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WRT54GC - Questions of a WIFI newbie

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by Private-Cowboy, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. Private-Cowboy

    Private-Cowboy Network Guru Member

    Hi everyone

    I'm very new to WIFI, I got my Linksys WRT54GC and the WUSB54GP and set it all up yesterday and everything is working fine so far and I'm really impressed by the range, speed and ease of use. I noticed two things thought I need a little help with:

    1.) I set up the WIFI yesterday and it worked great with signal quality 5/5 on my PC (WUSB54GP) and 3.5/4 on my Xbox 360 (MS WIFI Adapter). Today with no change in the setup that dropped by 1 across the board showing 4/5 on the PC and 2.5/4 on the XBox 360. The only change is the weather. Yesterday it was dry and pretty clean air. Today is is colder, higher humidity, lower Barometer and raining/snowing. Is it possible that a weather/climate change outside has an effect the the signal indoors??? I guess this can happen since the carrier medium (air in that case) changes a little and since my flat is not completely sealed from the outside indoors will change too. Am I right?

    2.) When I woke up today I saw that the WRT54GC had only one LED on (Internet), both Power and Wireless were off. Is it possible that the router switched into some kind of hibernation mode when the network is unused for some hours? Thing is I only connect my PC to the router wired for admin purposes and otherwise use Wifi. But since the Wifi Network was shut down by the router I had to reset it. After the reset (a matter of seconds) the network is again operarional and hasn't gone away since (max idle time maybe 4hours). Is there something like a power saving thing after maybe 6 or 8 hours idle? Or what happened here? If yes I'd like to disable this since I don't like the idea of resetting the WRT54GC every morning after the Wifi has been shut down during the night. If not, what happened then???

    I'd be glad if you could give me a little help here. Besides those two things I'm perfectly happy with those two Linksys. Thanks in advance....
  2. Private-Cowboy

    Private-Cowboy Network Guru Member

    Ok, very helpful - thanks-

    Maybe you can answer those two:

    3.) The Router is set to use the best possible speed (in my case 54mbit) but since the signal 15-20feet away through a wall (and other things) is not that good when the weather is rainy it falls back to 48mbit or even 36mbit. When downloading something from the Inet it jumps up to 54mbit again just to fall back after the download is finished. Doesn't that show that 54mbit is very possible? So why doesn't it stay there? Anyway since the only use for my Wifi net is wireless access to the Inet (there is not PC-to-PC transfer of huge amounts of data) with a 3mbit connection and streaming of audio/images to the living room I don't need 54mbit at all. So I though to throttle down the router to maybe 24mbit - that would still be 5times the bandwith of my Inet so no bottleneck here. Would this avoid the fluctuations and stabalize the signal a little? Or should I switch to Wifi-b only mode (havein 11mbit and soemthing round 6mbit net ist still enough)? Or should I just don't care???

    4.) I saw that the Inet keep-alive setting is set to 30secs, that sounds a little to much. Wouldn't it work with somehting like 300secs too?

    I really hope I get some help here. This is supposed to be the idea behind that forum isnt it???
  3. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    You want a quick answer, make your questions sexier. Perhaps some dancing girl picture :)

    1) Air changes can make a difference yes although not a huge one maybe 10-20% in most cases. Perhaps you should look for other causes of variable signal like 2.4 GHz interference sources in the area. Neighbor cordless phone, microwave oven, lots of things on same frequency.
    2) Sounds like it locked up. I would check for new firmware from Linksys.
    3) What do you care what the meter says? Do you get your data quickly and does it work without dropouts? Fine.
    4) Not sure which keep-alive you mention.
  4. Private-Cowboy

    Private-Cowboy Network Guru Member

    First, let me thank you for you answers.

    1.) I guess I set up the network on a day with near perfect climate conditions and got better signal than usual. Since then I got a signal level of around -70db and noise of -82db (20feet through a wall and my router has internal antenna so that is ok for me). The connection is perfectly stable and very fast so there isnt a problem here. It just falls back to 36mbit most of the time but who cares if my broadband only brings 3mbit anyway. I think moving the antenne around may help a little, atm its not situated very well and is shielded by my LCD monitor and by myself when I'm sitting in front of my PC. So I think I can enhance that a little. And the weather will get better some day ;-)

    I checked for other interference and found a few other Wifi networks in range but we've chosen the chanels wisely, one is running on channel 3 , one on 11 and mine on 6. So they are not overlapping to much.

    2.) Thought so too. I rebooted the router and flashed that 1.04 firmware that can be found on the european sites of Linksys and haven't had this since. Perfectly stable WLAN in the last 48h.

    3.) That's right, it's just when you're new to something like Wifi you tend to check those meters very often because you're curious. Maybe the solution is to just dont care too much.

    4.) I solved that keep alive in the meantime and set it to 120 secs and it works great, no disconects.

    Thanks again for your help. And here's something special just for you:


    Another short one:

    5.) If I would like to get an aditional antenna (the router has R-SMA and I guess you can use any R-SMA antenna, not just the very expence Linksys one), what gain should it have for indoor use? I saw some very cheap ones with a gain of 2.1 and some "affordable" ones with a gain of 7db. Would those small 2.1db gain antennes help at all? 2.1db gain sounds very minor. I would like to stabilize the signal in my flat but not span a hotpsot over the entire neighborhood.
  5. vincentfox

    vincentfox Network Guru Member

    I frequently use the HawkingTech 7 dBi omni antenna, they come with the RP-SMA connector so easy to hook up. Also frequently find them for $5-$10 after rebate.

    Anything about 5-7 dBi gain would be a good choice. Unless you are near edge of structure then a directional might be better choice. Say your AP is in corner of house then a corner antenna would be great.
  6. Private-Cowboy

    Private-Cowboy Network Guru Member

    Thats what I thought. I will prolly get one in the range of 5-7db gain. And it will be an omni directional one since my AP is near the middle of the house. And I dont need it because the range is not sufficient or the connection is problematic, I just want one to stabilize the signal knowing that the weather can get even worse in my area and then the signal would suffer even more. I already lost some 2-3db signal coming from a dry cold day to a rainy day.

    Am I understanding that correctly that if I get a signal of -66db now I would get one of near -60db when using a 5db gain antenna?

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