The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Wireless booster  (Read 10435 times)

Offline Variola

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1063
  • Everyone should beware of The Pox...
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« on: 05/01/2011 11:03:48 »
<<<< Tiptoes quietly onto the unfamiliar forum  ;D

Hello all

I am after some advice regarding boosting the wireless network in my house. Currently I am using the normal bog-standard router that came with my Sky broadband subscription,with one sticky-up aerial thing on the back.The  broadband connection speed is fine, more that fast enough for what I need, it is just the wireless connection.   My laptop is fine, and not affected, but my teens seem to have problems with their x-boxes, they have one each in their rooms upstairs, both with x-box live and they moan the connection upstairs is slow, and sometimes it needs the router unplugging and plugging in again to help it work. Also they scramble to be the first ones to connect to it, as apparently it is better(?)
Only other things on the Wifi are two mobile phones that use it occasionally.
I have looked on Amazon for wifi boosters, but there are so many different ones, I am at a loss as to which one to get.

Thanks in advance

The Pox


 

Offline peppercorn

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1466
    • View Profile
    • solar
Wireless booster
« Reply #1 on: 05/01/2011 14:23:41 »
I've used these before:

WALL-PLUGGED ETHERNET BRIDGE - XE102
http://www.netgear.co.uk/wallplugged_ethernet_bridge_xe102.php

And they seem to do the job okay.

They 'extend' your wireless range by using the household mains wiring as a carrier signal - retransmitting the wireless from a local 'plug'.  I've no idea what baud rate they support though...
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8132
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #2 on: 05/01/2011 15:33:02 »
WiFi boosters boost the range of wi-fi reception, (they are repeaters), they don't boost the speed of your broadband connection.

So if the reception & transmission strength of the WiFi signal to all users is OK then a "WiFi booster" won't prevent the slow episodes: internet connection / internet traffic is the bottleneck.

If your internet provider can (actually) supply a faster download rate (£££) that may help.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2011 15:54:13 by RD »
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #3 on: 05/01/2011 16:37:22 »
Variola,

If you can, try moving the wireless router closer to their rooms (not permanently - just for a test).

If doing that makes no difference, then it's the speed of the service you are receiving as RD says. If it makes an improvement, a booster (repeater) might help.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1451
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #4 on: 05/01/2011 18:09:25 »
If they're complaining about their gaming experience, it may not be bandwidth that is the problem, but ping. Your ping time is the time it takes a signal to go from you, to a server, and back again. When you're playing games you want this as low as possible, you don't want your shot to take a second before it even registers on the server and the guy you were aiming at has moved.

I play online multiplayer PC games, and I can't really play properly if anyone else is trying to use the net at the same time. When someone else downloads, as their data packets are being sent/received, the gaming data packets have to wait (kind of like traffic at traffic lights), so even though there is plenty of bandwidth for both, the ping for the gamer increases alot. And if each xbox is playing a different game on a different server they might be stuffing themselves up. It won't make a difference which one connects first though.

So to test if it's that, first i'd do a ping test from a pc while no one else is using the net (just type ping test into google and some test page should show up) and if that turns out good it should be fine for one xbox, so test how that goes when no other net is being used. Then if that's good try the second xbox as well and see what happens. But if the ping test was rubbish in the first place then it's probably not your problem but your ISPs.

Or it might not be your connection at all, it can depend on what server they're playing on. If they're playing on a far away server they will always have a bad ping. Also, there's 2 types of servers, dedicated servers, and listen servers. A dedicated server is usually one set up by an ISP somewhere, and like the name suggests is just a computer dedicated to serving. Most pc games are based off those, however console games usually just use listen servers, a listen server is just one of the players computers/console both hosting a server and playing their game at the same time. So if you're hosting the listen server, you will have 0 ping, and everyone elses connection will be struggling to get to yours. If that connection is lacking, or is too far away, or is also being shared with other devices in the house, everyone else on the whole server will have a poor ping.

Console games are usually so dumbed down from PC games that they won't even tell you your ping, they'll give you "bars". But you wouldn't want your ping to be over 100ms really, well I wouldn't anyway.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2011 18:24:36 by Madidus_Scientia »
 

Offline SeanB

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1118
  • Thanked: 3 times
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #5 on: 06/01/2011 18:31:35 »
Best connection would be a wired connection, if you are able to run some CAT5 cable upstairs and place a switch to allow both of them to connect. Depends on if you can get the cable there, but makes a rock steady connection with no interference problems.

A powerline connection is basically a radio link ( they are tested for compliance by placing ONE in a cage, so naturally they do not transmit, if you have 2 they are a real wideband noise source, this is like testing a lightbulb for light, but not turning it on)and may or may not work for you, depending on the wiring/antenna it is connected to. You will need at least 3, and then a wired link to the router/skybox and each Xbox.

A wireless repeater is basically a router that is not connected to a phone line/cable but is connected via a cable to your box, but placed nearer to the wireless devices.

What might help is to log into your router and change the channels the wireless network uses, there might be other services near you using the same channel and causing interference.

 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #6 on: 06/01/2011 18:58:34 »
No disrespect, but I suspect Variola wouldn't know the difference between CAT#5 and DOG#2.
« Last Edit: 06/01/2011 19:52:47 by Geezer »
 

Offline Variola

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1063
  • Everyone should beware of The Pox...
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #7 on: 06/01/2011 21:19:40 »
No disrespect, but I suspect Variola wouldn't know the difference between CAT#5 and DOG#2.

 :P :P :P :P

No it is true I don't! But I appreciated the input nevertheless!!!

