• Sign in to Neowin Faster!

    Create an account on Neowin to contribute and support the site.

  • 0
Sign in to follow this  

WiFi signal very weak with new router! :(

Question

The Dark Knight    274

I bought an ASUS RT N56-U to replace my ageing Linksys WRT54G yesterday. I would get a maximum of 1 bar with my Linksys in the other rooms of my house. No connection at all outside the house.

 

But even with this new router the signal is extremely weak! If I go to any other room, I get just 1 or 2 bars max with both 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz bands. And no signal at all outside. In fact I am only able to connect to the 5 Ghz band in the room where it is kept. The router is kept on top of a 4 ft high cabinet. My house is on 1 level only, no upper rooms. The walls are extremely thick, so I knew I would not get full strength everywhere, but I did not expect it to be so weak especially from a supposedly high powered expensive router like this.

 

So what options do I have other than investing in 1 or 2 additional routers and using them as extenders?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

23 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 0
Karl L.    275

If the walls of your house really are abnormally thick, that will definitely affect your wireless signal to some extent. 5 GHz signals in particular do a very poor job of penetrating walls. So while you should see very good speeds when connected over the 5 GHz band in the same room, it is not too surprising that you quickly see diminishing returns when you move to another room. If your house is older, that could cause problems as well. A friend of mine in high school lived in a 100 year old house with thick walls (for the Southern United States, anyway) and hefty steel pipes running through the walls (mainly for the radiators). Needless to say, his 2.45 GHz Linksys WRT54GL had absolutely terrible signal penetration. He suspected the router was defective for a while, so we took it to my parent's house and tried it; the range was much improved. You might be in a similar situation.

 

Unfortunately, I have no good suggestion for you. Wireless repeaters might help, but if your problem is as I suspect, they will only provide you with a limited reprieve. Although my friend was frustrated with his situation, especially when his connection dropped in the middle of an online match of Halo 3, his solution was to just live with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
+Raze    17,698

Have you updated to the latest firmware that was released 10/11/2013?

 

http://www.service.asus.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
The Evil Overlord    18,442

Is there anyway that it might be faulty? by this I mean can you get the store you bought it from (if applicable) to check it out?

it shouldn't be less powerful than your older model....

 

Is there any custom firmware available for it (ddwrt)

I believe there is an option to boost the signal strength using cfw, but not sure what it does as far as warranties are concerned

 

failing that, I don't know what else to suggest that would be helpful :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Hum    6,934

Latest firmware installed ?

 

Tried another channel ?

 

We are using an Amped wireless booster, tho it isn't very reliable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
The Dark Knight    274

Have you updated to the latest firmware that was released 10/11/2013?

 

http://www.service.asus.com/

 

Yes. I don't remember the exact version, but it was 3.xx. It prompted me to update it during initial setup itself, so I went ahead with the update.

 

Is there anyway that it might be faulty? by this I mean can you get the store you bought it from (if applicable) to check it out?

it shouldn't be less powerful than your older model....

 

Is there any custom firmware available for it (ddwrt)

I believe there is an option to boost the signal strength using cfw, but not sure what it does as far as warranties are concerned

 

failing that, I don't know what else to suggest that would be helpful :(

 

I bought it online. I can return it, but it is a bit of a hassle.

 

DD-WRT does not officially support it. There is a fork available, but I did not want to to use that.

 

Latest firmware installed ?

 

Tried another channel ?

 

We are using an Amped wireless booster, tho it isn't very reliable.

 

Hmm, I haven't tried with another Channel. Do you recommend any particular one?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Hum    6,934

 

Hmm, I haven't tried with another Channel. Do you recommend any particular one?

You should download and run a Wi-fi detector program.

 

http://service.downloadadmin.com/download/805818/dl?brand=tucows.com&pid=tucows&bc=805818&country=US&cb=-567090163

 

The idea is to use a channel that other devices near you are not using.

 

My theory is that the higher frequency the channel, the better the penetration -- so I use 10.

 

I've also read that you should place the router as close to the center of the house as you can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
The Dark Knight    274

You should download and run a Wi-fi detector program.

