Wireless Woes

My struggle with wireless networking has spanned several years. One major problem with wireless is the short coverage range. As a result, rooms that are further from the router experience spotty coverage at very low speeds(1 Mbps).

One of the initial solutions I have tried is using a wireless repeater placed midway. The repeater is actually an old router that has been flashed with dd-wrt to provide the functionality. While the solution sort of worked, the drawback was that the throughput is halved (since wifi is half duplex), and the latency is doubled (bad for gaming). Adding on to that, if you happened to be standing at a location where the 2 signals are almost the same strength, there is a tendency for your device to continually switch between the 2 routers, resulting in an unusable connection. Reducing the aggressiveness of the roaming policy helps but there is no such option on certain devices.

To combat the roaming issue, I tried assigning a different SSID to the repeater. The drawback was that the device would not immediately connect to the SSID with the stronger signal and you had to manually connect to it. The throughput and latency issues remained. With the advent of 802.11n and 802.11ac over the last couple of years, not much has changed. The 5Ghz spectrum has an even shorter range and poorer wall penetration than the 2.4Ghz spectrum. Homeplugs were not an option since the electrical wiring in my house is split into 2 independent circuits.

The only remaining solution was to "wire up", which I got around to doing just recently. Though it is unsightly and a little messy (still have to find a way to get it through the door frame), all my connection problems practically disappeared overnight.