Wrangling wireless network in reinforced cement house

Discussion in 'Networking Issues' started by borglum, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. borglum

    borglum Network Guru Member

    I am a network newbie who knows just enough about all this to be really dangerous. First off, I have searched the forums for tips, looks like this is THE place to be for networking!
    I have a reinforced cement wall & floor house, all one level, no basement. Just went to heaven with DirecWay satellite from turtle speed dial up! So, I have the DirecWay modem wired to first computer, and connected to a WRT54GS V4 (w/latest firmware). The next computer is a Sony laptop with a Linksys card upgrade and the last computer is my power machine with the WMP54GX. I am getting "very good" signal on the power machine which is only about 60 feet from the first computer with the WRT54GS. We have some issues here with all the rebar in the cement I am guessing. There are hollow doors and hollow walls, no insulation between the units, but the house is an open type deal with few doors/walls. I tried the WRE54G range expander, and it did not do a thing for boost to that last computer, it was not worth the $100 in my book. I went back & bought the Linksys upgrade antenna yesterday, haven't unpacked them yet. I also tried the latest & greatest WRT54GX router, but for the money, I think the WRT54GS has the same signal power really, I didn't see a "wow, thats better increase". Some help/advice from all the resident experts would be greatly appreciated here as I sit with about $1000 US dollars worth of Linksys hardware and total confusion at this point on what to do or if I have this whole thing set up wrong???
    Totally confused newbie.
  2. wonkplasta

    wonkplasta Network Guru Member


    I have just run into the same sort of problems, and it seems that the solution lies more in improving reception than increasing the router's power.
    I have a WRT54GS router and a WMP54G adapter, and 2 thin walls and a door were enough to bring connectivity down to almost nothing. I increased power through various firmware upgrades, but it wouldn't change much.
    So I would advise you to simply add a pigtail to your adapter, which would greatly improve reception and save you a good few sponds in hardware.

    Oh, and make sure to find a Linksys compatible pigtail as their connectors are non-standard(reverse polarity). The sticky-outy plug on the adapter is female(RP-SMA female), and the screwy socket on the antenna is male(RP-SMA male). So you would need a pigtail with RP-SMA female + RP-SMA male. It costs about 10 pounds here ($15?).
  3. borglum

    borglum Network Guru Member


    Thanks for the reply, I was beginning to wonder if anyone could help. I did pick up a couple of the Linksys upgrade antenna, and that did help a lot, but to the tune of $50.00 each. Price isn't really a problem, I was on slow old 24.6 bps telephone dial-up till the installation of satellite, which prompted the wireless networking project. It is so MUCH better so far than dial up. I am trying to just get the best wireless hardware I can and Linksys seemed to be the most recommended? I knew I would have problems inside the house because I have problems even with cordless phones, that is why there isn't any cordless phones in the house. I don't know what sucks the life out of the signal, but I think boosting the antenna up did help more than anything. Thanks for the advice!
  4. wonkplasta

    wonkplasta Network Guru Member

    A pigtail between the network card and the antenna boosts reception and lets you move the antenna around to a better spot if need be. Alternatively, you could go for a ceiling or wall mount hi-gain antenna if aesthetics is a concern.

    Steel beams inside concrete walls shouldnt be too much of a problem, however partions made of a metal grid covered with stucco or plaster will shield most of the signal. Shelves full of books and papers will attenuate the signal too.
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