General Question

bob_'s avatar

What to do about weak WiFi signal?

Asked by bob_ (19685points) October 1st, 2010

My old wireless modem died last week * sniff sniff *. I thought my ISP was going to give me a new one of the same model, but no, they gave me a good-for-nothing Chinese piece-of-junk with poor signal strength, ugh! I called tech support and they told me how to increase the strength. It improved things a bit, but some areas of the house still have a so-so signal (places where the signal was just fine with the old modem). Therefore, I’m looking for a device to fix this situation.

Option one is to buy the same modem from some guy on an eBay-type site. It’s relatively cheap, but the warranty is only valid for 2 months, and I have serious doubts about where the modems came from (the guy says they’re in their original boxes from the ISP—WTF? did he buy their leftovers before they switched? did he steal them? I have a bad feeling about the whole thing).

Option two is to buy a router/access point. Here comes the first question: what’s the difference between them? My home network consists of 3 computers and a PS3, all connected wirelessly. What’s best for me?

Do you have any recommendations as to specific devices? I’m looking at this access point and this and this routers.

Whadda ya say?

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8 Answers

BluRhino's avatar

I am going to try this firmware as well as a DIY antenna…I really dont care what it looks like, as long as it works, and you can make it any size. Put your router as high up to the ceiling as well if you can. ( I think I can use one of my old tinfoil hats for this…)

bob_'s avatar

@BluRhino Huh, moving the router to another room… I hadn’t thought of that. I’ll give it a try, thanks!

MissAnthrope's avatar

You can also get WiFi signal repeaters.. my last job had them all over the humongous building. You plug them into outlets around the space where you’re trying to boost signal and it does it automagically or something.

bob_'s avatar

@MissAnthrope Yeah, I saw those, too, but they looked… I don’t know, not as reliable as a router, for some reason (and pretty much as expensive). Let’s see if a tech-oriented jelly can enlighten us.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Hrmph. Are you saying I’m not tech-oriented? I take umbrage at that remark. :\

I am, too! And I’ve used the WiFi at that place and the repeaters worked perfectly. Trust me on this, I have struggled with poor signals and all of that over the years, so I have looked into this. You can get a Cantenna for your PC or you can get a more powerful router. The easiest thing would be to get a repeater or two and put them in the rooms where you are getting a poor signal. That, or trying the router in another room.

jaytkay's avatar

If your old wireless device worked well, I wouldn’t mess around with repeaters.

There are plenty of inexpensive wireless routers with excellent range. The WRT54G you linked to is one of them.

bob_'s avatar

@MissAnthrope Oops, my bad! I took your “automagically or something” as “I don’t really know how, but it works” XD

The repeaters I’m seeing online cost basically the same as the routers. What’s the difference?

jaytkay's avatar

A router takes a single internet connection and routes signals among multiple machines. To the Internet they all appear to only one computer, so a router is needed to figure out which computer is watching Youtube and which is using Google, etc.

An access point just connects to an existing network wirelessly, essentially it just replaces wires.

A wireless router is both a router and an access point in one box.

A repeater repeats the signal of an existing router or access point.

Also, it sounds like your ISP gives you a router, an access point AND a modem in one box.

Do you have the model number?

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