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WRT54G antenna 'alignment' for house

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by JTD121, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. JTD121

    JTD121 Networkin' Nut Member

    Hey everyone. My sister (through my mom as proxy) was bitching that she doesn't get wireless from the second floor, to the basement. Yes, she's that dumb, but that's another story for another day.

    Currently they've got wireless running from the Verizon FiOS router. It's already turned up to 100% power. And there are tiny (2-3") antennae already on there. So, either they want me to extend the network with another, same model FiOS router (from previous residence; I have no idea why they didn't just hook up the old one to the new address).

    I suggested otherwise, with a smaller, but better router (WRT54G). I found one (a GL, actually) for shipping (such a nice guy!). I promptly slapped Tomato Toastman on there, and went to work reconfiguring it. I have since swapped out the GL for my Gv4, but the setup is basically the same.

    Now comes the hard part. How do I set this up with minimum hassle for my mother, should she need to get into the router? Let's say I just turn wireless off on the Actiontec (FiOS router), and plug the 54G into one of the LAN ports. I assume it has to be in the same subnet (192.168.1.x), and obviously static, and not int he DHCP pool (I think that's set way too high, too, but another problem), and voila?

    Also, regarding antenna alignment. I understand these are omnidirectional, however, it being basically at the top of the house, and we want some signal all the way to the concrete-encased basement (only the 'roof' of it is not), how should I position the antennae? Relative to a level table, should the antennae be pointed up, down, split (left points left, right points right)?

    Should there be diagramming or extra information, please feel free to demand it!
     
  2. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    Your ideal bet would be to run the WRT as a secondary router, connected to your modem/router via ethernet, and place the WRT in the basement so you have coverage on both floors and everywhere in-between. Set both to use the same passkey and encryption type (WPA2/AES, WPA/TKIP, etc.), disable the DHCP server on the WRT, change the IP on the WRT to be in the same subnet as the actiontec, then tie the LAN ports together.

    If you can't handle running an ethernet cable they make powerline networking products that can convert ethernet signals into pulses that can travel over your in-wall wiring, so you plug one adapter into the actiontec's LAN port, another into the WRTs LAN port, and voila, you have an ethernet connection between them. Make sure the powerline products are plugged directly into the wall, not into a strip, not into a splitter (like the kind that converts 2 wall plugs into 6, and fits over the wall plugs).

    I should mention I ran a very similar setup for years because Comcast was too incompetent to keep their signal strong enough to get a DOCSIS connection anywhere except the basement, 2 feet from where the cable entered the house. I used powerline networking to bridge that network (a WRT54G) to the 2nd floor, where I broke it to other ethernet connected equipment and a second wireless router.
     
  3. JTD121

    JTD121 Networkin' Nut Member

    HM....While your solution is the one my mother originally proposed, I don't feel like running Ethernet through the house. Possibly boosting the signal, and/or some directional signal would very likely make this doable. The problem is only the basement is not being covered by the current Verizon-supplied router. Other than moving the entire setup down to the 1st floor somewhere, I would much rather all that stuff basically stay in place, and just add to it with minimal breaking of the walls and such.

    Though that powerline networking sounds like something to look into!
     
  4. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    You can play with getting hotter antennas, the problem is that 90% of the antennas on the market are worthless pieces of junk.

    If you feel like carefully painstakingly building something on your own, there's stuff like this:
    http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template/

    Note that, if you do it right, in all other directions but the side facing the focal point you'll get very weak WiFi signals so it's best to do this with a second router and not the main one.

    If you can work out getting a second AP online and linking the two over some form of ethernet, I can guarantee you'll be much happier with the results. With the directional antennas all you need to do is move out of the cones and you're back to lousy signal coverage again.
     
  5. JTD121

    JTD121 Networkin' Nut Member

    Hm....Well, I don't know what the power (mW) from the FiOS router is, but the two antennae included are very short. I was thinking just turn off WiFi, plug in the 54G, and see how it works. Especially since I can now increase the power if I need to, and see how much signal I get throughout the house, down to the basement, in -dbM.

    Otherwise, I could try some type of WDS or bridging with another FiOS router. Though from a few minutes on Google, it looks like this can't be done with the default software on these things.

    Will obviously have to go over sometime soon, and test it out :)
     

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