Most effective way to improve signal quality?

Posted on 2004-11-24
Last Modified: 2013-12-09
I have a Netgear wifi router connected to my cable mode.  It is a WGR614v2 model, and I have updated it to the latest revision of the firmware.  It supports both 802.11b and 802.11g.

I currently use it from just one PC (cable modem has to be downstairs, PC has to be upstairs, prefer not to have a wire between them) - which is upstairs (one storey up, typical 60s British terraced house) and "along" a room - so the router is one storey below and one room's width horizontally away from the PC.

I expected pretty good reception really, from a Netgear MA311 PCI card (supporting 11b only), given the relatively short range.

The signal strength fluctuates between 6-20%, but regularly cuts out (at random, not dependant on movement around the house, or any equipment turning on/off) - usually at least once an hour.

Would I be best buying an 802.11g USB wifi device and hanging it from a loose USB extension lead, or should I get a stronger aerial for the router downstairs?

I have read that 11g has a better range than 11b, presumably this can be extended to mean that inside 11b's coverage, 11g would be stronger?

Netgear's own aerial to go onto the router promises half-mile radius coverage - I don't believe or want that, but half-house would be good.  It has lukewarm reviews at so I'm not completely convinced it would work.  If the answer is that the aerial is the best option, what kind of adaptor would I need to connect it to the WGR614 router?  I've spoken to Netgear by phone, but they mumbled and said they don't sell such a thing!
Question by:danieloneill
    LVL 48

    Expert Comment


    Author Comment

    Quote from that URL:
      "The Wireless-G range Expander is compatible with the Linksys WAP54G, WRT54G, and WRT54GS routers."

    Those are Linksys routers, mine is a Netgear.  There's nowhere really to put it that isn't in the same place as the PC or the same place as the Netgear router - between the two locations is a mains-power-less flight of stairs and a couple of doors :-(
    LVL 48

    Expert Comment

    make another access point


    if its above the floor then just wire it? (especially if its a desktop , you aint t aken that to the john) :)
    LVL 6

    Accepted Solution

    All you really need is a better aerial for your netgear 311 card.
    Netgear to actually offer a product which would definately assist with your reception.
    Its called the Netgear ANT2405 Indoor/Outdoor 5 dBi Omni-directional Antenna I know my local supplier(australia) offers it so im guessing you should be able to pick one up, otherwise im pretty sure Austwireless ship internationally.

    All you do is unscrew the Stub antenna and screw on the new aerial.

    Hope this solves your problem. Any questions let me know.
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    just in addition. heres the speel on the netgear antenna. including the connector is uses as requested.

    Works with 802.11b or 802.11g in 2.4GHz range
    Aesthetically blends with the environment

    This indoor omni-directional antenna is designed to extend coverage and increase the performance of any wireless 802.11b or 802.11g device. This antenna is especially useful in optimizing coverage when you want to place your wireless access point or router out of plain view – in a wiring closet or above a ceiling pad. Locate this antenna at the top of a cubicle, on a ceiling, desktop or wall, where it is more receptive to radio signals. Ideal placement is on a wall, 2 m high, or on the ceiling facing the area to cover. Includes mounting brackets, cable sold separately.


    Connector: Reverse SMA Male connector
    Maximum Outdoor Range: 790m
    Frequency Range: 2400 to 2500 MHz
    Gain: 5 dBi
    Polarization: Vertical
    Beam Width: Horizontal 120°, Vertical 110°
    Operating Temperature: -20 to 65° C
    Storage Temperature: -30 to 80° C
    Dimensions: 99.2 x 53.9 x 27.5 mm
    Weight: 55 g

    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    okay, all the answers here are great, but if your looking for a poor mans solution... or maybe something just to get that extra umph out of your new antenna... take a gander at this:

    it's a slow site, give it time. good read for those interested in WiFi and other wireless applications...

    however, all of their research was done with line of sight, though, over short range, in-house WiFi, it should at least boost signal quality.

    Author Comment

    Thanks cohenphil, I bought one of those antenna and it must be good - the signal stopped dropping out the minute after I ordered the new part.  It hadn't even arrived, but the network stayed up and didn't drop since.  The box is here now, but still not connected... it looks like a good solution, but my problem seems to have fixed itself :-S
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Glad i could help, Plugging in the antenna wont hurt if you have already purchased it.
    You'll just get a bit more reception then what your currently getting.

    All the best for your wireless adventures.


    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    Threat Intelligence Starter Resources

    Integrating threat intelligence can be challenging, and not all companies are ready. These resources can help you build awareness and prepare for defense.

    MAC Filtering: MAC filtering is like handing a list of names to a doorman. If someone comes to the door and mentions a name, this name is checked by the doorman on his list and granted or denied access by this. This means that if someone menti…
    In this article I will describe how to setup a Cisco WLC 5508 to work with Apple's Bonjour protocol across VLANs.  I will also discuss using screen mirroring and Airplay on an AppleTV v3.  This article covers the wireless network only and requires m…
    This Micro Tutorial will show you how to maximize your wireless card to its maximum capability. This will be demonstrated using Intel(R) Centrino(R) Wireless-N 2230 wireless card on Windows 8 operating system.
    Viewers will learn how to connect to a wireless network using the network security key. They will also learn how to access the IP address and DNS server for connections that must be done manually. After setting up a router, find the network security…

    779 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    16 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now