanks.
  2. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    They will also make the interference stronger, and make the situation even worse, so it seems a bit pointless.
  3. Elfew

    Elfew Network Guru Member

    pointless... asus knows why these antennas on RT-16n... its all about MIMO
  4. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    When I lived in a townhouse complex with 40+ visible networks, replacing the stock antennas on a WRT-54GL with 9dBi eBay units made the signal substantially stronger and, more importantly, made the connection more reliable. One of the routers was on the other side of the wall next to my roomate's bedroom and the idiots kept jumping channels, so drowning them out was the only option.

    Technically by replacing the antennas with hotter units you're dialing up the... radiated signal? crap can't remember the correct term... beyond legal limits, since manufacturers are supposed to dial down the amplifier when putting on hotter antennas to stay under the 2.4GHz ceiling (500mW? I forget), but since hotter antennas result in a cleaner signal (if you dial down the amplifier) this is the preferable option.

    I just played with antennas for an RT-N16 at home, though it's in a single family home subdivision with only a couple visible networks, and stock < 5dBi < 7 dBi < 9 dBi in terms of signal quality and range. I can get a (spotty) signal on the apron in front of my garage with 9dBi antennas, everything below that it's zero signal until I go through the garage and into the house. Lots of metal (utility room - furnace, sinks, hot water heater, ductwork, etc.) between the router & myself when I'm on the apron.

    That being said, every location is really a different animal, so you should test & measure for yourself to see what works. Unfortunately this means spending cash with no guarantee of a return.

    As far as eBay antennas, they're hit or miss. The ones I got for my 54GL were actually L-Com units (or at least both visually and measurably indistinguishable), but like most of whats on eBay they're usually, well, crap. They'll claim they're selling you a 9dBi antenna, even if it's a 1dBi antenna hiding under 9dBi plastic.
  5. Elfew

    Elfew Network Guru Member

    Yes, but if you replace antennas by stronger ones you will get stronger interference, so its useless... signal streght is not the same like interference
  6. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    Except in my experience it isn't. Unless you think maintaining a stronger, more consistent signal by replacing antennas is useless.
  7. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    Hence my question, which named the particular brand.

    My original message already stated that the brand new wonderful Toastman distro N16 was completely unusable, wifi-wise, and that I had to revert back to the old WRT54GL with the big antennae (running 1.25). It is now solid again.

    But I very much like the N16, and I love the Toastman distro. I would really, really like to make it work.

    This is a 4 level house with about a dozen devices owned by about students. I manage this remotely (for free for a friend).

    Everything was fine for about a month, even though the signal strength was weaker than before.

    Then, one day, everyone either could not see the wifi netwok, could not associate, could not get traffic, or could not remain associated.

    I tried various tricks, even pretending to be in Japan and using channel 14. I also tried "B" only, which worked fine for my iPhone, Mac, and the owner's Asus EEE, but not for the tenants.

    I don't have another N16 to swap in, and I do hope it's not a HW problem.

    I would be *very* interested in a "non-pointless" solution or diagnostic approach.

    (Tracking down the neighbours with the superpowerd base radios and asking them to turn down the power is not a realistic option.)

    Switching to 5GHz would mean requiring all the poor students to aquire a suitable wifi radio.

    Wired is not an option.

    (I am testing Tomato v1.28.7821 MIPSR1-Toastman-ND K26 Mini on another WRT. Biggest problem so far is lack of awk, but I may get Rodney Hester's gawk to fit into JFFS, and/or maybe reduce CT to free more RAM.)
  8. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    If the WRT54GL works on 2.4GHz then the RT-N16 should too. Perhaps it is worth you trying these "big" antennas. Antennas increase gain by focussing the energy in one direction at the expense of others. These antennas produce a flatter "donut" radiation pattern. So these larger antennas will increase the gain on that floor but reduce it on other levels. That also means that it can increase the interference from other routers in that "donut" but may reduce it in other directions. Since the RT-N16 has antennas that can be moved, a position may be found that works. Unfortunately, it will often vary from day to day, even minute by minute.

