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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    HOT TIPS

    Give your flagging WiFi signal a boost


    By Michael Lasky

    Over time, your home or office WiFi has probably lost some of the zip it had when you first set it up.

    Interference from surrounding WiFi networks is one of the most-common causes of degrading wireless performance, but there are relatively simple steps you can take to get back that missing bandwidth.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/05/06/07 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-19 at 18:52.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    This was an interesting article discussing a problem that I solved in a different way - I live in Cyprus with a renovated 200 year old village house with stone walls half a metre thick (20") with iron rebar reinforced concrete floors which effectively act as a faraday cage between floors. I have now installed a pair of Devolo Powerline DLAN 200 AVsmart+adapters - one plugged into my Linksys wireless router which is itself plugged into the pass-thru powerpoint on the Devolo adapter which then uses the house electrical power ring main system (range +/-300metres) to distribute the signals about 20 metres to my new office these two 'fixed units are allied to a single Devolo DLAN 200 AV Wireless G unit upstairs.- using one of the adapters I can plug a cat 5 cable into any power point and be instantly connected with virtually unlimited expansion if needed by just buying extra units.
    Upstairs I simply bought the adapter that has an inbuilt wireless aerial (Devolo DLAN 200 AV Wireless G) so when plugged into an upstairs power point it rebroadcasts a strong wi-fi signal thoughout the upper floors. In Europe Devolo are the market leaders but I am unsure about their availability in the USA, I originally tried Belkin powerline units with VERY poor results ( I should have read the reviews on the web before buying!!), the Devolo units connected immediately with a strong signal and have worked flawlessly ever since I then. Any unit can be simply moved and plugged into any powerpoint with no further configuration needed and work instantly!!

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    I am using a wireless N Linksys WRT610N dual band router (2.4 GHz and 5GHz). I use the 5GHz band for media over the network, including a Media Center extender (Linksys DMA2200). I may need to move the router further away from the PC, but the signal is not strong enough. My understanding is that the range of a 5GHz signal is not as extensive as 2.4. There seem to be plenty of range expanders available for wireless G and wireless N, but only for the 2.4GHz band.

    Does anybody know of a range expander for a 5GHz signal?

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    While visiting family I noticed they did not have good WiFi (A/G) signal strength in the living room because their Linksys WRT55AG router was in the other side of the house. No easy way to move the router and the antennae are not easily upgradeable to one with higher gain because they are not removeable without opening up the router. Googling for ideas on creating reflectors I found a thread about using 500ml water bottles and aluminum foil. I had the parts on hand so why not try it? Removed the caps and made a small hole on the bottom of each bottle to fit the tip of the antenna. Glued the aluminum foil around half of the bottle. Signal strength went from consistently low/very low to consistently good/very good. While not the perfect shape (cylindrical rather than parabolic) it did the trick.

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    In the article Michael suggests using NetStumbler to discover the channels of wireless signals in the area. It has not been updated in a very long time and may not work correctly with newer versions of the Windows OS. I would like to suggest inSSIDer available at,

    http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider

    As an added bonus, it gives a graphic representation of the wireless signals and can show both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

  6. #6
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Another well-respected NetStumbler alternative is Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector .

    On a similar note, my laptop has the Intel ProSet Wireless mini-card and driver. This driver also has software which does almost everything these wi-fi finder programs do, except graph signal strength. I can exclude nearby interfering networks with good results, even if we are sharing the same channel and frequency. And I can see which channels the neighbors are using, so that mine can be adjusted to avoid interference. An added bonus of the ProSet exclusion feature is that it will not allow automatic connections to ad-hoc or rogue access points. This is especially useful on public networks, to avoid being suckered into a "man in the middle" exploit. Other laptop brands may also have built-in manufacturer wireless control software, and using the software is usually as simple as right-clicking on the Tray Icon and selecting to override the Microsoft wireless manager.

    It's always nice to have a built-in solution which is better than the downloads or Microsoft's Windows solution.
    -- Bob Primak --

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