 

http://service.downloadadmin.com/download/805818/dl?brand=tucows.com&pid=tucows&bc=805818&country=US&cb=-567090163

 

The idea is to use a channel that other devices near you are not using.

 

My theory is that the higher frequency the channel, the better the penetration -- so I use 10.

 

I've also read that you should place the router as close to the center of the house as you can.

 

Ok, will run this when I get back home tonight and report back. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
+Raze    17,698

For the 2.4 channels try using channels 1. 6, or 11 as these do not overlap.

 

As Hum suggested get a WiFi scan program and see what channels are used the most.

 

I use an Asus RT-N66U and I just leave the channel on auto.  My experience with the RT-N66U has been flawless on both 2.4 and 5.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
The Dark Knight    274

For the 2.4 channels try using channels 1. 6, or 11 as these do not overlap.

 

As Hum suggested get a WiFi scan program and see what channels are used the most.

 

I use an Asus RT-N66U and I just leave the channel on auto.  My experience with the RT-N66U has been flawless on both 2.4 and 5.

 

Ok. Mine is also currently set on Auto.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
The Dark Knight    274

If the walls of your house really are abnormally thick, that will definitely affect your wireless signal to some extent. 5 GHz signals in particular do a very poor job of penetrating walls. So while you should see very good speeds when connected over the 5 GHz band in the same room, it is not too surprising that you quickly see diminishing returns when you move to another room. If your house is older, that could cause problems as well. A friend of mine in high school lived in a 100 year old house with thick walls (for the Southern United States, anyway) and hefty steel pipes running through the walls (mainly for the radiators). Needless to say, his 2.45 GHz Linksys WRT54GL had absolutely terrible signal penetration. He suspected the router was defective for a while, so we took it to my parent's house and tried it; the range was much improved. You might be in a similar situation.

 

Unfortunately, I have no good suggestion for you. Wireless repeaters might help, but if your problem is as I suspect, they will only provide you with a limited reprieve. Although my friend was frustrated with his situation, especially when his connection dropped in the middle of an online match of Halo 3, his solution was to just live with it.

 

The walls in my house are at least 20 cm thick. Solid stone, cement and paint. Not too old, but definitely not modern thinner wall construction. This was built in the 80's.

 

So yeah, looks like my only option is to buy additional routers. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Karl L.    275

So yeah, looks like my only option is to buy additional routers. :(

 

I have had a very good experience with Buffalo's high powered routers (which are marked with a "-HP" in their product name). Their new Wireless AC routers don't support DD-WRT (yet), but their Wireless N ones have official support for it. I currently have two of their high powered routers running the latest build of DD-WRT provided by Buffalo. One is the primary router, and the other is a wireless repeater and bridge. They have both been very fast and stable, performing the roles I assigned them well. A good router with stable DD-WRT support is definitely my recommendation.

 

Your situation is unfortunate, but not unsurmountable with the aid of additional hardware. I recommend that you get a high powered wireless repeater (or wireless router with DD-WRT support so it can be configured as a wireless repeater or wireless bridge). Start with just one; hopefully that is all that will be necessary. Try to find the best place in your house to install it so you get maximum coverage. With a little trial-and-error, I'm sure you can improve your home wireless coverage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Yogurth    2,318

I use Padavan Firmware for RT-N56U. Works great. You can always go back to original firmware if it does nothing for You.

 

http://code.google.com/p/rt-n56u/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
The Dark Knight    274

I have had a very good experience with Buffalo's high powered routers (which are marked with a "-HP" in their product name). Their new Wireless AC routers don't support DD-WRT (yet), but their Wireless N ones have official support for it. I currently have two of their high powered routers running the latest build of DD-WRT provided by Buffalo. One is the primary router, and the other is a wireless repeater and bridge. They have both been very fast and stable, performing the roles I assigned them well. A good router with stable DD-WRT support is definitely my recommendation.

 

Your situation is unfortunate, but not unsurmountable with the aid of additional hardware. I recommend that you get a high powered wireless repeater (or wireless router with DD-WRT support so it can be configured as a wireless repeater or wireless bridge). Start with just one; hopefully that is all that will be necessary. Try to find the best place in your house to install it so you get maximum coverage. With a little trial-and-error, I'm sure you can improve your home wireless coverage.