    I would look for other reasons for the RT-N16 not performing as it should. You say it "became" unuseable - presumably it used to work OK and then something changed. They key is of course locating what changed, but I am sure you've already tried. I rather doubt the router is faulty, although that cannot be discounted. Power saving settings ????
  9. ppsun

    ppsun Networkin' Nut Member

    Some ideas I would try myself:

    1) Map out roughly the signal strength of the interferences using inSSIDer and a laptop, by walking around the house with the laptop. And then re-locate the wifi AP/router to the quietest location.
    2) Use directional antennas (as Toastman suggested) in conjunction with re-locating the router/AP.
    3) Add a couple of Powerline APs to uniformly beef up the wifi tx/rx strength around the house.
    4) Add a couple of wifi range extenders to do the same. But Powerline APs should have more reliable results.

    1 and 2 can be a pain in the butt to get it working properly (and good dir. antennas can cost a lot). Whereas 3 and 4 should be quite straightforward but will cost some money. Though going 5Ghz is probably the best option in your situation.
  10. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    Thanks for all the excellent suggestions. The site is a treasure trove for trouble shooters. It is a 4 level house with 6 students, and two owners. I live a few blocks away. (Used to live next door.) DSL. The inside wiring is a catastrophe. I suspect that there are serious problems in the outside wiring -- but there's no point trying to get the ISP to get the Telco to fix the oustide wire so long as the inside wire is a messy unknown. 24h ago the DSL lost sync. One of the students rebooted the modem (after I told him not to), destroying 35 days line status log data. Anyways, the modem took 7 resyncs over 8 hours, some of which at data rates 1/10th of normal, before it settled on about 3Mb/s, half of what it should be.

    I switched to the new (N16) router in part because it is much more usable as a computing base to monitor the modem and maintain records about other problems, etc.

    But the WiFi was a bit weaker than before -- I had used 9dB antennae with the old WRT54GLs, and there was never a wifi problem. Still, all was fine for well over a month, when people couldn't see the network, or couldn't associate, or it would drop out of sight.

    So, I have the N16 here at my apartment. I've set all Wireless settings to defaults, except for ASPD=disable, which also means WMM=enable.

    The radio climate here is similar -- about 7 stations > -75.

    So, I have made a beautiful tool to run on the Macbook: wlprobe.
    It works nicely together with Tomato's Real Time traffic and OSX's (Network) Activity Monitor.

