"Just received my order for the Hawking HAI15SC Hi-Gain 15dbi corner directional antenna. Replaced the right antenna on my Linksys WRT54GS router with the Hawking antenna. My wireless-enabled laptop experienced absolutely NO increase in signal from the Hawking antenna. What was before a low signal was still a low signal. What was before a very low signal was still a very low signal."
The Hawking antenna probably increased the signal range by no more than a couple of feet. Then I wrapped the Hawking antenna with aluminum foil. That increased the signal range by about 10 to 20 feet, which still wasn't good enough to reach my laptop on the table in the breakfast nook all of the time. The signal strength on my laptop ranged from low to very low to no connection according to the icon on the system tray, and the speed was less than 1 Mbps.
I then added the Linksys WRE54G expander. Wow! Signal strength now ranges from good to very good and I get the full 11 Mbps on my laptop (802.11b).
If the expander and the router are rated as 802.11g and operate up to
54 Mbps and there is a 50 percent speed loss from the use of the expander, wouldn't the speed on the transmit from router via expander to wireless adaptor be 27 Mbps (1/2 X 54 Mbps)? And the transmit from wireless adaptor (802.11b) to router be 5.5 Mbps (1/2 X 11 Mbps)?
No. First, let me say there is no such term as "expander" in wireless. That's a correct term from audio as in audio compressor and expander. In wireless it's either an amplifier *OR* a repeater. The industry has seen enough confusion with the misuse of the term "bridge". I don't want to see it get any worse due to marketing hype and metaphor abuse. In this case, it's a wireless "store and forward repeater".
802.11g has a connection speed of up to 54Mbits/sec. That's not the thruput or speed at which you can transfer files. Normally, the thruput is about half of the connection speed. Therefore, you can expect to see about 25-30Mbits/sec thruput with 802.11g, when connected at 54Mbits/sec.
Now, a store and forward repeater only transits and receives one at a time. Same with the 802.11g access point and client radio. Therefore, the access point will transmit, while the repeater will receive. It stores the received packet, and then switches to transmit. That goes to the client radio which is now in receive. Since only ONE transmitter can be on at a time, the date rate of two transmitters in series (store and forward) is exactly half of the normal data rate without the repeater.
The same applies to 802.11b. You can get up to an 11Mbit/sec connection, but you will only be able to move data at 4-5Mbits/sec. Add a repeater and it gets cut in half again to about 2Mbits/sec thruput. Actually, 802.11b is considerably less "efficient" in terms of overhead and has a thruput of less than 50% of the connection speed.
It also make a difference whether you're moving TCP packets or UDP packets. TCP requires an acknowledgment packet (ACK) while UDP does not. Therefore, UDP packets move somewhat faster (about 20%) than TCP for 802.11b and probably somewhat less for 802.11g.
Drivel: My your turbo, enhanced, afterburner, overdrive, expanded, super-G, 15x, 108Mbps, boosted, wireless bridge meet all the expectations such superlatives imply. My father once told me to be wary of anything with super, amazing, magic, miracle, or enhanced in the name.
Actually, with a single repeater in line, the transfer speed could approach 50%, but never equal it.
There is always the possibility of an inordinate amount of hang time between the repeater's reception of the data and then the retransmission. Further slowing throughput would be marginal signal conditions, such as people/pets moving in the environment blocking signals or causing multipath interference. And, of course, someone in the neighborhood could also be transmitting on the same frequency with a similar device, or the family's microwave oven being on.
I have used a friend's simplex repeater on two meter phone. It was better than nothing, but not by much. Still, with data, it would not be as bothersome as with telephony.
Yep. I didn't know Apple had a "range extender". Amplifiers are connected to an antenna port on either access points, wireless routers, or client radios (with external antenna connectors). The basic idea behind an amplifier is to eliminate the coax cable loss between the radio and the antenna. There are two basic types, with AGC (automagic gain control) and without AGC. The amps without AGC require exactly the proper amount of transmit signal to work. Add or subtract any coax cable and the tx amplifier will either overload (belching garbage) or not supply rated power. AGC compensates for variations in coax loss, but is more expensive, introduces some tx/rx delays, and usually has slightly less tx gain. There is no speed loss when using an amplifier.
Repeaters require no direct cable connection to either the access point or client radio. The store and forward type cut bandwidth in half.
There are two types of repeaters. The proprietary repeaters in the WAP54G and such tend to only work with the same manufacturers chipset. (Note: It's the chipset, not the manufacturer, that's important). See
addition, WPA doesn't work in the repeat mode. Nice mess.
The other type of repeater is WDS (wireless distribution something). I don't know much about it, but it's also chipset proprietary and not universally interoperable. Hopefully, it will get widespread support as it seems genuinely useful.
There are also cross channel repeaters that use two access points, back to back. These can transmit and receive simulateneously and therefore do NOT cut bandwidth in half. The access point and client radios are on different channels, but that's usually not a problem.
Mesh networks also use either store and forward or cross channel repeaters.
Apple doesn't use the "repeater" or "extender" terminology but refers to "extending the range" of wireless networks with WDS or roaming. Other than adapter cards for Macs, Apple's only wireless hardware is the Extreme and Express "base stations" (combination access points and routers).
Apple uses the terms "main", "relay", and "remote" to describe a base station's function in a Wireless Distribution System. A "main" functions as a router, and a "remote" only communicates with one other base station. All three types can also handle wireless clients.
A description and illustration can be found in Designing AirPort Networks or AirPort Networks for Windows, available at .
I'm using a Hawking HAI6SDA 6db directional on a fixed workstation two floors above and at the opposite end of the house from the AP. The AP antenna is stock 5db omni but is oriented so the radiation pattern is angled upward across the house rather than horizontal.
To reach the workstation the signal has to travel nearly 70ft, pass through 2 floors and 5 walls and bend around a massive steel beam that partly shadows that area of the house. Why put a wireless workstation in such a location, you ask? It was convenient to have a computer there and very inconvenient to wire it.
Before the Hawking antenna I had, on a good day, a 15% signal and was plagued by dropouts. With it I have a constant 95+% signal and can usually achieve around 16Mbps transfer rate with 54g gear in spite of having two nearby 11b networks on the same channel. [ If I could figure out who's running them I would ask them to move. I have some 108g devices that need channel 6 for operation ... their poky 11b networks could use any channel. Sigh! ]