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Checkpoint: WDS Edition

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Wireless Distribution Systems could end up saving us a lot of money. Unfortunately there are issues with stability and consistency which may scrap the whole initiative. I’ve learned a lot about wireless technology over the past week just by tinkering with this WDS idea.

With Tomato and a couple of E4200 routers, I was able to setup a WDS. I configured the wireless network as indicated below:

  • Channel 6
  • Channel Width: 20 MHz
  • 2.4 GHz band
  • WPA2 Personal + AES encryption
  • Spanning Tree Protocol enabled
  • Wireless Transmit Power of 84 mW

In order avoid interference and the dozens of other access points in the surrounding area, I wanted to use other wireless channels. The first thing I did was, learning how wireless channels worked and why folks usually go to 1, 6 or 11. I also learned the differences between 20 MHz and 40 MHz channel width and channel bonding. There are actually other wireless channels (12, 13 and 14) but with all my devices being identified as North American, those channels were incompatible.

I wanted to utilize the 5 GHz band but then I learned “higher frequency wireless signals of 5 GHz networks do not penetrate solid objects nearly as well as do 2.4 GHz signals”. That’s a real shame because nobody uses the 5 GHz range in my neighbourhood.

I found a few settings that folks recommended for improving WDS throughput and implemented the ones that made sense. I’m also trying out higher transmit power settings, adjusting preamble options and whatever else I can find to squeeze out more performance.

Another week or so of testing and then we’ll make the call.

My time with Driver: San Francisco ran into a bit of a snag. On the Windows 8 Release Preview, the performance seems to be degrading over time. So then I tried to boot back into Windows 7 and it’s having problems recognizing the refresh rate of the my HDTV as 60 Hz and not 24 Hz. I’ve read reports over the game’s performance suffering when A.I cars enter the fray, so I’m thinking that it’s just a problem with this port.

I’ll try to finish it regardless of these problems. Just at small chunks at a time.

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