Best upgrade options for wireless in a large apartment

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by Galaxy, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. Galaxy

    Galaxy Gawd

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    I've just moved to a new apartment, and although it's a fantastic place I have lost the option of wired networking. I currently have cables running up and down the halls to my 3 PCs and server spread all across the apartment due to the absolutely tragic performance I get from my attempts to do things wirelessly.

    My objective is to set up a wireless network that can handle my demands, but I'm not sure on exactly how I should go about this. My current router is a D-Link DIR-655, and my wifi adapters are a combination of USB Netgear WN111 and D-Link DWA-160 sticks, and even at short range I get a maximum of about 5MB/s transferring large files. It's a total of about 40 feet through two walls from the router/server to the farthest PC. The fact that all the apartments in this building are this way means I also have 100 competing networks around me to complicate things. I'd be satisfied if I could get 25+ MB/s of actual throughput with large files at this farthest location.

    I have a feeling my bottlenecks are the USB adapters, and I'm betting that I should go with a PCI/PCIE solution, but I'm not certain. I've also considered a Powerline 500mbps system, but I've never heard these systems to be awfully reliable. The D-Link has been a good router, but I'm aware there are faster routers out there now and I'm not sure if I should replace it as well. Lastly, I've considered putting a directional antenna on the router since all the PCs are more or less in a straight line from it.

    Does anyone have any recommendations on how best to improve my performance?
     
  2. damacus

    damacus Limp Gawd

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    I don't think you're going to ever be able to pull 200Mbps in an environment like that. Be happy you're getting 40Mbps as it is. USB vs PCI isn't your problem.

    Depending how the coax is wired in your apartment, you might be able to use MoCA gear. That stuff's generally better than powerline. Hope you can put most stuff on a switch in a single room, or run a cable to an adjacent room by routing it along the wall....
     
  3. bloodypulp

    bloodypulp Gawd

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    Before you start buying new gear, try moving the WiFi channel.
    Scan the WiFi in your area. Set your access point to use the least congested channel range.
    Most people use default channel 6.

    If no one is using the 802.11a frequencies, you should consider a new access point and adapters that supports that frequency range.
     
  4. Protoform-X

    Protoform-X [H]ard|Gawd

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    Or consider technology from this decade with 802.11n 5GHz. :D
     
  5. /usr/home

    /usr/home [H]ardness Supreme

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    You aren't going to get 25 MBps with home grade wireless gear.
     
  6. Mackintire

    Mackintire 2[H]4U

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    I can get 28 MBps stable thoughput using Netgear 3500; 2.4Ghz wireless-N WPA2 PSK on a clear channel through one wall (20'). It all depends on what equipment you already have. tools, time, skill, time you want to invest, equipment you are willing to purchase.

    Dumb option: try two of these in bridge mode: http://amplifi.dlink.com/products/DAP-1525 The reviews are fairly impressive when the device is talking to another identical unit.

    Harder, possibly slower, but definitely more flexible, upgradeable, and you get the built in Wifi Spectrum analysis tools: buy three Ubiquiti Unfi http://ubnt.com/unifi
     
  7. Galaxy

    Galaxy Gawd

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    Thanks for the advice everyone.

    Although it might be best to just suck it up and spend a day trying to hide cables along the wall as best as possible, I'll take a closer look to make sure I'm using the best channel available, and maybe try to centralize the system a bit to so the machines that have to be wireless don't need as much bandwidth.
     
  8. /usr/home

    /usr/home [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'm calling shens on the 28 MBps. 28 Mbps, now I believe that.
     
  9. E4g1e

    E4g1e [H]ardness Supreme

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    Actually, 28 Mbps is clearly in 802.11g territory. Although an 802.11n wireless connection can drop down to that level if its signal is on the weak side.

    And yes, 802.11n can handle burst (peak) speeds of up to 28 MB/s only under ideal conditions. It really cannot sustain such a high transfer rate. Most 802.11n connections can sustain only between 50 and 75 Mbps (roughly between 6 and 10 MB/s).
     
  10. /usr/home

    /usr/home [H]ardness Supreme

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    That's what I'm getting at. You'll never see 28 MBps sustained on Wireless N. I have seen 20 but that was with a high end intel mobile card.