Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Video Tutorial – WIFI Antenna Boost Pt.2

Reader questions regarding yesterday’s video have indicated that I needed to revisit this topic — How can I boost my wireless signal strength?

Folks, I have been asked many times about what can be done to improve the wireless signal produced by a home router/WAP. And, like so many things in life, there is no one, single, best answer. A weak signal slows you down, and can cause “connectivity issues” (aka “disconnects”).

Methods for a stronger signal, at a greater distance, include:
* Replace your router’s firmware with a Linux-based system that allows for “antenna gain” adjustment. (Advanced) — free.
* Add a “reflector” (Simple) — free. (and.. today’s video!)
* Replace your antenna with a “signal boosting” (aka “range extending”) antenna, or a directional antenna. (Simple) — $25.
* Upgrade to a Wireless N router. (Simple) — $100.

I recommend the last option. Wireless N routers are quite reasonably priced now. But, as I mentioned in If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It*, some people have a need to “tweak” and “hack”, and try to give things “more power” (ala Tim “The Toolman” Taylor). If you’re one of them, check out this video…

And, you may want to look around the Internet some. There are, literally, thousands of these hacks and tips.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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March 4, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, gadgets, hardware, how to, routers, routers and WAPs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Video Tutorial – WIFI Antenna Boost

How can I boost my signal strength?

Folks, I have been asked many times about what can be done to improve the wireless signal produced by a home router/WAP. And, like so many things in life, there is no one, single, best answer. A weak signal slows you down, and can cause “connectivity issues” (aka “disconnects”).

Methods for a stronger signal, at a greater distance, include:
* Replace your router’s firmware with a Linux-based system that allows for “antenna gain” adjustment. (Advanced) — free.
* Add a “reflector” (Simple) — free.
* Replace your antenna with a “signal boosting” (aka “range extending”) antenna, or a directional antenna. (Simple) — $25.
* Upgrade to a Wireless N router. (Simple) — $100.

I recommend the last option. Wireless N routers are quite reasonably priced now. But, as I mentioned in If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It*, some people have a need to “tweak” and “hack”, and try to give things “more power” (ala Tim “The Toolman” Taylor). If you’re one of them, check out this video…
Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “WIFI Antenna Hack!“, posted with vodpod

.. and should you decide to try this at home, of course, you will be doing so “at your own risk”, and any sane person would have six paragraphs of legalese here. I will simply say that, if you open up your existing antenna, and it is a plain wire as shown in the video, and does NOT have a dipole, you can do this and expect a modest improvement. Which may be all you need– and the price is right!

Today’s free link: watch how to make a tinfoil parabolic reflector in this vide0.  And, you may want to look around the Internet some. There are, literally, thousands of these hacks and tips.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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March 3, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, networking, performance, routers, routers and WAPs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lost the Setup CD? How To Connect a Router*

Reader asks how to connect to the Internet without the original CD

Q: “How can I connect to the Internet with my laptop via D-link router from desktop? We have no CD ROM for d link.”

A: You do not need the setup CD to make a router work (frankly, the following is my preferred method, as the CD’s usually install unnecessary “bonus features”.) Here is how you establish Internet connections (aka “configure a”) on a router.

1) Assign your PC an IP address in the same range as the router’s default address– for most routers, assign the IP 192.168.1.2, but since this is a D-Link router, use 192.168.0.2.
(Look to “Assign Address” here for Illustrated instructions.)

2) Connect the PC directly to the router with an Ethernet cable.

3) open a web browser (IE, Firefox, Safari) and enter the IP address number of the router into the address bar. (If you don’t know this, look to the router manufacturer’s Website for “default settings”). Typically, this is 192.168.1.1, or 192.168.0.254 — but D-Link uses 192.168.0.1.

4) Enter the default Name and Password (again, look to to the website’s support page/FAQ’s if you don’t know these). But typically these are “admin”+”admin”, or “admin”+”password”.
D-Link’s default is admin/admin.

Your are now in your router’s “web interface” Control Panel, and you can enter the PPPoE setting provided by your ISP. Typically all you need is an identifier.. which is an e-mail address + password.
If you can’t find or remember these, contact your ISP’s support. D-Link’s Wizard will help.

[note: Once your ISP has connected, and while you’re in the Control Panel, set your router’s security configuration, and set a new password (and write them down). Illustrated instructions can be found here, https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2008/01/01/how-to-secure-your-wireless-network/]

5) Return to Network Connections (from Step 1) and reset your PC to “Get address automatically–DHCP”. Reboot your PC if necessary.

Today’s free download: Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. (Full Install.) Wolfenstein Enemy Territory is a stand-alone multiplayer game in which players wage war as Axis or Allies in team-based combat. In Wolfenstein Enemy Territory Axis and Allied teams do battle in traditional single scenarios, or wage war through a series of linked scenarios in a totally new campaign mode. During combat players gain experience and skill, and through battlefield promotions are awarded additional abilities that remain persistent across an entire campaign.

Today’s free link(s):
* Ginipic – Taking image searching to a whole new level…
* Inventive FaceBook Scammers Trick You Out of Money with Trojans

* Orig post: 10/13/2008. For some reason, this has been getting a lot of ‘hits’ this week…

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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February 24, 2009 Posted by | advice, how to, networking, routers, routers and WAPs | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Restrict Roommates Internet Use

Quick Tip — Use Your Router’s Advanced Features For Best Use Of Shared Connections

If you are in a house with multiple computers, and you want to restrict “the amount of Internet” those other machines use, you can use settings (aka “options”) in your router and give yourself #1 priority.

Today’s topic comes from a question from a (younger) fella who lives with roommates, and they all “share” his connection. Which is fine with him except for when their online activity slows down his surfing or online gaming.
So he wanted to know how to make sure he got “first dibs”. (Though I confess, he called it “more bandwidth”.)

Tip of the day: Use your router’s advanced abilities to limit other computers’ Internet usage.

1) Open your browser and access the router’s Control Panel. (for instructions, see Protecting-your-network – use-your-router-for-access-control)

qos.jpg

2) Find the Advanced Settings tab for “QoS” (Quality of Service).
On a Linksys router, that is under “Applications and Gaming”, but yours may have a different name.

3) Give your PC’s MAC Address a rating of “Highest”
* To get the MAC, open a command prompt (Start >Programs >Accessories) on your machine and enter “ipconfig /all” {no quotes}. Look for “Physical Address”. A MAC address will look like 01-23-45-67-8A-9B.

* Note: You might also want to set other machines to “low”.

4) Enable, Save, and exit.

That’s it, your done. Now your Internet “data packets” will go first, and any other Internet user will have to wait for your request to finish.

[note: there are some other priority tweaks you can make here too. Click on the image to see large version, and note my arrows.]

Today’s free download: EncryptOnClick is a very simple to use program that lets you securely encrypt and decrypt files… basically, with a click.

[addenda: You can further limit the amount of bandwidth your roommates use by setting keyword and website blocking that will cripple their P2P file downloading and video watching — the two biggest bandwidth hogs. The access control article (above) has the How To.]

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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February 18, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, Internet, networking, performance, routers, routers and WAPs, tech, tweaks | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Which Is Better, Ethernet Or Wireless?

This networking question was submitted by a reader recently, and I think it may be of interest to “everyone”.

Q: Paul, I am hoping for some guidance. I will soon be moving, and will have to set up a new network. I have three computers, a laser jet printer and a photo printer. My old network was wired and homenetworking worked well, but I have heard that the new wireless is faster.

Which is better these days, wired or wireless?

A: I hate ambiguous answers, but in this situation I really must answer, “that depends”. And I must also say that it really isn’t a case of one being “better” than the other.
In my experience, a “blended” network (both wired and wireless) is the most common.

Consideration #1: Mega-bits-per-second:
1) Wire “speed” is typically either 10/100, or 1,000(Gigabit).
2) Wireless “speed” is either 54 (g) or 270 (n).
… and your Internet is coming into your home at.. 1.5? 3? 6 Mbps?
(My point here is that, as far as sharing your Internet is concerned, even a very old 10 Mbps network is “fast” enough.)