    ./wlprobe -h
    Syntax sudo wlprobe [-i INTERVAL (.004)] [-c COUNT (1000)] [-s SIZE (4000)] [HOST (router) [Comments ...] ]
    -i INTERVAL Default=.004 (your computer may not be able to actually keep up with < .004)
    -c COUNT    Send this many pings before interim report.  Default=1000
    -s SIZE     Packet data size (16-8184).  Default=4000
    -n          Do NOT show active networks at the start.  Default=show
    HOST        Default=router
    -h          This help
    You can watch the realtime traffic on the router, alongside the Activity Monitor Network display (refresh every 2s).
    ./wlprobe -n -s1420 -c 1000 router N16
    Thu 1 Mar 2012 02:48:12 EST    -i .004 -c 1000 -s 1420 (donotshow networks) router   N16
     Size Received/Sent   Dups?  Loss     Min  Mean   Max  Dev.   TXrate RSSI Noise  MMDD_HH:MMSS
     1420 B    987/1000 P        1.3%     1.0     5    59    6        78  -62   -89  0301_02:4818
     1420 B    995/1000 P        0.5%     1.1     4    52    5        78  -52   -88  0301_02:4823
     1420 B    998/1000 P        0.2%     1.0     4    54    6        65  -41   -86  0301_02:4829
     1420 B    996/1000 P        0.4%     1.0     4    46    5       145  -41   -87  0301_02:4834
     1420 B    994/1000 P        0.6%     1.0     4    34    4       104  -30   -89  0301_02:4840
     1420 B    999/1000 P        0.1%     1.0     4    64    6       145  -26   -89  0301_02:4845
     1420 B    995/1000 P        0.5%     1.0    13   126   26       104  -22   -88  0301_02:4851
     1420 B    639/1000 P       36.1%     1.0    22   141   34        78  -26   -72  0301_02:4856
     1420 B    999/1000 P        0.1%     1.0     3    56    5       104  -32   -87  0301_02:4902
     1420 B    997/1000 P        0.3%     1.0     3    27    2       104  -35   -88  0301_02:4907
    -35_6,-1_Y_251 -60_6_Y_wda -62_10_N_DD0 -64_6_N_B12 -69_6_N_Oet 
     1420 B    998/1000 P        0.2%     1.0     6    78    9       104  -44   -89  0301_02:4916
     1420 B    995/1000 P        0.5%     1.0     5    72    7        65  -59   -90  0301_02:4922
     1420 B    992/1000 P        0.8%     1.0     5    42    5        73  -61   -90  0301_02:4927
     1420 B    992/1000 P        0.8%     1.0     5    58    8        73  -63   -91  0301_02:4933
     1420 B    997/1000 P        0.3%     1.0    10   116   17        26  -69   -91  0301_02:4938
     1420 B    992/1000 P        0.8%     1.2    23   212   42        26  -69   -91  0301_02:4944
     1420 B    997/1000 P        0.3%     1.3    22   127   25        26  -77   -90  0301_02:4949
     1420 B    752/1000 P       24.8%     4.0  3133  4012  897         7  -79   -91  0301_02:5000
     1420 B    626/1000 P       37.4%     6.5  4242  7835 1559        13  -81   -91  0301_02:5011
     1420 B    387/1000 P       61.3%  3727.8  6255 10705 2144         5  -83   -88  0301_02:5024
    0___1 0___ 0_CHAN_H_SID -46_6_N_B12 -61_6_N_Dke -75_6_N_Ang 
     1420 B      0/1000 P      100.0%                                  5  -80   -87  0301_02:5042
     1420 B    250/1000 P       75.0% 11189.0 12352 13397  651         5  -79   -89  0301_02:5057
     1420 B    437/1000 P       56.3%  8072.0  9347 12462 1240         5  -81   -91  0301_02:5112
     1420 B    254/1000 P       74.6% 11476.2 12506 13375  592         7  -81   -90  0301_02:5126
     1420 B      0/1000 P      100.0%                                  1  -86   -89  0301_02:5141
     1420 B      0/1000 P      100.0%                                  5  -83   -89  0301_02:5156
     1420 B      0/1000 P      100.0%                                  5  -78   -90  0301_02:5210
     1420 B    644/1000 P       35.6%  1078.2  3050  3807  509        26  -68   -91  0301_02:5222
     1420 B    989/1000 P        1.1%     1.1     7    76   10        52  -63   -91  0301_02:5227
     1420 B    994/1000 P        0.6%     1.0     5    51    7        73  -60   -90  0301_02:5233

    It uses the OSX airport utility, which (inter alia) makes scans like this:

                                SSID BSSID            RSSI CHANNEL HT CC SECURITY (auth/unicast/group)
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -86  6      Y  CA WEP
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -84  6      N  -- WPA(PSK/AES/AES)
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -84  6      N  -- WPA(PSK/TKIP/TKIP)
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -70  6      N  -- NONE
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -85  6,-1    Y  -- WPA(PSK/AES,TKIP/TKIP)
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -76  4      Y  CA WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -61  4      Y  -- WPA(PSK/TKIP,AES/TKIP) WPA2(PSK/TKIP,AES/TKIP)
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -86  3,+1    Y  -- WPA(PSK/AES,TKIP/TKIP) WPA2(PSK/AES,TKIP/TKIP)
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -87  1      N  -- NONE
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -71  1      N  US WEP
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -76  11      N  -- WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -83  10      N  -- WPA(PSK/TKIP/TKIP)
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -63  10      N  US WEP
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -71  10      N  US WPA(PSK/TKIP/TKIP)
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -83  6      N  US WEP
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -84  6      N  US WEP
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -71  6      N  -- WPA(PSK/TKIP/TKIP) WPA2(PSK/TKIP/TKIP)
                            (SSID)  00:00:00:00:00:00 -55  6,-1    Y  -- WPA(PSK/AES/AES) WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
    I have two questions about this:

    1. what does HT mean?
    2. what does Channel: 6,-1 mean?

