Most effective way to improve signal quality?

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 http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?product_uid=50573 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!
danieloneillAsked:
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Mikal613Commented:
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danieloneillAuthor Commented:
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 :-(
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Mikal613Commented:
make another access point

http://www.netgear.com/products/details/WG302.php#usability

where?

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

http://www.austwireless.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/355

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

Hope this solves your problem. Any questions let me know.
Cheers,
Phil
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cohenphilCommented:
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.

Specifications:

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

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MystikIncarnateCommented:
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:
http://www.usbwifi.orcon.net.nz/

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.
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danieloneillAuthor Commented:
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
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cohenphilCommented:
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.

Cheers
Phil
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