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I have a "Linksys WRVS4400N wireless N router" that i'm thinking about relocating out of the high traffic area of my home. When I move it with the other networking equipment in the basement, my signal strength drops to inadequate levels in the rooms that I would like to use wireless devices.

I'm thinking about running wires in the walls to an external antenna (like these) mounted high on a wall in the main living area. From my reading, it seems that an external antenna might not work well with a N router, so i'm entertaining the option of switching to a different A/B/G/I access point if need be.

Any advice on designing a working setup to relocate external antennas to a different floor than the AP?

Edit: It seems that the WRVS4400N can operate in B/G mode which is what i'll probably do as its span port and VPN endpoint are nice features. Any ideas if attaching an external antenna to this unit running in B/G mode will work?

Should I expect problems with signal strength to the external antenna if I am to run 20 feet of wiring/cable to the antenna? Is there a certain antenna type/make that I should be using or avoiding?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This isn't going to work.

For microwave devices, signal loss in the cable is enormous, so unless your antenna is within several meters of the device, there won't be any signal for it to emit.

Your best bet would be to install powerful antennas in the basement, next to the device or to get a repeater. There are some interesting directional antennas which you could use. If the device is going to be in the basement, you could just point the antenna to emit up.

Also, make sure that the antenna supports frequencies you are going to use. This could be a problem if your router has 5GHz mode.

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Cable losses are huge in the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency ranges, unless you pay a VERY large amount of money for extremely high quality microwave cable. Cheap consumer cable is rubbish, with losses of usually a few dB / meter. Running more than 2-3 metres will make the situation worse rather than better. –  quickly_now Jan 24 '11 at 7:19
    
Even though it's not what I wanted to hear, it's exactly the type of answer i'm looking for. Thanks for the solid info Andreja. –  xelco52 Jan 25 '11 at 2:17
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The problem with N routers and antennas is that you normally need more than one for them - 2 or 3, up to 6 in extreme cases - and then the cost of antennas and wiring becomes a problem.. Investigating exactly the same problem myself now and it is not worth the trouble it seems - better to buy another AP/router and connect it to the main one via cable.

By contrast, most A/B/G routers have only one antenna, and then you can easily make it external. Check the maximum cable length though.

In terms of your particular router and its antennas - not sure if switching it to B/G mode will help, it might keep using all of them - or just one but which one? You can try unmounting others, leaving one and see what happens.

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To elaborate on the other answer here make sure that the two antennas can see each other. This is a very common mistake that most people make when running external antennas from a wireless N AP. If the two antennas are unable to clearly talk there will be dead zones and generally poor signal quality even if the signal strength is okay or good.

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Do a web search for Cantenna and see if you can make a directional antenna. You pick up some antenna gain this way. Follow the links, don't use the pringles can, there are some sites out there telling you how to make one from a soup can, its cheap and supposedly extremely effective.

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