Star Trek XII – the search for more gain..

So, like most of the network denziens of the year 2000, I use a wireless network. 802.11g, no WEP (I use application-level security when such things are appropriate). And, because I live in a lath-plaster house, I spend most of my time staring at signal level meters that show one bar at best.

Recently, I had reason to go to Fry’s electronics to pick up a high-gain antenna or three. I got one USB adapter with a 8dB antenna (it looks like a little microwave dish, it’s adorable) and a signal strength meter, and that’s kind of cool, and I got a 10dB omni and a 15dB ‘corner’ (i.e. 90 degree slice) antenna and put them up.

The results could best be described as ‘strange’.

With just the corner antenna operating, I get 5 out of 5 signal on my laptop in the room that previously would regularly disconnect because of poor signal quality. However, when I add the omni to the mix (my access point has two antenna connectors which go, as far as I can tell, to two seperate transcevers) the signal goes *down* to about three bars. As near as I can tell, I’m better off throughout the entire house, signal strength wise, with just the 15db corner.

This makes NO sense. There are even places in the *shadow* of the corner antenna that do better with just the corner than with the corner and the omni. It’s like the omni is 180 degrees out of phase or something…

Anyone have any ideas?

2 Responses to “Star Trek XII – the search for more gain..”

  1. dspisak Says:

    Welcome to the wide world of RF propigation.

    Odds are that your dealing with a few issues:

    1. Your laptop wifi adapter has crap sensitivity (this is separate from your gain of course)

    2. Your wifi access point probably isnt even close to putting out clean signal at a high legal power output.

    A much easily solution would have been to go out and grab a Belkin Pre-N wifi access point. Make sure it is the Pre-N, not the Draft-N hardware as the draft-N spec hardware has some big issues in it still that the pre-draft-n hardware is missing. Go figure.

  2. ClintJCL Says:

    Nice to see other people who think running encryption sort of defeats the point of wireless. To me its about open access, and requiring a password defeats that. App-level security indeed!

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