Reg Hardware Gizmo Week logo small There can’t be many Reg Hardware readers who don’t have a home network. In fact, these days you’d have to look hard indeed to find an ISP that sells its connection as strictly single PC only and just tosses in a USB modem rather than some sort of router. A decade or so ago, just about any …
Re: Forgot the obvious
Yeah often the cheapest and easiest option for wireless boosting is to upgrade the antenna.
I have swapped out many of the crappy 2dBi antennas for TP-Link 8dBI ones and it works a treat. They often have extension cables too that means you can position it more effectively.
Recently had a customer that was struggling to get wireless signal just 15 feet from their router.
I checked the wi-fi traffic and found they were surrounded by over 60 other WAPs! SO I went out to the car and pulled in a 9dBi directional antenna and fired that down the hallway. That worked!
If you cant beat them drown them out.
Also if you can move to channel 13 in the UK. Works great but a lot of wireless gear has a US centric approach and cant access it so you have to check. Seems 70% of gear can.
Re: Forgot the obvious
Nice work - 3 now on order for my BiPac
Re: Forgot the obvious
Agreed: my old DG834 has a foot-long antenna, and operates on Channel 13. I never lose any signal ;-)
Re: Forgot the obvious
I thought that if you made changes to a pre-licensed device, like replacing the antennae, it became unlicensed and you could be nobbled by the plod, however unlikely.
Location, Location, Location
One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that the location of the wireless access point/router is critical for achieving good coverage. The basic idea is that it should be in the middle of the house, which may not seem like anything other than the obvious but I've seen many instances where people have their wireless router tucked away in the corner of a room on or near the floor and then wonder why reception in their bedroom isn't all that.
If you have a wireless router sitting low down in a downstairs room then try putting it on a high-up shelf. Also, if you have three antennae on the router then place them so they look like \ | / (with the outside ones at something like 45 degrees) rather than them all facing up. Between them these two simple changes can make the difference between no/patchy signal upstairs and a nice strong wireless connection everywhere in the house.
Re: Location, Location, Location
But... if you have a combined ADSL modem and router, be mindful not compromise your broadband speed in the quest for a more central location for the wifi. Putting a telephone extension lead between it and the master phone socket is a sure way to cut those megs!
Re: Location, Location, Location
If you use the correct cable (twisted pair) for your line extension it shouldn't make any difference. The ADSL splitter does just that - it doesn't make the split ADSL signal any more vulnerable to interference than the combined signal as far as I know. There is the "disconnect the bell wire" advice which is also related to the cable not being balanced.
There does seem to be a significant difference in performance between ADSL modems as far as sync speed is concerned. I have an old SpeedTouch 716 (modified to disable the VOIP circuitry and run on 12V DC from a switching power supply to save energy) and that consistently achieves line speed about 15% higher than a Zoom X6. This is for an ADSL2 connection of around 3Mbits/sec (a long way from the exchange). I'm worried that if I "upgrade" to ADSL2+ it might even get slower.
As far as wifi range is concerned, I couldn't cover the whole house and garden from one point. I did consider a different external aerial but it is captive on both my routers so would be too much hassle and cost (and cheap extension leads apparently have very lossy cables). So I've just put the X6 elsewhere connected by ethernet and I switch it on if I want to sit in the garden.
Re: Location, Location, Location
RE ADSL2+ in marginal situations. We gained a meg on or sync speed (1.8 meg to 2.8 meg) and also real world performance is also far better. So it's worth having but be warned the initial "training" period can be a little hairy.
Also while my backup Netgear will get a slightly higher sync speed it's not as reliable as the very slightly slower Draytek.
Draytek are fantastic boxes, but the cost is ridiculous.
You can have the same reliability (if not all the features) with the Billion 7800n, for half the price.
Re: Where's Billion?
Never tried a Billion so can't comment on them, but Draytek ridiculously expensive? Compared to the featureless crap my previous Belkin and LinkSys routers were, they are very good value for money.
Re: Where's Billion?
Draytek are pricey but I heartily recommend their equipment as a long-time user both at home and in my capacity as an IT engineer.
A Draytek ADSL router was the only router that held on to sync in a marginal SNR sitution where the premises were a long way from the exchange.
Re: Where's Billion?
I have a Billion 7800n and it is fantastic. Belkin are terrible & Netgear used to be pretty good but have really gone downhill lately (IMHO).
BT Home Hub 2.
Does anyone have any experience of the standard BT Home Hub 2.0. I'm getting rubbish transfers across Homeplug and I suspect the router.
