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8 posts

Wannabe Geek

# 21997 13-May-2008 10:09
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Situation is this. I have a Linksys WRT54G running Tomato open firmware with transmission power boosted to 100mA. For cabling reasons this is housed in a wardrobe with an MDF door on it, passing through French doors on a line of sight to my office at the bottom of my garden (about 20M distance). There's an Airport express in another room in the house in bridging mode.

In the office I'm using a Mac Book Pro with built-in 802.11G WiFi. The signal varies throughout the day but often sinks to low/very low. I've looked at a few options and as I see it I can:

  1. Buy two extended range antenna for the Linksys (about $65 for 2x 9dbi antennas from a guy on TradeMe)
  2. Buy another WiFi router and put that in bridge mode in the office (probably a LinkSys WRT54GL because I like the product)
  3. Buy a WiFi range extender like the LinkSys WRE54G  and install it in the office
  4. Make some kind of antenna and attach it to the LinkSys (start with the simple cardboard/foil option  here and then try a cantenna)
  5. Run shielded Cat6 cable from the house (I'm discounting this right away because it's not practical).

So the lowest cost option is the antenna and I'll definately give the foil/card one a go (what's to lose). If it comes to mucking about building a cantenna I'm not sure I can be bothered... so the extended range omni antenna look like the next best bet at $65. The range extender looks like a waste of money when you consider I can get a WiFi router for less (with ethernet ports in it as well) or am I misunderstanding what another router would do to range extension? If there is weak signal between two points, would placing another WRT54G in the office actually improve anything?

I've tried boosting the signal even higher using the Tomato firmware but I get weird outages (perhaps overheating and resets?). In terms of minimum fuss, performance and flexibility it seems like the 9dbi antenna might be the way to go - does this sound right?


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307 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 130508 13-May-2008 10:19
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Think i have a couple of cantennas out the back.. if you want to buy them off me..
I was usnig them with my WRT54G at one stage.

1486 posts

Uber Geek

  # 130550 13-May-2008 13:16
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Personally I don't like just boosting the power using an amplifier as it impacts other peoples devices and other devices using the same 2.4Ghz range ... inelegant and rude in my eyes :-)

I think you'd be better off building a directed antenna setup between the garden office and the house .. but even though you've discounted it a physical line between the house and office would be far better performing.

How many devices go on the wireless in the office ?  and in the house ?



8 posts

Wannabe Geek

  # 130555 13-May-2008 13:27
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About three devices connect in the house and currently just one out in the office (my 'puter). Problem is if I put a directional antenna on the WiFi router in the house won't that screw up the Airport Express's ability to bridge from it? How would a situation go where say, you had a cantenna plugged into one aerial socket and leave the other one with the omni-directional? Provided a link could be maintained with the Express, that's probably got enough range to connect other devices in the house.

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