 

Thanks for the advice, will do! :)

 

I use Padavan Firmware for RT-N56U. Works great. You can always go back to original firmware if it does nothing for You.

 

http://code.google.com/p/rt-n56u/

 

Ok, will check it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
+BudMan    3,733

"Solid stone, cement and paint"

Sounds like a bomb shelter... Most houses here in the states are hollow with just thin drywall on each side.. And wood studs ever 16 inches. Like butter to warm knife of wifi ;)

If the structure is nonconducive to good wifi coverage - then yeah the only solution is to add more AP in the ares you need coverage. I really really suggest you go with AP and not extenders/repeaters over wifi - all this does is /2 your wifi speed for every hop.

Grab some cheaper routers and connect them to your main router via wire. Place them in the areas that you want coverage, if running wire is hard. Can you use powerline to connect them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
threetonesun    1,204

The walls in my house are at least 20 cm thick. Solid stone, cement and paint. Not too old, but definitely not modern thinner wall construction. This was built in the 80's.

 

So yeah, looks like my only option is to buy additional routers. :(

 

Anything with metals will kill a wifi signal, so those stone walls are stealing it from you. You said you only have one level, but do you have a basement? If you have wood floors and a good place to keep the router (you can mount them to beams easily), you could drop a line into the basement and run the router from there. Depends on the layout, but looking at my house, if the router was in the center of the basement, the signal would have to pass through the floor and one wall, instead of where it is at the front of the house, where it can have to travel through two or three walls.

 

Otherwise, yeah, signal repeaters. You can get Apple airports and use them to play music, at least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
The Dark Knight    274

Anything with metals will kill a wifi signal, so those stone walls are stealing it from you. You said you only have one level, but do you have a basement? If you have wood floors and a good place to keep the router (you can mount them to beams easily), you could drop a line into the basement and run the router from there. Depends on the layout, but looking at my house, if the router was in the center of the basement, the signal would have to pass through the floor and one wall, instead of where it is at the front of the house, where it can have to travel through two or three walls.

 

Otherwise, yeah, signal repeaters. You can get Apple airports and use them to play music, at least.

 

Nope, no basement. And the floor is marble. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
+BudMan    3,733

what about attic?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
The Dark Knight    274

what about attic?

 

Nope. Everything on ground floor only.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
+BudMan    3,733

Well then makes it harder to run wires for sure. I would go with powerline adapters and strategically AP to give you the coverage you want vs is wireless extenders/repeaters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
The Dark Knight    274

Well then makes it harder to run wires for sure. I would go with powerline adapters and strategically AP to give you the coverage you want vs is wireless extenders/repeaters.

 

I already have the whole house wired with Gigabit ethernet using an 8 port Switch. Prefer wired over wireless any day. The only hassle is setting it up initially, smooth sailing and zero headaches after. :)

 

This router was only to boost the WiFi signal. Yeah, will just have to get 1 or 2 additional routers and extend the signal. I would have to get 300 mbps routers right to get the full benefit of WiFi N?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
The Dark Knight    274

Update: I flashed that alternative/optimised firmware as suggested by Yogurth, the signal is MUCH better!!  :woot:  :woot:  :D  :D

 

2.4G band is actually usable now all over the house and even outside! 5G band has also improved but not by much.

 

 

Kudos to you mate!!  :punk:   :pint:

 

Thank you everyone else also for your valuable inputs!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
chrisj1968    1,417

kinda strange i mention this but, being in the hospital alot, I lay on a gurney and seeing the ceiling, I see the hospital puts cisco routers every 20-30feet apart on the ceilings.

 

which begs me to ask: ever thought about mounting a router down the hall closer to your other rooms? might require some wiring work but is should bring wireless closer to other rooms and hopefully give you better returns.

 

just an observation

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Yogurth    2,318

Update: I flashed that alternative/optimised firmware as suggested by Yogurth, the signal is MUCH better!!  :woot:  :woot:  :D  :D

 

2.4G band is actually usable now all over the house and even outside! 5G band has also improved but not by much.

 

 

Kudos to you mate!!  :punk:   :pint:

 

Thank you everyone else also for your valuable inputs!

 

 

Cool, I'm glad it worked for You too :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.