I tried connecting the NAS and a PC together just using ethernet (without Homepulg) to the BT router but speeds did not improve much. There could be other culprits (PC or NAS, FTP method etc) but my next plan is to change the router. Anyone else done similar and got good results?
come on now RegHardware - it's not just radio hams that are sometimes affected by mains ethernet equipment - it's anyone that uses shortwave radio and even DAB (source: BBC).
Imagine if you were prevented from enjoying your favourite hobby by someone else's innocent purchase of equipment? It's a delicate sitatuation and not just 'outrage' by some beardy radio types.... (me included I should add).
(Paris, cos I would DAB her anytime)
Re: Radio ham
DAB is hopeless to start with. I had a third floor flat (top floor) with a good view in all directions. My DAB alarmclock only picked up a signal in the kitchen. Hopeless thing.
Upgrade your switch.
Especially if you are using a Gigabit wired lan. Low cost Netgear Switched (in the white cases) have a much higher latency than the GS108/GS116 types.
LANs and wireless signal penetration - powerline and Airport Express
My house hasn't got particularly thick walls, but wireless signal penetration from the front of the house (where the router is) to the back is a bit patchy for e.g. mobile phones. 5Ghz goes absolutely nowhere, so I've pretty much given up on it. Add to it the NAS and printer that are in the cellar and really need an unbroken/unbreakable connection to the router, and I've gone for a combination of solutions which seems to be working very well.
Before anybody talks about router antennae and positioning, it's a WNDR3700 (internal antennae), high up on a shelf, and (unfortunately) needs to be located there.
What knits everything together is powerline ethernet - connects the router to the cellar very happily at >100Mbps, so NAS and printer resources are easily available wherever the wireless can get. A gigabit switch in the cellar also gives high bandwidth access to the NAS where necessary for big backups etc.
The other really useful thing has been an Apple Airport Express with an ethernet connection to another powerline ethernet unit - this is at the back of the house and operates as a wireless base station on a separate (non-overlapping) frequency to the main router, but with the same network ID so wireless devices switch between it and the router as necessary. It's also wired into a pair of speakers, so we've got music in the kitchen (and elsewhere - various other Airport Express units).
So we've now got good wireless access across the whole of the house, music across the whole of the house, and router/switch (in the cellar) providing gigabit ethernet connections for cabled devices.
Overall, it's a nice setup, hasn't been too expensive, and has avoided the need for any additional cabling to be installed which would have been a total pain. The only downside is that the wireless guest network provided by the router is not extended by the Airport Express, but that's an incredibly minor issue.
If you are running GigE, remember to turn on jumbo frames. Going from an MTU of 1500 to an MTU of 9100 really cuts a lot of overhead on the processing of packets.
Re: Jumbo frames
Never found they do a great deal on my gigabit network.
Have tried all the different settings from 1500 to 9000 and at best there is a 1MBps difference.
I think the day of Jumbo frames making a difference is over.
Wired Ethernet here
Main PC next to home hub, small hub used as an extension to the childrens PC, a lonng ethernet cable into the living room for 2xPVR, & PS3.
Worked out the price of cabling is less than the cost of electricity to use powerline adaptors for one year.
For many – and despite the inevitable outrage from radio hams –
" the best way to extend the reach of your network is to use powerline networking, "
You showing your ignorance. It's absolutely ALL users of affected spectrum, not just "Hams". It's only going to get worse too.
A really uninformed statement!
There are 13 channels, but even in Europe many gadgets will only use 11, also faster speeds use up about 1/3rd of the spectrum allowing only three base stations nearby. The highest speed devices use the entire 5.8 or 2.4GHz bands.
Re: For many – and despite the inevitable outrage from radio hams –
Yes it will affect radio "hams", but not using it would affect people with houses, it isn't a one sided thing!
And given some of us live in rented houses with no sensible way of routing cables, there has to be something to be said for something that allows us something better than WiFi.
We all need to be concerned about EMC!
Power Line Networking devices do not meet the EMC standard (EN55022) that they claim to. When tested independently, they fail emissions tests by a factor of about 10,000. The manufacturers use CISPR Committee Drafts (most notably CISPR/I/89/CD) which were withdrawn and not adopted to try to claim conformance.
In fact, Ofcom commissioned ERA Technology, an independent EMC test house to test representative PLT products to EN55022 in 2008. The devices failed by up to 39.4dB. The Executive Summary of the test report concluded "It is considered that the Ethernet Powerline Adaptors do not satisfy the essential requirements of the EMC directive; emissions could potentially cause interference to communications equipment." This document was released as part of a FoI request to the CAA.
