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Supercharging Your Linksys Wireless Access Point

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the all-i-have-is-recent-firmware dept.

Hardware 168

kwishot writes "Xam over at www.wi2600.org has documented a relatively simple way to 'turn up the juice' on your Linksys WAP11 Wireless Access Point." Caveats: the outlined method requires a Windows box, recent firmware, and (some) bravery, but no going inside the box or special hardware.

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168 comments

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767167)

First post (actually my second first!)

Re:FP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767170)

You are weak, young Jedi. I have over 70 first posts, and screenshots of each one. You have not attained KEWL DEWDNESS until you get at least 50.

Re:FP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767197)

I can't see your screenshots... :P

You also started at one and worked your way up.

Oh yeah, I can spell.

2002..! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767172)

(ugh..)

useful.... (0, Redundant)

vvikram (260064) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767174)

most useful considering AP's are pretty cheap now

but the windoze only part.....:(

vv

Re:useful.... (-1)

gdiersing (240179) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767181)

Why would a win box be a caveat? Didn't your machine come with it pre-loaded?

Re:useful.... (0, Offtopic)

LWolenczak (10527) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767259)

Not all machines come preloaded with windows. I build all my desktops, and when I ordered my custom laptop, I spesificly requested that windows not be included, and it did not come with windows.

Frost? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767175)

Pist?

Ignorant Legality Question (5, Insightful)

Uttles (324447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767182)

Does the FCC have a problem with a person amplifying their wireless network without some sort of license? I'm totally ignorant on the legalities of this, but it seems like a really cool tip for free amplification!

Re:Ignorant Legality Question (3, Informative)

clark625 (308380) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767192)

Generally, the FCC only cares that you are within specified guidelines. I believe (and someone will correct me if I'm wrong here) that the 2.4GHz spectrum is limited in radiated power to 1mW. You can play all kinds of tricks with that by using highly directional antennae, and thus concentrating your 1mW power into one small cone. Or, you can spread the love around and try and radiate the 1mW spherically from a point source (hard to do).

Most of the 802.11b devices don't radiate nearly as much as 1mW. This keeps them well below the FCC specs, and thus out of harm's way. Cranking your radiated power up to the full 1mW is perfectly fine. The caveat, of course, is that now you're sharing your traffic with much more of the planet.

Correction: (5, Informative)

clark625 (308380) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767209)

I goofed. The maximum radiated power is set at 1W. Not 1mW. Here's the FCC rules that apply, for those interested:



Part 15.247 covers intentional Radiators in the ISM bands that are the frequencies 902-928 MHz, 2400-2483.5 MHz, and 5725-5850 MHz. Besides covering the modulation schemes this part also covers the various power restrictions that the FCC has for devices like 802.11b. The critical section is 15.247(b)(1) through 15.247(b)(3)(i) quoted below:

"(b)The maximum peak output power of the intentional radiator shall not exceed the following:
(1) For frequency hopping systems operating in the 2400-2483.5 MHz or 5725-5850 MHz band and for all direct sequence systems: 1 watt.

(2) For frequency hopping systems operating in the 902-928 MHz band: 1 watt for systems employing at least 50 hopping channels; and, 0.25 watts for systems employing less than 50 hopping channels, but at least 25 hopping channels, as permitted under paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section.

(3) Except as shown in paragraphs (b)(3) (i), (ii) and (iii) of this section, if transmitting antennas of directional gain greater than 6 dBi are used the peak output power from the intentional radiator shall be reduced below the stated values in paragraphs (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this section, as appropriate, by the amount in dB that the directional gain of the antenna exceeds 6 dBi.

(i) Systems operating in the 2400-2483.5 MHz band that are used exclusively for fixed, point-to-point operations may employ transmitting antennas with directional gain greater than 6 dBi provided the maximum peak output power of the intentional radiator is reduced by 1 dB for every 3 dB that the directional gain of the antenna exceeds 6 dBi."

Re:Ignorant Legality Question (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767276)

>Does the FCC have a problem with a person >amplifying their wireless network without some >sort of license?

Who gives a fuck? All the FCC is composed of are just of bunch of corporate control freaks anyways.

Re:Ignorant Legality Question (2)

Arlet (29997) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767343)

Not only does the FCC care about the output power, they also care about the spectrum. In case of the 802.11b spectrum there is a main lobe, and smaller side lobes. The FCC regulates the ratio between the power on the main and side lobes. Increasing the power output will also increase the distortion levels, and the power output on the side lobes. This is bad because it interferes with adjacent channels. Manufacturers typically tune their equipment so that they are just within the FCC limits, so blindly increasing power output is not a good idea. The advantage may be smaller than expected too, because of the increased distortion in the signal.

Cable is out. (4, Insightful)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767187)

Now that cable services are starting to fall and AOL begins to take over the cable market wireless points will be a huge innovation.

But we are still waiting. Wireless is becoming the new thing, but communities need to respond. But buying these home [and business] wireless products hopefully this will fuel the boom.

