Boosting Airport Reception (budget)

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Jay42, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. Jay42 macrumors 65816

    Jay42

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    #1
    Background: I have a 15" PowerBook (bought this aug.) and a Linksys WRT54G router hooked up to my comcast modem. The 'book is running 10.4.2 and has the latest airport software. The PowerBook and router are probably only about 20-30 feet away as the crow flies, however there are a few walls and a floor in between.

    Usually my connection is okay; i can get 2 bars on my airport icon most of the time. However, it seems to drop out a few times a day. The fix I have found is to run downstairs and unplug/replug router and modem, and it will connect again. Is there a more permantent fix without spending money. What would be the best option if I did have to buy something (repeater, booster, high-gain antenna, etc.) How about a cantenna?
     
  2. Eniregnat macrumors 68000

    Eniregnat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Location:
    In your head.
    #2
    Dropping out- in the short term are you using interference robustness? Wireless phone nearby?

    I have a cantenna, and it does boost, but it is very directional. On my iBook (now dead) I got a noticeable gain, but I had to run the cable through my keyboard. From the router it should help, but then again, a pringles antenna or any directionl antenna set up works best when both units are directional. If your a DIY person, www.Airshare.org has instructions. You can also Google it. It's nice getting a starter kit. The Cantanna is also anodized now, but I don't think it's worth it.

    Personally I would extend the distance with a cheap AirPort express.

    Link to a DIY Yagi in a Pringles Can.

    Also get a program like Kismac or iStumbler or MacStumbler so that you can get better metrics on your signal strength. iStumbler now has a Widget that connects to the program if your running it. Kismac is my preferd wirless too.l A nearly static graph with 5 levels of information isn't as good as one that has the potential for hundreds of lines of resolution over time. You can find the "sweet" spots as well as dead spots in your house with these tools. You can find other networks that might be interfering. It might help you position your network hardware better. If you choose a directional antenna, which I think might be too much trouble, these tools will help you figure out how best to align it. It's also nice to have a good stumbler for when your out and about.

    Hawkingtech offers a nice little portable external wifi router (HWL2A) (with high-gain antenna) that will double as a wifi locater (looks a little like a StarTrek tricorder). This tool can be used as an external router that can directly connect to your mac. It's on my list to purchace, but I havn't used it.

    If you get really advanced, and you want to mod the battery pack on a PB (where the card plugs in) you can drill out part of the lip and connect an external antenna- Pringles or what ever. I don't recommend this, though it is the easyest of the PB antenna mods.

    Lasty, and perhaps most importantly, for better wireless reception, build a AFDB. Also good against certain high level surveillance methods used by the U.S. Government and by alien entities. ;)

    I admit that some of this is recycled text my my previous posts on this subject.
     
  3. Jay42 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jay42

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    #3
    I do have a wireless phone, however its a 5.8ghz so I dont think that's the problem (anyone confirm?). What is interference robustness. I am new to airport macs, so I dont know the background info here. Are there any other options in some setting or easy fix without purchase. If need be, I might just end up with an AP express, but would like to avoid it ($). Would it boost reception if it was right next to my pb, or would it have to be somewhere half way.
     
  4. Jay42 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jay42

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    #4
    Wow, I just turned on the robustness and it seemed like it actually could have done the trick! (responses still appreciated)
     
  5. Eniregnat macrumors 68000

    Eniregnat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Location:
    In your head.
    #5
    If Interference Robustness is working for you, then it is likely one of two things. 1.) Intermittent and indirect interference. This could be from a phone, passing military plane, some RC transmitters, or blender or other kitchen appliance, etc... 2.) poor signal strength coupled with antenna interference (i.e. moving the laptop, signal angle, removal of ground plane by alien abduction).

    What it is a dynamic way of breaking packet size and of resending lost packets. (By the way, this is a best guess as little is written about Interference Robustness) I also makes the system more resistant to accepting a lost signal, i.e. gives the computer a longer time to wait before it accepts that a signal is lost. A lot of interference doesn’t come from just similarly cycled sources, i.e. a 2.3-2.5Ghz (I know that's quite a range, but I am a little tired to remember exactly what frequency 802.x.y specs are- I think 2.4Ghz,). Any way, harmonic distortions, i.e., regular cycling of a 60hz signal can interfere with regularity. It is guessed by others that Apple dynamically changes the lengths of packets so that if a number of packets are returned as damaged or missing, it can request smaller less efficient chunks. My add to this is that I have seen anywhere from a nominal performance hit to a significant one in regard to bandwidth. I bet that along with dynamic packet sizing it also automatically adds levels of redundancy to information sent and received, as well as preforming error checking with increased accuracy. Lastly, again just my belief, I think that the system lengthens the time it takes before it reports a lost signal, and reattempts to find the network and execute handshaking. The latter two are I figured out using some networking tools while I was streaming information. If I had a second wireless router, I could determin if Apple was also using intlegent and dynamic packet sizeing.
     
  6. bluefile macrumors newbie

    bluefile

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #6
    What is robustness?

    Just moved & am using my sister's secured network (with permission of course) The problem is that I'm getting scattered connection to the internet. Sounds like I need that robustness thing. Any suggestions out there? Need a free or low cost signal to boost the internet connection. I was told my Apple tech. that maybe a "repeater" might help, but don't know how to connect it to my IMac...
    thanks for simple and easy suggestions... thanks so very much!
     
  7. psxguru macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 19, 2006
    #7
    Depending what version of the WRT54G you have, you can install 3rd party firmware to boost performance/signal. YMMV
    www.dd-wrt.com
     

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