Instructables

Speed Up Your (Dad's Satellite) Internet Connection with a Dual-Band Wireless Router

Picture of Speed Up Your (Dad's Satellite) Internet Connection with a Dual-Band Wireless Router
Hello. Please see http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Bath-Bombs/

I'll probably put this info up on a personal blog shortly.
 
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Step 1: Shop for a Dual-Band Wireless Router

Shortcut: Buy the Netgear WNDR3300 for about $76 plus shipping from buy.com. I like Google Checkout better than giving my credit card info to a bunch of different vendors, and buy.com takes Google Checkout.

If you took the shortcut, you can skip to the next step. Otherwise, here are more details in case you are obsessive about saving a few dollars at the expense of a bunch of your time, kind of like me: Find the cheapest dual-band router that is listed as supported by dd-wrt. I found a pretty good deal at the above link. CNET Reviews also points to CDI as having it for $77. If I wanted to spend over twice as much on hardware and run a testing release of dd-wrt, I'd get the Linksys WRT610N (~$165) since it is supposed to support *simultaneous* 2.4 and 5 Ghz operation, but who knows what is actually happening with both radios with dd-wrt on this hardware -- maybe it's the same. This Netgear also doesn't have gigabit ethernet ports like the Linksys, but you could hang a gigabit switch off of it for $50 or less.

(Added June 12, 2009: Buy.com now has the Trendnet TEW672-GR 300 Mbps dual band wireless router for $67 including shipping. I don't yet know if dd-wrt will work on it, but I'll probably get one and try it out, and update this instructable or start a new one.)

Here is the list of dd-wrt supported hardware, and here is the router "database" where you can type in a few characters of the router's name.

It would be better to use and support open-wrt because of repeated GPL violations by the dd-wrt guy, but I was more certain that this would work with the hardware I was buying, with a comprehensible UI, dual-band, and I need it to work unattended because it's going up a mountain to my Dad's house in North Idaho, a thousand miles from where I live. If the X-wrt or OpenWrt guys come up with something that I can easily figure out, I'll happily switch to one of those. From the main page, I couldn't even tell if those run wifi (they do), let alone support my hardware, and dual-band radios. What I gleaned from the open-wrt web pages are that they're all general-purpose embedded firmware or some such. Abstraction is great, but come on, what does it do? </rant>

Kay Schmidt4 years ago
Where I live the faster Net connection is via satellite, wildblue specifically.
When I try to watch clips that have both sound and motion, sometimes the pauses are so irritating, and come so close together, that there is no point in trying. This is frustrating, no surprise there.
The nearest cable connection is probably 9 miles away. Seems unlikely that they'll push out this way for some years.
The little I read here so far doesn't look hopeful, but do you have any help for me?
Grab a old Satellite dish that was used for tv. If you can find one the old 80's style 10ft and 20ft dishes would be best. Look up wifi cantenna and wifi dish antenna. Doing this with a little moddification and a Signal amplifier in line will give a great bost
gentry (author)  Kay Schmidt4 years ago
What site are you trying to use? 

It may well just be wildblue isn't providing enough bandwidth for you to watch video.  I know wildblue provides several different tiers of internet service, and a higher tier might solve your problem, but to figure that out, there are a couple of things you could do.

First, I'd make sure the signal strength to the satellite is strong enough.  If it's on a scale of 1 - 100, 70+ is probably OK, unless it is going up and down a bunch.   If the signal strength is below 70, possible fixes include re-aiming the dish, getting a bigger dish, or a new up/downlink box.

Second, I'd make sure that your home network isn't losing packets.  One way to eliminate that for debugging purposes is to use just one computer connected directly to your satellite box.  (Also, if your home network is wired, you are probably OK.)

Third, older computers often just can't play full screen video without hiccups.  If you have a big video file locally (on, your desktop, for example), does that play OK?

I have been thinking of pulling my own fiber from the nearest cable point, but like you, it's at least a few miles away.  If we had line-of-sight to someplace with a good net connection, I'd consider setting up a so-called long-range wireless link

What part of the country do you live in?


