Range problems with Linksys WRT54G and D-Link DCS900W

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I have a Linksys WRT54G v3 fw 4.00.7. I also have a compaq nc8000 laptop
and a D-Link DCS 900W wireless webcamera.

I have my Linksys at one corner of my single level house where I keep my
office and my desktops are wired into the WRT54G.

The WRT54G is set up with mixed (b & g) mode because the 900W is a
b-only device. I use WEP 64bit.

The problem is the 900W seems to have terrible range. Barely 30 feet. If
more than one internal wall is in between, forget it. Setting it up out
side forget it.

The laptop however, seems to make do. I can operate it clear on the
other side of the house, maybe 70 feet or more and several at least 2-3
walls. XP shows "Low" power at that distance.

I have tried at least a 6 different channels without any discernable
improvement. I elevated the WRT54G following the Linksys guidelines. The
only thing that seems to have some effect, is that power cycling the
Linksys seems to increase for a short period of time 10-60 minutes.
However, sometimes I do not get this effect when power cycling. the
Linksys. Power cycling the 900W has no effect. Neither vendor technical
support has been much help. D-Link being the worst, basically stating
their equipment works best with D-Link routers and suggested I replace
the Linksys. They then refused to consider the other evidence I
described above.

Anyway, at this point I a fishing for ideas. Running CAT5 to the camera
is not the option I was thinking of when I bought it.

Re: Range problems with Linksys WRT54G and D-Link DCS900W



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Thanks for supplying models and numbers in addition to exactly what
you're trying to accomplish.  It's a welcome relief to read an
intelligently framed question.

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I think you've successfully demonstrated that the WRT54G is working
correctly.  70ft through 2-3 walls is quite good.  I suggest you
verify the range with a line of sight outdoors test.  The official
range to a laptop is about 300ft, but I consider anything over about
150ft to be normal operation for what the manufacturers use for
antennas.

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6?  The only non-overlapping channels are 1, 6, and 11 in the USA.  If
you use a channel between these, you run the risk of getting
interference from users of both "adjacent" channels.  I suggest you
stick with 1, 6, and 11.  Also, I don't think there's any interference
as it would have also shown up with the laptop test.

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Generally, get the antennas clear of any clutter that might absorb RF.
However, the disparity in range is sufficient to suspect that
performing positional exercises isn't going to help much.

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Linksys has a problem with "large file transfers" that was allegedly
fixed in 4.00 firmware.  I don't believe it was as reports of problems
sending large amounts of data still persist erratically in various
forums and mailing lists.  You might want to search the Linksys forum
on DSLReports for "large file transfer" and "large file copy" for
details:
  http://www.dslreports.com/forum/linksys
I think this is what you're seeing with the WRT54G as sending
continous streaming video is similar to sending big files.
Unfortunately, I don't have a guaranteed fix.  Aparently the
alternative firmware I find most useful, Sveasoft Alchemy shows
reports of the same problem.  My office Linksys WRT54G v2.2 moved
about 3GBytes last week without any slowdown, so it apparently has
some hardware dependencies involved.

However, none of this has any relevence to the range problem, which is
quite independent of the slowdown problem.  The only thing I can
suggest is to test each part independently.  The WRT54G could use a
bit of high traffic testing to verify that it doesn't slow down.

The camera can turn into a bit of fun.  Setup the camera to get a DHCP
assigned IP address, and take it to your local wireless internet cafe.
Use your laptop to talk to the camera, but go through coffee shop's
wireless router.  If they do NOT have any form of client to client
isolation enabled, you should have no problem with this test.  If they
have enabled client to client protection, it won't work.  Anyway, get
the camera streaming video and go for a walk with the camera.  You
have a limited amount of time to do this test as the other denizens on
the coffee shop will surely notice that you're guzzling their
bandwidth and probably try some violent countermeasures.  Be prepared
to run for your life.

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If they knew what they were doing, and were allowed to use outside
materials for researching problems, then you might have gotten a real
answer or clue.

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You may not have a choice if it appears that the camera does not have
sufficient range.  Once the lack of range is verified with either
another access point or a coffee shop hotspot, the only real options
are:
1.  Tear it apart and try to fix it.
2.  Tear it apart and add a bigger antenna.
3.  Tear it apart and smash it against the wall in disgust.
4.  Add a stand alone ethernet client radio (DWL-900AP+, WAP11, WAP54,
WRT54G with Alchemy firmware, various game adapters, etc) and plug it
into the camera ethernet port.
5.  Run the CAT5.

Digression:  I got sick and tired of the crappy images I was getting
from USB, network, and wireless cheapo cameras.  As the price of
digital cameras (with CCD imagers, not CMOS imagers) was dropping, I
decided to investigate using these with either the video or USB
outputs.  It was a world of difference.  Much better pictures, even
from the cheapo cameras.  All of them have auto focus and auto iris.
The butchered camcorders have really good zoom.  Some have full remote
control features but are usually too expensive for me.

I made a real ass out of myself at the local Office Max store by
dragging in a portable digital video recorder, and walking down the
line of their demo cameras trying the video output.  I later compared
the results and picked the best bang for the dollars.  I gave a demo
at a local security company comparing their 1/3" CMOS imager security
cameras with my 1/2" CCD imager.  You could actually recognize people,
unlike the typical bank camera, where everyone looks like a blur.
These days, I use various NTSC video data links and digitizers and
rarely bother with cheapo "web" cameras.



--
Jeff Liebermann    jeffl@comix.santa-cruz.ca.us
150 Felker St #D   http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060    AE6KS  831-336-2558

Re: Range problems with Linksys WRT54G and D-Link DCS900W


Jeff Liebermann wrote:
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I manage a technical support team, so I practice what I preach :)

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Thank you for this, I am clueless in this regard. I in fact have tried
these and am using channel 1 right now. And yes, inference does not
sound like the problem.
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I built a windsurfer EZ-12 and tried it on the 900W, to not much good
effect. For grins I put it on one of the WRT54G antennas and moved
things about a bit. I struck precarious gold and have a good connection
at least to where I want the camera for now.

Would two Windsurfers, one on each antennas do any better or give me
more that my "wiggle position" coverage?


Re: Range problems with Linksys WRT54G and D-Link DCS900W


The answer to the last question is probably no.  The WRT54G only uses one of
its antennas at any given time.  So, if it has good reception with one, it
should use that one more than the other.

-Yves

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Re: Range problems with Linksys WRT54G and D-Link DCS900W


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...

http://www.rc-cam.com/gp_patch.htm and others on the same page, add patch
antennas to wireless cameras.  Some of this is for radio-controlled
airplanes, but the thought applies.

The author uses galvanized steel for the reflector which might be better as
a piece of aluminum or copper-coated PCB.

And, there's always a free and easy try, the Windsurfer EZ-12 reflector,
that you could put at the WAP end.  http://www.freeantennas.com
I printed the pattern on 10mm photo paper, glued aluminum foil to the sail,
and I see a nice improvement.

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Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA  38.8,-122.5


Re: Range problems with Linksys WRT54G and D-Link DCS900W


dold@xrexxrange.usenet.us.com wrote:
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I just looked at the DCS900W.  You could put a reflector on that antenna.
If it's removable, you add any number of aftermarket antennas.

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Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA  38.8,-122.5


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