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Wireless network woes

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by excalibur313, May 22, 2005.

  1. macrumors 6502a


    I currently have a wrt54g from linksys that is a few years old. I upgraded it with the satori firmware so that I could wds it to my airport express to try and increase the range because I run into bad spots on the opposite side of the house (the house is about 25 years old and 50 feet square two levels). This has worked okay for a while, I still got the bad spots but i just dealt with it. Recently I started getting this thing on my powerbook where it would say the connection was perfect in areas where it typically isn't but it wouldn't connect to the internet. This is kind of obnoxious so I'm looking into a way to set up my network so that it works a little better so I don't get dead spots. The airport express and linksys router are both on the same corner of the house. I was looking at either getting another wrt54g and just using it as a repeater but I saw this wrt54gs which says it has a larger range but i'm not sure how much it would help with my non linksys airport express card in my powerbook. There is also this wrt54gx and pre-n router (belkin) that say they get 8x the range but you need a special card to take full advantage of that. How good would the performance be for it without the special card? I also contemplated getting better antennas but they cost $40 and i saw some reviews that say that they are very hit or miss. First of all I would like to figure out why the connection sometimes goes crazy and then I have to figure out if i need to get another wrt54g as a repeater or whether a wrt54gs or wrt54gx would do the job even though I won't be buying their card. Thank you so much for all your help!
  2. macrumors 6502a


    What do you guys think? The pre-N router from belkin is looking the most attractive to me. In the reviews it seems like the range is really good even if you don't have 802.11n technology.
  3. macrumors 65816


    My dad has the Belkin Pre-N router setup in his house. He says is absolutely great. Before that he had a Linksys router with a signal booster strapped to it which did the trick but was too slow. I now have the old linksys setup which suits me perfectly.

    I'm not sure you'll be able to use the advantages of the Pre-N technology if you don't have the card that is compatible. Is the pcmcia card mac-compatible? If so , that might be good option for you. Otherwise try getting a signal booster for your linksys router! You might be able to find one on ebay for a decent price (possibly used).
  4. Gee
    macrumors 65816

    Out of interest, upgrading to Tiger seems to have doubled my airport range. Seriously better than before....
  5. macrumors 65816



    Same here. Although I have to say that the airport reception measurement is a highly-inaccurate yardstick for your actual ability to surf the web efficiently. With 50% reception the connection jumps so much that it is a real pain to try to surf the internet. But its progress I guess.
  6. macrumors 6502a


    I tried looking around for the wireless booster sold by linksys on ebay and a few other places and it doesn't seem available. Any other ideas? It still seems like the belkin router seems the best bet although i refuse to buy the 802.11n card by them so I question how good it would be without.
  7. macrumors 65816


    The pre-N wireless router is a pretty pricey effort as well. Without the Pre-N card I wouldn't bother. You may find that when N is actually certified in 2006 (I believe), you'll have router that is actually incompatible with the "real" N certification. Then you'll be stuck with a sub-optimal solution.

    What about repeaters?
  8. macrumors 6502a


    So should I just get another wireless router and install opensource firmware to make a wds bridge and put it on the other side of the house?
  9. macrumors 65816



    I wouldn't bother with such a complicated setup. Save yourself the effort and get one of these:

    They're about $80 so not a bad price either. Cheaper and less hassle than setting up a second router.
  10. macrumors 6502


    I would suggest changing your wireless router configuration to try different channels first. If that doesn't help, then see if you can move the router away from microwaves and cordless phones (2.5GHz) and other routers (did you say there was an airport express near the Linksys?). Wireless interference can be hard to figure out but might most likely be the culprit. As for firmware, it's better to stick with the manufacturer's version - the ones that you get on the net (like for $20) would most probably achieve longer ranges by increasing the power output (thus frying the components inside and reducing the life of your router...which means you'd see unreliable performance sooner).

    As suggested by others, I would also recommend not going for any pre-N stuff - it may seem like it provides a lot more than the current routers, but you might be stuck with something that's not good for the long term. Even if you do decide to go for pre-N (or even A), get the right cards for the Mac too.

    Although routers like the WRTGS (with speedbooster or other proprietary technology) require the same kind of card on the computer for optimum performance, the performance of those routers in standard '54G' mode is better than WRTG54.

    If you can spare a lot of money, then you could also look at the SRX series from Linksys.

    If there's one thing I've learned from wireless, it's that interference and poor quality routers can make life hell. :D

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