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Author Topic: Extend WiFi range  (Read 8008 times)

Posts: 127

« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2007, 06:13:01 PM »

One router is on channel 11, while the other is on ch 9.
I had them on the same channel at one time, but I think it might have been causing some interference, so I changed one of them.

Posts: 3

« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2007, 01:54:20 PM » 2 interesting links for extending wi-fi range!

Posts: 37


« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2007, 03:14:33 PM »

Only channels 1, 6 and 11 should be used in a WLAN.  If you have two access points, pick two of these channels for them (after checking for neighboring channel use as several have pointed out).  The SSID should be the same for all access points if you want to be able to roam between them.  Differing SSID will allow you to control which you connect to if desired.

2.4 GHz telephones and other wireless devices are a problem - minimize or eliminate them.  5.8 Ghz phones can still be a problem as many of them use 2.4 Ghz for handset to base communications (save battery and provides enhanced range).  DECT phones are best as they operate at 1.9 Ghz and do not interfere at all.

Hawking makes a USB wireless adapter with a integrated 6 dBi gain antenna - is excellent for providing increased range and data rates in the home.


Posts: 69


« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2008, 11:08:13 AM »

I live in an apartment with very thick walls and have had good luck with this antenna. Other two issues with cordless phone interference and channel numbers also very important in my experience.

DLINK ANT24-0700



Posts: 5

« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2010, 08:19:02 AM »

I have sucessfully built and used what is called a <a href="">wifi cantenna</a> using an aluminum dryer vent for about $10. It gives me about 17 DBi of gain, and I can hit my Dlink router from about 1/2 a mile away.

Here is the link for building a <a href="">cantenna</a>

-- Mike

Posts: 371

« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2010, 12:21:09 PM »

You should be able to simply mount a reflector behind the stock antenna and get the coverage you need.

However, if you want the BEST performance for under $50 dollars, I would suggest
purchasing a ALFA networks AWUSO36H Long Range USB Adapter

It is only $34.99 from and will GREATLY extend your range

I use one every day and can access my router over a mile away
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 02:54:12 PM by R. RICH » Logged

Posts: 1377

« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2010, 01:15:33 PM »

Due to equivalence laws (reciprocity) on signal loss you would need to increase the power of your laptop so the WiFi signal would have some symmetry on signal levels in both directions. That will not be as easy a proposition as using OpenWRT or some other wireless router tool. OpenWRT is not going to make the wireless router receive any better.

At the frequencies that 802.11 wireless systems operate, the propagation is due to either a direct path or reflections off of other objects. If you put enough things between the two devices or end up depending upon the signal bouncing off of too many objects it will be attenuated below the level of operation.

The best solution would be to install a new access point where you need it (as you did). A second choice would be to install a better antenna, similar to what you see in many businesses.

I am not a fan of using more power "because we are hams and can legally do it". If we wanted to play that game then we must recognize that the other rules also apply about the commercial use of ham spectrum, station identification and that an OP must be present at the station whenever it is in operation. We cannot have it both ways.

Flame me as you wish, them's the rules.

Tisha Hayes, AA4HA

Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama

Posts: 1899

« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2010, 09:33:05 AM »

"You can get a Linksys WRT54G WiFi router and modify it for a higer Tx power.  Only versions 1 through 4 (I believe) will accept the 3rd party firmware."

Alternately buy a new WRT54GL (note the "L") w/ same internal H/W as 54G ver 1 thru 4 (or so) and run third party firmware such as Tomato or DD-WRT. These among other things will allow output power adjustments, don't go too high or you may have performance problems, but a modest increase may do what you need. Keep multiple wireless networks at least 3 channels apart, as they overlap their neighbors (1, 6, 11 triplet are the common/standard choices, though I've seen 1, 4, 7, 1, or something like that advocated for multi-storied building applications where, going up, the channels are 1, 7, 4, 11, 1, etc. IIRC, w/ antennas oriented vertically for max sensitivity in the horizontal plane -- but this is a specialized case for high rise hotels, apartments, businesses and probably not applicable here).

If you use channels 1-5 you can also operate under part 97 (vs. part 15) if you ID (name your Wireless w/ your callsign and turn SSID broadcast on, but beware of ยง97.113(a)(4)  which probably forces you to operate unencrypted. I'd stay part 15 I think.

Posts: 707

« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2010, 04:14:18 PM »

Here my experience and howto.

I use a Linksys wrt54gl to replace a Actiontec (garbage)  as wifi access
point. Range unmodified is 100ft (covers 1/2 my property) from inside the
house in a closet.  Range difference is 2:1 compared to the cheapie.

