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In February of this year, I purchased three Linksys networking…

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In February of this year...
In February of this year, I purchased three Linksys networking products...all of these were listed as top of the line in their category. They are: One WRT400H simultaneous dual-N-band router;also one WPC600N dual band wireless-N notebook adapter;and one WUSB600N dual-band wireless-N USB adapter. These items were purchased to replace my old Linksys G network router and corresponding adapters.

Frankly, I have been unable to see any real increase in speed and coverage from the new items over my previous G router. I have to reboot my router and modem 2 or 3 times a week to reestablish internet contact with the adapter bearing computers. My broadband provider is Comcast and I pay extra for their premium higher speed.

I am preparing to make wireless network connections with a new Samsung HD TV and a Samsung Blueray player. Both of these have internet capabilities. I purchased the USB dongle for the TV which is made by Samsung. And the same for the BD player.

Is their some way you could access my computer and look at the configurations to see if I am getting the maximum performance from my Linksys products. I can call your tech support department if this would be the best way to handle this request.

Would greatly appreciate any help you can give me. I also have Network Magic installed but am not sure how to use it. My products have all been registered with Linksys.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Networking
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Answered in 8 hours by:
6/27/2010
Network Technician: Greg G, Director of Information Technology replied 8 years ago
Greg G
Greg G, Director of Information Technology
Category: Networking
Satisfied Customers: 484
Experience: Unix Systems Admin since '99. Cabling, Switches, Wireless, Protocols, Firewalls, etc.
Verified
Hi Ken, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to help you with this.

First I wanted to make sure you were aware of something rather than continuing under false pretenses. From your message it sounds like you think that this is linksys support. It is not. JustAnswer is a third-party "help-desk" where experts like myself can answer questions and help support users on a wide variety of topics and work with a wide variety of manufacturers equipment. We are not however employed or represent in any way Linksys, Cisco, or any of their subsidiaries. Companies often put a "JustAnswer" box on their website to be used as a "premium support" option when their own support is either limited, or non-existent. Hopefully this doesn't matter to you, but I just wanted to make you aware before continuing.

Now, assuming you're okay with that, let's continue on with your problem.

First it's important to understand something. The manufacturers of networking equipment, especially wireless networking equipment can sometimes be a bit misleading.

There is no doubt that a Draft-N or N router is capable of a much faster connection than a G router, but there are a few considerations.

First and foremost, the connecting side must support the same protocol. In other words, if you have a very fast N router, if you connect a laptop that only has an 802.11b wireless adapter installed, you're only going to get 11Mbps... If you connect a laptop that has a G adapter, you're only going to get 54Mbps, etc... You must also have an N adapter installed in the laptop to connect at the faster speeds. You have the adapters, so I'm assuming you're using them and this is not an issue.

Second, you have to understand that almost all consumers who install a wireless router in their home will NEVER notice the difference between an 802.11b, G, Super-G, Draft-N, or N wireless router.

The reason why, is because the packets between two end-points can only flow as fast as their slowest link. Internet connections must flow through multiple routers and links in order to get to and from their destination. The closest of these points is your own connection to the internet, your broadband connection.

So let's say you have a cable router which is capable of 12Mbps download speeds. In reality you're probably getting about 8Mbps... That means no matter how fast the connection between your computer and cable modem are, you're still never going to get faster than 8Mbps. You can think of it like a water hose. If you barely crack open the spigot, it doesn't matter if you have a 5/8" diameter hose, 3/4" diameter hose, or a 12" pipe connected to the other end, it's still only going to trickle water out the other end.

The ONLY communications that a faster router will help with, is connections BETWEEN computers on your local lan. If for example you were sharing files off a desktop PC, and it was hard wired in with a 100Mbps ethernet connection, then increasing you wireless router and laptop from 802.11b at 11Mbps to a G at 54Mbps is going to give you an obvious increase in speed when accessing those files.. But again, your 8Mbps internet connection is going to remain the same.

Now the other part of your question concerns range. Again this is another area where manufacturers tend to use marketing terms that lead users to believe the can get more range from an N router versus a G router. That's not really the case, in fact, it's rarely the case. Provided you have an N adapter on both ends, you can usually get a more RELIABLE connection at the same distance, but not necessarily connect from a further distance away.

In fact, all routers have a different setup for their antennas... A lot of the newer N routers have no external antenna, this actually means that their performance is slightly less than an older router with an external antenna, but given the increased reliability of N, it's usually about matched performance wise.

All routers also use various power levels for their transmit radios. You might buy one N router which has much less distance than another similar router from another manufacturer simply because one has a higher output power. The FCC allows wireless routers to transmit a maximum output power of 250mW. Most off the shelf consumer routers are set to output about 50-80mW.

Which brings us to the next point. It's a bit of a process, but with a little reading there is an alternative version of "firmware" you can run on most routers. This firmware/software called DD-WRT can be found here: http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index
It's open source and free.

Your WRT400 is listed as a "wip" which means that there is code available, it just may not include all the features and/or may have a few bugs here and there. In general though I've found the WIP code to be just as reliable as the finished ones in most cases.

So why would you want to run this alternative software on your router? Aside from having a LOT more options and configurability, it will also all you to "tune" the transmit power of your radio. In fact, right now I'm working in my garage which is well outside of the range of the normal WRT320N that I own... However, because my output power is bumped up to around 100mW, I'm currently working with a very strong signal and having no issues at all. Only bump the power to what you require though. As you increase power you'll also increase heat and noise, meaning you can't just bump it to 250mW and expect it to work perfectly... Only use the power level you need.

As for checking your system to make sure everything is set up correctly, as long as it's working you can rest pretty well assured that it is.

Hope this information helps!

Best Regards,
Greg
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