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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Question Using WIFI in an apartment complex

    I am getting Internet access (AT&T Uverse) set up later this week in my apartment. Right now, my laptop can detect about 20 wireless networks around me. My questions are:
    • Besides security, what settings should I tweak to maximize wireless performance and minimize interference with my neighbors?
    • What utilities do you recommend for determining the optimum settings to use?

    I work in both Windows 7 & Linux (Mint).

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Bruce,

    Welcome to the lounge.

    What I would do is the following:
    1. Set up WPA2 security with AES.
    2. Since you are in such a high-density area I would also set up MAC filtering.
    3. The last is hit and miss. If you experience interference/weak signal change the channel your router is broadcasting on. You may need to do this more than once until you find the one the lease number of routers in your immediate area are using. Most likely, you'll want to change the channel immediately as you surely don't want to use the default since that is where there is most likely the most traffic.

    Good Luck.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  5. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I would also consider a router in the 5 GHz band or dual channel. You would probably find most (if not all) the others are on the 2.4 GHz band. I could see approx 15 of my neighbors, all on the 2.4 GHz band along with microwave and wireless phones on the 2.4 GHz band. I had lots of interference. When I switches to the 5 GHz band, I'm the only one there. I used iNsider 2.0 for these shots.

    IInsider2.4.pngIinsider5.0.png

    See the difference between the 2 bands?
    Last edited by Medico; 2011-07-11 at 04:06. Reason: typo
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  7. #4
    5 Star Lounger
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    Bruce - Consider:
    1) disabling broadcast of your SSID
    2) change username and password of your router

  8. #5
    New Lounger
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    inSSIDer is just the type of utility I was looking for. I saw up to 26 networks in the area as I was scanning a few minutes ago. I'll use both of you guys' advice after the install.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by bruce.nielsen; 2011-07-10 at 20:12.

  9. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    With 26 networks, the 2.4 GHz band will offer a lot of interference. A new, higher end router may help resolve the interference, but as you can see, the 5 GHz band is not nearly as busy, at least in my neighborhood. Even if you find a few, it's relatively easy to change channels to choose a channel not being used by your neighbors.
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  10. #7
    4 Star Lounger
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    The Uverse Residential Gateway includes a router w/wireless, so I'd put this idea way down on the "steps to take" list.

  11. #8
    5 Star Lounger
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    Be aware that in the 2.4ghz band, there are only three channels (Channels 1, 6, and 11) that do not actually overlap. If you have 26 networks on the 2.5ghz band and all have any signal strength at all, you will have fierce interference. On the other hand, in the 5ghz band there are 24 channels and none of them overlap. The downside of 5ghz is that the higher frequency has very little ability to penetrate walls or other solid objects. This will probably work great in a small apartment but will give you trouble if you are trying to cover a thousand square feet or more with multiple rooms.

  12. #9
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    Lightbulb UVerse router is B/G only.

    Hi:

    I just got UVerse last weekend, and although the TV part went without a hitch, I have had some Internet issues. There was a bad interconnect box at the demarcation point outside my single family house, so the internet speed was horrible for a couple of days, until they swapped that out. That's been fixed, as has an area wiring issue down the hill from my place, but what has been more problematic is the combo modem/router gateway made me give up my new Cisco dual band wireless-N router (since neither I nor the UVerse Tech knew how to make them play well together). What I didn't realize until yesterday was that the UVerse gateway is only Wireless-B/G -- so I have lost wireless network performance. Also, I had no problem getting my two different WinXP laptops connected to the new network, but I am having a hell of a time getting my new Win7 laptop to connect. It sees the network, but keeps failing to connect and then connects to my neighbor's wireless (he has previously given me his wireless access key, for some testing I had done in the past). Weird. Otherwise -- I have poked around and found that I can restrict MAC addresses and do most of what security I had set up on the Cisco router, but having to do it all over again with a different interface is a royal pain. And, since I haven't been able to solve the Win7 laptop access, I'll end up on a phone support call -- again...

    So, anyhow, the message is that UVerse wired speeds are great, the wireless speeds are not, and there are other issues you may encounter. Good luck.

    Rob

  13. #10
    New Lounger
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    RE: UVerse router is B/G only

    Rob,

    I have no experience with the UVerse router but most router/waypoint cobos have a setting to disable the IEEE802.11 transmitter. If such an option is available that would eliminate the near signal (STRONG) from the UVerse waypoint letting you use the your Cisco dual band wireless-N router sans interference from the colocated UVerse equipment. Then, connect the "WAN/Cablemodem" input on the Cisco box to any LAN port on the UVerse box and leave all other LAN connections on the Cisco router. I assume that the UVerse box is configured to provide DHCP service, if so then you would want to disable DHCP in the Cisco router (or alternatively disable DHCP in the UVerse box and configure the connection between the UVerse box and the Cisco router to use a static IP assignment).

    Good luck.

    John
    IEEE Life Senior Member
    Cofounder of IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Standard Working Group

  14. #11
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    Cool Linking routers

    Hi John:

    Thanx for your input. I have had similar problems a few times in the past when I tried to plug a router into a router. I could get to the 2nd router just fine, but it wouldn't connect back to the rest of the network or to the outside world. After I get my other problem (Win7 laptop connection) solved, I may try your suggestion, but as I recall I had tried something like that in the past without success.

    In any event, thanx again for your suggestion.

    Rob

  15. #12
    New Lounger
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    RE: UVerse router

    You could setup the UVerse router to pass all network traffic over to the Cisco Dual-Band Router. Thus the UVerse is bridged over to the Cisco to provide firewall, NAT, DNS and DHCP services to your wired and wireless networks. I have worked some with the UVerse routers and they can be very difficult to manage and maintain. I have found it just as easy to disable the wireless and connect up a separate wireless router to provide connectivity. It was much easier to setup the UVerse to allow all traffic to the separate router which was dual-band. If you have questions, just post back here.

    Thewizard813

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