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Too many routers in area

Discussion in 'Networking Issues' started by Glacialis, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. Glacialis

    Glacialis Network Guru Member

    Not counting the router I'm trying to keep in working condition, there are 8 visible and 3 non-broadcast SSIDs in range. The friends owning the router in question have to keep resetting it every day or two to keep it working.

    Is there anything I can do to keep their networking running more smoothly?
  2. NateHoy

    NateHoy Network Guru Member

    1. Pick any channel that the others are not using, if possible, as far away from the channels already in use.

    2. Build some reflectors from www.freeantennas.com and play around with placement of your router until you block out the strongest of the signals, or make your router signal strong enough to drown out the other routers.

    Moving your router to one wall of your apartment or building, preferably as close to an interfering signal as possible, then reflecting your signal away from that interfering router, will make your signal stronger than the competing signal.

    3. If you can accurately figure out the location of a competing router and it's on the other side of a wall from you, take a piece of cardboard and wrap it with tin foil or mylar, and hang it on the wall. Or take a large picture, line the back of it with tin foil, and hang it where the interference seems highest. Block/reflect their signal back to them. You can experiment with a sheet of tin foil on cardboard and find the ideal placement, then replace it with a nicer picture with a foil backing if you like. Tin foil also makes a good shielding as wallpaper, though Martha Stewart would not approve. Foil wrapping paper or mylar are far more decorative. Line the wall with old deflated mylar balloons for that special touch.

    4. Get to know the owners of some of the other routers, and see if they can lower their signal strength a bit.
  3. radiohead

    radiohead Network Guru Member

    If you have a 54Mbps AP then scan channels 1, 6 and 11 and pick one that has no router on. An alternative is to select channel 12, 13 or 14 if both your router and client(s) have that capability. In North America, channel 12 to 14 are illegal. Sometimes the the router is able to use channels 12-14 but the client can't. In that case download the European version of the driver and that should fix things.

    On a recent drive across my town with Netstumbler, I saw 768 access points with none on channels 12, 13, and 14.

    Good luck
  4. Glacialis

    Glacialis Network Guru Member

    Errr...that's a lot of work, not my apartment, and I know they don't want to put foil up everywhere. This is in an apartment building and there are as I said, eleven other networks out there. Quite close together. I've already tried channels 1, 6 and 11 with no luck.

    Is there any sort of software-based filtering I could install? If I need to get a router that can handle 3rd party firmware, then so be it. I have a feeling there are even more routers than what I was able to see, since that was at 3pm in the afternoon.
  5. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    I find netstumbler useful here to survey channel strengths and pick the "low spot". If more of your neighbors are clumped around 6 and 11, and there are some at Ch. 1 but they are weaker signals, then go with Ch. 1.

    Otherwise your best bet is truly, as the other poster said, reflectors. Directionals help a lot since you get more gain in the direction you DO want, and it reduces sensitivity to interference in other directions. And they are simple to make, some cardboard, foil, a bit of your time. See http://www.freeantennas.com/ or I think CompUSA was selling the same thing for $10 pre-made.
  6. Glacialis

    Glacialis Network Guru Member

    Okay, after spending some precious lunch time :D checking out the antenna guides there, they aren't that hard.

    Products I'm going to investigate aside from NetStumbler:

    CommView for WiFi (Tamosoft)
    AP-Hunter (CyanLine LLC)
    AiroPeek SE (WildPackets)

    Besides that, perhaps the clients themselves could stand to get a change of software? After all, it may not be the router's fault. Currently using standard Windows Zero, though I understand there may be some good utilities out there to replace that crap.

    Edit: And if I'm feeling cruel, is running FakeAP a little too mean? I enter in all my SSIDs by hand and turn off broadcasting so it won't cause me any difficulty, but I wonder if they'll hear the neighbors screaming. :D
  7. jgutz20

    jgutz20 Network Guru Member

    if any of those networks are not secure... you could login to the router (they are probably defaults set) and change everyone elses channel to something lower! :eek: haha
  8. xrattiracer

    xrattiracer Network Guru Member

    one other option that can be exercised; use different antenna polarity. almost everyone puts the antennas on their routers pointing straight up, which gives vertial polarization. you would be amazed how much interference will be eliminated just by changing to horizontal polarization. the only problem is that the stock dipole antennas have a pretty crappy beam width when turned sidways, so that makes them a poor choice for the router. they work ok on the client end though. but if you are looking into external antennas, flat pannels are perfect for either orientation.
    I am a tech at a wireless isp so i know all bout the problems you are experiencing. try putting an access point on the top of a mountain and see how many routers you see :)
  9. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    Ahem, while possibly effective, it's a bit lacking in the ethics department.
  10. yocobs

    yocobs Network Guru Member

    if the ethics turnin my life into hell then sorry its a must :(

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