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Thread: Effectiveness of a wireless lan?

  1. #1
    SeK612's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +10BT Rep +10
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    I may be buying a laptop in the near future and am interested to know how effective a wireless LAN would be in a home (as it would be nice to be able to move about the house with the laptop and stay connected the internet).

    For the moment there's a simple wired network in place and I would attempt wireless I guess but just replacing the existing router with a wireless one (as an example of the router I would probably go for something like a Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Broadband Router which seems to be around £40-£50 - I'm open to suggestions on that really though).

    I'm curious to find out how effective such a setup would be, specifically if the router and wireless would allow me roam around the house without loosing the connection.

    So how far should I expect the router to push the signal. The house isn't massive but I'd want it to extend for a fair distance both along the ground and up into the air so it could be picked up on higher floors - the router would be placed on the ground floor (do things like walls and ceilings get in the way of the wireless signal).

    Also should I expect the signal to degrade gracefully and would this simply mean I would get really poor speeds a short distance away from the router (and need to be sitting on top of it to get and solid connection).

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    lynx's Avatar .
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    The signal degrades if it has to pass (in increasing order):

    Distance.
    Obstructions.
    Large Metal Objects.
    Generated electromagnetic fields.

    The worst generators of electromagnetic fields are microwave ovens and televisions, so try to avoid placing the router where the transmission path could be affected by these.

    Next to avoid is large metal objects, such as refrigerators.

    Don't put the router near an internal wall - remember that the diagonal path through the wall could be several meters, which will seriously degrade the signal.

    Finally, distance is the ultimate beater, but you shouldn't have any problems unless you live in a mansion.

    The wireless side is pretty standard these days (except for variations in the SuperG area) so if you are going to replace your modem-router make sure you go for one that is ADSL2+ compatible. Now that most of the UK is "8MB" enabled you may find that this will give you a better speed if you go for the upgrade, and will also be compatible with future higher speed options.

    I went for this, and I haven't had a single network or ADSL dropout.
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    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    Busyman™'s Avatar Use Logic Or STFU!
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeK612
    I may be buying a laptop in the near future and am interested to know how effective a wireless LAN would be in a home (as it would be nice to be able to move about the house with the laptop and stay connected the internet).

    For the moment there's a simple wired network in place and I would attempt wireless I guess but just replacing the existing router with a wireless one (as an example of the router I would probably go for something like a Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Broadband Router which seems to be around £40-£50 - I'm open to suggestions on that really though).

    I'm curious to find out how effective such a setup would be, specifically if the router and wireless would allow me roam around the house without loosing the connection.

    So how far should I expect the router to push the signal. The house isn't massive but I'd want it to extend for a fair distance both along the ground and up into the air so it could be picked up on higher floors - the router would be placed on the ground floor (do things like walls and ceilings get in the way of the wireless signal).

    Also should I expect the signal to degrade gracefully and would this simply mean I would get really poor speeds a short distance away from the router (and need to be sitting on top of it to get and solid connection).
    I use a D-Link right now and I have a pretty big house. I'm able to go in my backyard (right out back) and on my side deck without a dropout.

    My router is in the rear of the house, however, and I don't lose my connection within the house including the basement. That's where I spent most of my time after my knee was surgered so yay for wi-fi. If I go out to the front though, it drops.

    I'm waiting for the real n standard to finalizedratifiedwhateverthefuck they have to do then I'll get that.

    I read that it was finished then heard that it wouldn't be 'till later this year.
    Last edited by Busyman™; 06-17-2006 at 12:07 AM.

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    mikeco's Avatar Rossco's Manager
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    my router can cover all the house, from 1 side to ther other (3/4 walls and a floor and i can get 11mb connection to the router.

    my dad has the same router as me but his router isnt played on the desk like mine is so his can only give me about 5mb connection when im just 1 floor up from it.

    if u place it in the right place u can get a nice connection to it but if its place down the side of the desk or something then ur likely to get a bad connection.

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    Skillian's Avatar T H F C f a n BT Rep: +1
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    I always had an extremely bad signal in my bedroom. Constant dropped connections and poor speeds.

    I bought this replacement antenna for £9, and my signal strength has gone from Very Low to Good.

    All my connection problems were solved, I was very impressed.

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
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  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    SeK612's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +10BT Rep +10
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    Thanks for the replies.

    From them I think it seems as though I need to get a bit more information about wireless routers.

    At the moment a cheapish wired router is being used and it didn't seem that complicated to setup (4 ethernet slots for networking and a WAN ethernet slot for the internet connection - i.e a connection to a cable modem).

    Is it going to be different with a wireless one and could buying the wrong kind of router cause massive problems (whilst wireless sounds like a good idea it wont be much use if the connection keeps dropping or it fails to push the signal far enough around the house).

    Is buying a fairly expensive router (around £50, with the wired one costing around £20 a while back) going to yield a better chance of getting a decent end product (I'm not that familiar with brand names for routers and most seem to have mixed reviews with some people expressing dissatisfaction).

    Also there does seem to be a fair amount of stuff like "ADSL 2" mentioned in product names. I understood this to be an internet connection rather than a network standard. The LAN that would be set up using the wireless network would have a cable (NTL) internet connection. Does this mean a ADSL router wouldn't work?

    The connection set up would also see the need for two wired connections (so 2 P.C's connected). It seems most routers offer wired connection points, is this the case or do I need to look carefully in case the router is wireless only? Most also appear to offer 4 connection points. Is this 4 in total or could you have 4 wired as well as more connection to the network wirelessley (and if yes how many could you have connected wirelessely?).

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    lynx's Avatar .
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    An adsl router is specifically for adsl, if you are connecting to cable you need a cable router. The difference is in the WAN interface. An adsl router connects to your telephone line while a cable router has an ethernet connection.
    Example

    However, since you've already got a wired router you could simply add a wireless access point to the lan side. That way you don't need to worry about changing the ISP setup, you simply have to add the wireless connectivity.
    Example

    With any of the cheaper products you will only get 54mbps max, and considerably less than that if you get a poor connection, but since under most circumstances it will still exceed your internet speed it shouldn't be something you need to consider too much. However, if you intend moving a lot of files between your home pcs then you should probably aim for a higher specification.

    BTW, the above are just examples not recommendations since I don't have personal experience of cable routers. However, I can tell you that the Edimax range are incredibly easy to set up, mine took about 3 minutes including WPA-PSK security.
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    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    Skillian's Avatar T H F C f a n BT Rep: +1
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    If you're using cable for your internet, you'll need to get a cable router - an ADSL router won't work. That also means ADSL 2.0 won't apply to you either.

    I guess branded router might be more reliable, but I wouldn't assume a brand name router will give you a better signal. Best idea is just to read around a little and get one that's well rated. As I said, signal strength can be improved cheaply and easily so that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

    Most wireless router's offer wired (ethernet) connections as well, but there are a few that'll only have one wired socket, so check before you buy. Wired and wireless connections can be made simultaneously, and I believe my router (Netgear DG834G) can take something like 50 separate wireless at once, so that shouldn't be a limiting factor.

    It can sound complicated, but a wireless network is really quite simple to set up and use.

    edit: beaten to it by lynx but hopefully some of that is of use to you.

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