Increasing signal strength and range: WRT54G or WRT300N?

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by Ayala, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. Ayala

    Ayala LI Guru Member


    a couple of question and doubts from a newbie in Wireless technology:

    At my home (2 floors: ground floor and 1st floor), I have a WRT54G ver 2 with firmware v4.30.5 to acces Internet.
    My PC is connect by Ethernet cable and I have a PDA (Qtek S200) with Wireless features, which I use to acess Internet through WRT54G, located in the 1st floor.
    Signal strength and range was very limited, and for that reason I managed to test the WRT54G with a set of LinkSys High Gain Antenna of 7Dbi.
    No major improvements detected, only signal strength stronger, and so I move to the next step:
    I managed to get a LinkSys WRT54GX Wireless-G Broadband Router with SRX. I installed it in the same location of previous router.
    Signal strenght increased but the range did not increased. I was disapointed at this stage.
    I handed over the WRT54Gx Wireless-G Broadband Router with SRX, and I bought a WRT300N ver 2.0 with the firmware 2.00.13
    Signal strength and range increased slightly. Quite disapointed again!.
    But the worst of all, I have Internet acees with my PDA as well as I use Factory settings defaults of the WRT300n!!!!!
    So, this is my story regarding wireless technology incursion!
    My only wisch is to have wireless signal everwere in the home to access Internet with my PDA.

    What do you recommend?
    Choose another brand of wireless devices?
    Install another configuration in terms of LinkSys devices?

    thanks in advance
    Lisbon, Portugal
  2. Toxic

    Toxic Administrator Staff Member

    did you try using a 3rd party firmware on the WRT54G v2? if you had you could have boosted the power output of the Wireless signal. for the info.

    the problem is that the Router may put out a signal that is strong. but your wireless client (a PDA) will have pathetic Wireless signal.

    Wireless is a two way thing. both Router and client have to send and recieve

    you cannot blame any linksys router for poor performance if the receiving end (The PDA) has a minature antennas and weak signal itself.

    try first of all the WRT54G with 3rd party firmware and boost the signal to 100mW. if still no go, try setting the WRT54G v2 into an access point on first floor, with the WAP wired into the WRT300N.
  3. Ayala

    Ayala LI Guru Member

    I'm not blaming Linksys otherwise I wound have both the wrt300n.
    Indeed I do appreciate LinkSys equipment and I prefer to implement a LinkSys solution rather any one else.
    Tonight I'll install a 3rd part firmware on the wrt54g and let's see what the improvements are.
    Do you recomend to install again the LinkSys High Gain antenna after the upgrade?

    Lisbon, Portugal
  4. t4thfavor

    t4thfavor Network Guru Member

    The HG7At or whatever the high gain antennae are good, they will boost the signal both outgoing and incoming quite a bit. I use them and have far more range with them as opposed to the original antennae. FYI: I live in the woods and can get mi signal around my entire yard, as well as pick up the signal about 1/8-1/4 mile away with another wrt54g using the same antenna.
  5. Ayala

    Ayala LI Guru Member

    I already installed 3rd part firmware on my WRT54G.
    How can I boost the signal to 100mW? It's automaticaly changed when I install the 3rd part firmaware?
    The new firmware also provides a wide range of options regarding WRT54G configurations! thanks for the hint!!!!
    Now another set of questions:

    1) Using my WRT300N to access Internet, can I use (the old) WRT54G as AP or Repeater in order to cover unconvered areas of my house? If make sence should I install 7dbi HGA on the WRT54G? What sould be the configuration of both devices?

    2) In order to my wrt54G work as AP or Repeater, can I make it wireless or should be connect with a Ethernet cable to the wrt300n?

    3) How can I safetly access my WRT300N from the office, just to check if anybody at home is accessing Internet? I guess I need the Router IP plus the port number, but where can I found the IP of my router? Is the Local IP Address? Isn't this IP the same for all the routers? Can I change it? What should be the rules for the new IP? What's the subnet mask for?

    4) Does it make any sence to use WRT300N to access Internet and wrt54g as a dedicated firewall?

    5) I'll try to find if available a Linksys-N NIC to install in my PC to access wrt300n, instead of the ethernet cable connected to the 10/100 PCI NIC, in order to take full advantates of the Wireless-N solution. How can I check the speed between the wrt300n and the Linksys-N NIC? Or in other words, how can I check the speed between to wireless devices? (Router/PC, Router/AP, Router/other wireless devices, etc)

    6) Does WRT54g or WRT300n inclued a tool to scan/detect/track other wireless networks on the neighborhood?

    7) How can I measure the strength of the wireless signal that is been sent from the antennas?

    thanks in advance
    Lisbon, Portugal
  6. Chuck_IV

    Chuck_IV Network Guru Member

    The problem with those high gain antennas(as explained to me) is that while it extends the range on the same plane, if flattens the signal curve, thus reducing range, for anything above and below it. Think of a perfectly round circle being your current signal range. Now, with the high gain antenna, the perfectly round circle gets FLATTENED, to look like an fat oval. So they won't do any good, if you are trying to gain range for anything above or below your router. In fact, it will probably make it worse.

    Tha best range I have found, to date, on any Linksys, is with the WRT54GX4 router and complimentary GX4 notebook card. They give me much better range than my WRT54GS and, from what I have read, it also still gives better range than the newest WRT300N.
  7. Ayala

    Ayala LI Guru Member

    1) which option in Advanced Wireless Options allows to boost the signal to 100mW? increase Boost means increase range? or means stronger signal at the same ranges?
    2) What's the maximum value recomended? Should other parameters be modified if boost value is increased?
    3) How can I safetly access my router from the office, just to check if anybody at home is accessing Internet? I guess I need the Router IP plus the port number, but where can I found the IP of my router? Is the Local IP Address? Isn't this IP the same for all the routers? Can I change it? What should be the rules for the new IP? What's the subnet mask for?

    thank you so much for the patient and suport to my questions!

    Lisbon, Portugal
  8. Toxic

    Toxic Administrator Staff Member

    1. In my WRTSL54GS it is "Transmit Power :" your will be something similar near the bottom. there should be a percentage or manual setting. mine is set at 100mw. at 10mW you will have further coverage and better reception.

    2. 100mW on my router runs fine.

    3. you can access you router by using remote administration.

    setup RA in the administration page. use a port like 8080. then if you have a Static IP address from your ISP when you away from the house do the following:


    you will be prompted for username/password. make sure your password is long. if it is short a would be hacker could access the password very quickly.

    you can also added better protection with https enabled


    and if you want you can add ddns and have a dydns domainname.

    like so:

    hope that helps.
  9. Ayala

    Ayala LI Guru Member

    I checked the Trasmit Power settings, and in fact there is a "combo box" with some options in percentage available.

    I assume by default wrt54g is working with 100mW, but if I want further coverage and better recepcion, the wrt54g should be working at 10mW .
    If this is correct, what percentage should I choose?

    Lisbon, Portugal
  10. Toxic

    Toxic Administrator Staff Member

    no afaik it does NOT work at 100mW by default. afaik Avenger20 added a default of 43mW to the HyperWRT

    if you want 100mW you need to set it to manual and enter the amount to 100
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