    Next, I will run a suite of similar wlprobes on the N16 and on a WRT54GL running k26 mini.
    First at the apartment, then at the house.

    5GHz would be great if I had control over the clients. But I'm not sure how likely random devices are to be able to handle 5GHz.

    Let's hope it was something like a "bad" setting (like APSD).

    I wonder if there are others who always run in "don't commit NVRAM" for weeks on end. Can anyone see a problem with that? (Yes, I know that changes don't persist, but I don't expect them to. I'm wondering about hidden side-effects.)
  11. ppsun

    ppsun Networkin' Nut Member

    Have you tried putting the router in the 2nd or 3rd floor, and orientate the antennas horizontal and perpendicular to the length of the house? That may help the reception.

    With 4 floors and, I assume, one power distribution board - you should really take a look at the Powerline stuff. I think 3 powerline APs (for 3 floors) plus 1 powerline wired (Ethernet-connected to N16 switch port), should cost the 2 owners less than US$300. But buy a pair to test the planned locations first, as they sometimes "don't like" the way the house is wired or noisy electrical equipment.

    Can't help you with Macs, as I stopped at MacOS 9.2 years ago.
  12. busy

    busy Addicted to LI Member

    1. A device that uses 802.11n high throughput (HT) mode -- also known as Greenfield mode -- link
  13. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    The WiFi was working fine for over a month with the N16, and for several years with WRT54GLs (with 9dB antennae). Yes, of course, during those years I have tried many, many options, including various forms of relays.

    Back to the problem at hand

    1. The question I had asked in this thread was about Likuda Antennae. (I did not ask a general question about antennae. I do have actual experience with 9dB antennae, in several locations.) I'm sure that L-Com's are the genuine article, but they cost 3 times as much. I had hoped to hear from someone with actual knowledge about the particular manufacturer. I will know in a few days whn they arrive.

    2. Resetting all Wireless settings to defaults has made the "can't see the AP intermittently" disappear.

    3. I'm not sure how to test the APSD setting -- perhaps I need to try associating to the AP after it has been idle for ?? minutes? Is that how it fails? (That it goes into a power-save coma?)

    4. wlprobe clearly shows that 20MHz width works much more reliably.

    As for my questions about the Scan Report --

    HT seems to mean "N enabled" -- so, ironically, "N" means no "N".

    The +1 or -1 after the channel means : +1: 40MHz Lower, -1: 40MHz Upper. (seems backward).

    [Back after a few hours of not posting this . I see busy@ posted the answer about "HT". Thanks!]

    Meanwhile, I have fired up a WRT with Tomato v1.28.7821 MIPSR1-Toastman-ND K26 Mini, have done some measurements with the wlprobe, and have started to test the notion about "coma". I may have found something, now let's see if it's reproducible. . . . more to follow. . . .
  14. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    The sticking point isn't Likuda. The problem is eBay. You can buy parts supposedly made by a particular manufacturer on eBay only to find they're knockoff parts made by someone completely different. Any time you buy anything "new" off eBay you're rolling the dice. Every so often you'll get the part you're after, sometimes you'll get a used part some unscrupulous seller is trying to pass off as new, sometimes you'll get a knockoff. Used vs. New isn't that big of a deal when it comes to antennas but knockoffs are everywhere on eBay.

    The eBay dilemma has nearly reached critical mass when it comes to automotive products. People snapping suspension parts and careening off the road because some dicks thought they could make a few extra bucks by trading on the goodwill of someone else's name is criminal. (quite literally)
  15. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    Ouch. Thanks for the heads up. Will report when it arrives (next week?).
  16. mito

    mito Network Guru Member

    Hi Planiwa, i had an issue similar to yours with a lot of networks around, decided to go for three 9dbi antennas for my RT-N16, is true that going for hotter antennas you generate more interference but the gains are higher so the balance is better, plus if you rise the Tx power to 60 or 62 the benefits are greater than with 5 dbi antennas.
    I don't know the Likudas, i purchased mine at the avatar pic at and are working fine, don't expect to get more than 6 to 8% gain over the 5 dbi, that for me is enough for being above my neighbors at my office.
    Just my two cents.
  17. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    Well the antenna arrived in an envelope. One had a bent top. I installed them this evening and was unable to find a human-discernable difference.

