It seems that this should be a simple question to answer, but I haven’t been able to find that simple answer yet. I’m between dating computer geeks, so that might be a big part of the problem… anyway…
I need a wireless router that will a.) actually transmit a signal up a flight of stairs to a room in the opposite corner of the house and
b.) be easy to set up for someone who is between those geeks, with no new and helpful geek in sight to proffer advice.
If a.) cannot be done, I will settle for one that will transmit the signal to the room on the opposite side of the house. The Linksys Wireless-G I have now is absolutely hopeless at this task and the second computer is now insisting that it doesn’t exist at all.
There must be a way to do this without running a 50-foot cable… all advice appreciated…
My experience of the Linksys WRT54g is that the radio transmission/reception is better than average. You might get better performance from a wireless N router, but you’re not likely (IMO) to find a wireless G router that works better.
Some versions of the WRT54g can be reflashed with new open-source firmware such as DD-WRT or Tomato, enabling them to be re-purposed as a wireless extender or bridge, so one possible solution would be to buy a new router and re-use the WRT54g in the middle of the property, as a range extender.
Have you tried adjusting the location/orientation of the router to the extent possible? 50 feet should certainly be within range of a stock unit. WAPs are usually omni-directional but the coverage isn’t a perfect circle as one might expect. Often the coverage is more egg-shaped due to various reasons. Do you have plaster walls? These usually have metal mesh inside them to hold the plaster. Short of reflashing the firmware you might search for DIY range extenders. I’ve seen some aluminum foil hacks on the web that claim good results. I’ve never tried any so I can’t vouch for their effectiveness.
I kind of lost track of this discussion for awhile, but then I got laid off when my job position was eliminated, so I’ve got lots more time! (It’s important to look on the bright side of things, I think…) One more try. All I need is:
a.) Simply the name and make of a router that will work better, and THAT’S IT
b.) Horribly technical explanation as to why this isn’t possible, until I run screaming, the last shreds of sanity gone with the wind
c.) FedEx me a geek. They’re nice to have around the house.
You should seriously consider what Musicat said (powerline networks) or a range extender like Hambil said.
While there are little tweaks you can do to the antenna, channel, etc., it’s unlikely to give you the kind of range increase you seem to be looking for; those fixes are best for marginal cases, not necessarily for when you can’t even detect the router.
Otherwise, a Wireless N router will theoretically give you better range, but your computer has to support it as well (or you can buy an adapter for it). I don’t have the experience to provide any specific recommendations, unfortunately, except that I keep hearing that Apple routers are great – if you can afford them. The Apple AirPort Extreme, for example, gets 4.5/5 stars out of 283 reviews on Amazon.com, a very impressive feat for routers (which usually get 3-4 stars).
Punching to the other side of a house is tough for a lot of routers. N spec will give you better coverage than G but you need a receiving N to get the full benefit.
A Linksys SRX 400 G MIMO type unit (like this) will give you better then normal G coverage even if you do not use a MIMO G adapter, but just regular G adapter.
One thing you might want to try before getting a new router is using one of these. It solved my problem in punching across the house and was considerably better than the built in notebook antenna. The USB cable that connects it to the PC lets you move it around for maximum receptivity position.
Put it on one of the antennas, and aim it toward the room you want. You can make one in 15 minutes, from stuff you probably have around the house, and there’s a good chance it will work. If so, it’ll save the cost of buying a new wifi, and if not, it won’t have cost you much at all to try.
ETA: Where do you live. I have a geek, but I need to know where to ship him.