Now that my cable service is dropping me when using any P2P service and even newgroups [ahem] I've considered buying a bigger cable/pipe which I can do what I'd like with. Something with more freedom and the abilty to share the access with home I want.

Now, my neighbors on both sides have internet access. One is my granparents whom use a $20 56K service and the others also use broadband [DSL].

I'm completely capable of running mail services, hell even a proxy server. I can do all these things with redhat or debain out of the box. No matter what their needs are I can set up the system.

Hopefully the wireless situation will become one where one could sell access to services. Whether they be a town, city or user group... let's hope wireless plays a big role in delivering a part of the 'last mile' solution.

Although if wireless becomes too much of a 'hobby' then large scale networks may not be seen. Hope we see a balance.

Re:Cable is out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767328)

sorry but AOL has no chance of taking over the cable industry. In fact Comcast just became larget than AOL/Timewarner in the cable biz by buying at&t.

t

Re:Cable is out. (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767394)

the problem is that your roof will look like a dish farm. 802.11 links require high gain antennas. the pringles can works but a primestar dish works 100times better. the best time to set up your links is mid summer. because 802.11 links will not shoot through trees with leaves. (nice how those water filled leaves absorb 90% of that RF energy you're beaming) getting to non-line of sight requires doubling the links to get around things... (A to B to C with B being a 486 with 2 wifi cards acting as a bridge) your house, if you are the hub will need a dish for every link.. (I gotta take pictures of my 60foot tower.. 3 primestar dishes on it, and 2 more going up this summer) now you can hub off of the other ends of the links, but only if you have control of the equipment at the other end and they dont care about 2-3 more dishes on their roof/tower (and I reccomend you demand towers at the other ends, makes it easier) get ready to have a new full time job if you do this. it will take most of your apare time, it will drain your pocket, and it will make you stop answering your phone. (calls from people when you have an outage, or it rains hard, or other problems... you just became an ISP and you'd be supries how people can bitch at you when their free internet goes down.

Re:Cable is out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767652)

i work for rr and there is no such thing as us dropping connections when people use any programs or access any certain newsgroups. you most likely have a configuration problem on your end.

Re:Cable is out. (1)

mihai (202836) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767771)

Unfortunately this may cause trouble with the ISP, as such usage may constitute theft of service (pretty much as with cable TV).

SNMP? (5, Interesting)

omega9 (138280) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767191)

From what i can tell, this doesn't have to be a Windows only hack. The piece of software [wi2600.org] that Xam states is only built for Win32 seems to be nothing more then an SNMP manager. Now, the Win32 tool might make it a bit easier, but you can hardly call it "requires a Windows box".

Re:SNMP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767246)

Of course not, just do a Tcpdump of it as the guy said and figure out what commands needs to be sent. SNMP is inheritly easy to sniff.

(and that is for all the ppl who use SNMP to manage their big routers)

Re:SNMP? (2, Informative)

T-Punkt (90023) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767248)

For *nix I suggest net-snmp (aka UCD-snmp):

http://net-snmp.sourceforge.net/

Use the MIB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767427)

There are 2 packages worth looking at.
NetSnmp/UcdSnmp and OpenSnmp.
There are some nice front-ends to these. For those using KDE, there are some KIO at apps.kde.com.
snmpio or iosnmp, respectivly.
With the ROM, you will find the MIB required to use this ROM.

BTW, the reason why these folks used USB is that they killed that radio during the install. Make sure that you do not mix radios and packages. Also, make sure that you load all the intervening series of ROMS as these are diffs.

Re:SNMP? (2)

Cramer (69040) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767724)

You have to use the Windows manager because it's the only thing that knows what goes in the "data struct". A quick sniff of the SNMP traffic will fix that tho.

Looking at the MIB, it looks like the application is likely putting the radio in "test mode" to set the output power. So the question becomes, does the new mega-power setting stay once the SNMP manager is killed or the AP power cycled?

The real trick (5, Funny)

LtBurrito (267305) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767196)


The real trick is to get your neighbor to turn up his power so you don't have to buy your own...

Re:The real trick (4, Funny)

aka-ed (459608) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767217)


Not much of a trick. Just give your next-door neighbor a WAP for Xmas and cancel your own broadband.

Wireless Phone interference (3, Interesting)

joel8x (324102) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767200)

Here's my question - I own a 2.4Ghz Seimens wireless phone and whenever I use that it cancels out my computer's wireless access! Does anyone know if this hack will affect this behavior (worse or better)? I would try it myself, but I use my iBook's Airport card for wireless access and can't run the program they use from my Mac, which would mean getting a PC wireless card to perform the hack.

