10 tips for improving your wireless network

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Show #26:

  • Date: 2005-07-18
  • Subject: 10 tips for improving your wireless network
  • Duration: 42:16
  • Format: MP3
  • Size: 17,344 kb

Topics Discussed:

  • My Comments
  • ChuckChat promo
  • Listener Comments:
  • From: Ashwin - Show suggestion
  • From: Greg - Open telnet port
  • From: Terry - Hard drive size limitation
  • From: Ken - Is wireless security needed?
  • From: Edmund - Wireless interference
  • Wireless Network improvement

Additional Information:

  1. Position your wireless router (or wireless access point) in a central location -- When possible, place your wireless router in a central location in your home. If your wireless router is against an outside wall of your home, the signal will be weak on the other side of your home.
  2. Move the router off the floor and away from walls and metal objects (such as metal file cabinets) -- Metal, walls, and floors will interfere with your router's wireless signals. The closer your router is to these obstructions, the more severe the interference, and the weaker your connection will be.
  3. Replace your router's antenna -- The antennas supplied with your router are designed to be omni-directional, meaning they broadcast in all directions around the router. If your router is near an outside wall, half of the wireless signals will be sent outside your home, and much of your router's power will be wasted. Upgrade to a hi-gain antenna that focuses the wireless signals only one direction. You can aim the signal in the direction you need it most.
  4. Replace your computer's wireless network adapter -- Wireless network signals must be sent both to and from your computer. Sometimes, your router can broadcast strongly enough to reach your computer, but your computer can not send signals back to your router. To improve this, replace your laptop's PC card-based wireless network adapter with a USB network adapter that uses an external antenna. Laptops with built-in wireless typically have excellent antennas and do not need to have their network adapters upgraded.
  5. Add a wireless repeater -- Wireless repeaters extend your wireless network range without requiring you to add any wiring. Just place the wireless repeater halfway between your wireless access point and your computer, and you will get an instant boost to your wireless signal strength.
  6. Change your wireless channel -- Wireless routers can broadcast on several different channels, similar to the way radio stations use different channels. Try changing your wireless router's channel through your router's configuration page to see if your signal strength improves.
  7. Reduce wireless interference -- If you have cordless phones or other wireless electronics in your home, your computer might not be able to "hear" your router over the noise from the other wireless devices. To quiet the noise, avoid wireless electronics that use the 2.4GHz frequency. Instead, look for cordless phones that use the 5.8GHz or 900MHz frequencies.
  8. Update your firmware or your network adapter driver -- Router manufacturers regularly make free improvements to their routers. Sometimes, these improvements increase performance. To get the latest firmware updates for your router, visit your router manufacturer's Web site. Do not forget PC network drivers.
  9. Pick equipment from a single vendor -- Some vendors offer a performance boost of up to twice the performance when you choose their hardware.
  10. Upgrade 802.11b devices to 802.11g -- 802.11b is the most common type of wireless network, but 802.11g is about five times faster. 802.11g is backward-compatible with 802.11b, so you can still use any 802.11b equipment that you have.

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