April 14, 2021

How to Boost Wireless Signal – Part 2: Other Router Solutions



Having checked out the free or inexpensive Wi-Fi Router fixes noted in Part 1 of “How to Boost Wireless Signal, it is now time to consider the following options:



Router Upgrade

Upgrading your Router can bring many advantages and the latest standard is Wireless-N technology (802.11n).
Router Upgrade to Wireless-N

Router Upgrade to Wireless-N

The following chart lists the IEEE 802.11 wireless standards and some of their key features.

Year Frequency
Max. Data Rate2
Net Throughput2
802.11n 2009 2.4/5 20
100 230/70 820/250
802.11g 2003 2.4 20 54 19 125/38 460/140
802.11b 1999 2.4 20 11 4.5 125/38 460/140
802.11a 1999 5 20 54 23 115/35 390/120
802.11n  can utilize up to 4 MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) streams.
Therefore Max. Data Rate:
At 20 MHz: : 72.2 x 4 streams = 288.8 Mbit/sec
At 40 MHz : 150 x 4 streams= 600 Mbit/sec
Net Throughput = Speed after deducting communication overheads i.e. ‘real world’ speed.
Max. Data Rate = Theoretical maximum speed under perfect conditions.
Most Wireless-N Routers advertise Max. Data Rate=300 Mbit/sec which equates to a Net Throughput of approximately 60 MBit/sec

Advantages of Wireless-N Technology

Wireless-N (802.11n) has the following advantages compared to earlier standards:
  • Significantly faster.
  • Better range.
  • More reliable.
  • Less interference issues. Can operate at both 2.4 Ghz and the less frequently used 5 Ghz range.
  • When buying 802.11n equipment you are ‘future proofing’ you purchase.
  • It is backward compatible with the other standards.
  • Secure.
In addition:
  • The stronger coverage (link range) and performance (data throughput) compared with the previous standards comes without requiring additional transmit power.
  • A significantly improved bandwidth is achieved through the use of MIMO technology (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) that allows multiple antennas and signals (up to 4 streams) to be employed. There is a linear relationship with each antenna at each end and throughput, such that:
    • 2 antennas/2 streams  doubles throughput .
    • 3 antennas/ 3 streams  triples throughput.
    • 4 antennas/4 streams  quadruples throughput.
  • Channel Bonding, which allows 2 distinct non-overlapping channels to simultaneously transmit data, produces a significant increase in possible data transmission.

The following lists some examples of quality Wireless-N (802.11n) Routers which are cheapest online through Amazon with the links below:

SMC SMCWGBR14-N Barricade N ProMax Draft 11nWireless
Gigabit Broadband Router

Cisco-Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Simultaneous
Dual-Band Wireless-N Router

Belkin N600 Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router (Latest Generation)


It should be remembered that in order to get the full benefits of Wireless-N technology, the units within the wireless network need to support the 802.11n standard.

Fortunately, due to the technology being backward compatible, if you were to upgrade and future proof your purchase by buying a Wireless-N unit (e.g. the Router), this unit would communicate perfectly fine with any others in the system that used an older standard (such an 802.11g laptop). In such a case (and given that most people can only afford to upgrade one piece of equipment at a time) the laptop would still be able to operate on the network and access the Internet but would be limited to 802.11g specifications(even though the Router had the ability to operate at 802.11n).

Replace Antenna

Some Routers allow for their antenna to be removed and an upgrade can bring advantages of a stronger signal, greater range and reliability of connection. There are various types of antenna and these include:
  • Omni Directional
    These emit a constant field horizontally but have a vertical directional pattern. Therefore, they work well if situated in the middle of a room but are wasteful when placed in the corner or against a wall. Not only are they needlessly transmitting against/into the wall but possible security issues arise, given that a high percentage of the signal will be transmitted outside of the building.
  • Isoptropic Antenna
    These produce a constant field in both the horizontal and vertical plane.
  • Direction or High Gain
    These focus in one direction, meaning that the signal will be ‘tighter’ and located mostly within the building. This results in a better reception but also reduces security issues associated with a strong signal being broadcast outside of the building. To achieve more gain, a larger/longer antenna and electrical capture area (Aperture) is required. This produces a narrower and more focused beamwidth; such as employed with a Horn Antenna.
  • Multiple Antenna Model (MIMO Technology)
    Wireless-N technology can have up to 4 antennas for superior performance.

Examples of boost wireless signal replacement antennas available through Amazon are shown below:

Cisco-Linksys High Gain Antenna Kit for TNC Connectors HGA7T

GSI Quality High-Powered Secure 2.4GHz, 802.11 b/g/n Indoor
Long-RangeHigh-Gain 9dBi Omni Antenna With SMA Connector

– Attach To Wireless Router Or Access Point

ASUS WL-ANT191 – 2.4GHz Frequency – R-SMA Connector


Part 3 in the series “How to Boost Wireless Signal” will address Non-Router Network Components.

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