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Best way to AMPLIFY an 802.11b Router's Signal?

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Best way to AMPLIFY an 802.11b Router's Signal?

Old 01-30-03, 03:24 AM
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Best way to AMPLIFY an 802.11b Router's Signal?

Hi All,

I have an SMC router in my home and I would like to amplify the 802.11b signal so it is stronger throughout the house.

Is there any way to do this? An antenna attachment? Adding more power?

I do not have a lucent orinocco card, thus I cannot install an external antenna. I have a 3com x-jack wireless card.

Thanks for your support
Old 01-30-03, 03:36 AM
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Do a search for "pringles" in this forum and see if that will work.
Old 01-30-03, 05:37 AM
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I'm not sure but I believe that the SMC AP/Routers can take external antennas. You'll need to tell us the exact model number to be sure.

Basically, you'll need a short cable, sometimes called a "pig tail" that goes from the AP/Router (which can use one of any number of esoteric connectors) to another connector for the antenna (usually a "N" type male). These can be had for $10-$20.

The type of antenna you'll need will sort of depend on where in your house the AP/Router is. If it's centrally located and you're getting weak signals all around the fringe of your house, then you'll need an omni. If the AP/Router is at the edge of the house and you're getting a weak signal at the other end, then a directional antenna may work better.

Commercial antennas tend to be expensive ranging from $70 on upwards. There's a cottage industry, however, on eBay of basically a bunch of homemade antennas, but they work pretty well by some accounts. These go for about $20 on up.

Or as X alluded to, you can make your own antenna. The pringles can antenna could be made for several dollars in parts (and groceries) and was first made famous a couple years ago or so. It's a directional yagi design that most people could make themselves.

However, since then, if this guy is to be believed, a better performing and more easily made solution exists in the form of a "cantenna" which is a waveguide design.

http://www.turnpoint.net/wireless/has.html

This looks like it's ridiculously simple to make and I'm actually in the process of trying it myself. I've already got the pigtails and connectors, I just need to find the right cans.
Old 01-30-03, 12:31 PM
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If you don't want to make your own, Linksys recently released a wireless signal booster, the WSB24. Will work with any 2.4GHz wireless AP (with the correct cables).

There's a nice review here:

http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/Revie...odID-WSB24.php
Old 01-31-03, 01:53 PM
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Hi,

I have a SMC Barricade router and my friend has a DLINK router. Do either of these have an external antenna jack?

Also, what types of repeater stations do you recommend other then the linksys?

Thank you!
Old 01-31-03, 06:09 PM
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Another thing is to play additional wireless access points, but you would have to run cat 5 to them. It is usually cheaper than buying antenna though.
Old 01-31-03, 07:17 PM
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Thanks for the tips all - I cannot run cat 5 to an additional AP, so that's not an option.

However, I am willing to buy a repeater - is there any that will work for the SMC or DLINK routers?

The WSB24 seems to only work for Linksys routers.

Is there a repeater that I could just put in the corner that just needs AC and not cat 5?

Thanks!
Old 01-31-03, 11:36 PM
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MitzEclipse:

Check the review in the link I posted above. The WSB24 should work with any 802.11b or g access point. You'll just need to do a bit of wiring. Page 2 of the review explains how to do it...
Old 02-02-03, 09:43 PM
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bretski,
Thank you so much for the reply.

So basically, my only option is the buy the WSB24?

Thanks
Old 02-03-03, 12:53 PM
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AFAIK, the Linksys signal booster is the only off-the-shelf product available at the moment. As others mentioned earlier, you have a couple other options:

1) Build your own antenna, a la the "Pringles Method", or buy a better external antenna.

2) Run a CAT5 cable from your router to another AP elsewhere in your house. (I know you mentioned this was not a good solution for you).

3) Buy a couple access points that have wireless repeating capability ( Intel makes one that I know of).
Problem: VERY EXPENSIVE

4) Set up a wireless bridge. You'll need a pair of them. Since you are already using SMC products, here's their version:
SMC Wireless Bridge

Isn't Wi-Fi fun?

Good Luck!
Old 02-04-03, 09:44 PM
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Thank you all for the support.