Thank you for answering. Wow! Lots of new ideas and options, love that.
I live just east of I-25 in S. Colorado. Is high plains, with slow rolling hills.
Radio reception to the nearest town (10 miles or so) is poor, t.v. reception is lousy w/o satellite....  I did have dial-up but found it Intolerable!!
Even my fairly new (2005) car's radio doesn't get decent reception on the FM channels I like. So the Web and Pandora are popular in this house.
My home 'puter is just this one, hard-wired to satellite dish. If I had the money I'd buy a new and faster computer, but then I'd just need to buy a new one in 3 years or so....
I can't play DVDs, lost the codex in an earlier repair off-site, and the ones I've downloaded don't work with the commercial disks. So I can't answer about playing from my desktop. Some of the Utubes got right along, but like clip from Waterloo, obviously a very rich source,  just kept buffering.
I hate feeling so ignorant and incompetent.
DustySeven72 years ago
I see one problem in your explanation of parts. If you have a Gigabit switch after you router the only thing that would do is give the Intranet of those machines a gig connection. the Internet coming into the switch is still at 100mps. if you want a gig internet connection you need gig hardware through out the entire network.
Also the first commenter is correct on it not speeding up the Internet. All it does it reduced signal loss and connection issues due to that. Also even if you do bump up the transmit power you may not see much difference unless you have a direct near line of sight to the router. WiFi is bounced and absorbed by the walls in your house. The increase in power will help but it will be minimal. Also you would need to a cooling mod to prevent damage to the router.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Unleash-the-Power-of-Your-Router/

http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Making-of-a-Beast-WRT54G-Mods-Part-One/

I have done a few of the things the second one has done. And it a very powerful router.
I also do networking and there is only one best way to speed connections may it be intranet or internet and that is Hardwire. Wireless is nice but there shall always be latency that will slow the connection.
ok having some problem i got the same exact router but when i do it i try to get online after im able to acess the page it wont let me any help with it?
grendelb5 years ago
Cool.
crapflinger5 years ago
i work in networking...so i've just got to nitpick... none of this will speed up your internet connection (semantics).....one may speed up your computer's connection to the internet gateway (your modem, router, satellite etc) and the other will make it LOOK as though pages are loading faster (though anything with dynamic content...i.e. most of the internet....will show stale information) none of these will make a crappy internet connection move faster than it already does (if you've got 56k dialup this won't make it move any faster than 56k)
gentry (author)  crapflinger5 years ago
Right, clearly, you're never going to pump more (random/already compressed) bits per second through the link from your router to the ISP than the ISP allows. But you can effectively speed up a high-latency Internet connection by not sending so many serial round-trip requests. I'll add a section above to explain. Also, I'm not sure what else you'd call the entire switched-packet connection from my Dad's computer to the internet server he is using, except an internet connection. In this discussion, I'll call it the entire route, but "Speed up your entire internet route" sounds pretty weird. Also, hell, there aren't really any connections at all. They're just a bunch of packet switches. So yes, it does speed up your internet connection, if your internet connection is measured from your computer to the internet site you are using. That's how a user, i.e., my Dad, would measure it, anyway. I probably didn't make this totally clear either, but it does also make the internet connection faster by reducing packet retransmission. With a high-latency connection, dropped packets on just one segment of the route are particularly painful. The receiver notices (after a while) that it needs to NAK a missing packet, so it does that and waits for the retransmit, which incurs a round-trip delay over the entire route, not just the link that dropped the packet. The content delivery isn't finished until all the packets, including the retransmitted ones, have arrived. This project makes dropped packets less likely in at least two ways, maybe three. 1. It's using two radio bands instead of one, and is adaptive to interference (maybe even using 802.11n, I'm not sure), 2. It has better radios and antennas than the antique router my Dad is currently using, and 3. You can turn up the transmit power of the radios using dd-wrt. (I'll add an explanation of boosting the xmit power. Adam Pash does this in his lifehacker article on this that got me started and which I should and will reference/credit above.) No, it won't show stale information. The caching DNS server that comes with dd-wrt, DNSMasq, respects the TTL of DNS entries by default. We're only talking about caching DNS entries, not the content. But it still cuts more-or-less half the time off loading most web pages. (Exceptions include sites with really short DNS entry TTLs.) I'll add an explanation of how that works in an "epilogue" section of this instructable. Thanks for the feedback!