Thank you to all for posts, I am going to do some investigation. So far I have used the ping thing, with just the laptop it is 9 packet loss, 49ms ping and 1 jitter, with laptop and both xboxes on it is 0 packet loss, 51ms ping and 6 jitter. So from what I can gather still quite acceptable, so I will proceed with fannying about with the wifi, moving the router nearer is a good idea, I wont be able to get it much nearer, maybe at the top of the stairs but still near enough to see if it makes a difference.
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8132
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #8 on: 07/01/2011 01:09:22 »
A broadband speedometer may come in handy ...



http://www.zdnet.co.uk/swf/speedtest.swf (I think this particular speedo is only useable in UK)

http://www.zdnet.co.uk/broadband-speedtest/faq/
« Last Edit: 07/01/2011 01:20:34 by RD »
 

Offline wolfekeeper

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1092
  • Thanked: 11 times
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #9 on: 07/01/2011 02:56:20 »
One cheap and crummy trick I found that worked for me is to put a sheet of metal behind/in front of/to the side of the antenna/systems. The sheet has to be at least 6-9 inches wide on all sides around the aerial thingey, and close to it (about an inch or so). Probably aluminium foil would work, or in one case I used the middle of a metal radiator.

What that does is it directs almost all the radio power away from the plate, you double the power (5db). Provided the sheets face each other it should give you better reception.

In our case it was enough to get it to work reliably- it practically never crashes. Indicated signal strength went from low to medium-high.

Aluminium foil might work, we used an thin aluminium mesh which also worked, and the radiator (but be careful you don't overheat the equipment). Chicken wire would also work, it doesn't have to be solid.

It just gives you an extra 5db at each end, and it can reduce interference (if the interference comes from behind the plate). The plates have to direct the signal towards each other, they act as sort of mirrors, but are not very directional, so don't bother trying to aim them much, the angle makes hardly any difference, so putting the sheet flat against the wall normally works great. Also I had a go at trying to make them into parabolic dishes- but I think that for that to work you need a proper fed aerial, whereas the sheets should help with any system.
« Last Edit: 08/01/2011 19:17:02 by wolfekeeper »
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8132
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #10 on: 08/01/2011 18:37:40 »
Aluminium foil might work

Redecorating with aluminium foil could give an unfavourable impression ...

Quote
A god, called Abu-Lafram, living in the bathroom, had told Shakil that he should deny himself for the benefit of the third world. Shakil had little furniture left - he had sold most of it to buy bread and aluminium tin foil. He had used the tin foil to line the walls of the flat, to protect Abu Lafram from the evils of Western civilisation that seeped through the walls.
http://priory.com/schizo.htm
 

Offline wolfekeeper

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1092
  • Thanked: 11 times
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #11 on: 08/01/2011 19:10:46 »
Aluminium foil might work

Redecorating with aluminium foil could give an unfavourable impression ...
Nah. It's just a small square.

Although admittedly covering floors, ceiling and walls and windows with it would certainly greatly reduce outside interference and increase signal strength; but that would get you very funny looks indeed!

(Many businesses approximate this ideal though, with metalised windows, false floors and ceilings... on second thoughts this could explain a lot of the behaviour!)
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8132
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #12 on: 08/01/2011 21:44:19 »
Although admittedly covering floors, ceiling and walls and windows with it would certainly greatly reduce outside interference and increase signal strength; but that would get you very funny looks indeed!

I suppose it would also stop neighbours and passersby helping themselves to your broadband via Wi-Fi ... http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=28045.0
 

Offline wolfekeeper

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1092
  • Thanked: 11 times
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #13 on: 08/01/2011 22:54:06 »
I have had neighbours connecting to my router, but I found out and blocked them.

And the BTFON stuff doesn't work on my WiFi- it's a foreign-made router, and it doesn't support it.
 

Offline Geezer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8328
  • "Vive la résistance!"
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #14 on: 09/01/2011 03:13:29 »
I have a bit of experience with RF - mostly bad. Usually, I was trying to prevent the damn stuff from escaping from something, and I can tell you, it's bloody hard to do that. Screening methods - sheets of aluminum, copper, brass, mu-metal, lead and even big honking chunks of steel have very limited effect. There always seems to be a path for the !@#$%^&# stuff to sneak out on a cable or something.

We had an older RF engineer in our group who happened to be German. When asked how things were going he would usually look down despondently, shake his head from side to side and say,

"So many frakquencies! So many frakquencies!" 
 

Offline SeanB

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1118
  • Thanked: 3 times
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #15 on: 09/01/2011 10:08:19 »
I did see some very nice 2.4GHz antennae yesterday, with a SMA connector on them, used for long range wireless camera gear. Gives a range of up to 50km line of sight.

RF shielding is more of an art than a science, you need silver plated copper sheet, well bonded at each corner with multiple rivets spaced less than an eighth wavelength apart, and any cable entry must have a box, with a filter inside, and capacitive and ferrite feedthoughs to each wire into the box from both directions. That will work in most cases, though at microwave frequencies with a few kilowatts of power our friend was steel wool as a very lossy absorber packed around the entry points, though it did get rather warm.
 

Offline wolfekeeper

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1092
  • Thanked: 11 times
    • View Profile
Wireless booster
« Reply #16 on: 10/02/2011 18:05:35 »
Yes, suitable Yagi aerials or dishes can give incredibly long distances, but they can be hard to align correctly and you need to be careful with how much power you're transmitting to avoid breaking the laws on that.

Worse case is if you transmit so much power in one direction that you upset a radio ham; they can and will know how to track you down, and you'll get fined (to say nothing about interfering with people down range from you.)
 

Offline nicephotog

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 387
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • H h H h H h H h H h
    • View Profile
    • Freeware Downloads
Wireless booster
« Reply #17 on: 22/02/2011 11:50:53 »
Have you tried "ISO standard"?
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Wireless booster
« Reply #17 on: 22/02/2011 11:50:53 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums