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OT - IT wireless network question.


Guest MJG
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Always had good IT advice in here before so...... :blush:

A year ago I successfully set up a wireless home network which allows my daugher in the next room to access the internet via. my NTL cable modem and share files/printer and the like.

All the kit (my PC, her PC and the wirless router) are all Dell and it was a breeze to set up. The signal strength allows shows as very good on her PC but then she is only in the next room on the same floor and our internal walls are made of cardboard.... well not carboard but it's a fairly new house so you know what I mean.

My brother in law has just asked me to set up the same type of set up but we are talking a diferent proposition. First thing all the kit will be different makes - this I don't really see as a problem but the main issue is going to be the distance between the second PC and the wirless router.

The main PC and router will be in the ground floor of a very old terrace house - the second PC will be in a loft bedroom. So there will be two ceilings and a bedrom between the recieving PC and the router. My main concern is because the instructions I got with the Dell router said to have if poss this higher than the second PC...... with the proposed setup I am talking about above it is going to be the other way around.

Am I likley to hit range/signal strength problems and if yes what is the best way to avoid.

Many thanks.

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Guest diesel_jim

There is a bit of kit, the name escapes me now but our IT guy at work has used it on a few sites we've got (pubs, so there is a PC in the bar running room letting software, and then a PC and stuff upstairds in the offices)

it plugs into a normal 13a mains socket, and as long as the "other" sockets are on the same ring main, you can attach either a PC or another wireless router to the other end and have full signal strength.

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It shouldnt be a problem, I have a wireless router on the ground floor and I get a signal fine upstairs, even at the back of the house, which means the siganal goes through three solid 100 year old brick walls.

I find the main issue with signal is interference from other networks, dect phones etc etc.

There are 12 wifi channels with bands of three overlapping, so channels 12+3 overlap, 23+4 overlap, 34+5 overlap etc etc. You need to fiddle about to find the band with the best penetration in your house. Obvously some types of brick and flowery wallpaper absorb different frequencies to plater board etc.

In other words, epxeriment with different channels.

Hope this helps....

Stephen

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There is a bit of kit, the name escapes me now but our IT guy at work has used it on a few sites we've got (pubs, so there is a PC in the bar running room letting software, and then a PC and stuff upstairds in the offices)

it plugs into a normal 13a mains socket, and as long as the "other" sockets are on the same ring main, you can attach either a PC or another wireless router to the other end and have full signal strength.

Maplins stock a few. I would have thought that the upstairs and downstairs sockets are likely to be on separate ring mains, though, which would nix this idea.

I've found wireless kit is generally pretty tolerant of location, so the sort of ranges you're talking about I don't think you'll have any problems. The only thing that's likely to be an issue is the material the wall are made of, and unless any of his neighbours have set up wireless already, you'll just have to try it and see. Some wall are predictably problematic - granite, for instance, but different sorts of brick can have totally different effects. My old house (Birmingham ex-council semi) had brick internal wall and was no problem, but at work in a converted brick barn near Leamington Spa the walls block wireless signals completely - you have to have line of site with the base station - so we gave up on it.

Before you start setting up, make sure you've installed the latest drivers for all the wireless cards and latest firmware on the router - could save you a lot of hassle, particularly with older kit which often shipped with drivers that simply didn't work.

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I have trouble getting a signal at home...but then the walls are stone and about 3' thick!

I'm currently trying to work out the best solution for this. There seem to be quite a few available. Linksys have a new router with 3 antennas which aids signal strength. You can also buy specialised antennas...both directional and omni-directional.

However, in the spirit of Land Rover...you can make decent antennas from rubbish: http://www.oreillynet.com/cs/weblog/view/wlg/448

Pringles anyone?

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I tried a couple of routers before I got it right. D-Link I found very hard to set up and caused me lots of problems. I took it back and bought a Fritzbox. This took seconds to set up. I have big thick walls with concrete floors in our German made house. I find signal strength is ok up to about 10 metres, then starts getting weaker.

