Measuring a wireless router’s signal strength

975 pts.
Tags:
Routers
Wireless
Wireless in 2010
Wireless Internet
Wireless router configuration
Wireless routers
How can you measure your wireless router’s signal strength? Can it be boosted? And what router has the best signal strength right out of the box?

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There are free tools, such as NetStumbler, and more capable ones, such as AirMagnet Survey, Visiwave, Fluke Networks InterpretAir and Ekahau Site Survey that you can use to test the signal strength. To boost any router, you should get a wireless repeater. All routers in essence are the same. This is what I would do,

1) Purchase or use your existing wireless router and replace the “firmware” with DD-WRT (open source firewall (this can be your main wireless router)
2) Purchase or use another existing wireless router and replace the “firmware” with DD-WRT (this can be your wireless repeater)

Instructions to <a href=”http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/support/router-database”>download the DD-WRT for your router</a> (locate your router to verify support)

Instructions to <a href=”http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Installation”>install DD-WRT</a>

Instructions to <a href=”http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Repeater_Bridge”>add the repeater to your wireless router</a> (Step 1)
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Labnuke99:

There are alternatives to changing firmware. You can add a higher-gain (stronger) antenna or make the current antenna dipoles more direction toward the client devices. Consider this <a href=”http://lifehacker.com/296367/boost-your-wireless-signal-with-a-homemade-wifi-extender”>method for boosting wireless signals</a>. Additional videos on this topic may be found <a href=”http://www.google.com/search?q=boost+wlan+signal&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=dVb&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=v&source=univ&tbs=vid:1&tbo=u&ei=na9yTL3dNIP0tgPQwaikCw&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4&ved=0CDIQqwQwAw”>here</a>. I personally like the idea of using a metal mesh strainer as a RF signal concentrator.

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It would be better to upgrade your antenna, tweak the gain and/or buy a better (enterprise/small business AP/router) than tweaking the Firmware. Open-source =/= guaranteed to work, and changing to a 3rd=party FW will void most warranties…

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  • Pjb0222
    Are you using consumer / home office products or comercial grade products? Note that only some consumer grade products can use replacement firmwares and you should not attempt an OS replacement on comercial grade products. Suggestions on managing signal strength depend on products used and your physical environment.
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