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Router or access point with good wireless performance and range?

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RamGuy

Senior Member
I'm looking for either a router or access point with best possible wireless performance, and with decent range / signal strength.


I've tried a few solutions, but none of them have really delivered good enough when it comes to range and signal strength.

I've had:

- D-Link DIR-655 (A2)
- D-Link DIR-655 (A3)
- D-Link DIR-655 (A4)
- D-Link DIR-855 (A2)

They've all had about the same range and strength, I find the performance to be best with the DIR-655 A3, and worst with the DIR-655 A2. The wireless range seems to be slightly worse with DIR-655 A4 and DIR-855 compared to both DIR-655 A3 and DIR-655 A2, so overall I've found the DIR-655 A3 the best so far, but it's just not cutting it.


I've also tried to replace the three antennas with 3x Linksys HGA7S 7dBi High Gain Antenna, but for some awkward reason this resulted in a more unstable wireless network with worse range than with the original tiny D-Link antennas? How on earth is that possible?



The device will be used for wireless-N only, it will be connected to our D-Link DVG-5802S with a CAT7 cable, the DVG will take care of DHCP and everything else besides the wireless part. I will hook up two - three computers, all running Intel WiFi 5300 cards.


Any recommendations on routers / access points? Or perhaps some good antennas or other tricks to get best possible performance, range and signal strength?
 
The DIR-655 is typical for what's available for draft 11n routers. How large an area are you trying to cover?

I don't know why the higher-gain antennas were causing problems.
Might give this a read 5 Ways To Fix Slow 802.11n Speed.
What settings are you using?
 
Why do you focus on the router?

Maybe the folks here will surprise me, but I think they will find it hard to make recommendations without knowing more about the environment your wireless network is operating in.

What sort of range are you getting versus what you do you expect? What obstructions does the wireless signal need to pass through?

Have you reduced or eliminated possible sources of interference such as cordless phones or other networks?

What protocol are you using for wireless? (Is the router set to 802.11n only or to something else?) What encryption does your network use?

The DIR-655 is a rather popular router. By this I am not trying to say that it is without fault, but only to suggest that you will probably not see a huge performance difference simply by switching to another router. (But again, I'll wait to see what the others say since WTHDIK? :eek:)

You might also try taking a look at the articles in Wireless Basics section of this web site. In particular, you might take a look at the series of articles starting with this one:
How To Fix Your Wireless Network - Part 1

-irrational john
 
I'll try to describe the enviorment, please ignore my awful English grammar :()

There are two positions where the router can be, first one is inside a closet, the other option is on my bedroom.

The drawback with placing it inside the closet is the fact that our DVG-5802S is in the same closet, making the G-network from the gateway interfere with the N-network from the access point / router? And the fact that the closet is locked, so there is wooden walls on all sides, and the closet door of course, which isn't exactly idle?

The drawback by placing it on my bedroom is the fact that my room is located on the far side of the house, making omni-directional antennas rather pointless?

I guess the most idle thing to do would be placing it somewhat in the centre of the house in a rather open space? But that's impossible with a girl not allowing any network cables being visible or stretch anywhere outside the closet (my room is luckily the room right beside the closet, so I just drilled a whole to stretch my CAT7 cables to my HP Business Gigabit switch providing my desktop computer, Xbox360 and PlayStation3 with wired network.


Our house is about 283m2, with three floors where we are using the lower and middle floor, the upper floor is just used to store trash so no need to worry about the signal up there. So we want decent signal throughout the entire house, and the router will of course be placed on the middle floor.


The range of the DIR-655 is more or less covering the entire house, but the signal strength and performance when sitting in the other end of the house is very poor, and sometimes it might just not work at all? All of our walls are wooden walls.


It's not foremost the range that I'm not pleased with, it's the performance and signal strength when sitting in the living room. It's about 12m in a straight line from the closet to the living room, and there is three wooden walls between the living room and the closet where our gateway is currently located. From my bedroom it would be about 15m, and four wooden walls.


Currently I get three bars and 24mbps when I'm in the living room.
And that's a bit lower than I find idle, as I use my laptop 90% of the time in our living room.


When it comes to interference there is only two other wireless networks around our home, and we've got two wireless telephones that got the receiver located inside the closet beside our gateway, as it's connected to the DVG-5802S.

I hope that you somewhat managed to understand what I tried to describe.
 
Still just trying to understand your setup ...

The drawback with placing it inside the closet is the fact that our DVG-5802S is in the same closet, making the G-network from the gateway interfere with the N-network from the access point / router?
Which of the DVG-5802S and DIR-655 is configured as 802.11g only and which is 802.11n only? What encryption protocol do you use, particularly on the 802.11n? WPA2 & AES?

Where are the routers located vertically in the closet? Are they on a top shelf near the ceiling?

Out of curiosity, what is located on the floor above the closet? Would running an ethernet cable to the floor above and positioning one or both routers up there be a possibility? (Not sure if or how much that might help. Just asking the question.)

