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View Full Version : getting the best out of your wireless network



Gibbo
2008-01-09, 12:22
Now that I have it all up and running again, other than checking every channel, is there a way of finding the cleanest least noisy channel?

and what kind of xmit do people who have modded their routers go to?

What signal quality signal to noise would you settle with?

Siduhe
2008-01-09, 12:27
Netstumbler will allow you to graphically assess the signal/noise on each channel (you still have to change your router to each channel in turn - can't instantly see a way round that) and that makes it pretty easy to pick the best one.

Netstumbler is Win only I think, but Kismet is supposed to be good for Linux.

Mark Lanctot
2008-01-09, 12:35
I've heard of mixed reactions to increasing transmitter power.

It shortens the wireless module's life and can definitely cause it to overheat in the summer. One other article I read stated that the noise level increases along with the signal, meaning it doesn't improve SNR.

Although I'm using DD-WRT v23 SP2, I haven't experimented around with increasing transmitter power.

bpa
2008-01-09, 12:59
I had a wrt54GV1 and I replaced the firmware with HyperWRT and increased the power slightly. It maybe unrelated but the router died about 2 months later.

In my case I found power increase did not help as it did not improve the signal/noise ratio. I replaced the antennae and they gave the extra 20% signal improvement that I needed.

Using Netstumbler will also help as orientation and even position within a room can affect signal quality greatly.

Wirrunna
2008-01-09, 13:57
Two links worth looking at - http://www.dansdata.com/gz077.htm
and http://www.freeantennas.com/
Verify the results with Netstumbler.

Gibbo
2008-01-10, 03:39
Cheers of the replies.

I've already bought a pair of high gain antenna's, but they didn't really seem to do much. I've now increased the power just a small ammount. it doesn't do a thing for the signal to noise ratio, but it does improve the signal strength enough to keep the SB's happy.

oreillymj
2008-01-10, 04:42
On a related note. I bought a Belkin G+ MIMO router over xmas to replace a really old Belkin I bought at the preG stage. It was upgraded to full 802.11G soon after I bought it and has worked well for the last 5+ years.

My SB2 & SB3 were working reliably streaming MP3, but downloads on my PS3 over wireless were very slow and I got breakups while streaming DivX to it using Tversity. Also some of the neighbours had got wireless kit, so it was time to boost my signal ;-)

Anyway, after going MIMO, I noticed an immediate improvement.

I can stream med-def ( > SD, but not 720p) DivX's which I couldn't before and I can also stream DTS5.1 flacs to the SB3 which I'd given up on before.

The router itself does a site survey when you switch it on and will pick the best channel for you. I don't if or how often it might channel hop. I set the channel manually to what was on my old belkin router to avoid re-configing devices, but I'm going to give the Auto-channel setting a test to see how I get on.

The only downside seems to be that MIMO routers don't do bridging, so the AP I had in the kitchen to boost the signal there is now useless and the SB2 in kitchen is still only reporting ~50% signal strength.

SuperQ
2008-01-10, 05:04
The router itself does a site survey when you switch it on and will pick the best channel for you. I don't if or how often it might channel hop. I set the channel manually to what was on my old belkin router to avoid re-configing devices, but I'm going to give the Auto-channel setting a test to see how I get on.

Client devices should not care what channel the AP is on. Most auto-scan all channels when associating and look for the highest strength AP of the SSID they are looking for.

Gibbo
2008-01-10, 06:09
there is an auto setting on DD-WRT, but as far as i'm aware my D-Link wireless device in my PC doesn't want to connect when its set to that, I seem to have to specify a channel for the D-Link to look for the network.

oreillymj
2008-01-10, 06:15
Client devices should not care what channel the AP is on. Most auto-scan all channels when associating and look for the highest strength AP of the SSID they are looking for.

Perhaps that's what supposed to happen but wireless nic drivers seem to be especially buggy.

A lot of users here who report problems with music stuttering have MIMO routers and I wonder if the SB3 loses it's connection when the router hops to a different channel. I'll soon find out because I switched from C11 to Auto last night.

SuperQ
2008-01-10, 09:35
Hrmm, yea, you're probably right that many clients will not handle the AP doing random channel flipping gracefully. I doubt the SB3's 11g card will handle it very well. But what I was saying was that changing the AP's channel manually from time to time shouldn't require re-configuration of clients.

Gibbo
2008-01-10, 10:06
not at all. I went through every channel last night and although the SB's didn't catch up instantly they had no problem with finding SC again each time, which is more than can be said for my computer.