Help: Need advice on how to improve my wireless network.

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Bulldozzzer, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. Bulldozzzer macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2011
    English is not my native language but I hope you will understand me anyway.

    I have range and speed problems with my current wireless setup and I need advice on how to improve them.

    I have broadband via fiber (100 Mbit/s). The network socket (ethernet port in the wall) is located in my closet (red dot - see image below) and I have connected an AirPort Express (802.11n) straight to the socket in the wall via a short ethernet cable.

    In my living room, about 8 meters (26 feet) away from my AirPort Express, I have a Mac Mini (802.11n) (blue dot - see image below) inside a IKEA PS cabinet (made of steel).

    The problem. I only get 9-10 MBit/s. :(

    I know steel will make it harder for the Wi-Fi signal to reach the computer, resulting in lower speed, but I really like the style and material of the cabinet so I don't want to exchange it for something else. I don't want to put the computer on top of it. I want it to be inside. Neat and tidy. I hate cables.

    How can I improve both the range and speed of my wireless network without buying a new cabinet or using long ethernet cable? I want to use wireless only.

    Is it even possible to use wireless N and get close to full speed (100 Mbit/s)?

    I like Apples products but I'm open to other brands.

  2. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    Try some experiments.

    1) Put a long Ethernet cable on the Airport Express. Move it out of the closet and into the hall, as close as possible to the Mac Mini.
    Does the speed improve?

    2) With the Airport Express in the closet, move the Mac Mini on top of the steel cabinet.
    Does the speed improve?

    If the speed improves in either experiment, then the answer is almost certainly that you have insufficient signal strength at the Mac Mini, and probably caused by the steel cabinet. Your choices are:
    1. Move the wireless base station closer to the Mac Mini, to counteract the signal lost by the steel cabinet.
    2. Don't put the mini in a steel cabinet.

    It's unlikely that a different wireless base station will improve anything, since they all have about the same maximum transmit power, and many even use the same chips.

    A more directional antenna might help, but you'd have to experiment. Possible google search terms:
    wifi directional antenna
    wifi high gain antenna
    Airport Express directional antenna
    Airport Express high gain antenna

    You may not like those options, but the laws of physics aren't something you can override when you don't like them.
  3. Sc00tr macrumors regular

    May 28, 2011
    experiment around. WiFi is tricky like that.

    you could run Ethernet cable in the ceiling and place the AP in a diff location.

    use a repeater and possibly place that in the living room again experiment around. The Airport Express has a repeater mode built in.
  4. eric/, Oct 15, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011

    eric/ Guest


    Sep 19, 2011
    Ohio, United States
    If you have a Airport Extreme, couldn't you buy the Airport Express and just place them in other rooms or something like that and increase the wireless range?


Share This Page