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You might want to try a piece of software called Netstumbler

Netstumbler download

It allows you to carry out a wireless survey and fine tune your wireless setup. You will be able to see if there are other wireless networks in the area, and what radio channels they are using, so that you can pick a different channel to avoid interference. You can also look at signal quality and strength, and use that to find the best location for your router. Just bung it on a laptop and take a wander round the house.

Also remember to ensure optimum performance, the aerials on the router need to be vertical (either pointing up or down) If they are at a angle or horizontal then this will effect the range too.

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There is a bit of kit, the name escapes me now but our IT guy at work has used it on a few sites we've got (pubs, so there is a PC in the bar running room letting software, and then a PC and stuff upstairds in the offices)

it plugs into a normal 13a mains socket, and as long as the "other" sockets are on the same ring main, you can attach either a PC or another wireless router to the other end and have full signal strength.

I had a problem in certain rooms in our house downstairs when the router was upstairs, so I put one of these in

WLAN Extender

Now I get great coverage on the WLAN right out into the garden (great while working at home during the really hot weather this summer).

The only caveat is that both units (one plugged in via Ethernet cable to the router, the other where you want the extra wireless coverage) need to be plugged into the same ring main. If they are on different fuses or trips on the circuit board it won't work.

You will also be restricted to approx 6Mb bandwidth on the link over the mains cabling, so if you have 8Mb (and it actually runs at 8Mb) broadband you will get slower performance from the extension unit).

STEVE

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I had a problem in certain rooms in our house downstairs when the router was upstairs, so I put one of these in

WLAN Extender

Now I get great coverage on the WLAN right out into the garden (great while working at home during the really hot weather this summer).

The only caveat is that both units (one plugged in via Ethernet cable to the router, the other where you want the extra wireless coverage) need to be plugged into the same ring main. If they are on different fuses or trips on the circuit board it won't work.

You will also be restricted to approx 6Mb bandwidth on the link over the mains cabling, so if you have 8Mb (and it actually runs at 8Mb) broadband you will get slower performance from the extension unit).

STEVE

I was looking at these last week, bit I heard that in some set up modes you lose the WEP security?

Have you any ideas on this?

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You might want to try a piece of software called Netstumbler

Netstumbler download

It allows you to carry out a wireless survey and fine tune your wireless setup. You will be able to see if there are other wireless networks in the area, and what radio channels they are using, so that you can pick a different channel to avoid interference. You can also look at signal quality and strength, and use that to find the best location for your router. Just bung it on a laptop and take a wander round the house.

Also remember to ensure optimum performance, the aerials on the router need to be vertical (either pointing up or down) If they are at a angle or horizontal then this will effect the range too.

Aye, it's a useful little bit of software is Netstumbler download

I had both range and connection problems with my previous Linksys home setup (as did a lot of others apparently) but the upgraded replacement they supplied under warrenty has been fine.

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I was looking at these last week, bit I heard that in some set up modes you lose the WEP security?

Have you any ideas on this?

I'm running mine with WPA encryption (the strongest security on domestic kit) without problems.

The only problem I have with mine is if I wonder round the house with the laptop and the Wifi card switches between access points. As one is on the other side of the ethernet bridge it can get confused and a reboot is required. Apart from that it does exactly what it says on the tin.

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I'm running mine with WPA encryption (the strongest security on domestic kit) without problems.

The only problem I have with mine is if I wonder round the house with the laptop and the Wifi card switches between access points. As one is on the other side of the ethernet bridge it can get confused and a reboot is required. Apart from that it does exactly what it says on the tin.

WPA2/PSK is the highest level of wireless security available for home use. If your kit doesn't already support it, I suggest you upgrade the firmware/drivers so that you can run it. The latest wireless cracking tools are now breaking WPA/PSK as well as the former standard WEP.

Roaming from one access point to another can be a pain. At work we use wireless domain services on all access points. This allows us to pass the client's (laptop) authentication credentials from one access point to another. Works a treat. We've even got it working between different buildings. Unfortunately I don't think any domestic wireless kit supports this service at present.

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