External Antenna for RT-N66U

Discussion in 'ASUS N Routers & Adapters' started by robgold, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. robgold

    robgold Occasional Visitor

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    I have the RT-N66U and it is working well, except I am having trouble getting a good signal on the 2.4ghz band (probably due to interference). After trying various router settings, router placement and different channels without success, I have decided to try using a high gain replacement antenna. I have found a few dual band antennas, including the Asus WL-ANT157 and the Asus WL-ANT168, but I can't tell if they are fully compatible with the RT-N66U. Am I safe in assuming that they will fully work with 802.11a/b/g/n as long as they transmit at the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies, or do I need to check any other specs. One reason I am confused is that some dual band antennas I found online say they work with 802.11a/b/g but do not mention 802.11n, which suggests they will not transmit 802.11n signals. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
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  3. NightOwl326

    NightOwl326 Senior Member

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    High gain antennas will not be the answer, as the added gain is never enough to solve the problem. An extra couple of dB gain will not make a measurable difference, and most the aftermarket antennas are cheap china made products that only state gain that has never been tested. Plus you have the signal loss of the coax cable connecting the antenna to the router, and you may end up with less signal rather than more. Save your money (since you will need 3 antennas) and add an wireless access point to cover the weakest signal area of your home.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  4. tonytoronto

    tonytoronto Regular Contributor

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    what firmware version you using?
    I've been similar situation to yours, in my case adding 2 powerline adapters and cheap rosewill router setup as an AP worked wonders. I tried a few range extenders, didn't work well in my case. Since getting the Asus 66u, the rosewill router no longer needed it, but still need to use the the powerline adapter to stream HD to Media Box.
     
  5. NightOwl326

    NightOwl326 Senior Member

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    Exactly the answer....
     
  6. TC777

    TC777 Occasional Visitor

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    I don't know if it would help or not, but the review by Asus of their rt-n66u router, on YouTube, he shows a large antenna you can use with the router.(around 16 minutes into the video)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYCnyOb5O4c
     
  7. somms

    somms Regular Contributor

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    Nice catch!

    http://www.asus.com/websites/global/products/hdUmBVZ6hhtRkdJX/P_500.jpg

    Linked above the antenna you saw used in the clip...its a monster and would much improve the range/speed for this wireless router over the stock antenna!;)
     
  8. NightOwl326

    NightOwl326 Senior Member

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    Not!

    Sounds good if you don't understand "coax cable signal loss at microwave frequencies". Asus does not use the lowest loss coax possible on an antenna that retails for $23.00.

    But heck, try it, it is only money. Don't forget you need 3 ($68.40) if you even hope to see gains. You will be disappointed though, and it will be one butt ugly setup....
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  9. njweb

    njweb Senior Member

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    Make sure you're not using firmware xxxxx96 since there were reported issues with weaker power than prior versions, which have been addressed in xxxxxx102.

    Regarding interference, I would suggest inspecting your setup and environment in case you have cordless phones interfering.
    DECT 6.0 phones (1.9 GHz) are your best bet to avoid interference.

    Asus has suggested higher TX levels may or may not help.
    Looking through their e-mail response which I received while in the doctor's office and just re-read now, they suggested 80mw or 120mW has worked for users (someone else posted in the other thread today in fact). They also noted that heat will go up (as we already knew).
    That being said, they have not come out and officially stated what is or isn't safe...

    I find it interesting, given this, that they allow users, in the stock firmware no less, to go up to 500mW. (I am certainly not for companies limiting us where not needed, but IF a level is dangerous, one would expect they would not allow users to set it dangerously high (especially without any warning on the admin screen). One could assume 500mW is safe (I honestly don't know).
    I have read reports of extended use at 250mW or above for some router types (however, and I stated this at the time, EACH router design (software and hardware - including amps etc.) is different, so what may work safely for one router for years may be unsafe for another.
    Until they come out and officially say what they consider safe, adjust at your own risk.

    A number of users report using 80mW or even, in some cases, 120mW (or above).
    Whether this is safe or not though is another question that has not been answered by Asus.
    Heat measurements might provide some clue, BUT who knows how hot INTERNAL components are getting (which can't be sensed from the case of the unit)...

    Edit (after upgrading to firmware 102). The default TX power in 102 is now 80mW on both bands!

    40mW seemed low to begin with (as I posted right after it was released) given that Linksys uses 100mW in the E4200 etc.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  10. NightOwl326

    NightOwl326 Senior Member

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    Are you guaranteeing that 120mW is safe for this hardware, since I have not read about anyone who is running at that level? Have you ran this level for any significant time, and have used your own router as the beta test for hardware failure?
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  11. tonytoronto

    tonytoronto Regular Contributor

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    U have 2 year warranty :)
     
  12. robgold

    robgold Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks for all the helpful responses and suggestions.