Conformance to EN55022 s non-compulsory, but conformance to the essential requirements is, so the upshot of the report is that the products do not comply with the law.
Why is this important to us all? Because it opens to door for manufacturers to totally disregard EMC regulations. We have already seen products marketed as Gigabit PLT's cause interference to DAB and FM radio reception because of their use of 50-320MHz as well as Short Wave. They also caused concerns within the CAA which apparently lead to Solwise introducing a an optional firmware update to allow their Gigabit PLT users the option to to reprogramme their PLT's to avoid using the International VHF Aeronautical band. There is no limit to the amount of RF that these products could use, ergo there is no limit on the potential interference that the products can produce. In the marketing quest to increase top-line bandwidth, a manufacturer can either increase power levels or bandwidth or both. The upshot? A consumer can no longer buy a product safe in the knowledge that it's not going to affect something else in their home.
Why is the law being allowed to be flaunted? Because the EU do not want to put barriers to trade in place. In an email correspondence I had with Gunter Verheugen, as EC Vice President, he stated that the EU stance was "A permissive but cautious approach be adopted towards PLT" and "Proponents of the technology argue that it can be deployed without any problem" which has been empirically proven not to be the case.
Further evidence of this was a draft press statement from GCHQ expressing their concerns with PLT interference to their operations which happened to be revoked prior to release.
Burying our heads in the sand and thinking that interference issues are only affecting hams is very short-sighted. We are heading towards a market where the compatibility of EMC will cease to be the case.
I've just bought a new house in a BT infinity area. I work in networking so one of the first DIY jobs I took on was to put Cat5e throughout the house with a 24-port patch panel. I don't understand why people will relentlessly pursue a wireless solution when a superior wired solution already exists. Even in rented accomodation you can run a single Cat5e without a massive effort.
I am seriously looking at putting in a 1Gbps switch with POE. The only thing putting me off is the prices, you're looking at a minimum of £200.
"I don't understand why people will relentlessly pursue a wireless solution when a superior wired solution already exists."
Erm maybe because you are a network installer and most other people aren't?
Also more and more people are using laptops and tablets and they look crap hooked up with ethernet while sat on your lap in front of the tv.
Well, original commenter: I'm happy for you, and wish you all the best with your fabbo Gigabit home LAN.
And yes, I'm envious, and not a little miffed. We're currently using 200Mbps (ha ha ha) HomePlugs to cart network traffic around our house, and I'd dump them tomorrow if I could install Gigabit-capable cabling around the place. The radio interference issue isn't the main reason for my discontent (though it's a fringe benefit): the HomePlugs are just too darn slow, especially for big file transfers around the LAN. It's often quicker for me to walk downstairs to the NAS (a Synology) with a USB drive, than it is to do a network transfer over HomePlug, and that Ain't Right...
Installing Cat5e cables, running them between floors, and doing so in a way which isn't unsightly and amateurish, is currently beyond my abilities. If there was someone in our area who could do this without making a mess of our walls, and do so affordably, they'd clean up.
Interesting, it#s worth noting that the 2820 router only has 1GB port, the others are 10/100.
I'm a Draytek reseller and an avid user of them, and they are well priced units if you are looking for a high quality SMB space VPN router thingymabob.
I was working late last night when I needed access to one of these things, which I didn't program, deploy or mange. But I was able to access it within 5 minutes and reprogram it for my needs. Now this was only possible with LAN access so it is kind of secure I suppose.
Basically none of these routers are safe and are vulnerable to a draytek 'backdoor' which the manufacturer has programmed into the firmware.
I don't know whether to laugh, rejoice or cry at this news to be honest, but there you go.
I can 'see' >150 APs out the back and a different >150 out the front. Using Alfa awus036nh and inssider .. am checking out 5HZ band it seems quiet.
Gb routers too expensive
I'd love to either replace my 100M ADSL modem/router or add a Gb router behind it to network my two PCs, but at £50+ it's not economical, so I'll probably just add Gb NICs (about £4 each) to both PCs and link them directly and leave the 100M NICs connected to the router.
Maybe one day my ISP will upgrade my router!
Re: Gb routers too expensive
I'm on Virgin, and each time there is a network problem, they always blame my router and want to throw new ones at me.....
One of the simplest solutions is to set up some repeaters. Companies such as Edimax sell inexpensive boxes that can either repeat the existing frequency for you, or you can wire them in and they can work as an extra base station.
