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Thread: Wireless Range

  1. #1
    Moderator theprez98's Avatar
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    Default Wireless Range

    When searching for a wireless card, people often want to find one with the best range. Most often, this decision is solely limited to the transmit power of the card. While transmit power is one factor in determining range, there are others that ought to be considered when determining overall range.

    As 802.11b/g uses 2.4 ghz, which operates like any other radio frequency signal, we can use the basics of RF signal propagation to determine range. There are five basic components which effect signal propagation:

    *Transmit power
    *Transmit antenna gain
    *Frequency and distance (path loss)
    *Receiving antenna gain
    *Receiver sensitivity

    There are other factors which effect signal loss as well: cable losses, RF opaque materials in the signal path, etc.

    Because wireless communication is a two way process, we may also have to include the same five factors in reverse. While 'transmit power' referred to your wireless card, on the return trip 'transmit power' refers to the access point. Likewise, 'receiver sensitivity would refer to your card as opposed to the access point, and so on.

    The point of this post is to demonstrate that your 250mw or 300mw or 600mw card may have significant power out, but that is only one of the factors that determine range.

    This is meant to be a very basic primer in wireless ranging. There are very detailed range equations out there. If you're interested, Google "Friis transmission equation" and go from there.
    "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

  2. #2
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    Default nice

    nicely put.. nothing else to add to that.

  3. #3
    Senior Member streaker69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guanji View Post
    nicely put.. nothing else to add to that.
    Then why did you feel the need to add absolutely nothing to the thread? Trying to get your post count up?
    A third party security audit is the IT equivalent of a colonoscopy. It's long, intrusive, very uncomfortable, and when it's done, you'll have seen things you really didn't want to see, and you'll never forget that you've had one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by streaker69 View Post
    Then why did you feel the need to add absolutely nothing to the thread? Trying to get your post count up?
    Apparently!
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  5. #5
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    I just wanted to use this thread to vent on my latest purchase....

    I spent $80 USD on a device called a "WiFi Signal Booster" made by Hawking Technology. IMO..this thing is a complete piece of shit and a waste of money. Heres the link to the product for more info...So Called Signal Booster

    And heres a pic PIC HERE

    Man..I pluiged this in..hooked it up to my modded card..used my 10dbi omni.....
    set the power to 100mw..no change
    set the power to 200mw..still no change..
    set the power to max..500mw!!..still no noticeable change.
    What a freaking waste of money! Good thing Microcenter told me I had 30 days to try it out and if I didn't like it I could bring it back!

    They told me this would extend the distance on my card and I'd see "dramatic" changes. What a crock of B.S!! I even disconnected my 10dbi omni and used their 2 dbi omni..still nothing. I know I had everything hooked up right, cause even with the power cord to it unplugged...I could move my antenna that is still connected to it closer to my AP..and the power levels rose...so..IMO..don't buy this. I'm considering buying an alfa 500mw...but I hear the driver is buggy...I need to "search" here and air crack for more details on the Alfa 500mw. Cause from my understanding..there are 2 different models..and 1 of them doesn't work right with BT2...so off I go now to search land.
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  6. #6
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    Environmental conditions have a serious affect on propagation too.

    During the early morning or very late at night propagation is at its best and attenuation is at it's lowest; damp and humid conditions help the signal propagate even further.

    If you get intermittent connectivity with an AP during the day, try again at night or in the morning and chances are you will get a workable signal. If the air is damp or the ground is wet maybe due to rain or dew then your further your chances even more of getting a workable signal . Attenuation can be reduced by up to 45% on a damp cold morning/night.

    If it is a dry hot day and you are in a busy area then anything up to +60% attenuation is possible.

    (Although this does still apply somewhat if the AP is in your own house, it obviously applies more if the AP you are trying to associate with is in another building or similar)

    Just because you can receive a signal from an AP does not mean you can send to it, as APs usually have a lot more range than a wireless adaptor.
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    Well, I did this last night..so theres a plus. It rained that day..so another plus. The AP is in my house..15 feet away..so another big plus. So I met all the "optimal" environmental factors according to you harry..so maybe I have just "peeked" my cards possible performance levels already??lol
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  8. #8
    Senior Member PrairieFire's Avatar
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    You might have a bad unit but I would try it with another card that has external antenna connectors before ruling it out as junk. The FCC data shows decent gain. I paid 200+usd for a 1 watt bi-directional amp and have had good results with it.
    Μολὼν λαβέ - Great spirits encounter heavy opposition from mediocre minds.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrairieFire View Post
    You might have a bad unit but I would try it with another card that has external antenna connectors before ruling it out as junk. The FCC data shows decent gain. I paid 200+usd for a 1 watt bi-directional amp and have had good results with it.
    Hmm...unfortunately its my only externally connectible card I have ATM...but ill play around with it. I only messed with it for 5 minutes. Thanks for all your suggestions PrairieFire and harry.
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  10. #10
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    Ok..just a quick followup that will make me look like a complete moron..but oh well...I post the truth no mater if I look bad or not.

    I take back my previous complaint about the $80 USD hawking wifi signal booster. Problem was..I was 2 close to my AP to notice any difference. While "war-sitting"..lol in my house, there is an AP that has always shown up as a 2 - 4 power level on my airodump screen. So...I opened a new airodump screen with just my 10dbi omni connected..and the APs power level is at 5. So I plug in my amp and connect my antenna to it..and lo and behold..Im reporting a constant 15-19 power level. The signal quality was a sketchy 50-85..and unstable...but now its constantly 100..seldomly dropping at all to the 90's. So it appears that it works and I am a moron. But keep in mind that I was doing this to get better signal in my house from only 1 room away..and not to "wardrive" for other peoples AP's. Whats the moral of this story?? Test it all out beforehand or else you could be taking back something that worked extremely well to begin with. This has been a learning experience for me. I just never really look for other peoples AP's because I'm not trying to hack em. Nice to know though that a product like this works so well that it could be very easily used for mischief in the wrong hands though. I mean someone could easily break into my WEP protected router from over 1000 feet away with this AMP and antenna setup I got. Now I just need to "shield" my AP from all sides except for line of sight just to add an extra measure of security, and put WPA2 TKIP+AES back on my router!! But then again..I am a very paranoid individual when it comes to hackers.
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