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Linksys wireless-g router Wrt54GL advise

Posted on 2010-11-22
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I am soon going to purchase a Wrt54GL and flash it with DRT-WRT to unlock further functionality.  I am going to use the router as a repeater to connect to a different wireless network and then relay that on as a new network.

The question being is what connector type does this router user and what kind of antenna would I purchase to get long range. I am thinking of getting an Omni style as the purposes for this router and antenna will change. So what antennas are there that will allow me to get a long range?

Thanks
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Question by:cornerit
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22 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:moon_blue69
ID: 34187310
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Author Comment

by:cornerit
ID: 34187367
The links in that post are not active. I am in the UK also.
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Expert Comment

by:moon_blue69
ID: 34187395
when I click opens fine for me
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LVL 4

Author Comment

by:cornerit
ID: 34187402
Okay well thanks for googling wrt54gl antenna.
I know a lot of people do this, How do I address the issue of the router having two antennas? Do I need two external antennas?
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Expert Comment

by:snailcat
ID: 34187949
Not sure wat DRT-WRT software is but it can be done with DD-WRT v 24.

You need to go through the steps of installing the micro/mini version of DD-WRT into the WRT54GL:
http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Linksys_WRT54GL

Then you will set up the WRT54GL as a repeater bridge:
http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Repeater_Bridge

My wrt54gl has 2 antennas.
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Author Comment

by:cornerit
ID: 34188040
I know how to set this up but thanks for that guide that should be useful.
I am more interested in the antennas.
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Expert Comment

by:snailcat
ID: 34188351
Sorry--i didn't read the question thoroughly--i am using the stock antennas & get an extra 100 feet through a few walls
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Author Comment

by:cornerit
ID: 34188547
I am looking for a range of 0.2 - 1+ Mile
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:Rich Rumble
ID: 34192841
Range is based on line of sight pure and simple. No booster can help you there. The higher you get the antenna the better, the more directional the receiver the better. DDWRT can double the output, the default is 75mw and the max is 200-250mw. Boosting your signal in the config like this will likely mean you will need to heatsink your broadcom chip and or get a fan inside there. I have old cisco switch blades hanging around and I removed the heatsink on those chips, they have a conductive adheasive that allows me to move them into the linksys with ease.
A booster may be able to go to 500mw, but I think that is the maximum allowed by regulations. It still comes down to line of sight. We had a customer place a 200mw wifi device (water proof version from Aruba) on top of their building (with permission) on a mast, and with a directional antenna and line of sight we could get the signal 3 miles away and have "good" strength too. But no obstructions (few trees, mostly other building) and having the device 100ft up was the key.
http://www.oreillynet.com/cs/weblog/view/wlg/448
We used a "pringle" can antenna on the receiving side to get the signal from a public park 3 miles away at ground level. Outside the building we could get a good .5 mile with no obstructions and no special antenna, but in the building on the first 6 floors (out of 8) we got nothing unless we went to a window and it wasn't usable.
-rich
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 34192993
Almost all Linksys and Cisco wireless devices that have removable antennae use "RP-TNC" connectors. That is also called "reverse polarity TNC."

Here are a couple places I've used for antenna purchases:
http://www.wifi-link.com/product.php?class1_id=1&class2_id=50
That starts you on their Omni antennae, but they make many other styles too.

http://www.l-com.com/category.aspx?id=2073
That starts you on their 2.4GHz antenna, and the Omni style are the second from the top on the left.

Which style and gain you use would depend on the particular application.

Note that the higher you go in gain, the more-critical is the aiming between them. That's because it's the same amount of signal, it's just squeeze into a tighter wedge so it spreads farther. If you think of the signal as a fixed amount of bread dough, an antenna with 3 or 4 dBi of gain would have a radiation pattern like a doughnut, while if it has, say, 12 or 15 dBi of gain it would be squeezed down more like a crepe (still the same amount of dough/signal, so it would spread out further).

e.g. Compare the radiation gain patterns at the bottom of these pages:

4 dBi - http://www.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=22263
8 dBi - http://www.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=22273
15 dBi - http://www.l-com.com/item.aspx?id=22365

'Horizontal' shows the shape of the pattern when looking straight down at the tip of the antenna; the 'Vertical' pattern shows a cross-section of the pattern looking at it from the side of the antenna with the tip pointing up (at the 90 degree mark on the chart).

The wedge of signal on the 15 dBi antenna is only an 8 degree arc, so any antennae that want to 'talk' to it would need to be in that wedge (+/- 4 degrees from the center). To help visualize that, from earth the moon takes up about 1 degree of the sky... so if it was a 1-degree wedge of signal from a high-gain antenna, and all your eye (high-gain antenna) could 'see' was a 1 degree arc, too, looking +/- 0.5 degree in any direction from it's center you would not 'see' it (would not receive its signal) at all.
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Author Comment

by:cornerit
ID: 34211101
I appreciate the advise! There are two antennas on the router and with the custom firmware you can specify what antenna is TX and RX however I don't think you can set it to use only one antenna so how do I address this? Do I need two antennas ? Also is this 100% a RP-TNC
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Author Comment

by:cornerit
ID: 34211125
If I was to plug this (2.4GHz OMNI 15dBi Antenna)
http://uk.wifi-link.com/product.php?action=product&class1_id=1&class2_id=50&class3_id=164&product_id=19

into this (Gain Booster)
http://uk.wifi-link.com/product.php?action=product&class1_id=13&class2_id=392&class3_id=393&product_id=939

and then into my router what would be the performance / outcome?

