Author Topic: alice gate voip 2 plus wi-fi: amplifying signal power (with firmware upgrade)?  (Read 27069 times)

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Offline netreg

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Dear masters of tech,

New DSL installation. 2 building. Courtyard between, thick walls. In first: DSL modem and alice gate voip 2 plus wi-fi router. Laptops are working fine through WiFi. In second: laptops hardly get the signal. What should I do (without UTP wires in the air)?
- new router with stronger signal (bigger antennas)
- old router with new firmware (stronger signal power)
- WiFi amplifier between the 2 buildings or in b#2

I read a lot about LinkSys. it can run a new firmware which is configurable. At least you can tune the transmission power from 28mW to 100mW or so. The coverage will expand. I do not know what is inside of Alice box but probably can be "hackable" with open source FW (like tomato DD-WRT and OpenWRT in case of LS). Any hints on FW upgrade? Experiences? Or other ways to reach my goal?

THX & Regards,
Stefano

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Offline Shane

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I have been through this my self with some of my customers.
There are multiple things you can do. You just need to find out which works best.

Right now the 2 thick walls are killing the signal.
One easy cheaper way to get it to work is if you have some windows on both building.
Put the DSL modem with the wifi near a window (out of sunlight)
Then in the 2nd building simply buy a wireless repeater and put it in a window where there is a line of site of the to the dsl modem.

The repeater will pickup the signal and rebroadcast it through out the 2nd building. This way your basically getting around the 2 walls.

Otherwise you would need a very power ant. to get through the 2 walls.

Shane
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Offline netreg

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So there is no firmware upgrade:( Anyway the device is borrowed from the ISP so it is better do this way...

OK, I have checked that window-window option already. In b#1 where the phone wire step in there is no windows. The modem-router is in a corner anyway. There is a two-wing glass door looking the right way but it is a door -> no good (can be openable). So 1st wall remains. At b#2, yes there is a window looking at b#1 and yes in the window inside there is a little signal. So if I got right you suggest to take a repeater there and it could be enough in b#2. As far as I know every repeater making the same signal power (or better) but reduce network speed to half of the original. BTW I need only one. What product(s) do you suggest?

Stefano

Offline Shane

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I haven't heard of a repeater lowering the speed before.

I don't have any brands of which to buy on the top of my head. I buy everything from www.newegg.com
They have great customer support, but most of all, when I buy something new I read all the user reviews first.

What the repeater will do is grab the signal then repeat that signal as new from its location. This will give b#2 wireless through out. So as long as the repeater can get a good signal by the window then you should be set to go.

Shane
(My weekends belong to my wife and kids, I will try my best to answer all posts daily during the work week)

(About Shane)
Site Owner, Top Admin, Lead Programmer, Wife & 5 kids, Needs a lot more coffee.

When people ask "Why fix what isn't broken?" I reply "To make it better."
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Offline netreg

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OK, I will do the search for the proper device. Thx 4Ur help! :smiley:

Offline netreg

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I haven't heard of a repeater lowering the speed before.

I found it. Here's the why: a WiFi repeater (WLAN communication system) based up on CSMA/CA technology, it means can transmit _XOR_ receive in the same time (HALF-DUPLEX).

We bought 2 new devices (router, access point) anyway, but the problem is still alive...

Offline Shane

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Can you give me some details of how you have things setup with the new devices?

Shane
(My weekends belong to my wife and kids, I will try my best to answer all posts daily during the work week)

(About Shane)
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Offline netreg

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Sure. I try to attach a picture about it. Will it work? There is just a browse button but where is the insert?

It is working now but at very slow speed. We did not use any security between the router and range expander. We set on a sepcific chanel (g-class). Probably we need to dig 50m UTP cable into the ground. :undecided:


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Offline Shane

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Ah the fun part :-) (Thanks for the pic as well)

I had to do this not to long ago for a customer of mine.
ok your pic shows it is going across a 20 meter yard. That is only 65 feet. Wireless should stretch a few hundred feet. So something is truly killing the signal.

Lets do some tests now and find out what it is, so we can work around it.
First thing I would like to know. Are the Windows double pane?
The gas inside the double pane windows actually blocks wireless signals.

Page 6 on here
http://www.3com.com/other/pdfs/products/en_US/101900.pdf

or towards the bottom of the page on here
http://wireless.wikia.com/wiki/Wi-Fi

Quote
Attenuation
Solid objects greatly attenuate (reduce) Wi-Fi radio signals, so clear line of sight is best. The amount of attenuation is expressed in dB, where each 3 dB of attenuation is a power loss of 1/2.
[edit] Indoor
Attenuation Properties of Common Building Materials
Building Material
2.4 GHz Attenuation
Solid Wood Door 1.75"
  6 dB
Hollow Wood Door 1.75"
  4 dB
Interior Office Door w/Window 1.75"/0.5"
  4 dB
Steel Fire/Exit Door 1.75"
13 dB
Steel Fire/Exit Door 2.5"
19 dB
Steel Rollup Door 1.5"
11 dB
Brick 3.5"
  6 dB
Concrete Wall 18"
18 dB
Cubical Wall (Fabric) 2.25"
18 dB
Exterior Concrete Wall 27"
53 dB
Glass Divider 0.5"
12 dB
Interior Hollow Wall 4"
  5 dB
Interior Hollow Wall 6"
  9 dB
Interior Solid Wall 5"
14 dB
Marble 2"
  6 dB
Bullet-Proof Glass 1"
10 dB
Exterior Double Pane Coated Glass 1"
13 dB
Exterior Single Pane Window 0.5"
  7 dB
Interior Office Window 1"
  3 dB
Safety Glass-Wire 0.25"
  3 dB
Safety Glass-Wire 1.0"
13 dB

See how high the double pane glass is!
Then you also have your walls, how thick do you think they are?

So the next thing I would like to find out, can you open then windows?
If so, just for a test, I would like you to open both windows and put the repeater and the modem in the window. Now see how the signal is.

If you are able to run a cable to the other building, that would be best, then you can have another wireless router set in AP mode to have wireless go through there. But digging and the cable can get up in price. So lets see if we are lucky and can find the sweet spot for the wireless.

Shane
« Last Edit: March 15, 2010, 01:00:08 PM by Shane »
(My weekends belong to my wife and kids, I will try my best to answer all posts daily during the work week)

(About Shane)
Site Owner, Top Admin, Lead Programmer, Wife & 5 kids, Needs a lot more coffee.

When people ask "Why fix what isn't broken?" I reply "To make it better."
"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile"
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Offline netreg

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Ok, here I am. Thanx for your time. You wanna help me, I wanna help my customer, but... (see at the end)

Yes and no. Yes they are gas inside windows but as I made in the picture, in the b#1 the router is located in the corner on the right side of the double pane glass door. The wall is 30 cm thick (normal, insulated brick with air cells inside). In b#2 the wall is an old style stone and brick mixture (Tuscany, Italy) and more than 70cm thick.

About the test. Yes we tried it without window and door. I lift up the modem-router (Alice) in front of the door (outside) and a friend of mine put the range expander (Linksys WRE54G) out in the window in b#2. The MacBook was inside b#2, near to the window. We tried it also with a Zyxel P660 HN F1Z and a Thomson Speedtouch 780iWL. We measured the signal with KisMac run on the Mac. In the application we saw the signal of the original router and the expander too. Alice was the best, Thomson next and finally Zyxel. We were connected to the AP anyway. If there was outside or inside and if the windows were closed or not yes there was some difference, but in every case it was working but at a very slow speed. I have no idea why. I think if the range expander can grab the signal also can transfer it. Maybe communication with weak signal produces more lost packages need to transmit again... We used no encryption and g-class setting with a fix channel on the router and on acces point also (this is a g-class AP). The connection was stable but the speed was unacceptable (it is a 2Mbits line anyway). Maybe that is a problem with channels (interference with other 2,4GHz devices). Who knows? Now I am not able to do more tests because the owner gave back the new devices and wanna make a cabled connection between the buildings because he had enough. :teeth:

That is my opinion: if I have all the different devices from different brands in my bag for test purpose and I can make as much test as I want to I could find a solution for wireless connection, I am sure. But, as probably you also know, a customer is a customer. He is the boss, ha:) He thinks he knows everything. He dos not BTW but you are the bad guy if you tell the truth, am I right? So, what else? :undecided:

Offline Shane

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I run my own computer repair business, have for 7 years now. So I know what you are talking about :-)

But at this point the most reliable option is cabling, and if the customer is willing to pay for it then that's a good thing. I have a lot of customers that want to keep price down at all costs.

Given the thickness of the walls and possible interference from other devices like you said I think finding the sweet spot would have been a good challenge. There is also powerful directional antennas that could have helped and got the wireless working. But when you have to start getting these more powerful devices to get through all the barriers you have to ask yourself which is more cost effective, the cabling or the wireless?

But when it comes down to it keeping the customer happy and happy with you is key. A repeat customer is worth 100X more in the long run than a quick buck. This is why I have over 125 customers so far and ALL by word of mouth  :artist:

If you ever want to run ideas or questions with a fellow tech you know where to come  :wink:

Shane
(My weekends belong to my wife and kids, I will try my best to answer all posts daily during the work week)

(About Shane)
Site Owner, Top Admin, Lead Programmer, Wife & 5 kids, Needs a lot more coffee.

When people ask "Why fix what isn't broken?" I reply "To make it better."
"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile"
Honor & Respect is all that matters.

Owner & Programmer of: www.pcwintech.com & www.tweaking.com

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