Reliable wi-fi networking through solid walls?

  ade.h 17:57 19 Nov 05

I might buy a wireless router of some kind soon, but as I live in an old house with thick, solid walls rather than modern stud partitions, I'm concerned about whether current wireless kit will be reliable.

I've read that 11g equipment can be unreliable and slow when its limits are reached and that those limits can be reached quite easily if there are obstacles or distances involved. I haven't seen it in use, so I don't know whether it's really as bad as that.

The new Pre-n and MIMO stuff looks like a solution but is expensive. Would some kind of relaying device (I don't know the correct term for that) be better?

Could I get the network to reach my office, which is near, but seperate from, the house?

Any thoughts much appreciated.

  ade.h 18:08 19 Nov 05

I don't know if it makes any difference, but I forgot to mention that I will (I think) need a modem/router combo, because I currently use a PCI ADSL modem. If I don't actually need to change the modem, let me know, but this is based on previous advice from this section of the forum.


  ade.h 16:34 20 Nov 05


  canerandagio 16:57 20 Nov 05

The only piece of advice I can give you is that I have a similar problem and I bought an extension antenna to boost the signal. It helped, I now get the signal from the PC downstairs (the router is upstairs) although the connection is rather slow.
If you go for this option, make sure the antenna of your router can be unscrewed.

  keewaa 16:59 20 Nov 05

You can use up to 100m of ethernet cabling for a wired connection, which would give a reliable connection. Unfortunately the only way of seeing how good the reception will be in a wireless network is to set it up. AS you know, solid brick walls are a barrier to signals ... how much of a barrier is hard to say ... it's trial and error.

Personally I would go for the wired option unless part of the reason for wireless is a mobile laptop, and would recommend the Netgear DG843 model for wired.

  ade.h 17:43 20 Nov 05

Ethernet is not an option. I have (potentially) two desktops and two notebooks involved, depending on the finer points of which PCs will benefit most from being on a network. If my office PC had to be wired, it would be easier to just leave it off the network, given its location.

I don't think the trial and error approach is going to be an option; I can't risk buying a kit only to find that it's not up to the job. It would be difficult to get a refund on parts that are not actually faulty, but have been opened and used.

  ade.h 20:41 21 Nov 05

Any more thoughts on this folks? Networking is not (as yet) one of my strong points!

  LastChip 21:30 21 Nov 05

You're asking an impossible question. The only way to find out, is by a site survey. In other words, setting up a temporary system and then checking for range and any other problems.

  ade.h 22:00 21 Nov 05

How is impossible?

All I want is some feedback from people who live in houses of similar construction (we're not talking about a castle here, just a properly-built house) and use home networking equipment.

Do they get along okay with standard 11g, or do they have to use MIMO or Pre-N kit?

And how would I set up a temporary system without buying the kit in the first place? Which could leave me having to argue the toss with Ebuyer or whoever when I need to return it.

  LastChip 01:26 22 Nov 05

Radio waves are not an exact science and furthermore, aerials are even more of a black art. Couple this with the (relatively) weak transmission powers that wireless networks use and you cannot be sure of anything.

The fact that I (or others) may have success with a particular configuration, is no guarantee you will.

As regards a site survey, that is what you pay professionals for.

In short, that's why you're asking an impossible question.

  ade.h 15:22 22 Nov 05

Hmm, well thanks anyway Lastchip. Your input is greatfully received, even though it isn't good news. I can't really afford to pay a professional for a site survey. A pal of mine does IT support for a living, but he mostly does businesses, so has less to do with wi-fi and more to do with ethernet. I'll ask him what he thinks, but I'm guessing he'll say the same as you.

I'll have to work that bit harder and fork out for a MIMO or Pre-N setup then!

I'll mark as (sort of) resolved.

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