Using powerline to get wireless past a "thick" kitchen wall

Discussion in 'Wireless Internet' started by Lance, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. Lance

    Lance Guest

    Currently I use a wireless router (WRT54GS) to share cable internet
    access. The wireless signal from the router has to make it past the
    kitchen to 3 wireless computers. The 3 computers could barely connect
    and there were many lost packets. I determined there was a dramatic drop
    in signal strength (10's of dB's) just going through the kitchen
    cabinets (hardwood cabs filled with all sorts of stuff). Plus there's a
    big refrigerator in the way.

    I added a repeater (WAP54G in repeater mode). My "thick" kitchen wall is
    inbetween the WRT and WAP. The results are much better. The 3 computers
    connect to the WAP at 54Mbps very reliably.

    However, the overall file transfer speeds from WRT to WAP to wireless
    computers are only about 2-3 Mbps. I suspect the link between WRT and
    WAP suffers from the thick kitchen wall. I want to improve the speed of
    this link.

    Would a powerline network help in this case? I'm thinking of using two
    powerline bridges (Linksys PLEBR10) like this:

    WRT > PL#1 > (kitchen wall here) > PL#2 > WAP

    Thanks for any comments,

    Lance, Dec 19, 2004
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  2. Drill a hole in the wall. Attach a coax cable to one of the antenna
    ports on the WRT54GS, pass it through the hole, and connect an antenna
    (I suggest a $30 8dBi patch antenna). Don't run it through an
    electrical wall outlet box.
    Two problems:
    1. Repeaters and WDS cut your thruput in half (or worse). Since they
    are half-duplex devices, they can only transmit and receive one at a
    2. Thruput is totally dependent on connection speed. You're NOT
    going to get a 54Mbit/sec connection going through a thick wall and a
    repeater. There's not enough S/N ratio to do it, and you'll get lots
    of reflections to screw up the works. My guess(tm) is that you'll get
    about a 12Mbit/sec connection on both the WRT54GS and the WAP54G
    repeater, resulting in 6Mbits/sec thruput between boxes, and at best
    3Mbits/sec from end to end.
    I've had thruput problems with power line network devices (HomePNA)
    when used as a bridge.
    I haven't played with it for a while, but a few years ago, the best I
    could do was about 5Mbits/sec thruput. There are claims of
    14Mbits/sec on current products, but I have no experience. Try the
    various review sites.

    If you decide to go this route, you will have the same half-duplex
    problem as with the repeater. HomePNA is half duplex and therefore
    cuts your bandwidth in half. If you use it as an extension cord for
    your WAP54G, you will lose bandwidth.

    Since you already have a WAP54G, just drill a hole in the wall, run
    CAT5 through the hole, and connect the WAP54G as an access point.
    Pick a different channel (1, 6, 11) so as not to interfere with your
    WRT54GS but use the same SSID and encryption key. If drilling the
    hole is a problem, see if you can borrow some telephone pairs. You
    can run 10baseT over telco wire for short distances between switched
    Jeff Liebermann, Dec 19, 2004
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  3. Oops. That was wrong. Since it doesn't share the same communications
    medium with wireless, HomePNA power line networking does NOT cut the
    thruput in half.

    [My proof reader doesn't work on weekends.]
    Jeff Liebermann, Dec 19, 2004
  4. Lance

    Lance Guest

    Jeff Liebermann said the following on 12/19/2004 11:38 AM:
    Thanks very much for your comments Jeff. I may just have to get off my
    duff and run some cable under the kitchen to the other side. I'll then
    put the WAP45G into access point mode instead of repeater mode.

    Plus, since I'll be crawling around under the house anyway, I can get my
    wife's computer wired up too.

    Lance, Dec 20, 2004
  5. Lance

    Lance Guest

    Well, I haven't gotten off my duff yet but I just remembered something
    about that "thick" kitchen wall that explains everything. I think Jeff
    will appreciate this.

    About 3 or 4 years ago we had some awful wood paneling removed from the
    living room side of that thick kitchen wall. Underneath the awful wood
    paneling was even worse gold-colored foil wallpaper with little red
    fuzzy fleur-de-lis symbols.

    To save time & money, we just had this wallpaper from hell covered up
    with drywall compound where it screws up my wireless to this day.


    Lance thought carefully and wrote on 12/19/2004 9:32 AM:
    Lance, Jan 8, 2005
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