Also I am very unsure when it comes to having two antennas as above.
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Expert Comment

by:Rich Rumble
ID: 34212438
It all depends on your environment/surrondings/building materials. You can't predict how well the signal will work without understanding or knowing where the WAP is going. If the signal isn't good enough you might consider getting another WAP and using it as a repeater/bridge.
A WAP (signal) in a warehouse will be have differently than in your house.
-rich
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Author Comment

by:cornerit
ID: 34213000
This is being used as a repeated and it needs the greatest omni range it can get as it will be used for other purposes such as a hot spot
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Accepted Solution

by:
Darr247 earned 2000 total points
ID: 34213402
with the custom firmware you can specify what antenna is TX and RX however I don't think you can set it to use only one antenna

Sure... set both the TX and RX picklists to 'right' or 'left' for it to use only the 'right' or 'left' antenna (when looking at it from the 'front'), respectively.



Do I need two antennas ? Also is this 100% a RP-TNC
You should be able to use just one.

I've never seen any connectors on Linksys wireless routers/APs besides RP-TNC female (they have made plenty of models that did not have removable antenna, though). The industry 'standard' is N connectors, and typically you use a pigtail with RP-TNC on one end and N male on the other end to convert, because most antennae come with N female connectors... you can usually get the antenna with an RP-TNC female on it, but the extra cost is often more than the RP-TNC male to N male pigtail.

Try to use 400 or larger cable when possible, to keep cable losses low. Keep in mind that every connection means about 0.5 dB loss, too, so the fewer pieces of cable you need to use, the better. i.e. it's usually better to have a 30m cable with the extra 5m coiled than to use a 20m and a 5m cable added together to reach just far enough.

Also keep in mind LLC 400 needs a larger radius to bend than say, 240.
Rule of thumb for minimum bend radius is 10x the cable diameter... so if the cable is 5mm thick, minimum bend radius would be 50mm. For what it's worth, the outside edge of the typical CD/DVD has about a 60mm radius.  Anyway, that could make a difference to where you are able to mount the AP.

240 N to RP-TNC - http://uk.wifi-link.com/product.php?class1_id=422&class2_id=423
400 N to RP-TNC - http://uk.wifi-link.com/product.php?class1_id=226&class2_id=279

Some prefer to use an adapter mounted directly on the AP, such as
http://uk.wifi-link.com/product.php?action=product&class1_id=10&class2_id=19&class3_id=78&product_id=71
Then all they have to deal with is N male to N male cables, which simplifies installation. Believe me, it's discouraging to finish running the cable, carefully forming all the bends to keep their radii large enough, only to find the RP-TNC connector at the antenna end and the N male connector at the AP end. ;-)


If I was to plug this (2.4GHz OMNI 15dBi Antenna)
[link omitted]
into this (Gain Booster)
[link omitted]

You shouldn't use gain boosters like that on omni antennae; only on directional, so you are not interfering with other WiFi stations within range. If you did that here in the USA, the FCC would eventually shut you down when they got enough complaints (assuming one of your affected neighbors didn't thumbtack your coax first). Look into licensing some private spectrum if you find you need to use that much power, instead of using the unlicensed public bands.
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Author Comment

by:cornerit
ID: 34213433
Thanks for that.. However hypothetically what power would that have and what range? Out of curiosity.
0
 
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Expert Comment

by:Rich Rumble
ID: 34214705
The radio frequencies being used for wifi don't penetrate/pass-thru objects all that well... What is your envornment? A football stadium with a WAP at the top will get great range, a WAP in an office building may only cover a few hundred square feet.. WIFI works best in the clear open areas, as high as you can reasonably get the antenna. All we can do is guess how well it will cover, but we don't know what environment to "guess" at...
-rich
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Author Comment

by:cornerit
ID: 34214713
A 3 story building by the window out into the great open. Given the 2 links above and router?
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Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 34215090
If they will have a building on one side of them, you should probably use panel antennae instead, which won't send half their signal into the side of the building. Same 'dough=signal' principle applies, but the panel antenna folds the dough over (effectively doubling the signal) to spread it on just one side (a 'sector' antenna squeezes it down narrower but out even further).

e.g.
20 dBi + potential equalizer + 9m N to RP-TNC male LLC400 cable - http://uk.wifi-link.com/product.php?action=product&product_id=1502

16 dBi + potential equalizer + 9m N to RP-TNC male LLC400 cable - http://uk.wifi-link.com/product.php?action=product&product_id=1487

They have other lengths of pigtails in those kits, also.

Data sheets attached, below.
20dBi-Panel-DataSheet-1502-downl.pdf
16dBi-Panel-DataSheet-1482-downl.pdf
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Author Closing Comment

by:cornerit
ID: 34361607
Thanks
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