Re:Wireless Phone interference (1)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767213)

I didn't realize that cordless phones actually could dump that much interference. Think of the possibilities! You could drive around a town with wireless access, and using your cordless phone, effectively 'Drive by DoS'. Better yet, (the signal probably wouldn't be strong enough, but) hook a nice sized battery to a cordless telephone base, turn on the reciever, and you just DoS'ed everyone on that tower! Even if Encryption gets better on wireless, its gonna need to move its ass off of an open frequency to be trusted by me. After all, a 15 year old can carry around a cordless phone, but I really doubt their gonna randomly choose my phoneline to cut. Advantage dialup. heheh =)

Re:Wireless Phone interference (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767226)

Um. You fucking idiot. Just because you have wireless doesn't mean that you have broadband. Stupid cocksucker, if I had broadband via ethernet, this wouldn't be a problem.

Not like it's a problem anyway, since I don't have any assramming chuckletrouser faggots like you running around my neighborhood. If I did, I'd slash their tires.

Re:Wireless Phone interference (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767241)

I love you AC pussies soo much, that I had to become one just like you! Maybe he/she thought about that too. I might piss me off if I had DSL coming into my house, and was sharing/firewalling access to 3 other boxen via IP_MASQ over my wireless network, and while downloading some pr0n on my linux box behind the MASQ box, my network got killed by my neighbor kid walking around their yard talking on the cordless phone...... I'd probably have to kill them.

Re:Wireless Phone interference (5, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767222)

Well, since your phone is probably some analog deal that just blasts out your voice, I'd say upping the power on the access point will just add a bit more noise to your conversation (and probably not help too much in keeping the signal strong when you pick up the phone, although it should help a little).

A better hack might be to change the channel on your access point to something on the other end of the spectrum since you phone may not be taking up the entire band (unless it's a DSS phone). Or you might try moving your phone's base station and access point to opposite ends of the house.

PS: Whoever modded this as a troll: what were you thinking?

Re:Wireless Phone interference (2)

avdp (22065) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767225)

I read about that a while back but I have never had that problem. And I have both the Linksys WAP and the Siemens phones. And it's not like they're far apart, I live in an apartment...

I must be lucky I guess.

Re:Wireless Phone interference (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767337)

Had the same problem, just make sure you seperate the Siemens base unit and the AP. That solved the problem for me!

Re:Wireless Phone interference (3)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767345)

yes, buy a new phone. the cheap 2.4Gig phones will interfere with wifi equipment. that the problem with buying cheap junk. Seimens cordless high end lives heppily with wifi as does the top of the line panasonic ($350.00USD) phone. look for the ones that advertise spread spectrum and will operate with other phones in the same house. These see a signal on a channel (and actually use the channels instead of broadcasting on the entier band at once) and hop around it.

Re:Wireless Phone interference (2, Informative)

meatspray (59961) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767983)

nope have the $200 panasonic phone totally blasts my wireless if i'm more than 20ft away from it. (indoors ymmv) i'm going to get another ap and run ethernet into the living room (the only room far enough away that i loose connectivity.

Re:Wireless Phone interference (1)

mmmbeer (9963) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767408)

Yeah I have one of the aforementioned $350 Panasonic 2.4 GHz phones, and it causes all sorts of problems. I had my AP on channel 1, and every time the phone rang, it'd drop all nextwork connections. I switched to channel 6 and that doesn't happen any more, but I still hear alot of noise on the phone.

Re:Wireless Phone interference (1)

Random Feature (84958) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767414)

We have a filter on our phone line that deals with interference from our DSL line (we have really old crappy wiring in our neighborhood). Works wonders for filtering out the noise from DSL, wonder if the same would alleviate some of the noise from the WiFi?

------------

Re:Wireless Phone interference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767563)

You sir, are an idiot.

Re:Wireless Phone interference (2, Informative)

krangomatik (535373) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767422)

If a cordless phone is killing your wireless connection the problem is usually that the phone is a frequency hopping spread spectrum device, which don't play well with 802.11b networks. Here's a snippit from a Cisco Wireless LAN FAQ about their Aironet line of products(they're the Cisco 802.11b APs and cards):
----
Q. Would another vendor's frequency hopping (FH) equipment sitting next to our direct sequence (DS) equipment have any negative effect?

A. Yes. By its very nature, an FH product hops across the entire band. It will therefore spend time encountering interference from our product and causing interference to our product. There is no way to control where an FH unit will hop. Blocking out the portion of the spectrum that the equipment uses would be a possible solution, but in the United States the FCC does not permit FH devices to limit their hop--they must hop across the whole band.

Q. My WLAN system is seeing interference from a cordless phone. What can I do?

A. Most cordless phones are FH devices, with the potential problems inherent to such products. See the answer above for more information.
If the phone is a DS device and lands on exactly the same channel being used by the Cisco Aironet equipment, and if the phone is close to the equipment and you are using both simultaneously, then you will have problems. Try any or all of the following suggestions:

Change the location of the Access Point and/or the base of the cordless phone.

Switch to channel 1 on the Access Point. If that doesn't work, try channel 11.

Use a remote antenna on the client card if it is a PCI- or ISA-based card and you have that option.

Operate the phone with the antenna lowered, if that is an option.

If all else fails, use a 900-MHz phone instead of a 2.4-GHz phone.


