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WIreless N router has worse range than my G router, how can i improve the range?

Posted on 2008-06-16
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I have a WRT54g linksys router at home.  I purchased a WRT160N linksys router to test for a client.  My client needs to have his wireless reach a little farther than his wireless g connection can transmit to.  When i hook the WRT160N in the adjoining room of the WRT54G(on a seperate channel), and go out side, the G reaches just as far, if not a touch farther than the N device.  I have always steered away form N devices since it is not standardized yet, but needed the extra reach the N device supposedly provided.  I just have the default auto settings on, any ideas on why distance is so poor?  I tried a WRE54g range extender first, but that device was terrible.  After connecting it to the network, I could be standing right next to the range extender and only gt a 40% signal strength.  
Question by:sisaacso170
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 21803531
Bad device?

Return it and try another is my suggestion unless you want to go purchase high gain antennas and try them.

Make certain that someone close by is not using the same channel and try different channels. ry to space your test at least 5 channels apart from the nearest wireless device.


Author Comment

ID: 21819510
The channels were 5 apart.  Out of the box i assumed the n router would transmit farther.  Does it matter that i have it in mixed mode.  I am using a g card in my laptop, but from what i read, the signal should still reach farther.  I really don't want to purchase another antenna, I guess I can return the device though I don't think that is the problem.

Accepted Solution

axiomtechnologies earned 200 total points
ID: 21832126
N is a more robust protocol in terms of efficient use of spectrum. The claims (I stress "claims") of improved range are not a factor of radio performance but protocol usage of available signal. In other words, the radio signal doesn't go any further...but the protocol makes better use of what's available. So a received signal that is too weak to be of use on a B or G system may be enough to move some data on an N system.

There's a bit of marketing scullduggery there. While it's true that you ~may~ see better performance at range and perhaps even be able to function at distances that were not previously possible, your radio SIGNAL is not going any further than it did before.

If the situation with your client is simply that the physical characteristics of his environment are significantly blocking the radio transmission then you may find that a switch to N will have little to no effect on his service. No radio signal on the back porch is still no radio signal on the back porch regardless of protocol type. Now if he had ~weak~ signal somewhere then perhaps N would work over G...but even that's pretty hit or miss.

If you really need to push a connection further then a high gain antenna is your best bet. Unfortunately a lot of the consumer grade routers hitting the market now do not offer interchangeable antenna. That's just a matter of shopping around. Alternatively you could try moving the router around the house. Perhaps you'll find a location with better propagation out to the places your client needs signal.

Good luck!

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Author Comment

ID: 21833312
That is some good info axiom, thanks.  I was going to accept as a solution but wonder if i could get a little more info first (recommendation actually)?  There is a WRT54g in one end of the building, and i need the signal to go slightly farther to cover the whole area. The area i need to put either a WAP or range extender is in an area without wiring.  My question is, how would you extend the signal?  Will a linksys WAP54G repeat a signal?  I was trying to avoid having to buy 2 WAP's and running in bridge mode.  Do they make a high gain antenna for the WRT54g, if so is there a certain brand you recommend?

Expert Comment

ID: 21833851
The WRT54GC supports an external antenna option.

Please excuse the ridiculous link:


And antenna (7db):


Another antenna option... higher gain, though of a different brand (9db):

http://www.hyperlinktech.com/item.aspx?id=1925 (Make sure to get the R-SMA connector that matches the router)

A good tool to use if you aren't already is netstumbler (www.netstumbler.com). Run it on your laptop and you can wander around the location and see exactly how much signal is being received in various areas.

Good Luck!


LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 21833872
For shorter URLs try


Works well..


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