Wireless vs RG6 vs Twisted Pair - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 2012-12-14, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Wireless vs RG6 vs Twisted Pair

I have some questions about a wired or wireless internet connection. My lack of expertise will be evident -- please let me know if I haven't given you enough information.

I want to connect my Windows computer to the internet. The options that I see are:
- use a wireless connection, or
- run about 75 feet of wire along the floor moulding from an RG6 wall outlet (I'm not going to run cable in the walls).

For the wireless connection, I've bought a NetGear WNR2000 wireless router and NetGear WNA3100 wireless USB adapter. They work well most of the time, except that
- sometimes the connection speed drops to 5Mbps, even while the signal strength remains "excellent" (this info from the NetGear Genie software supplied with the adapter, or displayed when I mouse over the wireless connection icon in the system tray)
- sometimes the wireless connection doesn't get established when I start Windows. I then have to start the NetGear Genie software, and re-connect, entering the SSID and security key.
Are there any settings that might eliminate these problems?

If I can get the wireless connection working reliably, I might stick with it, but I would prefer a wired connection (partly because I'll be more comfortable with the tried-and-true, even if the wireless problems are solved; and partly because a Cisco CIS330 set-top box is part of the connection, and with a wired connection it would be next to the computer, from where I would hope eventually to get it connected so I can watch TV on my computer -- with a wireless connection, it would be 75 feet away at the RG6 outlet)

So, if I run wire:
Is it ok to bend RG6 cable 90 degrees to go around corners and over a doorway? I expect the answer to be "no"; then is there an alternative? Would twisted pair work ok over that distance (75'), and is it ok to bend it 90 degrees? If so, I'll have more questions about that. I'll need a baluns, I believe, and I don't know anything about that or twisted pair wire -- is there a specific grade I need, or anything else that I would need to know?

... and are there other options that I haven't thought of?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 2012-12-15, 07:23 AM
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You can't bend coax or CAT5/CAT6 around sharp corners. However, you didn't mention what you're using to get internet. I assume you're using a cable modem, which ties you to coax. If ADSL, you could move the modem to any phone jack. Since you have a USB adapter, you might try using a USB extension cable, so that you can move it around for best results. I have no idea why you keep losing the settings. That is definitely not normal.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 2012-12-15, 09:19 AM
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Try Power Line Ethernet extenders.

Cat5e is easier to deal with than coax as far as installing goes.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 2012-12-15, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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@classicsat: I didn't know about Power Line Ethernet extenders. Thanks for the suggestion; I'll look into them.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 2012-12-15, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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@JamesK
Thanks for the reply. Yes, internet access is through a cable modem. I am using a USB extension cable for the USB adapter. I don't know if I'm actually "losing the settings" -- I get tired of waiting for the connection to get established, so I do it manually and it does connect.

I didn't mention that these problems occur with the wireless router and USB adapter in the same room, from 4 to 8 feet apart, or in separate rooms about 25 feet apart through two walls.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 2012-12-16, 01:25 AM
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It sounds like that router and/or adapter are not working properly. I would try updating the firmware on the router. Perform a site survey to find the clearest channel (1, 6, or 11.) That can be done with freely available software or the utility supplied with the ethernet adapter. If that doesn't help, try another solution such as a new router and/or adapter, power line ethernet adapters or twisted pair ethernet cable. Twisted pair ethernet cable is almost always the best choice for speed, reliability and lowest cost but can be costly or difficult to install. CAT6 will provide the best speeds and future compatibility. Cat5e is a little easier to work with but not as good as CAT6 for long lengths. Under 50', CAT5e should be fine for most uses. There isn't much difference in cable so use CAT6 if possible.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 2012-12-16, 07:40 AM
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Another thing you can try is compare with another device. For example, if a smart phone or tablet maintains a connection, while the computer doesn't, then the problem is with the USB adapter. If nothing maintains a connection, then it's the router. Also, you can get an app for an Android phone or tablet called "WiFi Analyzer" which can be used to measure signal strength. It even beeps faster as you get a stronger signal.

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