75% Wifi signal right next to router - Normal?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by neenja, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. neenja macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #1
    Hi all,

    I have a macbook pro, 2.4ghz intel core 2 duo. Running on embarq with a 660 series dsl modem. My router is the linksys WRT54GS2.

    Speed from the actual connection is not the problem, however, signal reception is. At this very moment, my mbp is literally 2 feet away and AirRadar is reporting that my signal average is 62%.

    How is this possible?
     
  2. bjb.butler macrumors 6502a

    bjb.butler

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    Southern California
    #2
    I just downloaded AirRadar...

    I have a 2Wire router, with AT&T DSL, and I'm about 6 feet away from the router, and it says that I have an average signal strength of 75%... I don't know how reliable this app is... Too bad os x doesn't give you a signal strength percentage.
     
  3. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
  4. samh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    #4
    There is a difference between signal strength and signal quality.

    A lot of factors can influence signal quality, even at a close distance. For example, another wireless device running on that same frequency even some distance away can degrade your signal quality a little. If the laptop or router (or both) are very close to walls, file cabinets, large objects, etc., you can get some mild reflection which will degrade the signal a little. Etc. Even being too close can overload the antenna and degrade signal quality a little.

    As long as the speed is OK I wouldn't worry.
     
  5. neenja thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #5
    i hacked the router and isntalled dd-wrt's firmware on it. bumped the xmit power up to 70 and still see the same results.

    speed is indeed fine, but i do a lot of gaming online and get random lag spikes.. i figured this is due to the poor signal I am getting.

    one thing i noticed was my roommate always being on his bluetooth headset. the router+modem is located in his room. ive googled up this and have learned that bluetooth and wifi are both on the 2.4ghz spectrum so this may cause a bit of interference. i had him turn off the pairing and bluetooth completely and noticed that the bit of lag was gone.. im hoping this is not just wishful thinking and coincidence that the lag stopped after the bluetooth was set to off.

    whats weird is, airradar also picked up another wifi signal (one of the neighbors) that is using a 2wire setup and from my room, i pull almost a 60% signal strength from them when i only get roughly 45%-48% strength from my OWN router.

    odd?
     
  6. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #6
    now i am sure this is just coincidence, but i had (still do) a Linksys WRT160N router, and i would get intermittent dropped signals. My router is below my computer desk.

    I just bought a new Airport Extreme 2 days ago, no dropped signals.. I set up port forwarding for my xbox 360, and i seem to have less lag as well. I had port forwarding set on my Linksys as well.
     
  7. samh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    #7
    That means it's not a signal strength issue as much as it is probably a signal quality issue. You can't just drown out interfering devices or blast through whatever architectural obstructions are impeding the signal by turning up the milliwatts.
     
  8. Edot macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Location:
    NJ
    #8
    If you don't want lag spikes when gaming, you need to have a physical connection. Wireless data transfers contain too many errors because of interference/packet loss that cause the information to be lost/resent, hence your spikes.
     
  9. neenja thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #9
    samh, i totally understand :)

    whats weird to me is how im able to get a better quality signal from one of my neighbors and getting a lower one from my own router in another room.

    would it be safe to say that what ever 2wire router the neighbor is using is better than my linksys one?

    i'm just trying to figure out what ever means possible to fix or at least help the problem. i am really open to trying anything!
     
  10. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #10
    It's a half duplex connection (can happen on some wired connections too). It is to be expected.
     
  11. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #11
    there is not much you can do about it. it sounds like there is plenty of interference going around. put your router on a different channel and try your luck there.

    or just plug in a ethernet cable! you are close enough to :rolleyes:
     
  12. Sjmarcy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    #12
    Two points:

    1) The percentages tend to be arbitrary, I'd worry more about speed and spike lagging. For example with cell phones many will show 4 or 5 bars even with signals that are not 80-100%.

    2) Use a directional antenna to cut interference. I use a wi-fire which I can highly recommend. The catch is that it plugs into a USB port and maxes out at G rather than N. The software for it displays bargraphs for strength and quality. Not affiliated. Around 60 bux. Or hardwire to the internet.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. neenja thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #13
    the router is down the hall in my roommates room.. so i cant plug in. :(
     
  14. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #14
    Oh that's a Bugger. cut a hole in the wall Haha!
     
  15. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #15
    how far down the hall? Monoprice.com has amazing prices on cat5 and cat6. You could pick up 50feet of ethernet cable for like $6 or less.
     

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