How to improve wireless reception?

By jdpowers41 ·
I just purchased the D-Link Xtreme N Desktop Wireless Network card that proclaims to have up to 6x the range and 14x the speed than 802.11g. It has 3 antennas. So far, my speed holds steady at 54.0 Mbps, and my signal strength varies between low and very low. I can browse/cruise the internet ok, but sometimes i have to wait a bit for a download.
I operate this computer in my room, which is in a downstairs daylight finished basement. My computer is approximately 30ft from the Linksys wireless router upstairs. My inner bedroom wall is the only wall between them. My computer
sits on the wood floor under my desk, which has in-floor heating, and is next to the tv in my room which also has the 2 vcrs and DVD player. Would the tv/players cause any interference to my reception? A friend of mine suggested I try putting tin foil on the back of my computer to shield the antennas from it for better reception. Another friend suggested i move my computer to the other side of my room against the inside wall placing it about 7ft closer to the router. Does anyone have any input or suggestions to how i can improve my wireless signal??

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by JamesRL In reply to How to improve wireless r ...

You can get an improved antenna for cheap which can give you a bit of gain. Most of them also have a length of wire between the connector on the wireless card and the antenna itself, so you can move it around a bit to try and get the last little bit of reception.

Something like this:


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Some thoughts

Thanks for all the information, it helps a great deal. I must apologize as I still have a few more questions. You mentioned that you have an 802.11n client adapter, but did not mention if the Linksys wireless router was 802.11n capable or not.

The very fact that the two devices are from different vendors may have an affect as each company is most likely using proprietary features in their devices. Especially if both are pre-release 802.11n or one is 802.11n pre-release and the other is 802.11a/b/g.

A key comment you made is that the signal strength is not very good. That will have an enormous effect on data throughput as the data rate has to step down when signal quality is less than optimal. Also lower levels in houses are somewhat notorious for having a great deal of metal in the surroundings, such as furnace ducting and pipes. That will have an influence on the signal propagation.

Some assumptions have to be made when making recommendations and if they are wrong, please let me know. One assumption is that the wireless router is serving other clients and needs to maintain a omni-directional RF coverage pattern. Since your client is only really trying to associate with the router you should be using directional antennas. By doing that you would be focusing the RF energy toward the router and not in a 360 degree horizontal coverage area. That alone should help a great deal.

How you accomplish that is dependent on your financial situation and if you are a DIY type or not. It could be something as simple as what is shown on this link.

Or you could get directional antennas and adapter coaxial pigtails that would focus the RF directly at the wireless router. The link below has just about anything you would need to setup a directional panel antenna on one or more of the client adapter antennas.

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I read a recent article that said you could ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Some thoughts

Cut out pieces of white card, punch 2 holes in each bit of card and bend the card over the aerial to make a panel antenna

Dunno if it works well, but it's a reputable computer magazine!

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You are correct

If you add some reflecting material to the base you are exactly right. I have been really amazed at the results I have obtained by doing this.

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You need the Dlink DIR-655 router to work with it

by ken In reply to How to improve wireless r ...

I have this router and have installed it in 2 clients houses. You need the matching router to get the increased range and speed. Once you do you will get 200mbits. You must set the wireless options carefully. For example you can't use WEP encryption and get N speeds.

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Some readers may think this is silly, but I'll say it anyway

by OldER Mycroft In reply to How to improve wireless r ...

Often users overlook the simple things in computing.

One of these is the infinitesimally small wavelength of 2.4GHz - you're basically talking Microwaves here.

Consequently, massive improvements can be achieved from very small adjustments to the positioning of receiver aerials and equipment. Conversely a large physical repositioning can have little or no effect at all, fooling users into assuming that no improvement is likely between position one and position two.

I would advise that before you physically relocate across an entire room, try movements in situ by altering the placement of the receiver/aerial within an imaginary 180' arc.

You might be surprised by what improvement occurs. :)

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Not silly at all

That is a very good point and what you are referring to is the results of multipath reflections that create null points. A null point is where two RF signals of different phases will actually cancel each other out. If you are interested I wrote a blog post about this very subject.

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