I really don't know alot about this, but here goes.
I live in an apartment in North Dallas. We have an 802.11b installed in the complex and it's really our only means of High Speed internet. We aren't allowed to use anything but the ONE cable company that is services the complex and they don't offer anything other than basic cable.
Anyway, my question is this: Is there a way to increase my connection speed? Right now I connect between 253k and 330k according to a throughput test.
First of let me say this, unless there is a major breakthrough you will not get the speed on Wireless as you do Broadband.
Second, I may have missed this on your post but what's speed is your WiFi card? How far out from an antenna location in the complex are you?
The further away from the antenna location you are "to a certain degree" the slower your connectivity will be.
It's quite possible the complex needs more AP (antenna locations.
There are a few factors involved that a technician would need to know in order to know how to correct the problem.
Hope this info help a little.
Well, since someone decided to use this one instead of the other thread, I guess I will answer here.
You have several options available to you to try and increase your signal strength as that is the problem you are facing. First, I have a few questions. Do you know where the node is located that you are linking to? You say this is an apartment, is there a node in the hallway? It is important to figure this out. Also have you tried moving around the apartment to see if the signal is better in a certain spot? Do you have a 2.4gHz cordless phone or any BlueTooth devices in the apartment? Second do you have the financial ability to get some different equipment or additional equipment?
First we will start with the cheap attempt at a fix, when you find out where the node is located you can try one of these little reflectors on your USB adaptor antenna.
Just point it at the node's location, it will double your signal strength. The problem you are seeing is that you are not at the optimum signal strength to get the highest throughput bandwidth. For 11b that will be approx. 5.5mB, you are getting around 3mB. So that means your client has dropped to the next level of throughput to maintain a good connection.
The next approach is to get a pc card or a PCI card for your computer. You did not mention what you were using, but a USB adaptor is one of the least favorable methods to use. That change will in most cases allow you add an external antenna, that will improve the signal strength dramatically. I will wait until you let us know if this is possible, before going into more detail.
The next approach will take some more money, remember I asked if there was a place in the apartment where the signal was better? That is important now. This approach requires the purchase of a bridge device like the WET11 and an AP like the WAP11. This allows you to set up your own wireless network in the apartment. I am just using this vendors devices as an example as there are many other brands that work as good or better. It is just that these are popular and most people know about them. You would put the bridge (WET11) in that optimum location I asked about, maybe make a reflector antenna for it was well. Then find where the optimum location for the AP (WAP11) would be in the apartment to cover all of it with a good signal. If you can do that and then run a Ethernet CAT5 cable to it from the bridge. If you can not run a long cable then just locate the AP where it works for you. You have to use the channel of buildings node on the bridge only. You then would change the channel on the AP and your USB adaptor to a different channel as far away from the building's channel as possible. Then you have your own little network and an optimized bridge to the building network. Just remember that the most you will get out of the network will be approx 5.5mB. So, you have to decide which approach is worth the gain.
After reading what you said about individual units, I would suggest going with the bridge and AP approach. You will have wireless via the AP throughout the unit, you can use the USB adaptor. It will also give the best chance of getting the most signal. You can focus the bridge on the node when you find it and even buy or make a good antenna to help with the gain as well.
Adding a PCI card is going to be hidden behind the computer so you will need an antenna right away. It still may not be located in the best possible position for receiving. It is just my opinion though. I would hate to see you buy a card and not get the results you wanted. Might as well go all out once and give yourself the best chance to succeed.
IF you don't mind. Could you give me a link for these products?
I really have no idea where to find them.
It also just upsets me that I wasn't told about not being able to choose my cable company and that one is forced upon me. But I suppose that is my fault for not asking, I just never thought of it.
Hopefully with these products it will help.
also, of note, on my 3com device it has software that tells my signal strenth. IT almost always says it's at either 97% or 100%. It also has link quality at 100%.
Yet, it shows my transmission rate at 1Mbps when not actively downloading a site. When I look at it as I'm refreshing it bounces between 5.5mbps and 11mbps. Yet all the tests on throughput show much less than that.
I just want you to know that these were used as an example, they are mainly used for home/small business applications and are not as good or flexible as commercial grade equipment. But that type costs a lot more and probably is not required in this case. The first two links are the devices I was referring to. You can add the antenna reflector to the bridge as I mention in the first post or add a higher gain antenna that is directional as well.
As for the USB information, linking does not require as much overhead as actual data flow. That is why you will see a difference and that software is not very accurate anyway, it just gives you an indication. The fact that it is fluctuating is a good indicator that the signal is not locking. It maybe seeing another wireless network as well, and trying to decide which one to link with.
That actually is not that bad, you have to realize that 802.11b network is probably not the only bottleneck. Another bottleneck is what size pipe they have attached to the Internet. Is it DSL, cable, or a T1 and what are they rated for. Then it also depends on how many users are on the complex's wireless network, and if it is cable it depends on how many users are on that cable head.
That is why I suggested optimizing your internal network and making sure that you get the best signal strength possible. Besides, it is cool to have your own wireless network. 8-)