Upgrading my wifi equipment - help needed

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Frank_M, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. Frank_M

    Frank_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all -

    Would really appreciate your advice with my home wirless situation. I don't mean to make this such a long post, but I figure I'll lay it all out and hopefully hit on the info you'd need if you were going to offer advice.

    As it is now:
    DSL coming into the house in the basement (it's a ranch house.. so it's long, but just one level above the basement).

    I have a Lyksys 802.11b router (BEFW11S4) at the main PC, and then in the other basement room I have a PC hooked up with a microsoft USB wireless card (802.11b) and an XBOX360 with the XBOX adapter.

    The signal strength is excellent in the other room, but obviously the speed isn't great.

    Upstairs, the signal strength is decent in a few rooms, but weak in others.

    What I'd like to do:
    I'd like to increase the speed of all wireless devices and the range of the signal.

    I'd like to move the XBOX 360 upstairs to a room that is probably 75 feet from the router in the basement.

    I'd like to have a way for my wife to access the wireless network without plugging directly into the router in the basement. Her company's network will not allow connection via a wireless card. We've tried. It won't work.

    My (admittedly ignorant) attempt at a solution:

    1. Upgrade the router to a 802.11g. I was looking at either the WRT54GS or WRT54GX2 routers from Linksys. To be honest... I can't really tell the difference. But I'd like the one with better range.

    2. Would a wireless ethernet bridge work for my wife's issue? Like the WET54G from Linksys? I know she could plug her ethernet cable into just as she does with the router...so I thought maybe that would give her portablility throughout the house.

    3. Do I also have to swap out the Microsoft USB adapter on the other PC? I thought I read that if you have one "b" device running... the "g" router will treat all devices as "b" and send at lower speed.

    4. Lastly, we've got three printers in the house now. I'd love to just have one, and be able to print from the network. Is it as simple as taking the printer near the router and plugging it into the router? It's an older (2 years) printer, so maybe it's not even compatible with that sort of thing.


    Sorry to be so long winded. I appreciate in advance you even reading this, and moreso any advice you could provide.

    Thank you,
    Frank
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    1) I would go with one of the GX series wireless routers. They use some of the newer wifi technology such as MIMO. They will definitely give you the range and speed you're looking for.

    2) A bridge may or may not work. You might buy one from Wal-Mart to try it and if it doesn't work then just take it back.

    3) That varies. The first "g" routers would drop down to "b" if there was a single "b" device on the network, but newer gear shouldn't do that.

    4) If any of your printers are network ready (have an ethernet plug) then yes, you can plug them into the router. Alternatively, you could just plug the printer into one computer and turn on the Printer Sharing feature of Windows. It works pretty well. You can also buy print servers for other printers, but it's not really necessary if you've got one stationary computer to plug the printer into.
     
  3. Frank_M

    Frank_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Seth -

    Thanks for that info. Haven't seen the particular bridge that I found online in any retail store. And while I know I want a new router, you're right... I want to find the bridge somewhere where I can return it.

    I'll go with the GX then. I think there's a GX2 and now a GX4. Any idea if there's a big difference? I saw the GX2 on sale this week for $99.

    And I never knew about the Windows print sharing thing. That's great. I'll just try that!
     
  4. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    The GX4 has a third antenna on it and claims to add a little more range. They claim that the GX2 gives double the range of other "g" products while the GX4 triples the range. If 75 feet is your longest run, I would think that the GX2 would be fine, but if they're close in price the GX4 maybe worth the upgrade.
     
  5. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    You could also keep your existing gear and extend your range by working on the antenna part instead.

    The tiny little antennas that are on the wifi routers are rather inefficient and simply changing them out for something better will give you major benefits with both range and signal strength (which gives the possibility of using the maximum speeds the gear can, ie 56 mbit for G gear etc.)

    http://www.google.com/search?&q=wifi+antennas

    A better antenna in either end will improve communications both ways.
     
  6. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Kimmo and Seth:

    Sorry to jump into this thread but I was given a Linksys WT54G for Christmas and while it found all the wireless G devices I have it would find not the wireless B devices.

    I have two WPS11 wireless B print servers that hook up to my ReplayTVs using the ethernet outputs (neither one of them has USB). My wife has wireless G in her laptop, my daughter has a Linksys WUSB54G wireless G USB adaptor and the router finds them right off the bat. The WPS11's are not found by the router and calling Linksys support is like watching paint dry.

    I would like to be able to connect my wife's laptop and my daughter's PC using wireless G and I really don't want to buy new wireless G ethernet bridges for the ReplayTV's.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks,
    Parker
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Parker,

    Does the Linksys router have an option for 802.11g-only mode vs. mixed mode? Most "G" radios have such an option. Make sure yours is not set to "G-only" mode (or whatever Linksys may call it).
     
  8. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    I had it set as mixed.
     
  9. Frank_M

    Frank_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Parker -

    How DARE you hijack my thread! [​IMG]

    Seriously, though... I'm interested in that result as well. It seems that some people DO have issues with b devices working with g routers, and some don't.
     
  10. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    I am going to eventually get an XBox 360 to work as a media extender with my HTPC and take the ReplayTV out of the loop. The HTPC with work with a USB G adaptor and I will get a wireless G adaptor to go with the XBox.

    I just didn't know if anyone had heard of a solution to this with the wireless B devices on the supposedly backwardly compatible WRT54G.
     
  11. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    The only other thing I can think of, Parker, is to check whether there is a firmware upgrade available for the 802.11b devices that are not connecting properly. Also, make sure you are running the latest firmware on the new Linksys router.
     
  12. Frank_M

    Frank_M Stunt Coordinator

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    For what it's worth, I hooked up my WRT54GX2 last night, and my old b adapter on my second PC picked up the signal right away. Then to reward it, I unhooked it and replaced it with the new g adapter I bought. :)
     

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