-irrational john
 
Our DVG-5802S is screwed up on the wall, but it's rather low, just about 15cm of the floor.

The DIR-655 is just lying on the floor, running N-only with WPA2/AES


I guess it would be possible to place the router up on the third floor, have never really considered a solution like that.
 
Consider moving the router higher if possible?

Our DVG-5802S is screwed up on the wall, but it's rather low, just about 15cm of the floor.
The DIR-655 is just lying on the floor, running N-only with WPA2/AES
Uhhhhhh, unless I made a mistake 15cm is less than 6 inches. I would consider that to be essentially "on the floor".

If it's possible to easily do so, I would suggest moving at least the DIR-655 router higher up and see if that makes a difference for you. Somewhere I picked up the notion that "higher is better" when it comes to wireless signal propagation.

I've also read ... don't know how true it is ... that putting the antenna directly against a wall can cause problems with signal dispersal. Better for it to be at least 30cm (12 inches) or so from a wall. (Perhaps?)

I guess it would be possible to place the router up on the third floor, have never really considered a solution like that.

Again, this thought came from the "higher is better" rule I picked up. Best to wait and see what the others here have to say before drilling any holes. They know (a lot :)) more than I do.

-irrational john
 
What about having the DIR-655 on my bedroom, mounting some directional antennas high up on the wall?

As my room is on the far side of the house, a directional antenna should be perfect? And for what I understand work quite a bit better than omni-directional antennas as the router isn't really in the centre of the house?


I don't really care about the DVG-5802S as it runs G-only for my iPhone 3G, so the only demand is that it most work, and I don't really care about the performance that much.



When it comes to directional antennas, there isn't really that much to chose from here in Norway. I've seen some decent looking ones like these:

D-Link ANT24-1200 and D-Link DWL-M60AT

Do you think that might do the trick? I guess it's best to switch all the antennas while I'm at it? Then I guess the ANT-1200 might become a bit expensive, as it cost twice as much as the DWL-M60AT. D-Link also have a solution that's somewhat in between those two, the D-Link ANT-0801 but it seems to only have N-female connectors that wont fit the DIR-655?
 
Don't know about a (directional) antenna change

I couldn't give you any good advice about different antennas so I'll leave that for someone else.

What you are suggesting might well work, but it seems a lot more involved and expensive than simply trying to move the DIR-655 closer to the ceiling in the closet. That's why I suggested it. It sounded like something simple that might give you a more immediate benefit.

Even if it's not easily possible to permanently relocate the DIR-655 higher, I would still suggest you kludge something together to position it higher as an experiment. This would let you see if it makes a difference and, if it does help, how much of a difference it might make.

For what it's worth,

-irrational john
 
Thanks for the details on your setup. Here are my suggestions. Some of them echo what John has suggested.

- Move it: Your best bet for whole-house coverage is to get the router located as centrally as possible. Directional and/or higher-gain antennas won't help as much as this will. Since you have an Ethernet connection to "your" room, I suggest you move the router that you want to use for whole-house coverage there. Or, if you can drill a hole in your closet up to the third floor, try that.

Put both routers up as high as possible. Placing them on the floor or behind furniture, or under table tops is not good. Think of radio waves like light.

- Separate them: Two wireless routers sitting next to each other are probably overloading each other. Receive sections are very sensitive on modern routers. I always have at least 3m separation between AP and client when testing. I have seen reduced / erratic throughput if they are closer.

So move the two routers at least 3m from each other. If this isn't possible, try reducing transmit power on one or both.

- Use 20MHz bandwidth: Using 40MHz isn't going to help range. You'll actually get smaller range when using 40MHz bandwidth.

- Channel selection: The two routers should be set to different channels. I suggest 1 and 11, to minimize adjacent channel interference, especially because the routers are close together.

- Try one AP: Mixing N and G devices is only a problem when both are active at the same time. And even then, unless you have constant traffic (long down/up load, Torrents, streaming), you probably would not see a difference in performance.

- RF Interference: What band are your cordless phones using? Even "5.8" GHz phones many times also use the 2.4 GHz band. DECT phones are best since they won't interfere with either 2.4 or 5 GHz Wi-Fi.
 
I placed the DIR-655 as logical I managed on the third floor, and now I've got excellent signal with reported 216 - 240mbps while sitting in the living room, so it seems to be working fairly good!

The only drawback is that the connection isn't as good as before when I'm on my bedroom, but then I can simply connect to the DVG-5802S instead giving me excellent signal when I'm in my bedroom!
 
Thanks for reporting back. Glad you got things sorted.
 
Wap610n

http://www.linksysbycisco.com/US/en/products/WAP610N

The AP is based on Metalink chipset and optimized for video too. The perfect partner to the Wireless-N Ethernet Bridge (WET610N), it’s optimized to reduce video glitches.

I think that based on perfromance of WET610N, the access point should has perfect perfromance too.

Unfortunetely, the AP is unavailable currently, but will coming soon.
 

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