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Old 13th October 2007, 16:09   #1
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Default extending wi-fi range.

I have a problem getting wi-fi connectivity in all corners of my two-storey bungalow. My office is at one corner of the gr. floor, and bedroom at the other corner of the first floor. In between there are stone walls and a wooden floor. Am using a Linksys WRT54G. Can I use any type of repeater or antenna?
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Old 13th October 2007, 17:00   #2
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Sure, get one more router of the same type and put them in WDS repeater mode.
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Old 13th October 2007, 17:27   #3
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you have 2 options!

1. do what Samurai said. Get another WRT54G (this model supports WDS out of the box) and put both routers in WDS mode.
2. This method needs you to be brave but save you the expense of another router but at the same time voids you warranty. Also, there is no guarantee that the signal will reach the other part of the house. You will need to hack the firmware of your router and install the opensource firmware which gives you the ability to do more with your router. Firmware like dd-wrt and open-wrt. Even tomato is doing well now. It will allow you to increase the transmitting power of your router and maybe it will do enough to get your setup to work. Just try it. But as I said earlier, the safer method will be to follow what Samurai said.

OT: Samurai, hows your WIFi doing?
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Old 13th October 2007, 17:46   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SumitB View Post
OT: Samurai, hows your WIFi doing?
Bloody outstanding man!!!
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Old 13th October 2007, 17:59   #5
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You saved a lot of money in this I assume. A leased line would have killed your budget and the fun
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Old 13th October 2007, 21:30   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Sure, get one more router of the same type and put them in WDS repeater mode.
Thanks guys.
So I tell my computer guy just that (WDS repeater mode)?
Can I put three routers in total to enable better coverage?
What about security from outsiders tapping in?
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Old 13th October 2007, 22:07   #7
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with WDS you can put as many routers as you want! However, I doubt that your computer guy will be able to help you unless he is a enthusiast himself :-)

You will probably need to help yourself! Moreover, we are always here to help you

Don't worry about security. Just keep your SSID broadcast off and utilize the WPA or WPA2 security encryption.
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Old 13th October 2007, 22:14   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SumitB View Post
You saved a lot of money in this I assume. A leased line would have killed your budget and the fun
Actually it is cheaper than before. When I was in my old office, I had separate ADSL connections at home and office. Now, just one.

filcord, I had to research a lot into WiFi (with lots of help from SumitB) before I could set it up. The guy who set up my physical networking still doesn't understand how I did my WiFi setup. Mine was a much complex setup, I had to span close to a KM. Yours is a simple case, couple of hours of effort should do it.

Edit: Once you get your 2nd router, PM me. We can get over a remote session and finish it in 10 minutes.

Last edited by Samurai : 13th October 2007 at 22:16.
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Old 13th October 2007, 22:40   #9
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Try placing them in line of sight. it will make things better (even though you do not have to strictly keep them in LoS)

Folks what if you can also get some really long antennas and make it go all the way up the two storeys by a window. I do not know if it will help. I once had a neighbour in the US who setup an antenna that went as far as the roof of her 1 storereyed house (she did the antenna herself with the help of some really long car stereo antennas she told me) and gave free internet to the neighborhood.
It should be possible.

Samurai san, did you just say that you have a single ADSL and a wi-fi setup that has a range of over a KM? Thats really jaw dropping!!
Since we are talking wi-fi routers, what is the net speeds you are getting on your wi-fi routers (i'm also on wrt54g).
When i tested Speakeasy - Speed Test i got 1500kbps via direct 10/100 ethernet cable.
THe same via wireless trickles down to a consistent 350kbps downstream.
Is that how good they get or is it possible to boost it up?
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Old 13th October 2007, 23:21   #10
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I recently used a directional antenna(a foil bent in shape of a parabolic reflector to be precise).
Router was in another room, and in the living room there was very low signal, with this directional setup, even with the wall in between the signal strength changed to "Excellent" instead of "low"
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Old 14th October 2007, 10:43   #11
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@tsk, I have the same problem of low reception in the living room. Can you please share details of how you built and connected that antenna?

BTW, I'm using a linksys wrt45g router
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Old 14th October 2007, 11:27   #12
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High gain antenna for linksys are available in market. It make lot of difference. WDS will make the speed by half. (Doesn't matter if your ADSL speeds are in Indian standards.) I used to home brew canteena in Bangalore wich increased the line of site range in Bangalore up to a KM. Maruthi Nagar 4th Cross to Udupi Garden Restaurant in BTM Layout. Same anteena gave ~4km range from 9th floor flat to vypin Island in kochi.

DD-wrt firmware is one of the safe bet. There are very low chances of you bricking the router over the procedure. In case of failure there are techniques to make them alive now with out much effort. With DD-wrt power can be increased to 251mW from the stock 28 mW. But remember the noise figure also get amplified with that method.
Linksys routers normally don't fail(except power supply). So warranty is not a big issue. If you want the warranty you can always get it replaced even with DD-wrt firmware . Dealers is too stupid to identify that it got bricked due to firmware issue. The firmware can be put back to the stock linksys firmware any time as well if it can be powered On.

Personal suggestion in order of preference.
1. Download DD-wrt firmware and install it. Increase the power to about 100 mW. (cost and effort= zero or minimal)
2. Try relocating the device away from the wall but gives a line of site to the other room through the door.
3. Think if moving the Linksys to the middle room.
4. Try high gain anteena (they are available in the market earlier, dont know current status.)
5. Try WDS after buying another linksys. But remember if signal is not reaching the other room it cannot repeat it!!!
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Old 15th October 2007, 06:16   #13
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Samurai I have now seen your posts detailing your set-up. It's a bit forbidding, but I feel I have enough tech sense to try. When I have a free day, say a Sunday will start the project.
To use your method:
For starters I should flash the firmware with dd-wrt?
And by the way, what speeds are you getting?
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Old 15th October 2007, 10:13   #14
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filcord, you have zero chances of failure if you follow the wiki on the dd-wrt site, but before attempting anything, ensure that your router is compatible with the firmware.

1. Check and re-check the compatibility.
2. Download the firmware.
3. Read, re-read and then re-read again.
4. Download the tftp client to upload the firmware.
5. Read the wiki again ;-)
6. Pray to Almighty and flash.
7. Zero investment + some time + luck = Router on dd-wrt

I have over 60 routers here on dd-wrt (do it for a living). Some failures due to power fluctuations does happen. Otherwise, alls well.

Range depends on the environment and thickness of walls. I have had instances when the dd-wrt firmware was capable of carrying its signal over a whole building of 3 floors.

Remember not to push the Signal level all the way to 251db or you may have a fried router. The high signal level will heat things up and can be fatal for the components. Generally a safe (stock) level of 70-100 db is ideal. Anything above that requires custom heatsinks and cooling.

Best of luck. Write hee for any assistance.
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Old 15th October 2007, 10:22   #15
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Filcord, it is safe to follow Sumit's advice.

This is the speed I get at my office, over 760 meter Wifi link.
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