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Troubleshooting Wireless Networks

An explanation into how to rig together a wireless network that will boardcast a better, stronger signal in your home and office.

This episode explains why your wireless network may not be working correctly, what is going on, and ways of getting a better wireless signal in your house.

Episode #1-22 released on February 27, 2011

Wireless networks are becoming commonplace everywhere. Due to this known fact, we are finding that finding a strong signal may start getting difficult, near impossible. Today, we will be examining known causes of wireless signal degradation, solutions and suggestions for a better, stronger, more pleasent wireless connection experience.

First, let's deal with the signal leeches. Read your manual, and lock down your internet connection, so no unwanted people still your bandwidth. This will avoid you getting sued for violations of copyrights, and paying for excessive bandwidth usage. I choose to deal with violators of your wireless signal, because bandwidth, and therefore, signal strength accessability decrease with each new user connected to your wireless network.

Second, remember the two wall rule. If at any point you have more than to walls in between you and the wireless signal, then connecting my be impossible. Using a wired access point my solve this, and moving the router to places with better line of sight will do wonders for your wireless signal.

Now, let's deal with common signal interference problems. Wireless routers routinely run at 2.4GHZ, and newer 802.11N routers can operate at 5GHZ or 2.4GHZ, or both. This gives you a few options. We have to examine everything that runs at 2.4GHZ. This means your microwave, cellphones, portable phones, etc... can be or are running at 2.4GHZ. The solution is to exchange them, for devices of another frequency. Portable phones can be bought at other frequencies like 900mhz, 5.6 GHZ, and Dect6. You can also buy a new router using 802.11N and get new wireless adapters using the 802.11N standard, and set up a network at 5GHZ. Doing it this way may cost more or less, than changing your portable phones, but you will gain higher speeds and a greater connection area. My wireless N router, a Dlink dir-655 says it has a 10,000 square foot range, and I'm inclined to say that with all my precautions I've taken, it would be fairly accurate. Taking into account my apartment has cement walls, and the power lines pass over the building.

You may want to move your router as well, away from walls, wiring, and devices with similiar frequencies. Do not place a portable phone with the same frequency one beside the other. You can also replace the atennas it came with high gain atennas. This would direct the signal in a straighter line, increasing distance. This is only useful though if your devices have fixed positions.

There is also the possibility of two different, and fairly similiar ways of extending range of your wireless signal. You can use a wired access point. It extends the access of the wireless internet connection by have a second, or more, wireless router with the same access information. It does this by being connected by a RJ-45 cable, and therefore maintains nearly the same bandwidth.

The other solution is using a wireless repetitor, which extends the range of the signal, but only has half the bandwith, because the one wireless adapter needs to broadcast to the main router, often called Flip-Floping. The cost of this solution is based on what kind of router you have, because the usually have to be identical to function in this way.

You may also want to consider using wireless adapters from the same company that made your router, as this will allow for better performance and signal strength. You also have to remember that signal strength is determined by the signal range of both devices. The better the computer's wireless adaptor, the stronger the signal will be.

If your feeling adventurous though, there are some sites like Free Atennas, that have some projects that you can do at home, to boost the range of your wireless signal. I've included the relevant links in the show note sources.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Steve Smith | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

Sources & Resources