strong signal but slow connection

I admit I'm not much of a wireless expert, but I have a persistent problem on my two laptops I'd like an answer for. They're two different XP laptops (Gateway with internal Broadcom 802.11g and Dell with PCMCIA Netgear

802.11g). I have a Netgear WGR614v1 wireless router and a Netgear WG602v3 access point. The router is set to channel 11 and the WAP to channel 1. Both are set to connect at only 802.11g, not b, and all use WEP 128bit. I added the WAP because my wife uses her laptop in many different rooms of our house and there were areas she was getting minimal connections.

The problem is this - we generally have "Excellent" signal strength according to the system tray icon (especially after adding the WAP), but we frequently experience lower than 54 Mbps connection speed. My wife has often complained of 5-11 Mbps speeds even though the signal strength is excellent at the same time. She works on some large databases that she has to copy up and down from my server. What could be causing the lowered speeds while still having an excellent signal strength? I've already checked the obvious (microwave, cordless phones, etc.) and this happens even when these other devices are not in use.

Appreciate any help anyone can provide. Thanks.

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