N Wireless Router Coverage

January 12, 2009 at 10:07:34
Specs: XP SP2, 1.5 GHz 512MB

We recently decided that it was time to upgrade our wireless network at home for newer, faster equipment - our old system was about 5 years old, and didn't work very well.

I bought a Belkin N Wireless Router, expecting the increased range to be more than good enough to replace our old router and the additional wireless access point we used as a repeater.

Three of our four computers can find the signal without any problem, however my main computer cannot. This computer has a new N Network Adapter that came with the router. It says 'Limited or no connection' when I try to connect to our network. The router is three floors above, but we expected the N to be strong enough.

So, my question is, what's the best way for this computer to receive a good connection? I'm happy to add in a Range Extender or buy a better Network Adapter, or anything else. I'd just like like to get a good connection speed from our new router on this computer.

If I was to buy a Range Extender, is the Belkin G Range Extender compatible with an N Router?

Thanks in advance for your advice.


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January 12, 2009 at 10:35:56
I would have waited a bit on the 802.11n myself. It's not yet ratified as a standard but should be by the end of the 1st quarter of this year.

Basically this means as long as it's not a standard, you can't expect different vendors equipment to work together. so that kind of answers your last question, "If I was to buy a Range Extender, is the Belkin G Range Extender compatible with an N Router?" While it may work, there's no guarantee it will. Besides which, if you use a G extender, you limit yourself to conversing at G instead of N.

As far as I understand, N provides for higher bandwidth than it's predecessors (ie: B/G) but that doesn't mean it has a stronger signal. That depends on the radio itself of course.

The reality is, you will have to use an extender or AP to get a strong enough signal to your one PC. Since you already have an AP, why don't you just use it to test and see if that doesn't improve your signal strength. If it does, you can look at buying a wireless N access point (preferably the same OEM as your router) to replace the G access point you now have.

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January 12, 2009 at 14:07:17
Your description of "...three floors above..." doesn't sound too good. Have you experimented with the antenna orientation? The little 2dB antenna(s) on the back of the router broadcasts and receives the WiFi signals in a turoid fashion. To visualize this, think of slipping a doghnut over the antenna with the antenna sticking through the doghnut's hole. The signal is emanating out from the antenna in a 360 degree circle perpendicular to the antenna post. There's about zero signal being emitted out the top and bottom ends of the antenna. So, if your computer is "three floors below" the router, or even only one floor directly below the router, it isn't in a good orientation to send and receive to the router antenna. The materials in the construction of your floors may also be blocking/absorbing the signal, but it wouldn't hurt to experiment with re-orientating the antennas on the router and computer to see what happens.

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