----

If you'd like to read the whole faq check it out at http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/102/wlan/radio-fa q.html [cisco.com].

Re:Wireless Phone interference (3, Informative)

stripes (3681) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767594)

2.4Ghz Seimens wireless phone and whenever I use that it cancels out my computer's wireless access

I have the same phone (three of them), and working 802.11 (with a Cisco 340, until it died, and then an Airport 'cause my office is close to the apple store...and it looks cool so my wife will let me put it in more "public" parts of hte house).

Try changing the channel you broadcast on, and try the "reduce interference" setting on your iBook. Also if you don't have really good signal before using the phones try moving things around a bit.

Does anyone know if this hack will affect this behavior (worse or better)?

Since it boosts the base station, and not your laptop's output, it may not help (you might be able to see it, but it may not see you), also the boost looks kinda small.

I would try it myself, but I use my iBook's Airport card for wireless access and can't run the program they use from my Mac, which would mean getting a PC wireless card to perform the hack.

I don't think you need to try the hack from a wireless machine, just something with IP access to your WAP base station. Plus while the instructions for the hack are for using a PC tool, it is all done using SNMP, so you can grab some of the SNMP tools for Mac OSX and translate the instructions yourself. It might not buy you much range, but it would be a learning experience...

Better range increase.. (5, Informative)

Spackler (223562) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767219)

The best way to increase the range of the linksys router is to not use a linksys card with it.

Switching from the linksys card to an Orinoco more than tripled my range! It also made me realize that the linksys router signal _was_ hitting the street (I thought it wasn't reaching my couch with the old card), and enlightened me to "War driving". If your having range problems in your house, it is more likely your card.

Re:Better range increase.. (1)

_Neurotic (39687) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767319)

Amen! I fought for weeks with poor range and even spent $200 on some commercial antennas only to realize that it was all the fault of the crapola Linksys PCM card.

I replaced it with an Avaya (Lucent,Orinoco,Etc) and I now have incredible range without the massive antennas.

Re:Better range increase.. (1)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767401)

I got the linksys card because the prism chipset was supposed to be the best for listening with airsnort. Yes, the range is disappointing- it barely makes it to my bathroom. Part of the problem is that I've got the worst case: a firewall+printserver AP [linksys.com] which uses a pcmcia card as its radio. The similarly-marketed firewall+switch AP [linksys.com] uses a dedicated radio with real antennas.

Re:Better range increase.. (1)

Nigel_Mellish (546097) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767706)

Found that out this weekend. Installed a Linksys WAP11 with 2 laptops connecting, A Dell with Win98 and a Linksys card owned by someone else, and my ibook with Airport (orinoco oem) and OS X.

Up 3 stories in the house the OS X unit gets 80%-90% signal consistantly. The Win98 machine gets about a quarter starting on the second floor.

Re:Better range increase.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767795)

Speaking of card range and what not, I was wondering if anyone has information about extending the range on cards built into machines (eg. Airport cards in mac laptops.). I'm serriously thinking about modding my iBook to make use of an external power-amped helical antenna, as well as it's built in (but none too sensitive) antenna (for when I don't really need the range).

Anyone else here though of/done something like this to one of their machines?
Maybe I'll put a jack in the case that will be able to do the job, and run the extenal amp/antenna from an external power supply. It would sure suck to violate my warranty though...

Good for overcoming line losses (5, Informative)

rcw-work (30090) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767223)

At 2400mhz, 3-4db is equivalent to the loss in 45-60 feet of LMR-400 coax (or 12-16 ft of RG-58), according to this calculator [timesmicrowave.com].

For those that would like to put an 802.11b antenna on their roof without worrying about weatherproofing their access point, this may be just the thing.

Think "low-loss" coax. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767233)

The easiest way to overcome coaxial line loss is to trash the RG-58 rubbish you buy at Radio Shack, and get some nice low loss coax designed for UHF. While some of it can be ridiculously expensive, a nice compromise might be something like Belden 9913 which is much lower loss than RG-58 yet relatively cheap (about a buck a foot). The downside of low loss coax is that it tends to be heavy, thick and difficult to work with, but the new generation of 9913 with foam dielectric helps to overcome some of this.

Re:Good for overcoming line losses (1)

jjeffers (127519) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767523)

That's only half of the battle. By increasing your power you have overcome some of the transmit side loss in your coax, but done nothing about recieve loss. It actually doesn't make any sense for a traditional access point. The wireless client cards have worse antennas and so they are presenting a lower SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) already. Now run the weak singal down coax and you loose 3dB which is the equivilent losing half the signal.

Where this has real benefit is for bridging applications. I tried doing a 6 mile link with two WAP11's and 24dBi dishes, but it wouldn't work. The increased power on both ends might have been just enough.

Still, it's a great hack (if it doesn't have unintended problems like overheating)!

This is an elementary SNMP set (3, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767224)

Browse the MIB supplied by Linksys on their web site and do the same with scotty. No real rocket science here. It is as elementary as it can get.

No need of the windows executable

Re:This is an elementary SNMP set (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767338)

The OID is enterprises.410.1.1.8.8.0 - but I can't quite figure out what the 14 char octet string should be.
suggestion?

if you want to set this via the CLI from a unix just run

snmpset 192.168.1.250 private enterprises.410.1.1.8.8.0 s "some14charstring"

the "some14charstring" is the important part
-sv

Re:This is an elementary SNMP set (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767488)

According to the text page in the article the "some14charstring" is the power settings for the 14 channels. It should have a "c0bfbbbbb9b7b7b7b5b5b5b5b5b5" hex value encoded in it. Just change it to "8080...." encoded and you now have 100mW. (YMMV)

It really makes me wonder... (3, Funny)

TheGreenLantern (537864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767228)

...whether hacks like this are just plants by the parent companies sometimes.

"So you tried to up the radio signal of your WAP11 by hacking it to boost the radio signal, and now it won't work? (Hey Bob, we got another one!) What, oh that was nothing sir. Sir, I'm sorry to say your warranty is void. But we do have a sale on the upgraded model right now..."

Re:It really makes me wonder... (1)

llamalicious (448215) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767292)

more likely I would think that if these so-called "plants" actually existed, they would be more likely to have purpose in garnering interest from the geek population in order to drive additional sales because "our product can be messed with to make it better without having to pay for incremental upgrades"...
etcetera etcetera...

I think these people just love doing what I love doing... taking things apart, putting them back together, and hopefully, not ending up with spare parts at the end. :)

Re:It really makes me wonder... (1)

The_Sock (17010) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767314)

Even if it doesn't fry it so the people have to buy another one, this information just got posted to a pretty major geek site. How many people will remember this when looking to purchase their wireless access point? You're sitting there looking at an SMC and a linksys, you remember this little piece of info, and you chose the linksys*. It's the geek value of "hacking" (even though you're actually more like a script kiddie unless you start trying something new with this). All in all, I'm going to support your idea of corporate planting of this type of information. Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

*Actually, you still might buy the SMC, but because it has the seriel port and the print server built in.

I've had it with this school, Skinner! Low test scores, class after class of ugly, ugly children...
-- S.I. Chalmers

This article is crap! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767230)

Just like 99.999% of this slashdot crap!
Heres the 0.001% [goatse.cx]

Rather Clever, Really... (4, Insightful)

The Paradox (470614) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767232)

...but, as always, your mileage may vary. A watt of power is, while not on class with many ham radios, even, still quite a bit.

Essentially what I'm saying is, you turn up the power on this thing, you don't wanna wear it as a hat. Not that you wanted to do it before, but now you *really* don't want to.

Remember, Linksys is not turning down the power just to spite the geeks out there. I imagine it could easily be a safety issue. Either that, or they had to do it to meet the FCC interference standards. If that's the case, you could have problems with devices that operate in that section of spectrum - I seem to remember something about wireless phone (NOT cellular, *wireless*, as in a base unit, then a detachable handset) working there.

Also, just as a totally useless aside, looking at my handy-dandy (three or so years old) frequency chart I have here, I find it interesting that that portion of spectrum used to be for amateur radio operators. Co-located, perhaps, or did they just take it away from the amateurs altogether?

Re:Rather Clever, Really... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767247)

Several watts of effectively radiated RF at such a high frequency carries a serious risk of tissue damage through close-proximity RF burns. Nothing that would kill you but it'd hurt like a mofo, like most RF burns.

The jury is still out on prolonged exposure, but I wouldn't want to be near one running even 1 watt for a long period of time.

Re:Rather Clever, Really... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767477)

>Essentially what I'm saying is, you turn up the power on this thing, you don't wanna wear it as a hat. Not that you wanted to do it before, but now you *really* don't want to.

I can see it now. Admin puts a tweaked WAP11 on his desk and his coffee starts boiling in the cup.

Re:Rather Clever, Really... (2)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767761)

Us hams have 902-928 Mhz and also the 2.4 Ghz bands. We don't really use them because they are cramped full public bands. One interesting thing is that we can transmit 1500 watts on them, and we have a higher assignment as a licensed operator. In theory we could blast 1500 watts on one of those public bands, and totally kill tons of public equipment in a large area, and it would be up to the unlicensed operators to work around us.

In practice, the FCC would probably view that as intentional interference, which is a no-no even if you are licensed for a band. Of course, when sounds like a clear frequency on one of those bands is no doubt well occupied by many signals you can't hear, since they are all so low power. So one could always claim that they were on an open frequency, from what they could hear. :)

Anyway, so yeah, we can, no we usually don't.

Besides, it would be impossible to even monitor the 902-928 without breaking Newt's law against listening to phone calls.

Are there similar registers for the pcmcia cards? (2)

imp (7585) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767239)

I wonder if there are similar registers for the
pcmcia cards, such at the Wavelan/lucent/orinoco
cards, or the prism II based cards? Open source
drivers would make turning up the heat on these
things easier and might help make some links more
stable.

Re:Are there similar registers for the pcmcia card (3, Informative)

SpectreGadget (465507) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767260)

For many of the pcmcia cards (probably not the cheap ones), a client utility is usually included that allow you to change the output levels. I actually turn mine down at work as I have an AP at my desk and I'd like to keep my hair. ;0) Really though, I'm only using it for testing so 1mW on both ends works just fine and reduces the chance of an attack (both internal and external, i work at a big company) since the range is reduced.

Re:Are there similar registers for the pcmcia card (1)

starrmpic (167397) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767356)

I have two d-link DWL650s at home, one on a Win98 laptop and another on a Win2K. With both the laptops sitting side-by-side, about 30 feet from the Linksys WAP, the Win98 laptop had a strong signal (>80%) whereas the Win2k indicated a poor signal ( 0%). And yes, I did interchange the cards between the laptops.

Leads me to believe there is some software setting in the device driver.

/dev/penis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767242)

Get it now! Control your penis from the command line!

Stephen King, author, dead at 55 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767243)


I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Stephen King, author, dead at 55 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767261)

I appreciate your efforts, but Steven King was born September 21, 1947, making him 54 years old.

Re:Stephen King, author, dead at 55 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767722)

Steven King has a house in Sarasota, FL
during the winter season he should be found there

bad engineering practice (5, Informative)

lophophore (4087) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767251)

Since the 802.11b communications link is two-way, increasing the transmit power of only one end (the access point) is not going to buy you a whole lot. To increase the range, you need to either increase the effective power on both ends, or, more simply, put the access point up higher.

A higher gain antenna on the access point would help with both transmit and receive, and this is another option, however, I think that this might be illegal in the US.

Also, it is useful to recall that microwave ovens operate on 2400 MHz because this is the most efficient frequency for heating water. One watt is enough to cause some RF heating and potentially be hazardous to you health. Don't look at the business end of that yagi!

Re:bad engineering practice (2)

Arlet (29997) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767369)

Since the 802.11b communications link is two-way, increasing the transmit power of only one end (the access point) is not going to buy you a whole lot

Not necessarily true. If most of the traffic is coming from the AP (a typical case since the AP is usually connected to the servers using a wired network), increasing the power on the AP may allow it to use a higher rate (802.11b has rates between 1 and 11 Mbps). The client card could still use a lower rate for the acknowledgements.

This wouldn't necessary increase your range, but it can certainly increase your throughput.

Re:bad engineering practice (1)

maX_ (46318) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767796)

case in point: I added an external Base antenna to my Aironet 900mhz 'base' (ie, an isa card in a software router). My range went from two houses down my street (300ft) to close to 1000ft.
The antenna is in roughtly the same space the stock rubber ducky was, but vastly improved my ability to surf while walking down the street.

Re:bad engineering practice (1)

synchrostart (93516) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767976)

and you need to surf while walking down the street because?????? This is just assanign. If you don't really need the range, don't do this hack. I can walk all over my house and even into my driveway ( i do work on my truck and look things up when i do it) and I have had no problems. Your neighbors are going to start to complain about cordless phone usage and what not at some point.

Again this is a neat hack. If you do need the range and it isn't going to interfere with anyone elses use of this band then by all means. But if it does interfere and/or you don't need the range, don't do it. If there is a HAM operator in your area, sooner or later you will be found, cause they use part of that band as well.

not to mention if your range is extended that then the 14 year old down the street can then hack your network from the privacy of their house instead of having to sit outside yours. have fun.

Re:bad engineering practice (3, Interesting)

synchrostart (93516) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767383)

There are certainly risks associated with doing this hack. First thing is that the human body is most sensative to RF resonating between 30 and 3100 Mhz. Since this falls in that range, sitting next to that access point is probably not a good idea. And since sufficient studies have not been done to test the long term effects of RF on the human body, I wouldn't do it. Heck I keep my access point no less that 4 feet from me and I have the USB tranciever to keep it minimum 4 feet from me as well. And though 1 watt of power isn't a whole lot, when it is sitting next to you and is on all the time is probably not a good idea.

Re:bad engineering practice (2)

tzanger (1575) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767686)

Also, it is useful to recall that microwave ovens operate on 2400 MHz because this is the most efficient frequency for heating water. One watt is enough to cause some RF heating and potentially be hazardous to you health. Don't look at the business end of that yagi!

While I don't condone pointing a highly-directional antenna through you to test, 1W is nowhere near the power of even the smallest microwave ovens. I believe my old beastor is a 750W microwave, and the little'uns are 100-150W.

Aside: Having 1W at the output of the RF amp is not the same as what's coming out of that yagi; highly directional antennas focus that 1W into something (potentially) much, much higher. Is that 1W ERP or 1W at the amp? Remember that LED-communications system on /. a week or so ago? by using fresnel lenses the effective optical power was 10kW from a 650mW LED! Directional antennas can do some pretty serious amplification!

Wireless history (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767254)

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

+MONDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: I will not suck any more dick ever again.
+MONDAY EVENING+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

+TUESDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: I will not suck any more dick ever again.
+TUESDAY EVENING+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

+WEDNESDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: I will not suck any more dick ever again.
+WEDNESDAY EVENING+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

+THURSDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: I will not suck any more dick ever again.
+THURSDAY EVENING+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

+FRIDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: I will not suck any more dick ever again.
+FRIDAY EVENING+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

+SATURDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: I will not suck any more dick ever again.
+SATURDAY EVENING+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

+SUNDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: Today is the Lord's day.
+SUNDAY AFTERNOON+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

Other 802.11b improvements (4, Interesting)

Arkham (10779) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767264)

There are two worthwhile articles over at Macintouch [macintouch.com] about 802.11b (AirPort in the mac world). I thought they might be interesting to people looking to improve their wireless LAN performance or range.

Adding WaveLAN Extender - This article [macintouch.com] discusses adding various antennae to base stations to improve their range.

Extending TheAirPort's Range - This article [macintouch.com] discusses some more radical procedures, including some neat stuff with Directional Antennae which allow 802.11b to work as far away as a 57 Kilometers. They also discuss various antennae to add to laptops in order to improve their range.

BREAKING NEWS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767269)

Goatse news [goatse.cx] is reporting that an angry mob of penguins are going around Redmond smashing windows with apples! Demons are also helping! So watch out!

Last Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767279)

Post any more and goto hell!

Fun with Wap11 (4, Interesting)

bwags (534113) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767287)

Funny, I just worked on boosting my power this weekend before this post. It works like a champ! This info came out earlier this fall but it is nice to see it all written up in such a nice manner. I have a whole bunch of printouts describing all this stuff and I somehow pieced it all togethter. I have a couple of notes of interest pertaining to this stuff:


First, I never did upgrade the firmware to 1.4g5 or 1.4g7, I am running 1.4H3. I guess I should upgrade, but that would require me to actually get the AP next to my PC for the USB connection. The upgrade seems to work OK without the latest rev as long as you can connect via snmp. I think I must have the 1.0 hardware since I got this thing Jan 2001.


Second, I think you can also turn off the SSID on your WAP using these utilities. I have not tried this but perhaps it could help if you are paranoid...


Finally, The main reason I worked on trying to fugure this out is because my wireless network was running very slow. I finally figured out the reason was the wpc11 linksys pcmcia card that I have. If you have one of these cards make sure to DISABLE the PowerSaveMode in your network configuration (in Windows). Your network will now run significantly faster (500K/sec instead of 50K/Sec in my case). Also when exploring in windows use mapped drives instead of unc names. This seems to also help.


Hope that helps, BRian

Re:Fun with Wap11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767363)

exactly why I only use d-link cards. because the linksys cards suck. dlink-works great with power save, suspend and all other modes perfectly with linux. oh and that legacy operating system called windows too... Nice of them to offer support for that old os.

Re:Fun with Wap11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767992)

ick.. I have had pretty bad experiences with D-Link cards. Cisco makes a really nice 802.11b card (aironet 350). not cheap.. but they work very well.

Turn up the heat too.... (1)

lucifuge31337 (529072) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767322)

...and as your device is running too muich power throough the finals and it smokes, much like your overclocked AMD, you'll realize that you should have cracked open the case and put a fan on them.

Uh, Why are you paying for an AP anyway? (2)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767333)

Why not just use a card? They are much cheaper.

Get an Intersil Prism2 card and use the Prism 2 AP module to turn your Linux box into an AP.

Re:Uh, Why are you paying for an AP anyway? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767372)

Because AP's are stand alone devices. Oh and if you look you can find the for the same price as a wifi card.

I bought 2 sohoware AP's for $75.00 each at best buy. they're on clearance and work great!

downside of the soho ware line. you cant encrypt as it's 24bit only (big deal, I dont encrypt at all, I use my firewall to hand out authentication) and requires a soho card and windows to configure the accesspoint (no config needed tho. open box, turn it on.)

Re:Uh, Why are you paying for an AP anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767607)

You can get D-Link's for $30.00 now. Used 486s and 586s can be had for free that will act as small servers AND AP's. This is cheaper and better. Also, simply turn off the wep and use VPN or SSH tunneling on the end-points. You will get higher speeds and greater throughput.

Re:Uh, Why are you paying for an AP anyway? (1)

drwho (4190) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767614)

When did you buy them? Do you know if they are still on sale? That's a pretty good price!

MIB hackery (5, Interesting)

danish (60748) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767384)

After installing the snmp utils (apt-get install snmp) and doing some minor surgery to the MIB [linksys.com] so it would parse correctly, I think I've found the element to modify:

enterprises.atmel.atmelmib.atmelSys.TestModeSettin gsGRP.TestModeRadioConfiguration.0 = Hex: CA CA CA CA CA CA C9 C9 C9 C9 C9 C9 C9 C9

Although not in the same configuration as the article describes, this may be due to the fact that I've never upgraded the firmware on the access point I snmpwalk'd this from. Perhaps I should get busy on that....

Any of you people out there with an upgraded firmware, you should try snmpset under Linux or your UNIX of choice and see what kind of results you get... extra points for verifying the change with the Windows stuff in the article.

Numerically, snmptranslate says that the correct field is .1.3.6.1.4.1.410.1.1.8.8.0, assuming I'm using it right (I called it with the commandline snmptranslate -m +ATMEL-MIB -IR enterprises.atmel.atmelmib.atmelSys.TestModeSettin gsGRP.TestModeRadioConfiguration.0.)

Re:MIB hackery (5, Informative)

mmmbeer (9963) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767532)

Nice job Danish. For noobs who just want to juice their WAP11 (192.168.100.250 is the IP addy of the Access Point):

apt-get install snmp
snmpset 192.168.100.250 public .1.3.6.1.4.1.410.1.1.8.8.0 x "80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80"

Power (1)

acoustix (123925) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767404)

In the article it states: "this will ammount to 3 to 4 db gain in power, which isn't all that much, but heck, it's free".

3dB will result in a signal that is 2 times as strong. So, yes, it is quite a bit more.

When refering to decibels, every 3dB means 2X the power. Just thought I would point that out.

Other APs (1)

mjpsj (225340) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767424)

Does anyone know if the WAP11 is the only Linksys AP this works on? I use the Router/AP combo and don't seem to be able to make it work.

Re:Other APs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767707)

Wap11 is also being discontinued shortly. That is why the prices are so low. And no. You can not do this stuff with any of the other Linksys stuff. Linksys is also switching away from atmel to the core Intersil products. At that time, $ will be lower and the product much more stable.

802.11b 2.4GHz Pollution (1)

PhotonSphere (193108) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767426)

Everyone in wireless knows that the 2.4GHz is already more than a little crowded, having to share the air with cordless phones, garage door openers, etc. etc... Even though this is a very cool hack, if you don't theed the extra range I would ask that after you have had your fun that you turn it back down a bit. When I first got into wireless it was all about how far I could throw a signal - but I realize that as things get more crowded out there, keeping my signal strength to the minimum level that will get my particular need taken care of is the neighborly thing to do. When I finally get my hands on some 802.11g gear that operates over the same 2.4GHz spectrum I want there to be some spectrum left to use! ;-)
--
The Sphere Guerilla Net [photonsphere.com]

Double your pleasure.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767505)

"3 to 4 db gain in power, which isn't all that much". Go back and check your log tables. A 3db increase is doubling your total RF power out.

Attempt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767603)

I just did this, and with my WAP11 and WPC11 linksys wireless network card, I got about 30% more power, I haven't even tried going outside my house since I get 100% link quality all around, but I'm going to have to try it.

antenna gain is usually better then higher power (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767633)

Generally, with a directional antenna at those freq's you could get 10 to 20dB of gain, or more. Now take one watt (or whatever) and multiply it by 10 or 13. That's your ERP or effective radiated power. If your feedline isn't too long and its high quality microwave coax, these calculations should hold up pretty well. It you have to run 50 or 100 feet, you're hosed, as only something like Andrew's Heliax will have the small enough loss/ft at these frequencies.

You'd be MUCH better off.... (1)

newbob (546783) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767932)

...making the antenna higher.

Don't try to mount the antenna remotely; the loss in the transmission line would overrid the gain.

Instead, run ethernet and power to the highest point in your house and put your linksys there.

This method is safe, legal, and it WORKS.

experiences with the WAP11 & linksys card (1)

asah (268024) | more than 12 years ago | (#2767942)

the power boost upgrade worked like a *charm* --
many thanks to timothy and slashdot for the posting!!

the linksys upgrade to 1.4h3 also worked like a
charm, and fixed all sorts of problems I was
experiencing trying to config the thing.
(client was my one win2k box)

I too have experienced crappy reception with their
PCMCIA cards... not sure why.

lower power levels=better security, oerhaps? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2767962)

Note that not only can you -increase- the power, you can decrease it too! "Why on earth would you want to do that?!?!" you say.

Just think...the AP that was suddenly accessible from the road is barely accessible from the front lawn. Maybe you use your AP within a pretty close range etc...lower power levels would be just fine.

The linksys also allows you very fine-grained control over supported data rates etc; experiment with, say, turning off everything except 11mbps and tweaking the power level down one notch up from where you start to see packet loss etc. Tada, maybe now your network that was visible from the street is only visible from the yard or front door. Granted, some antenna-kiddie(ooo, I coined a new term!) is still going to find the AP when he points a directional your way, but oh well...at least it'll maybe discourage the average moron who recides to go driving with his laptop.

Not to mention, if you're nervous about scrambled brain, having the AP at a lower power level might make you feel better, although the card is what is closest to you...
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