I have another question - is there a good webpage that shows in comparison which wifi wireless cards offer the greatest reception?

I plugged in my friends Linksys USB wireless module (it's for desktops) and i can get reception in my room now!! With my 3com x-jack pcmcia card on my laptop, I can't even see the access point.

Is there any other wifi wireless modules that offer greater reception then the linksys?

Thank you!!!!
Old 02-04-03, 11:27 PM
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Originally posted by MitzEclipse

Is there any other wifi wireless modules that offer greater reception then the linksys?
As far as range goes, I highly recommend the Orinoco Gold card. It is an excellent performer, and will accept an external antenna if you need it.

The Orinoco Gold also has an outstanding set of client utilities. I think Proxim makes this card now (mine is a Lucent). Only downside to this card is that it's a 5V--sucks down batteries faster than other cards.

I've also used a Netgear card that had decent range, but not as good as the Orinoco.

Given the fact that your friend's USB module worked for you, I'd ditch the 3com and get a different card...
Old 02-05-03, 03:29 AM
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as far as the 3com card goes, I have to have it - it's an x-jack card so it actually can be pushed into the laptop - it's great for travelling (which I do a lot of)

Is there any orinoco-type card for the desktop that is USB based? I would love to have a desktop solution as well.

If there is an orinoco card for the desktop, could you please suggest some good external antennas as well?

Thank you again!
Old 02-05-03, 07:37 PM
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as far as the 3com card goes, I have to have it - it's an x-jack card so it actually can be pushed into the laptop - it's great for travelling (which I do a lot of)
Understood. I've used 'em in the past. I was suggesting that you get a separate Wi-Fi card for use @ home (like the Orinoco).

Is there any orinoco-type card for the desktop that is USB based? I would love to have a desktop solution as well.
Yes, they make a USB solution, but I've never tried it. Since the Linksys adapter you borrowed from your friend worked, why not go with that one?

If there is an orinoco card for the desktop, could you please suggest some good external antennas as well?
linky

Last edited by bretski; 02-05-03 at 07:43 PM.
Old 02-05-03, 11:24 PM
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Yes, they make a USB solution, but I've never tried it. Since the Linksys adapter you borrowed from your friend worked, why not go with that one?

Becuase for some reason the signal fades in and out (i dont' think it's strong enough - even though winxp says the connection is "very good". I will be online and suddenly the internet will just stop working.

I will have to do an ipconfig /renew or reboot to regain connectivity.

I'm thinking that it's because of the weak signal...
Old 02-06-03, 02:34 PM
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Well, in that case, I'd find a store with a good return policy and try a couple different USB wi-fi clients out.

Nice thing about the USB is that you can move it around to get the best signal.

Good luck!
Old 02-08-03, 12:23 AM
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Thanks for the tips again bretski,

I figured, if I buy a usb wifi module, I can always guy a USB extension cable and put it as close to the AP as possible!

..anyone know the max limit to USB in feet?
Old 02-11-03, 07:46 PM
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Mitz,

Sorry, was away for a few days. USB spec says cables should be no longer than 5 meters (about 16ft.).

Any longer than that, you may as well run CAT5...
Old 02-12-03, 12:45 PM
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I did end up buying the Siemens USB WiFi module for my desktop.

I can achieve very good to excellent signal strength, however, the problem is it will still drop connection after around 10-15 min. The only way to regain connection is to reboot.

I have no idea what's the problem - I'm not even loading any programs ... just letting it sit there with IM on.

Ideas? Thank you so much
Old 02-12-03, 01:55 PM
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Also, FYI - my roomates computer/wifi antenna is literally about 8 feet away from me. He has absolutely ZERO problems with his connection.

He has a NIC card he's not using - is it possible to connect to his computer (since he leaves it on all the time) and connect both my NIC card in my PC and his NIC card in his PC together so I could gain net access?

Just throwing out ideas... thanks!
Old 02-12-03, 08:33 PM
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Mitz,

See my reply in your other thread.
Old 02-14-03, 01:03 AM
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Once you pop, you can't stop...
Old 02-14-03, 01:47 AM
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Once you pop, you can't stop...

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