    It seemed that reception in the floor below was impossible, whereas two floors above it seemed unchanged.

    I now need to find a way of measuring the difference. Or more generally -- to measure the quality of my Wireless Network. I've been developing some tools for that, using the Mac's airport program, Mac's Activity Monitor -- Network traffic display, ping, and the router's wl.

    What is truly annoying is that making even the slightest changes in Tomato settings have outragous side-effects, such as disrupting the entire network, and destroying the message logs.

    Currently I am using 42mW. I had hoped to be able to reduce that. But I may end up raising it to 60mW.

    Earlier today I discovered to my horror that the "hardware default", to which it was set, was actually transmitting at 1.5W! That's enough microwave to boil an egg in 4 hours.

    Can anyone suggest a way to measure the difference between the two sets of antennae?
  18. mito

    mito Network Guru Member

    Hi, google for Net Stumbler and also Issider.
  19. mpegmaster

    mpegmaster Addicted to LI Member

  20. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    About measuring the difference between the two sets of antennae --

    The originals are 3x2dBi.
    The long ones are 3x9dBi (supposedly).

    What can we measure (repeatedly) and record (and analyze)?

    1. The Stations' RSSI from the router (and Noise). For all the Stations. Every minute, over a few hours.
    2. The Router's RSSI (and Noise) from the Mac. Every second, while moving through thr premises.

    But Noise, RSSI can fluctuate by as much as 10dBm over just a couple of minutes.

    Of course there is little point in doing step 2 (onsite), unless step 1 yields significant results.

    The data collection is running. Meanwhile, I am conducting a similar measurement here, with a WRT54GL, and antennae that are known to be good.
  21. ppsun

    ppsun Networkin' Nut Member

    Have you checked that the 2.4Ghz interferences are not coming from non-wifi sources, like cordless phones? These sources won't appear in any wifi survey tests. Try switching off all non-wifi transmitting devices in the lower 2 floors when conducting the wifi survey? If the rx/tx condition improves, it should then be good evidence that non-wifi 2.4 Ghz sources is your main problem.
  22. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    The wlprobe program that I wrote is pretty good at detecting microwave ovens and even decelerating streetcars.
    Ambient interference is certainly one possibility, in general.

    In this particular situation I have several concerns:

    1. I want to see whether the new "9dBi annenas" are useless or not.

    2. I know, from measurements by the router, that there is often very severe interference, i.e. interference on 4 or more channels, as far as the router is concerned. And I know which neighbouring routers are responsible for the interference, since the Tomato router measures this.

    I have excellent tools inside my Tomato router. In addition, I have superb tools that are "built in" the Mac, and that cooperate with the router, so as to give me pretty good diagnostics, measurements, and records.

    For example, for every location I can make a little report like this, both from the location, and from the router:

      ./rssi  # from the elevator
    Thu 15 Mar 2012 01:48:50 EDT
          Min Med Mea 90% Max
    Noise: 90  91  90  91  92
    RSSI : 66  67  67  70  74
    Quali: 17  23  23  25  26
    Thu 15 Mar 2012 01:50:32 EDT
      ./rssi  # from desk
    Thu 15 Mar 2012 01:55:43 EDT
          Min Med Mea 90% Max
    Noise: 86  89  89  91  92
    RSSI : 37  39  42  47  74
    Quali: 16  49  46  51  53
    Thu 15 Mar 2012 01:57:25 EDT
      rssi 110
    Thu Mar 15 03:06:45 EDT 2012  110
            Min Med Mea 90% Max
    Noise:   76  78  78  81  83
    RSSI:    46  47  49  52  52
    Quality: 24  29  29  33  37
    Thu Mar 15 03:08:30 EDT 2012  110
    One of these three reports is from a distant router.
  23. ppsun

    ppsun Networkin' Nut Member

    Oh yah! Forgot about your homebrew wlprobe that you mentioned few posts up :) Would be awesome if I had that in an android app, like wifi analyzer. I could pre-test an area for wifi & non-wifi interference before even setting up the LAN.

