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I have a wireless network in my home that consists of a 802.11g/b router connected directly to my broadband provider and several devices (Ipod, Xbox, Laptops, etc) that access the network over the wireless connection.

For a couple of corners of my house I have a really weak and sometimes intermittent connection that I'd like to improve and am trying to determine the best/cheapest way to accomplish this.

The question is this, with an 802.11n router do I get the benefit of the longer range when talking to an 802.11b device? It is well documented that I won't get the full 802.11n bandwidth, but I am only concerned about getting a few more bars at further distances.

If this won't work, what is the best way to increase the reach of my wireless network with the constraint that the router can't move to another physical location.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Unfortunately no, the N router will send it's signal out further but the poor little G adapters on the clients will not be able to get their signal back to the router. If you are looking to extend a personal wifi network then there are many range extenders out there. I believe linksys makes one that just plugs into a wall outlet that is in range of the router and rebroadcasts the signal out further. That would probably be the fastest/cheapest option. Depending on what type of router it is you could also consider flashing a new bios to it like seen [here]. If it is an enterprise level network then there are a tone of options from brides to higher gain antennas although it will likely cost more then the personal options. Hope that helps.

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Technically the answer is no but I do find it works.

I had a client with a very large house and a G router, it reached the third floor but they had a converted attic for the kids that it could not reach. I changed it for a Netgear N router and as I said, technically I know it shouldn't, but the router was in the same place, the clients only had G cards in the laptops but it did reach.

I have not seen any other wireless G being able to reach 4 floors and it was a good, expensive bit of kit they had, so I can only guess that some N equipment has a higher power output on the antennae than G.

Again, I know it shouldn't work, but I have found that it can.

Also you may want to take a look at either wireless bridges - getting a cheap ~£20 box, put it at the edge of where signal starts to degrade and allow it to extend the signal, or just buying more powerful Antennae.

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I was just reading about WiFi Tips on LifeHacker check out here and here

Perhaps you can increase range and reliability without spending money on a router that your devices can't take full advantage of.

Hope that helps.

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One thing you might try playing with is antenna configuration. Type and direction of antennas will make a difference. Unfortunately, your house does things to the signal, so finding the right antenna configuration for you will be hit or miss.

I'd try sticking a laptop in the 'bad' spot, then running back and forth playing with the antenna on the router and see if you can get better signal. If you have an SO to help, you'll save a lot of running.

If that doesn't work (and it may well not), then you're down to the repeater suggestions.

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SO = significant other (right?), for anyone who, like me, is taking 10 seconds to figure it out ;-) –  David Z Aug 23 '09 at 5:20
    
Yes. And I should have seen that problem when I typed it. –  Michael Kohne Aug 23 '09 at 12:41

i recommend a wireless range extender/repeater.

i'm using a Hawking extender myself. easy to configure, excellent results.

tip: install Ekahau HeatMapper (free) on one of your laptops and wander around your location and click on the map every time you pause to take a reading, and HeatMapper rolls the collected data into a slick, interactive map. Hover over an access point, and the display updates to show its signal strength. you will get a nice graphical site survey.

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