best way to setup wireless 2.4ghz or 5ghz for better penetration?

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by vivithemage, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. vivithemage

    vivithemage Networkin' Nut Member

    I am about 20 feet from my router, with one wall in the way, and I seem to get -70 to -80 db, when I move line of sight, I get about -40 db.

    My biggest gripe is my ipad streams horribly when using the lower -70 to -80 db, are there any safe settings I can tweak in tomato to push my e4200 v1?

    I have tried 2.4ghz and 5ghz default, and they get the exact same db, which is odd, I would have thought one would be worse/better then the other.
  2. koitsu

    koitsu Network Guru Member

    Purchase an antenna modification kit for the E4200 v1 and buy a set of omni-directional antennas that focus on wide-angle horizontal distribution. Some omni are vertical, which doesn't sound like it applies to your environment.

    Alternately you could try slightly increasing the transmit power on the router (not sure what the default transmit power amount is on the E4200 v1). Please do not get crazy with this or abuse it -- increasing transmit power can actually cause problems for other folks around you who use the same frequency spectrum you are (i.e. such strong transmit power that you literally stomp over their signal). For example, if the default transmit power is 17mW, try increasing it to 34mW. Please don't go above say 65-70mW.

    Let this sit for maybe a week (yes really -- a full week!). Do not adjust this setting then 15 minutes later post here saying "yeah it solved my problem!!!" Adjusting wireless chip settings usually resets the wireless chip in the router which can actually affect quite a lot at times. So let things sit and be patient and see if the improvement holds up over a long period of time.

    Also be aware that increasing the transmit power may cause your router to heat up more; there are known problems on some Linksys models (like the E2000 and E3000) where the routers would literally overheat due to lack of proper cooling. The ventilation ""design"" (if you can even call it that) of the E4200 is the same as the other models, i.e. utter crap, so be careful with this setting.

    Overall I would suggest better antennas, or if the hardware mods scare you, replacing the router with a model that has removable/replaceable antennas.
  3. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    20 feet? This seems strange to me, I have never seen a wall attenuate signals at 2.4GHz that much. All my installations penetrate about 3 walls easily and still reach the individual rooms (There is an AP maximum of 15 meters from any room). Even heavily steel reinforced floors/ceilings still allow signals through.

    -70 is OK though, you should still get a 54Mbps connection.
  4. lefty

    lefty Addicted to LI Member

    You may want to look into better wireless adapters for your devices as opposed to it being a router signal strength problem. The built in adapters on most devices now are very inadequate. They install the cheapest setups they can get away with. For instance, my Asus A53 laptop comes with a built in Atheros wireless N adapter, works fairly well most times, but when compared to my Realtek 8191su USB dongle that has an external 5dBi antenna, it simply flutters in comparison as far as range and throughput is concerned.
  5. vivithemage

    vivithemage Networkin' Nut Member

    Anyone have any advice as to what they were 'safe' with on their E4200v1 pushing for mW? I would prefer not to make/mod the router at all too. I also just bought it, so I don't want to return it, haha...I need the throughput for my 1gbps fiber internet.

    I am using an iPad, so no chance of changing the adapter.

    20 feet + 1 wall is not normally an issue, but it is mesh on both sides + plaster, trust me ... nothing goes through it well, at all.

    I think my only option is to try a powerline adapter with an access point in my bedroom or something, to mitigate the wall. I am trying to stream from my DISH HOPPER with sling, which goes out to the internet and comes back in to play TV shows on my iPad 3. It works, but sometimes it lags hard, or just stops to buffer.
  6. Planiwa

    Planiwa Network Guru Member

    Moving the router to the near side of the wall, and re-orienting it towards the client location are two options that have not yet been mentioned. :)

    It would be interesting to have actual data -- RSSI, noise, latency, loss, throughput.
    And to know what took the measurements -- router, client, or a device near the client.
  7. vivithemage

    vivithemage Networkin' Nut Member

    Well, the problem is it is slow in the bedroom (behind the wall), and fast in line of sight. I can't really take measurements, haha.
  8. kyphos

    kyphos Networkin' Nut Member

    It sounds like your wall construction is plaster over extruded metal mesh. If your bedroom has that on all sides, then you're sleeping in a Faraday cage. Which is to say radio waves will avoid entering, even if there's no sock on the doorknob. You'll get slightly better transmission through/around the mesh at 2.4 GHz, but regardless the radiation pattern may be highly dependent on location of iPad in the bedroom and the AP in the other room, depending on location of the door, windows, other objects that reflect or absorb RF energy. The best solution is to use powerline (or CAT-5 cable) to get the broadband bits in (and out of) the bedroom, then an Airport Express or other AP covering the bedroom. Since you'll then be line-of-sight to the new AP (when the iPad is in the bedroom), you can use 5 GHz for highest throughput.
  9. vivithemage

    vivithemage Networkin' Nut Member

    What's a good tomato router I can just make an AP extender with dual band? another E4200v1? LOL
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