    Are the results (minus) dBm readings? If it is, the 3rd result looks to be picking up fair bit of noise as well as decent signal strength. Seems like the antenna on that router is working fine. If it's pure db gain testing, can't you compare just the "alleged" 9db gain antenna against a known 5db, or whatever the stock antenna gain is?
  24. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    The measurement problem is complex, since the measurables are neither one-dimensional nor static. Location (not just distance, but in 3 dimensions) is not only a factor, but is stratified differently. Various factors change with time. Effective quality is load-dependent, and not just the traffic between the router and its own stations, but neighbouring traffic, in both cooperative and competitive ways. There are peculiar factors, such as drivers in the router that don't get along with certain station drivers (Intel). And yes, there are radio interference problems from non-WiFi sources.

    I will continue anything not directly related to the question of assessing the value of "Likuda" antennas in this thread: Wireless Measurements from WL


    So, the wireless got into a state where if fluctuated minute by minute from apparently perfect to completely unusable. After replacing the original antennas it was certainly no worse. Increasing the tx power from 42mW to 60 mW apparently restored normalcy, however, it is impossible to say, because of all the gratuitous side-effects that the Tomato GUI fabricates.

    These Tomato GUI side-effects make it very difficult to diagnose problems.

    (Ergo, whenever possible, avoid using the pretty GUI, but instead use wl, nvram, service, etc.)

    Since I bought the Likuda antennas to try to address what appeared to be a noise/interference induced wireless environment problem, and they are not alleviating the problem, I will defer the (now academic) matter of measuring the difference between these and the default antennas until stability is restored. In the meantime I'll focus on that stability.

    More in the other thread.
  25. xoaphexox

    xoaphexox Serious Server Member

    I bought these Likuda antennae for my RT-16N and realized absolutely no difference in signal quality or strength when compared to the stock antennae. In fact, the stock seemed like it may be a tiny amount better.

    Curious as to whether they are fake, I opened one up and snapped this pic.

    I am hoping someone here can look at this picture and determine if this is what a +9dBi antenna should look like, or if they are fake/false advertising.

    Still on the hunt for increasing my wireless quality to my upstairs HTPC - I have a new power supply on the way to increase the stock amperage from 1.25A to 4A. It was <$10 and I have read in some forums the stock PS is not adequate when trying to sort out strength issues.


  26. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Impossible to tell from a picture, you need test equipment to determine whether an antenna is fake or not. Most of the better "fakes" look reasonably like the real thing.

    And a 4A power supply will not make any difference to your router, unless your old PSU was actually faulty. But it won't do any harm, either.
  27. xoaphexox

    xoaphexox Serious Server Member

    Thanks for your rapid reply.

    This is the post that I got the idea for a more capable power supply from:

    And this is the one where I got the idea my antenna might be fake from:

    In fact, it was your post in which you explained you were able to tell which antennas were junk by opening them up. That's why I thought someone might be able to tell if these were junk, too.

    Anyhow, no harm was done but I still have the same signal strength. I may try that wavesurfer wireless template now that the 9dBi antennae did not seem to have any effect.

    I'll admit, I am running the latest stock firmware because I wanted to try it before I went to DD-WRT or Tomato - what is the consensus as to which is better (or is it hotly debated?).

    Thanks for the help, I am new to this and have been reading as many threads as I can over the last few days.
  28. xoaphexox

    xoaphexox Serious Server Member

    I should elaborate - I am using Asus firmware and the only thing that I have an issue with is signal strength. I am only trying to go up one floor. I get 3/5 'bars' of signal up here (68-78dBm) and that limits me to 65mbps.
  29. xoaphexox

    xoaphexox Serious Server Member

    I ended up using a Wavesurfer template on only one of my three antennae (the one on the end) and that gave me about a 9dBm improvement! So, don't waste your money on the Likuda if you can, use Wavesurfers!
  30. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    If you are trying to get an improvement on the floor above the router, then this kind of antenna will make things worse, not better. If vertical, they will concentrate the available power in a flatter donut shape, a flatter disk shape, on the same floor as the router. Tilting the antenna could improve things if you play around with them, but it will be hard to find the right orientation. Adding reflectors is worth trying because they cost almost nothing.

