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Network strength poor

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by sn0wman, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. sn0wman

    sn0wman Network Guru Member

    I have a wrtg54g v2 by my pc and a wga54g game adapter connected to my xbox and my connection is now terrible. It was good in the past when i bought them 6 months ago. Ive tried different channels and cant work out what the problem is. The setup for the wga54g says my signal strength is only about 50%. Ive tried firewalls off and reseting the router and the adapter. Im stumped as to whats causing the problem. The only thing i havent tried is updating the firmware, but it workerd in the past.

    Any ideas would be much appreciated.

    Thankyou in advance.
     
  2. Evil417

    Evil417 Network Guru Member

    Tricks for extending the range of a wireless (WiFi) connection indoors or window to window links.

    First you need to know that most vendor "signal strength gauges" are worthless, unless you understand them. These devices automagically negotiate speed with the access point. Faster speeds *REQUIRE* higher signal levels. That means that a "fair" connection at 54 M/bits is a much better signal level than an "excellent" connection at 5.5 M/bits. If you have one and a half bars at 22 M/bits, you have a better connection than five bars at 2 M/bits. Ditto for percentage meters a 60% connection at 22 M/bits is likely a lot better than a 75% connection at 11 M/bits.

    This means that is is good to lock your access point to a single speed while making these kinds of tests and measurements. It helps you compare apples to apples. Once you have a good signal it is fine to turn on the "automagic speed negotiation thingy".

    Now that you have that information lets extrapolate from what we have learned. This means slower speeds are easier to accomplish links with because they require less signal strength and are less hampered by noise in the enviroment. If you want to extend your range and nothing else helps try locking the speed to 1 or 2 M/bits. Any link is better than no link and a stable link is better than an unstable link.

    Increasing transmit power at the access point is usually less helpful than you would expect because an access point with it's power tweaked is kind of like an "alleygater", all mouth and no ears. It can be heard down the block but it can't hear the laptop in the next room one bit better than it did before you tweaked the power. If you want to improve range the first and best hope is to improve the antenna systems on the link.

    Polarization is important. This is the orientation of the antenna WRT earth (not technically true but good enough for our purposes). If the antenna is horizontal WRT the earth it is said to be "horizontally" polarized. If it is vertical WRT the earth it is said to be "vertically" polarized. If you try to receive a horizontally polarized signal with a vertically polarized antenna you will only receive about 1/16 of the available power of that signal, ditto going the other direction. This makes polarization pretty important. This means you can use polarization to LIMIT an unwanted signal or ENHANCE a wanted signal. It is important to remember BOTH of these traits. It is also important to know that every time a radio wave is reflected from an object it's polarization changes. Sometimes it changes only a little and sometimes it changes a lot.

    Clearly 99.9% of the access points on the planet are using vertical polarization. If there are eight people in your neighborhood with WiFi AP's and you can't find a clean channel. Switch both of your antennas to horizontal polarization and pick the cleanest channel.

    If you don't have problems with noise and you want to extend your range try to take advantage of the fact that reflections change the polarity of the signal. Orient ONE antenna on your AP vertically and the OTHER antenna horizontally. Frequently this will make a pretty big difference.

    Now if you feel you need to add better antennas to your AP, you must consider whether the AP is centrally in your coverage area or if it is located to one side of the coverage area. Usually locating to one side of the coverage area will allow you to select an antenna enhancement which can be used to both reject unwanted noise and enhance the signal in the desired coverage area.

    Sometimes just raising or lowering the AP by about 1 lambda (six inchs at 2.4 GHz) can make a noticable difference in the quality of the link. This is expecially true on surfaces which are good absorbers or reflectors of RF. Stick a thich book under the AP and check for a change at the client end. Then stick a second book in the pile and try again. As I said, try a pile of books up to six inches tall before giving up. Usually somewhere around five inches you will find a "sweet" spot.

    Summarizing:

    1) Lock your AP speed to 2 M/bits while testing signal strengths.

    2) Play with the location of your AP and the polarization of it's antennas.

    3) Minimize interference first before maximizing signal strength.

    4) Play with the height and location of your AP relative to the place it is currently setting. Sometimes a move of only a few inches can make a difference.

    3) Add better antennas into your network. These can be purchased or "home brewed".


    I got this from the Broadband reports fourm. I tried turning down the transmission rate and it made my siganal a little better.

    http://www.freeantennas.com/

    Try this web site, you can modify ur annienas to give a better signal.[/url]
     

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