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SParklan minipci for DIR-655

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Hi, This is my second post. With the price drop on the DIR-655 I think it's time to bump up my two laptop network to draft n from a super ag netgear WGU624 router. I've been shopping for adapters and unfortunately both laptops only have minipci and not minipci-e, and express cards are out of the question since I like everything internal. Since D-link does not have a minipci XtremeN that I know of, I was going to get a blank board (and use modded drivers) or a third party minipci with the same atheros chipset. The only one I could find was from sparklan here, and I have not heard of this company or seen any reviews. They seem fairly reputable, and they already have a minipci with the chipset for the v2.0 DIR-855 (AR9160) which I would snag if it had windows drivers.

My questions are:

1. Is anyone using a non dlink adapter with DIR-655 using an XSPAN chipset, and does D-link use a heavilly modded firmware that would thottle my bandwidth using a non Dlink adapter?

2. Are ther any reviews or personal experience with sparklan? They don't seem to have any AR5008 routers thus I would assume their pci is full featured and neutral with other AR5008 products.

Thanks for reading . . . On a side note, it looks like atheros is delaying the DIR-855 since sparklan only has linux drivers available to it from atheros and their minipci has been out a while.
I have not looked at Sparklan products. Your best bet is the Intel 4965AGN for a mini-PCI board, even though it doesn't match the XSPAN chipset in the DIR-655.

Why are you going to upgrade, BTW?
Intel minipci

Thanks a lot for the reply.

I usually don't like Intel minipci since they seem underpowered, and if it can't use XSPAN I might as well go with a top of the line ralilink router minipci combo. My current minipci is already dual radio 400ma so in that case I would keep it. Just curious, what do you like about intel's minipci?

The reason I'm upgrading is: I have mixed house construction, I've done as much as I can to get out of my equipment that I could, and new technology that isn't $300 like the dual radio DIR-855 for minimal gain over $100 doesn't seem worth it. I like fiddling with new technology, and my superag seems old :p.

If you want the long version:
I live in a concrete/wood medditereanean style house where all of the add on walls are wood and the original walls are concrete. This combined with a stange layout, creates strange mix of reception around the house. I really like my dualband dual radio WGU624 (and from a lot of the reviews I read it seems like the last decent netgear router) due to its relatively cheap price even when I bought it it new, its mimo capabilities, and an easy to understand comprehensive software set. Its flaws which are amplified by my house design is although I'm still connected at long distances bandwidth seems to fall off greatly right at 10-15 feet depending on where I'm at in the house, and then it gradually gets worse from there. The only reason I get this good of performance is I modded the case for more ventillation (without which you'll find many reports online of continuously dropped signal since the AR5002 was so hot), I have an early version with multiple antenna ports on the motherboard which I've hooked up to some aftermarket antennas (without cracking the case there's only 1), and my blankboard mini pci works pretty flawlessly with Netgear using superag, and puts out up to 400ma. One person on the netgear forums got around this by using an aftermarket amplifier; however if I'm going to spend $100-$200 on an amplifier I figure I might as well move to draftn where I'll be getting more connections in mimo, and a much larger range even without amplifying the source.

Hope this wasn't too long . . .
There is nothing I specifically like about the Intel card. I'm just saying that it is commonly used as a built-in draft 11n notebook card.

You are not going to get range gain from draft 11n in 2.4GHz. And with your house construction (stucco, concrete) forget about 5GHz.

If you can't run CAT5e/6, I would suggest trying to add another AP using a powerline connection. Using HomePlug AV or DS2 200 Mbps technology should give you a connection in the 10s of Mbps, which would probably give you better throughput than you now get.

See Does HomePlug AV + 802.11g equal Wi-Fi Nirvana?

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