    I am seeing many people spend more on antennas that do very almost nothing, than the cost of an AP which would have given a 100% solution. I understand there are reasonably good routers around on eBay now for as little as $20.
  31. xoaphexox

    xoaphexox Serious Server Member

    Thanks again for the informative response. I am using the stock rubber duck antennae once again. I live in a 3 story townhouse with adjacent neighbors. There are many people around me with strong wifi on every channel. I used Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector for Windows as well as WiFi Analyzer for Android to pick my channel and tune my antennae but it is difficult as I have to constantly run up and down 6 flights of stairs in my house.

    I plan to make two more WindSurfer parabolic reflectors today and put them on the other two antennae.

    All the wireless devices are on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the house but the router is on the 1st floor. I have been attempting to research antenna positioning. I read to visualize the signal as a donut coming out of the top of the antenna. From your comment, that seems to be the case. Do you know of any links or information that could help in this situation as far as antenna position? For example, do I want to put my antennae straight back out of the router instead of perpendicular (pointing upwards)?

    Sorry for being longwinded. I am new to this wireless and tend to obsess about things easily if they are not perfect.

    I am still researching TomatoUSB in hopes of trying that some day if my positioning is not sufficient enough and I want to try boosting the Tx a little. The underlying goal of all this is HD Netflix Streaming to the wireless devices.

    Thanks so much for your help. It really helps noobs like myself figure out the lay of the land.
  32. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Use google for better explanations - there's tons of stuff for the technically inclined, but this simple explanation may help:

    Stand the antenna upright on the table. Now drop a donut down over the antenna, with the antenna poking out of the hole. Say, that's what the original antenna radiation pattern looked like. Now remove the antenna and just visualize the radiation pattern. Now squash it flat. It reaches further out horizontally, but it no longer radiates upwards so much.

    My point is, that whatever antenna you put on the router, it can only increase the signal in one direction or plane, at the expense of another. If you really want to cover a 3 floor house (e.g. floors 1,2 &3) the router should be in the middle of the house on the 2nd floor, and use the original antennas for best coverage. If you only have 1 floor, and the router is on that floor, then using bigger (longer) antennas should be OK if they are from a reputable manufacturer.

    I personally would never bother to waste my time fiddling around with antennas, because any difference you see is going to be so small that it won't make any real difference. I would immediately think about adding an AP upstairs. It's guaranteed to work and it's often cheaper too.

    e..g. If you have to have your router on the ground floor, you will never get a strong signal on the top floor. So instead, put an AP on the top floor.

    If you live in a multi storey block you can put several AP's interleaved on the floors like this 5 floor block, where the distance between 2 AP's on the same floor X------------X is about 25m. You also need a switch.


    Then wherever you are in the block, you have an AP nearby, and usually a choice of 2 should one go offline.
  33. xoaphexox

    xoaphexox Serious Server Member

    It is all clear to me now. Thanks for taking the time to explain. I will research turning my old WPN824v2 in to an AP.

    Update: no luck, this old router will not work in bridge/repeater mode. I'll keep digging.
  34. Rocky Grim

    Rocky Grim Networkin' Nut Member

    Well, I can tell you guys this much. I modded my WNR3500Lv2 so it would accept external antennas. First I tried with 2 3dBi antennas that came with a TP-Link router. They yeilded better results than the internal antennas. However, then I ordered two 7dBi antennas from a guy on Ebay from the US. They give me worse signal strength than the 3dBi's! Also, it is like impossible to get an acceptable interference level now. The conclusion I have come to is don't but antennas that didn't come on a router, or are not made by a major router manufacturer. You don't know what the heck you are buying. These antennas feel like there is nothing inside of them but a wire. I don't know how to take them apart though.
  35. Elfew

    Elfew Network Guru Member

    Antennas from ebay are useless... junk! Leave you original antennas on your router
  36. Rocky Grim

    Rocky Grim Networkin' Nut Member

    Anyone know how I can pop it open without destroying it? I'm curious to see what the inside looks like.
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