Sunday, July 5, 2009

Wireless Jungle

The repeater I installed in my parents' apartment works but the signal seems to drop between the two routers quite often. There used to be a program call Network Stumbler that showed what wireless AP's are in the area. Looking around on the web, I found another application called inSSIDer that does the same thing and works with Vista.

Here is a screen capture:

There are 28 WLAN routers that my Sony Vaio can detect from my apartment (27 not counting my repeater). The strong signal on channel 1 (yellow line) is my router, sitting 3 feet from my computer. The repeater is buried amidst all the other AP's broadcasting on different channels (green line). The picture is pretty similar when viewed from computers in my parents' apartment. The trick is for each router to find each other and sent/receive data. Initially I had both routers on channel 6 but the connection was flaky so I switched to channel 1 and it's a bit better. I think the strong signal on channel 8 was causing interference and there's already a lot of people on channel 6; same thing for channel 11. I tried channel 3 since it seems to be more "clear" than other channels but the repeater status showed "poor" for signal strength.

This is only what I can detect from my apartment. If I walk around with a notebook, it will probably pick up more, each ~$50/month of revenue for Time Warner.

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