Consideration #2: Stringing cable:
Most newer homes are built with Ethernet wiring, and so your network is already there (to a large degree), but for older homes a very real concern — should you choose to go Gigabit wired — is WirelessHomeNetwork where will the wires go? How will you get them upstairs?

This is not an insurmountable issue (and, you could hire a professional) but it may be that wireless is the best for you.

General advice:
* Networking gear defaults to the speed of the slowest component.
What that means is, let’s say you go and buy a brand-new Wireless -N router (technically, a “WAP”) that runs at 270 Mbps, and the adaptor on your 2 year-old laptop is a “G”, your connection will be at 54 Mbps.
And if the port on your Desktop is Gigabit, and your cable is Cat 5e or better (Gigabit capable), but there’s no Gigabit port on your router.. your LAN is running at 100 Mbps.

The trick is to make sure everything ‘matches’. For instance, in the first example (laptop), buying a Wireless-N PCMCIA card, or USB dongle, will now give you the 270 you bought the fast router for. And for the Gigabit example, a new router that has Gigabit ports will make things ‘match’ and give you a Gigabit LAN.

Last bit of advice: Buy the fastest gear you can afford. You may not get full advantage of it today, but it won’t be a bottleneck tomorrow.

Today’s free link: In today’s article I mentioned that there are alternatives to drilling holes in your wall/floor/ceiling, and one method is EoP (Ethernet over Power lines). This uses the electrical wires already in your home to send your 1’s and 0’s from device to device. Fellow Tech Blogger Bill Mullins has an informative article on this topic here, http://billmullins.wordpress.com/2008/06/16/easy-computer-networking-use-your-electric-wiring/

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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November 16, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, gadgets, hardware, how to, Internet, networking, PC, performance, routers, routers and WAPs, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Recommended reading

“Did you know that by using a “FREE” DNS (”Domain Name System”) service called OpenDNS you can make your internet browsing experience faster, reliable and safer?”
Click to  read more..

November 8, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Internet, kids and the Internet, performance, routers and WAPs, tech | 3 Comments

How To Limit Your Roommate’s Bandwidth

And Keep More For Yourself.

Tip of the day: If you are in a house with multiple computers, and you want to restrict “the amount of Internet” those other machines use, you can use settings (aka “options”) in your router and give yourself #1 priority.

Today’s topic comes QoS from a question from a (younger) fella who lives with roommates, and they all “share” his connection.

Which is fine with him except for when their online activity slows down his surfing or online gaming.
So he wanted to know how to make sure he got “first dibs”. (Though I confess, he called it “more bandwidth”.)

You can think of today’s tip as a “tweak for better Internet speed”, if you’d like, though you’d be — technically– incorrect.

1) Open your browser and access the router’s Control Panel.

(See the first section, here: https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2007/11/16/protecting-your-network-use-your-router-for-access-control-repost/)

2) Find the Advanced Settings tab for “QoS”.
[note:
refer to your make/model router’s documentation for the exact steps/menu choices — these are often listed on the side of your router’s control panel, or can be found on the manufacturer’s website.] (On a Linksys, that is under “Applications and Gaming”)

3) Give your PC’s MAC Address a rating of “Highest”
(To get the MAC, open a command prompt and enter “ipconfig /all”.)

* You might want to set other machines to “low”.

4) Save and exit.

That’s it, your done. Now your data packets will go first, and any other Internet user will have to wait for your request to finish.

[note: there are some other priority tweaks you can make here too. Click on the image to see large version, and note my arrows. And you can further “block” access by time, type, keywords, etc. My How To is here.]

[UPDATE: reader discussion of this topic has prompted me to write a further article. See, Restricting Roommates Internet Use – Continued.]

Today’s free download: EncryptOnClick is a very simple to use program that lets you securely encrypt and decrypt files.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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October 24, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, encrypting files, hardware, how to, routers, routers and WAPs, tweaks | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments