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Wireless cards vs USB adapters
Old 01-12-2007, 10:07 AM   #1
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Wireless cards vs USB adapters

I need help from anyone here with experience in wireless networking. A couple of my machines are not getting a good signal from my wireless router (even though I have recently upgraded to a better model). Does anyone here know if wireless cards fitted in desktops get better reception than the USB attached wireless adaptors (the ones that look like flash memory sticks). In other words does the little antenna on the card work better, even though it is behind the machine and the usb adapter is on a short cable that allows some flexibility in placement?



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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters
Old 01-12-2007, 02:24 PM   #2
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters

My experience is that cards, especially MIMO ones with a MIMO router are better than the 'stick' variety, but suffer from having most of the antennae stuck behind the computer.

What you can get is an external antenna that screws onto the antenna connector on the back of the card.

Not terribly cheap though.

The best i've gotten is a trendnet 611BRP MIMO router with the trendnet MIMO pc card. Good luck with the drivers for the card though, they're awful. If you stick with the original non-wpa2 ones that they have on the installation CD and dont install their client s/w (use windows' wireless configuration) they work fine.

This router/card have a lot of signal. I'm getting 108MB/s with "good" to "very good" signal levels with the antennae on the back of a tower thats inside a wood tower case under my desk, going through three walls about 70' to where the router is. Got pretty much bupkus with a couple of cheap USB 11g units.
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters
Old 01-12-2007, 03:08 PM   #3
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters

Thanks, I got an additional antenna only to find it won't fit on my Netgear Router! The original antenna is not detachable. I have ordered a MIMO router, I'll see if that will blast through these walls - I just don't understand how wood, paper and dust can block signals like this. Next I suppose will be a MIMO card for my music server and maybe I can add the antenna to that.
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters
Old 01-12-2007, 05:16 PM   #4
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters

Yeah, you'll want mimo on both ends. You might also want to try that antenna on the client rather than the router. And put both the router and your client antenna as high up as possible and try several locations.

The other plausible option if a directional antenna is feasible is the cardboard/foil 'dish' homemade concentrator: http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template/

The latter is not so hot if you have clients in several places in the house, but pretty good if the router is at one end and the clients all in more or less the same single direction away from the router.
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters
Old 01-12-2007, 06:37 PM   #5
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters

Another thing you might try is to get a longer Ethernet cable for the router and try moving it around a little bit. Just 5 or 10 feet in either direction, or higher or lower can make a big difference if there's something about the structure of the building that's interfering with the signal.

Finally, depending on the type of wireless, you could have interference from cordless phones, microwaves, or other RF devices. I've even heard of fluorescent lights causing problems if they're too close to the router.

Jim
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters
Old 01-12-2007, 07:16 PM   #6
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters

All true. Every time my wife flips on the microwave it screws up my signal.
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters
Old 01-12-2007, 07:17 PM   #7
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters

Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan
Another thing you might try is to get a longer Ethernet cable for the router and try moving it around a little bit.
As long as you're getting a longer ethernet cable, why not run it all the way to your desktop?
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters
Old 01-13-2007, 10:33 AM   #8
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I did try a crude version of the directional dish although not quite this design. Do you think the remains of the Christmas turkey on the foil I used helped or hindered? . I'll try again with new materials.

When I get a pci adapter to replace one of the usb sticks I will try to attach the antenna - it has a wierd connector, like a small coax.

I have tried moving the router but cannot get signal to all pcs at once. When the new (MIMO) one arrives I may try to use the existing one as a repeater if it has that option.

I have noticed the microwave effect, I assume there is no constant signal interference, only when it is used. Also, I have downgraded all our phones to 900MHz. Do cellphones cause interference?

If I have no success then I will look at using the cat5 wiring that our builder installed but I will need power near the structured wiring box and then some knowledge on how to rewire the connections in the box. Unfortunately it is a "hardwired" panel not one where I can make connections through the use of jumper cables. Does any one make programmable versions of structured wirng boxes at a reasonable price?
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters
Old 01-13-2007, 11:48 AM   #9
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Re: Wireless cards vs USB adapters

Quote:
Originally Posted by F M All
Do you think the remains of the Christmas turkey on the foil I used helped or hindered?
Should have given it to that guy that scrapes the cheese out of the pizza boxes.

Another option i've used with good success is powerline networking. I regularly see the adapters used or on a clearance for $20 or so. Plug one into the wall and wire it to your router, then anywhere else in the house you plug one, you've got network. Depending on the age and quality of your home electrical wiring and any other interference, you might get between 4 and 10Mb/s. Usually enough for sharing an internet connection but not a lot for streaming video or in-house high speed networks. Nice to hook up that one low duty machine that wont take a wireless card or thats problematic for wireless. Worked great on one of my old tivos and on my xbox 360.
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