    I may try getting an Access Point, but I would really prefer a simpler solution if possible. The antenna in the YouTube video posted above looks cool, but I think it is the WL-ANT-191, which is only a single band 2.4 Ghz, so my 5 Ghz signal may suffer if I use it. I think I will try the Asus WL-ANT157, which is a dual band high gain directional antenna. My router is in a closet, so I don't really care much how it looks as long as it does the job. I will report back and let everyone know if that setup works.
     
  13. NightOwl326

    NightOwl326 Senior Member

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    Same gain as what you are taking off.
     
  14. robgold

    robgold Occasional Visitor

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    True, but it is directional, so I'm hoping that may help.
     
  15. NightOwl326

    NightOwl326 Senior Member

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    rt-n66u uses BEAM FORMING which does create directional signal patterns to the clients. One of these directional antennas with beam forming may do more harm than good.
     
  16. darksamus

    darksamus Senior Member

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    Is this beam forming being done in software or is there a chip inside the router that does it? The reason I ask is because I get good range using both stock and tomatoUSB fimware.
     
  17. TonyH

    TonyH Very Senior Member

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    Hmm,
    Gain? What about SWR? I mean how well the antenna matches to the radio?
    Every connector incurs loss, bad coax increases loss, mismatch does same(worst case it'll damage the radio) I'll be careful looking at so called high gain antennas.
     
  18. TonyH

    TonyH Very Senior Member

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    Hi,
    I am on latest Shibby's f/w, in there, says max power is 400mW. When I tried 80mw on both radios 2.4GHz one went crazy(unstable). I set both at 70mW
    and it is working well.. No overheating or anything like that. First sign of too much power level is increased heat. My router is just luke warm to touch.
     
  19. NightOwl326

    NightOwl326 Senior Member

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    And you will get a refurb for your trouble....
     
  20. njweb

    njweb Senior Member

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    I am not an Asus engineer and until THEY provide a(n official) response that says what is safe (see my updates in my other post which include comments they made in an e-mail i have received), nobody here can guarantee anything, especially since some components may get hot inside the router that won't always be (at least not fully) evident from touching the case.

    80mW or 120mW is typically nothing unusual in other routers, but since this is a new deisgn we can NOT compare it (on an apples to apples basis) to, for example, at least one other firm's router design (running Tomato on a WRT54GL) that easily worked fine with 250mW (or more) for years in Europe - as per the link I posted last time.
    http://tomatousb.org/tut:increasing-wrt54g-transmit-power

    Regardless, Asus also should be responsible and limit the maximum calue to what is safe and not just go by the FCC limit, assuming 500mW (whiuch the current firmware allows) is unsafe (something which, again, I am not qualified to answer).
    Again, the RT-N66U design is different and I do NOT claim to be an expert.
    I will wait for Asus, or a qualified expert, to tell us.

    As someone noted, for those who do experiment, there is a warranty for 2 years.
    Refurb is not an issue IMHO since the refurb (if it is a true 'refurb' and not used) will be newer than the unit you're sending in.
    I am not advocating any levels since I don't want someone to come crying to me.

    For my needs (my home and my wifi adapters), if firmware xxxxxx102 is as good as 90 again, I won't need to bump the level at all.
    The OP has issues when using it with the 40mW setting (not sure how large his place is or the environment and construction / design of the living space he is in. This is where TX power levels could help (or at least rule out the power level as an issue before buying an antenna that may do nothing).

    All that being said, if everyone is supposed to keep it at 40mW to be safe, then why even have an adjustment (not even talking about 500mW, just talking about 80mW e.g.).

    Once again, Asus did not provide a clear answer yet. I may reply to the
    e-mail I got an push (again) for a safe level.

    If I find 40mW in xxxx102 is not enough, I will experiment with bumping it and be happy to share my experiences here for others to draw on.

    Keep in mind also that individual router usage (i.e. CPU usage), from user A to user B e.g., can also have an impact on temperatures to a certain extent. However if neither user A nor user B is taxing it with heavy loads, it should not be a significant factor from one user to another.

    Again, adjust at your risk as I said a few weeks ago...

    PS: Hopefully Asus did some testing at design time and took temperature measurements (they switched frrm a fan to a large heatsink - which limits hardware failures due to fans breaking down), so they presumably took measurements along the way.
    Maybe they can use this to provide guidance. After all, they offer the feature in the stock firmware.


    EDIT: The DEFAULT power in Asus firmware 102 is now displayed as 80mW in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
    I guess this is the optimal value the router is tuned to by default that they referred to in their e-mail...
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  21. NightOwl326

    NightOwl326 Senior Member

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    That is the point, your NOT an Asus engineer, and I have read your posts. You have not ran yours at 120mW, so don't advise others to due what you are unwilling to do yourself. You have only ran 40mW and 80mW. If you are willing to test long term 120mW with your hardware, have at it and then advise others that it is safe, or unsafe when yours burns up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012

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