View Full Version : help with wireless signal

2008-03-09, 17:53
Recently my trusty Linksys Router went kaput, perusing the Best Buy shelves I decided on the Netgear WPN824 v2 "Rangemax" router. I have 2 SBs, one in my home/office, the same room as the router (80-90% signal strength) and my TV/Listening room on a different floor (20-30% signal strength) Today the SB in question stopped and displayed "rebuffering" and I have experienced several dropouts. My question is how can I increase the signal, should I scrape the Rangemax and try a different router? I have a Linksys wireless bridge hooked up to an old computer that seems to work well. If I use the bridge with the SB and hookup with the ethernet connection is there a way to check if the signal has improved? I also have a Linksys wireless extender that worked well with the old router but have not been able to get to work with the Netgear router. You guys always seem to know what to do.

Thank You,


2008-03-21, 11:45
JDB, 20-30% is below the acceptable level I'd say. But no reason to dispair. the first try would obviously be to make sure that there is not a "blind-spot" in the listening room. As it is on a different floor it could be that piping/wiring is blocking a effective signal.

As you mention you have the ill-performing SB on a different floor there is something to think about. The attennas of APs normally transmit in a "plane" to cover for instance one room or office space. As your SB is on another floor it will receive poorly. You could experiment with the direction of the attenna on the AP, have it point side-wards instead of upwards and see if that improves things.

2008-03-21, 17:15

Thanks for the help, the Netgear Router does not have an adjustable antenna, just a little dome on the top with fancy lights. I have thought about getting a longer cable so I can raise it a couple feet and that would also get it away from the wireless handset phone. The other question is using a wireless bridge into the SB3 ethernet port instead of using the SB3's wireless card. The bridge has an antenna, may do a better job of picking up the signal. If I try this how will I confirm the signal has improved or not? If the SB3 is connected by ethernet will it still indicate wireless signal strength.

2008-03-22, 07:55
When living in an open loft condo, a wireless G router worked fine for me. After moving to a multi-story house, I found the need to switch to a pre-N router. The SB series does not support the N protocol, but those routers have significantly greater range in general. For one specific room, which houses the media server, I also opted to put in Powerline networking.

My personal experience has been quite poor with Netgear routers as well, with frequent dropped signals for a number of devices. I am presently using a Linksys WRT300N and have no dropout problems across multiple floors and back yard. The Netgear router you refer to, although MIMO, does not have external antennas. I would expect this to detract from performance.

2008-03-22, 14:42
The other question is using a wireless bridge into the SB3 ethernet port instead of using the SB3's wireless card. The bridge has an antenna, may do a better job of picking up the signal. If I try this how will I confirm the signal has improved or not? If the SB3 is connected by ethernet will it still indicate wireless signal strength.

The SB won't be able to tell you the wireless signal strength received at the Bridge. It won't know about the signal strength at the Bridge, as the SB is getting the network via wire. However, most bridges/AP clients have a web interface where signal strength is sometimes displayed.

BTW: Older Linksys range extenders only work with Linksys Wireless Routers and Access Points. You might have to search out a hack to get yours to work with the Netgear.

2008-03-23, 16:21
Do an internet search for wifi signal boost, and you will come upon a wealth of info. I am familiar with the following two approaches (among many):

1. Cardboard and aluminum foil (don't laugh)
2. A wok

Two pieces of foil covering two pieces of cardboard at a 90 degree angle (like a corner of two walls). Place this on the side of your router AWAY from the intended signal direction, aimed so a line that bisects the small (90 deg) angle points toward the target. Sounds stupid but this will provide a significant boost to your signal. For another floor, remember to aim it up or down. Similarly, a wok on the back side of the router, with the open part pointing toward the target, will do the same thing.

The ones I'm using on a Linksys router are about 6 inches tall, with "wings" of about 4 inches long. I cut these out of the corner of a cardboard box, so they came "ready-made" with a 90 degree angle. Add one layer of foil, you're in business.

A wok (like a parabolic mirror) will concentrate the signal, but a little less attractively.

I have a desktop computer with one of those cheapo USB wifi Nics at the far end of the house from the router. Many walls for the signal to traverse. Before enhancement, the network connection was 6 MB on a good day with a low signal, sometimes 1-2 MB speed, and constant signal drops. With my booster devices in place (my linksys has two small antennae) - 24-36 MB connections are normal with a good signal strength and no drops. One of my SB3s is nearby, the signal and performance are consistently trouble-free.

Good luck.

2008-03-23, 18:54

Thanks for the help, the Netgear Router has a domed antenna, I made one foil corner to your specs., set it on the backside of the router with the bisect aimed in the correct direction and the SB3 wireless signal jumped to 41%. Big improvement, if I get the router moved to a higher position this just might work out. Thanks again.


2008-03-23, 21:44
Most netgears are supplied with feet's so you can have it standing on one shortside, this changes the orientation of the antenna.
wifi ap's have tendency to beam in a "plane" wich makes sense if everything is on the same floor, think small office.
So try a couple of different orientation's

2008-03-23, 23:41
Hope it works out for you, jdb. One of the unexpected benefits of these high tech signal boosting devices is the chance to make your friends laugh when they ask what it is. You learn real fast which ones have their own signal problems in their homes, because when they see that you gave them a serious answer, they stop laughing and start asking questions.

2008-03-24, 02:58
Might not make any difference, but Wireless G only has 3 non-overlapping channels 1, 6 and 11. If there are any other wireless APs in the area, it would be worth finding out what channel they are using and staying clear.

Netstumbler will tell you what channels all APs in a given area are using.