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Disappearing connections and flucuating speeds

by ieraceu / August 5, 2009 8:33 AM PDT

I've been helping my dad's workplace to set up a wireless network and I've come across a problem. We recently installed a 15 dbi antenna to a linksys wrt54gs to boost the signal to the surrounding buildings but the connection keeps disappearing. The connections close to the antenna never lose connection but connections further out will drop it and lose it anywhere from a minute to several hours. However, regardless of proximity of the computers all of them experience speed fluctuation anywhere from 36mbps to 2mbps. We've had this problem with two different network providers, I've changed the wifi channels, changed the encryption and the router's firmware is completely up to date. Can anyone tell me what might be going on? Is the router dying, not getting enough power to the antenna, what? Thanks.

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Tell a little more.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 5, 2009 9:32 AM PDT

You have the router at defaults, broadcast a simple SSID and use WPA?

Yup!

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Factory defaults and antenna height
by ieraceu / August 5, 2009 9:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Tell a little more.

They are all on factory defaults save for the WPA, its on WEP. There are a couple of computers that will not connect to the network unless its using WEP.

And as far as the antenna goes we have it mounted on a ~20 ft pole.

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Then you are toast.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 5, 2009 11:04 AM PDT

We slam WEP for its insecurities and people interfering with operations.

If you want trouble, do not follow our forum guide.
Bob

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I checked
by ieraceu / August 6, 2009 4:14 AM PDT
In reply to: Then you are toast.

the security and changed it to WPA and the problem still persists.

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And the other issues, settings.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 6, 2009 5:13 AM PDT
In reply to: I checked

That's just one of a few. Please be thorough in your posts or just use our forum sticky and tell us about those mac filters, the odd ssid or not broadcasting and so on.

Are you really giving your router a fair shake here?

If you are then POST 17 is next to fill in the areas that are poorly covered.
Bob

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Radio transmit power . . .
by Coryphaeus / August 5, 2009 9:35 AM PDT

is capped by the FCC. As you've found, changing the antenna helped, but not a lot. You need height, and fewer walls. It's just the nature of radio frequency, especially when encrypting a digital signal into the analog carrier.

Changing to a triple antenna "N" router may help. Updating the PCs to "N" may help. "N" uses higher frequencies, but as such, higher frequencies are blocked easier.

I don't have a solid answer except getting height to the antenna.

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Antenna height
by ieraceu / August 5, 2009 9:47 AM PDT

As I stated above, the antenna is mounted on an ~20ft pole along the outside of the building.

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When you are setting up WiFi
by samkh / August 5, 2009 11:32 AM PDT

for use by a multi building site, it is best to consult with professional installers since there could be multi-point interference sources causing dead spots and fluctuating signal degradations, even if there were no piggybacking or hijacking of your signal. You could spend a lot of time and money to acquire the expertise and measurement tools to set it up, but I doubt you had that in mind. Alternatively, you could run wire to each of the buildings and then set up WAP points inside each bldg.

Finally, as a cheap what-if, try using a MIMO router (Wireless-N are MIMO by design) instead of the WRT54GS. If it solves your problem, hallelujah!

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Router Suggestions
by ieraceu / August 5, 2009 2:32 PM PDT

Is there a particular n router than you could suggest. One with external detachable antennas and a high mW output (or at least enough to supply the antenna)?

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No.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 5, 2009 8:40 PM PDT
In reply to: Router Suggestions

The FCC limits such and you should never find an illegal unit on the market.

And even then you have not secured your connection. WEP can be swatted down with kiddie tools, hijacked and more. Make the choice for security and for those that can't make the leap tell them it was for security.

Again, more power is not the answer yet.
Bob

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N router
by samkh / August 5, 2009 11:11 PM PDT
In reply to: Router Suggestions

Linksys had some models with detachable antennas but not recently, D-Link seems to be the only one remaining in U.S. market. If you are stepping up, Cisco Aironet has some very nice products but they are seldom DIY projects. Try contacting one of the antenna companies (google) to see if you can find a helpful person to guide your choice of equipment.

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