How do I boost the signal on my wireless router?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by jmort, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. jmort macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Southern CA
    #1
    I've got a PC that is hardwired into my generic wireless router, and I have a powerbook that is wireless. The PB is setup at a desk on the opposite side of the house as the router, and thus I get a very poor signal (between one and three bars). Is there a way to strengthen the signal, or are there other brands of routers that put out stronger signals than others?

    Thanks guys,
    jmort
     
  2. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #2
    get a better antenna or a wireless repeater. brand matters in both instances. different router need different antenna pigtails, and different routers repeaters aren't always backwards compatible.

    you can search the forums for more info.
     
  3. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    move tre base station to the middle of the house, 99% of people seem to put them in one corner.....
     
  4. Will Cheyney macrumors 6502a

    Will Cheyney

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #4
    That would require him to either buy a wireless card for the PC, or physically move the PC that is hard-wired to the router.

    What make is the router, Jmort?
     
  5. jmort thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Southern CA
    #5
    The router is an AirLink. It was the cheapest one I could find, so I'm guessing it's not the greatest.

    And moving the base station is definitely not an option, but a good idea.
     
  6. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #6
    Two suggestions.

    1. Perhaps the problem is not with the router, but with the Powerbook. Powerbooks are notorious for poor wi-fi reception. Make sure the antenna is completely plugged in. It probably is, but it doesn't hurt to cover all the bases.

    2. Find a device that will extend the network. I'm not sure about this AirLink brand, but if you had an Airport Express and a WDS compatible router, you could put them in opposite corners and make a bigger network.

    3. OK, I had 3 suggestions. Place your current AirLink router up higher in the room. Chances are, you have it at desk level. Try putting it on a shelf, if your cabling allows you to. I've found that the higher the router is, the better the reception.

    ft
     
  7. jmort thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Southern CA
    #7
    You're absolutely right, My friend has a Dell notebook and he always gets better reception than I do and He'll even pick up networks that I can't see. The price I pay for a small form factor I guess? Oh well, that much I can't change.

    What is WDS?, and if I use an airport express, can I still keep the PC hardwired? I looked into the express before, but it doesn't have the option to keep another machine hardwired into the connection? Do I use a WDS router, and then an express to boost the signal? Am I hearing you right here?

    It's already up pretty high and that improved from virtually no signal to a somewhat intermittently working signal. Thanks so much for the help, I know virtually nothing about networking. If I plug everything in and it doesn't work, then I'm out of ideas at that point.;)

    jmort
     
  8. yenko macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2005
    Location:
    SouthWest-USA
    #8
    As long as you get a signal, you should be OK. If you're experiencing other problems, like pages loading too slow, that's a different issue. I've worked on-line with only 1 bar showing and didn't have any problems.
     
  9. jmort thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Southern CA
    #9

    That's not been my experience. When I am on one bar, my network connection is virtually unusable. I'm not sure why that is, but I've never been able to do much of anything on one bar.
     
  10. 840quadra Moderator

    840quadra

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    #10
    Being an amateur radio operator (HAM), I have found that the same tricks I can use to make my HT (Hand-heald transmitter) achieve longer range, also work with with my wireless antenna on both my ibook, and my Router itself.


    The biggest thing you can do to extend range (outside of new antenna's) is to provide a ground plain for the radio signals to transmit away from. This can be anything metal such as a cookie sheet, or even a piece of aluminum foil under your router (the bigger the better). What this ends up doing, is it provides a base for your radio waves to radiate away from. Since most apple portables have aluminum motherboard covers, or a case made of Titanium or Aluminum, you don't need to have a metal base for your laptop per-say.

    If you think I am crazy check out some of the amateur radio sites in regards to ground plains. :)

    My Wireless router currently sits on top of a small toaster oven baking pan (looks ok actually) and since I have done this, I am now able to receive good signal as far away as my neighbors garage!
     
  11. AlBDamned macrumors 68030

    AlBDamned

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    #11
    Couldn't stay away hey, Hector?
     
  12. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #12
  13. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #13
    I'm not exactly sure of the particulars of WDS, but I do know that is the standard that Apple uses for it's AirExpress for network extension. Basically, if you have a WDS supported router, you can use the Airport Express in addition to build a bigger network. As far as I know, only the Airport Extreme Base Station and the Linksys WRT54g (with 3rd party firmware) are WDS compliant.

    In your situation, you would need to purchase as many as 3 things to use this (a new router, an Airport Express, and the firmware). If the AirLink supports WDS, then all you'd need is the Airport Express ($130).

    The post above ... about using a Linksys WRT54g and buying the firmware that allows you to boost the signal is a cheaper way to go. The router can be had for $30 to $40.

    ft
     
  14. sakasune macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2004
    #14
    From what i've heard Apple Airports will only WDS with other Airports...or the Linksys WRT54G with the 3rd party firmware
     
  15. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #15
    they will work with buffalo equipment considering it uses buffalo hardware...
     
  16. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #16
    Of course he couldn't :p

    Depending on the brand of your router you might be able to put a new firmware on it that allows for boosted signal. For instance the Linsys routers WRT54G(S) are capable of putting out a wireless signal several times its out of the box preformance. Which reminds me I should turn mine down, I don't have any long away wireless devices anymore.
     

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