This pretty much solved all our problems in town. 3 base stations all on different frequencies but with the same SSID.
At home I have one of the same Edimax units that just picks up the signal of the main router and boosts it out into the garden. Useful when listening to online radio when mowing the lawn etc.
Horrid things. Being someone who likes to listen to the footie/Danny Baker on Radio 5 on good old AM you can hear the effect of these things driving past houses in the country from time to time. The noise is unmistakable as rather than the random interference you get from powerlines etc it is bursts of noise that sounds like data.
How this is allowed I have no idea. Older readers will remember that in the early 90's some EEC regs came in that required all electronic equipment to have EMF suppression. For example people may remember the good old Sinclair Spectrum used to kick out a hell of a racket on any nearby radio (in fact if you tuned to a sweet spot between LBC and Radio 1 you could actually hear the audio for a good 50 metres).
Lots of devices had to be either re-engineered or pulled from the market. It's why big metal shields started appearing inside home micros at that time.
Anyway my point is that if we had to go through all that to prevent radio interference, why the hell are these mains ethernet adaptors allowed?
Re: Powerline adaptors
I think they sidestep it, as the interference isn't being put out by the devices themselves, but by the cables in the house that it uses. This varies with the cabling installed and what's connected to it.
i use gigabit fibre in ever room
8 ports a room... all goes down to a bank of switches in the basement.
but id rather show you my rolex.
Like others here, Wifi is strictly for portable devices like phones or hand held consoles.
The house gets wires to each room to network sockets. Yes, It can be messy, but as each room gets decorated, the wires get sunk into walls and under floors. I Have 4 sockets just by the TV in the living room, one for the TV, one for the Blue-ray plater, one for the Sky+ box and another for the media PC, along with 2 more sockets behind my chair next to the electric sockets.
My "server room" or the basement as my missus calls it houses most of the networking kit including the router, but has 2 wireless AP's, one for upstairs and one for downstairs.
I cant be messing around with powerline networking, If networking has to be done then do it properly. Make the effort to use high quality cables and sockets and hide the wires...
after moving a few months ago .. to a rented house one of the first things i did was install cat5 cable ..one to the back room 2 to the front and one upstairs .. all behind skirting boards or under floors ..4 ports to my router .. :)
really it's not that hard ..and no i don't work in it .. a kitchen yes ..
What do the powering adaptor do with a surge? I have surge protection on everything plugged into my network. A neighbour had their tv, DVD player, etc fried during one bad storm before I moved in. These things would let a surge on to my Ethernet ports bypassing my surge protectors.
as others have said, 5GHz doesnt get as far through buildings as 2.4GHz
dont make your router the 'speed core' of the network. use a gigabit switch as the speed-core of the network...with the router just a leg onto the internet...100mbit for that link should suffice!
wireless kit ...hmmm, its a wonder it ever works. yes, you can use channel 13 in the UK (and 12...) a lot of imported stuff wont...but the issue is other APs wont know...and so you'll get neighbour APs using 11 rather than dropping to 6 or 1 - and the 11/13 overlap isnt good - you might actually find you are better off using channel 11 - at least the APs can hear each other properly and stop talking over each other... they will both clash if you have 13 and the near-by one is 11 . not good.
the author might not have had much joy with jumbos - i suspect their network kit...as jumbos are very very useful here - especially when i'm chucking VMware images around my network. 60Gb transfers very nicely - but I'm using NFS not nasty SMB so maybe thats why.... :-)
5GHz and walls.
Powerline networking, 5Ghz acess point, problem solved.
Fritz! already have these as integrated units in Schuko format if you don't mind using an adaptor.
(Still raving about my 7390 and the 5Ghz is usable 2 brick walls away from the router.)
Powerline is rubbish.
I've bought serveral over the years. They've all failed in weeks.
It's just crap technology. When I took my last one back to the shop the guy who took them back said he wished he wasn't mandated by central office into selling them, because they're "crap judging by how many gets returned."
Fortunately, I have Gigabit eithernet round the house. It's a bit of an overkill, but I've got 20 wall sockets around the kitchen, 10 in my office, and two to four in every other room in the house, including the garage, and the loft cupboard. It cost virtually nothing to do, since I was rewiring anyway.
While that adapter is very pretty, £108!!!!!
Given a standard 200AV plug is about £20, a basic 4 port switch can be had for under a tenner.
Also their website doesn't state what speed the Ethernet ports are, so expect 10/100.
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