First forget higher power unless both ends can do it, it's also a regulatory pain.
If you run unencripted at least use MAC address filtering. However the problem
is the entire network has to be firewalled to keep personal traffic out and secure.

Use directional antennas aimed at each other.  I did this with a pair of 14db commercial
yagis for an installation to get from one building to another 800ft away.  Worked 100%.
of the time and it was more secure as you had to be in the path (visible to building
occupants) and the buildings acted as a shield.  Antenna gain is cheaper than power
and easier to use,  Power it's hard to get more than 10db.

Note any cable used for antenna is severely lossy at 2.4Ghz, minimum used is best.

Most noteboots/netbooks/portables have crappy antennas compared to the access

Use the WRT54G or GL, but standard power or better access points as the common
cheap way out is lower power out.  Expereince is any of the known networking names
like Linksys, Netgear and all.  I've encountered some cheap wifi routers that when
tested did less than 1/4 the range of the better ones unmodified.

Always use the quietest channel!   Every Fios install around me has an
Actiontec on channel 6!  Getting off 6 an on 11 got my range from almost 25ft
to almost 75ft.  Dumping the Actiontec  for wrt54gl as the WIFI doubled that.

There are point to point bridges available, Linksys is one I've used and
seem to be decent.

If you can find a set of the old Orinoco 900mhz bridges they are very good
but the software can be a pain.

If the systems are on different floors the antennas are not in the same plane. 
The higher should have the antenna upside down and the lower right side up.
This avoids the overhead and under use blind spots.

Cheap wifi is exactly that usually.

If you can wire is better, and secure and it's not that hard to run a 25 or 50ft


Posts: 31


« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2010, 12:28:03 PM »

The other issue w/ running higher part 97 power levels vs part 15 power levels is the prohibition  on encryption: so I don't believe you can legally transmit encrypted WEP or (better) WPA keys, even w/ your call in the SSID as a result you'd have an unsecured network (with extra range!).
Which could not only result in your system being hacked into but you run the chance of getting a rather unpleasant letter from the FCC as well.
The other angle to look into is buying/building very directional antennas (yagi, tin can waveguide, etc.).
And sticking with the encryption as well.  Using your callsign vs. some other name as the SSID is irrelevant.

Cheers & 73 Cheesy

Pat Cook, KB0OXD
Englewood, CO

Posts: 31


« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2010, 04:20:43 PM »

The WiFi channels are shared with the ham bands, so as long as you use your ham callsign as the SSID (and don't use encryption), the higher Tx power output is perfectly legal.
<end quote>

Um, *some* of the 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g channels (1-6; 2412-2437 MHz) are shared w/ the (US anyway) 13 cm ham band (2300-2450 MHz). US channels 7-11 (and 12-14, also allowed in Japan and perhaps elsewhere) are outside the US amateur allocation.
It is because of this that I made a change in my network settings to my callsign as the SSID (It had been something else before).  This way, if I discover I need a booster of some kind, I'll have the "Protection" of my ham call since I will essentially be TXing in the 13 cm band Cheesy

And switching from Channel 6 to Channel 4 seems to have made it more secure (The indicator in the sidebar had been sitting at 99% normally.  Now it sits at al solid 100% WITH A WEBCAM STREAMING no less).  Strange as to how such a switch can make such a huge difference like that.
Also, depending on your distance from other 2.4 GHz WiFi users (your own wireless 2.4 GHz cordless phone included) you may want to use Ch1 or Ch6 over Ch2-5, as 1, 6, & 11 are the only three with spacing  far enough from each other to avoid adjacent channel interference due to overlap, as the occupied bandwidth is fairly wide for WiFi.
My problem was ON Channel 6 (Kept losing Internet connection & sometimes, though rarely, I would also lose the ability to see my desktop from my laptop even though the desktop is fully functional & not frozen & the wireless indicator was ON), hence the switch to Channel 4.
The other issue w/ running higher part 97 power levels vs part 15 power levels is the prohibition  on encryption: so I don't believe you can legally transmit encrypted WEP or (better) WPA keys, even w/ your call in the SSID as a result you'd have an unsecured network (with extra range!).
Well since routers aren't Part 97 type-accepted TXers anyway, this point is moot unless you're causing interference to other radio services or do something else to get the attention of the FCC (Hence my post above)
The other angle to look into is buying/building very directional antennas (yagi, tin can waveguide, etc.).
That wouldn't be a bad idea worth considering either.

Cheers & 73 Cheesy

« Last Edit: June 22, 2010, 05:05:07 PM by KB0OXD » Logged

Pat Cook, KB0OXD
Englewood, CO
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