Routers, signal strength, and home networking

After dealing with computer repair all week I tried to install a router so the roommate could have broadband. Yesterday was a huge struggle-- my PC could see and talk to the router, the router could see and talk to the WAN (cable modem), but I couldn’t get on the net through the router. Last night at 2am I finally did a firmware upgrade and voila! It all worked.

So today was getting the roommate’s computer on the net. He brought home 30 feet of ethernet cable from work, and I ran it and hooked it all up. The lights on the router went blinky blinky, the lights on the ethernet card went blinky blinky, but the computer couldn’t see the routher and vice versa. Hmmm.

So a lot of troubleshooting later, I finally get out a couple of shorter ethernet cables that I had lying around, and spliced them together with an old hub. It works great! