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Tweaking tomato for range over speed

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by rs232, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. rs232

    rs232 Network Guru Member

    Hello, I'm trying to tweak the wireless settings of my tomato running on Buffalo WHR-HP-G54. I'm using the latest tomato-vpn 3.6 based on tomato 1.27
    I'm connecting a neighbour connection using tomato in client mode, he gently gave me the key but the AP it rather far away from mine (300 meters open space). I've purchased a high gain antenna, but I'm still not 100% satisfied in terms of packet loss.

    I'm not really fussy about transmission speed, but I'm really looking to improve the quality and eventually reduce packet loss. I can't really ask my neighbour to change anything so I was trying to achieve as much as possible on my side. I'm not a WiFi expert, but I was thinking to

    - try to modify the ACK timing (not sure what the default is though)
    - enable Enhanced RX Sensitivity
    - set receive and transmit antenna to B (external)
    - set transmission rate 11Mbit or less

    What do you think? Anything else I should consider?

    Please see my current tomato wireless settings in attachment.

    Thanks!
    rs232
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Dagger

    Dagger Networkin' Nut Member

    Upgrading the antennae on your side of the connection is only half of the equation. If possible, upgrade your neighbors antennae as well.

    You could also try a directional (parabolic) antennae on your side of the link. I've seen some good ones made with cardstock and aluminium foil... google is your friend :)
     
  3. rs232

    rs232 Network Guru Member

    Thanks, as mentioned I can't really ask my neighbour to change anything... not even buying for it. It's actually a business network and he allows me to browse internet but he wouldn't allow me to change anything at all.

    I do have the card-stock+aluminium foil on my antenna, it does help indeed. But what about the parameters I've mentioned?
     
  4. Dagger

    Dagger Networkin' Nut Member

    I would definitely experiment with the ACK/Distance setting... I'm guessing the most improvement can be found there. The default is probably 0 meters, based on the assumption that most clients are going to be in the same house. I would also try the Enhanced RX Sensitivity too.

    You have your TX power set very, very high. I've read that anything over 80ish may overheat the radio, but I have no first hand experience with it.
     
  5. RonWessels

    RonWessels Network Guru Member

    If your neighbour's network is configured for B+G (typically the default) rather than G only, you should try configuring your router to use B rather than G. It's slower, but it's also more resistant to noise and faint signals.
     
  6. jsmiddleton4

    jsmiddleton4 Network Guru Member

    Tweaking just one side of the communication process is like yelling louder at a deaf person.
     
  7. RonWessels

    RonWessels Network Guru Member

    Not necessarily. Improving the antennas on just one side of a communications link will improve both Tx and Rx. Configuring your router to use 802.11b rather than 802.11g will change the final negotiated link bi-directionally. Tweaking timeout parameters may improve things if the problem is timeouts on your router.

    Even increasing signal strength may improve bi-directional traffic if the Rx and Tx packet sizes are significantly different. Because transmission errors are an all-or-nothing effect on entire packets, a larger packet is more likely to be corrupted and therefore lost than a smaller packet under the same noise conditions. Therefore increasing the Tx strength on the communication link side that is consistently sending larger packets should improve the overall throughput since the majority of packet loss situations are less likely to happen.
     
  8. rs232

    rs232 Network Guru Member

    Thanks guys, that really helps. I will do my tests!
    I'm currently using a high gain omnidirectional antenna where I've added some foil ;-)
    Do you think replacing it with a directional antenna in my specific case would be a good idea?
    e.g. this one
    or this other one
     
  9. Dagger

    Dagger Networkin' Nut Member

    I think a directional would improve your RX signal as well as the distant ends RX signal... because your TX energy is focused in one direction. Similar to the difference between a light bulb and a flashlight.
     
  10. Sarkelaru

    Sarkelaru Addicted to LI Member

    Hi, here is my settings for 10km link.
    Download or upload (in one way) is 1.9-2.3MB (max).
    Ping 2ms-3ms (1024bytes).
    I have another link on 600m, i use biquad antenas and i have 3.6MB in one way.
    ACK timing is 400 and both AP`s rate is in 54M.
    Both ap`s is Linksys WRT54GL.
    Sorry for my english.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. rs232

    rs232 Network Guru Member

    Biquad antenna, never heard about it... I'll have a look indeed. Thanks!
    btw would you mind re-send the first picture (wifi settings) at higher resolution? I can't read anything :)

    Also is ACK timing set to 400 for this second (600m) connection?
    Thanks!
    :)
     
  12. rs232

    rs232 Network Guru Member

    I had the power set to 251 constantly and never had any problem...
     
  13. rs232

    rs232 Network Guru Member

    I have a question on this point, is the connection going to be more reliable because B works at 11Mbit or it's just a different operation mode?
    I guess what I'm asking is: is there any difference in setting it to B or just leave it to G but forcing a max speed to 11Mbit?

    Thanks again!
     
  14. RonWessels

    RonWessels Network Guru Member

    Good question. It is certainly the case that B is a different mode than G. The radio modulation used for G includes the radio modulation used for B, so the hardware is inter-operable. I believe it is also the case that adding a B device to a B+G network will reduce the overall network speed for everybody.

    I would try it and see. Try limiting the max speed to 11 Mbit in G mode. Then try switching to B mode. If there is no difference, go back to speed-limited G mode.
     
  15. Dagger

    Dagger Networkin' Nut Member

    There are some versions where there is an issue with the power setting not actually changing the power... not sure about your version.

    If the power setting is working... too much power can cause poor signal quality just as well as too little power. Experiment with dropping the power until you see a loss of signal quality, then bump it up a bit.
     
  16. Sarkelaru

    Sarkelaru Addicted to LI Member

    Yes ACK is 400 on 600m and 7200 on 9400m
    Here is a link to biquad antena construction, trust me you do not need anything else.
     

    Attached Files:

  17. rs232

    rs232 Network Guru Member

    I see, how do I know if mine is a bugged version? Shall I just modify the power and see how the signal quality reacts?
     
  18. rs232

    rs232 Network Guru Member

  19. Dagger

    Dagger Networkin' Nut Member

    18dBi is a significant boost over the usual 3dBi antennas that are usually on wireless routers... and it's directional so that is good for your use.

    You're right about needing to make sure you have the right connectors on each end of your cable. There are several online shops that make cables with whatever connectors/length you need.
     

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