I have a WNDR3700v2 Netgear router, running Gargoyle/OpenWRT, with an attached NAS usb hard drive. I like to stream tv shows and movies off said usb hard drive to my laptop/phone in my shed in the back yard while I have a smoke. Right now, it works 90% of the time. But every now and then, if the wind blows the wrong way or there's a solar flare or god knows what, the streaming cuts out and pauses for 1-2 minutes, which is really annoying. It happens every 10 minutes or so. But for the other 9 minutes, the video streams just fine.
This happens regardless of the file's bitrate, whether it is a highly compressed 70mB 22min mp4, or a high bitrate 720p 500mB 22min mkv. I have OpenWRT on the router, so I can access every low level wifi setting that exists, including using channels 12 and 13 which I believe are banned here in Canada. The Atheros chipset has a hardware limit on the wifi dB gain, and it is currently set to max in the software. The router is dual band 2.4ghz/5ghz, but the 5ghz is totally useless because we keep the router in the 2nd floor of our house, and you practically have to be in the same room as the router to use the 5ghz band. So I keep it disabled.
I can only ever get a 65mbit connection out of the 2.4ghz, even though it is 300mbit capable. Even if I turn off every single device except for an 802.11n laptop/phone, they still can't connect at anything higher than 65mbit. No idea why, not sure if it affects range or not, but if it doesn't then I don't care, I just need a little extra range. The router is currently set to b/g/n 2.4ghz mode. I have tried 20mhz bandwidth, and both 40mhz upper and lower dual bandwidths, on every channel combo I could think of. I'm pretty sure I have the best combo, channel 2 with the second band on the upper half.
I have also tried making the foil directional antennas. They seem to be great at blocking the wifi signal, but horrible at reflecting it. It doesn't matter what shape or how I position a home-made foil wifi reflector antenna, it just makes the signal worse.
It is definitely not a CPU speed limitation, the router is more than powerful enough to stream HD video, and htop confirms that the samba protocol daemon is only using ~20% of the CPU when streaming HD video.
This router does not accept threaded antenna extensions, because it uses that new antenna technology where the antennae are super small (actually just a bunch of copper pads on the PCB), but sized perfectly optimized to the wifi chipset or something like that. So adding a bigger antenna, without measuring it to be exactly a fraction of the built in antenna's size, would just make the transmission strength worse.
So aside from adding an antenna, does anyone have any tips on how I can stream video out to my shed without these connection dropouts? Either just by boosting the signal strength a little, or configuring the router for wifi video streaming better? I've tried: setting the dB gain in software to max, using different channels, using different wifi configurations, making DIY foil antenna reflectors