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Thread: What does signal strength really mean?

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate vintageb3's Avatar
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    Question What does signal strength really mean?

    Hi Guys...

    I bought a WiFi USB dongle…and have managed to get it hooked up in my VanPc.

    I have questions about what I should looking for re: strength of signal.

    I have managed to hook into my girlfriend’s access point…and have this connection set on automatic…so as I drive up to her place….I’m hooked up to her network automatically…handy to check email…sometimes it’s slow to connect…and not reliable.

    But I have to be just about in clear sight of the wireless access point to get any kind of use.

    In other words…although sitting in her drive and getting “Excellent” the link is only 1Mbs…and trying to get online is difficult.

    If I move out into the road…and in front of her living room window where the AP is located…I get the same excellent….but maybe 12mbs. Is this a good rate?

    What should I be looking for?...what can I change to get a more reliable connection?

    Every time I boot up…I’m told that the WiFi USB dongle could be plugged into a faster port…but it is plugged into a USB 2.0 hub…on what is supposed to be a USB 2.0 port.

    How can I make sure all the ports and the hub are USB 2.0…could this even be an issue with transfer rate?

    Also…the connection seems to drop a lot…and all the setting seem to be OK…is there something I can do to prevent this dropping?

    Hope someone can help

    EDIT...Also meant to mention that her desktop computer is only about 20' from the wirelles AP...hardly going through any brickwork...and I think her computer could be getting a better signal...what kind of Mbs should she be looking for with a PCI wifi card?

    Thanks

    vintageb3
    M10000 mainboard,256 RAM, 80 Gig 3.5" drive, PWS-120-M, ITPS, Lilliput 7" touchscreen, XP Pro SP2, Frodoplayer, Map Monkey, InfoMap Navigator 4, WIFI

    Current: Bluetooth. Trying to get Phonecontrol to work with SE T610.

  2. #2
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    Well the USB Stick is a problem in the first place since these things are even tinier than PCMCIA cards and therefore have close to no antenna inside of them. That doesn't really help your reception, but that wasn't your question either.

    First of all, USB 1.1 has 11MBit/s so you should be fine with either USB 2.0 or 1.1.

    About the signal strength, I bet you are using the tool that came with your WiFi Dongle to tell you your signal quality. I suggest using netstumbler, just to check the actual signal strength. You should notice that your signal is much weaker when you get 1MBit/sec compared to the spot where you get 11Mbit/sec. If that is not the case there's something wrong

    Hope that helped ya out.
    Lilliput 7" TS TFT, ASRock K7VM2, Duron 1,3 GHz, 512 MB DDR RAM, 30 GB Seagate HDD @ 5.400 rpm, WLAN w/ 500mW booster, Toshiba Slimline DVD-ROM Drive, D-Link USB Radio

    Download the German Voicepack 1.0 for FreeDrive now!

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate vintageb3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeeve5
    Well the USB Stick is a problem in the first place since these things are even tinier than PCMCIA cards and therefore have close to no antenna inside of them. That doesn't really help your reception, but that wasn't your question either.

    I don't have the PCMCIA option...as my install doesn't have a case...I would hav course opted for the PCMCIA option if I could...

    All is not lost though...I could give the USB dongle to my girlfreind so she can use her laptop on her network.

    First of all, USB 1.1 has 11MBit/s so you should be fine with either USB 2.0 or 1.1.

    I have a Acer USB dongle...with 802.11/g...do I need USB 2.00 for that?

    About the signal strength, I bet you are using the tool that came with your WiFi Dongle to tell you your signal quality. I suggest using netstumbler, just to check the actual signal strength. You should notice that your signal is much weaker when you get 1MBit/sec compared to the spot where you get 11Mbit/sec. If that is not the case there's something wrong

    Hope that helped ya out.
    I actaully have newstumbler on my system...if I got the readings...could you make sense of them for me?

    Thanks...your mail has helped!

    Tuss

    vintageb3
    M10000 mainboard,256 RAM, 80 Gig 3.5" drive, PWS-120-M, ITPS, Lilliput 7" touchscreen, XP Pro SP2, Frodoplayer, Map Monkey, InfoMap Navigator 4, WIFI

    Current: Bluetooth. Trying to get Phonecontrol to work with SE T610.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, go ahead and post your readings of the 1MBit/sec and the 11 MBit/sec reception. You should see a difference yourself. Either lower signal strength or higher noise in the 1 Mbit/sec one

    Well a 802.11g dongle doesn't 'need' UsB 2.0 but it helps since USB 1.1 isn't able to go 54 MBit/sec

    Do you by any chance have a free PCI slot in your system cause an external antenna in a car really helps. At least if your Renault isn't totally made out of plastic
    Lilliput 7" TS TFT, ASRock K7VM2, Duron 1,3 GHz, 512 MB DDR RAM, 30 GB Seagate HDD @ 5.400 rpm, WLAN w/ 500mW booster, Toshiba Slimline DVD-ROM Drive, D-Link USB Radio

    Download the German Voicepack 1.0 for FreeDrive now!

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate vintageb3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeeve5
    Yeah, go ahead and post your readings of the 1MBit/sec and the 11 MBit/sec reception. You should see a difference yourself. Either lower signal strength or higher noise in the 1 Mbit/sec one

    Well a 802.11g dongle doesn't 'need' UsB 2.0 but it helps since USB 1.1 isn't able to go 54 MBit/sec

    Do you by any chance have a free PCI slot in your system cause an external antenna in a car really helps. At least if your Renault isn't totally made out of plastic
    Quick reply..NEED SLEEP!!!

    Thanks so much for your reply....you are a gent Sir!

    I will get back to you when my eyes are not closing so much

    vintageb3
    M10000 mainboard,256 RAM, 80 Gig 3.5" drive, PWS-120-M, ITPS, Lilliput 7" touchscreen, XP Pro SP2, Frodoplayer, Map Monkey, InfoMap Navigator 4, WIFI

    Current: Bluetooth. Trying to get Phonecontrol to work with SE T610.

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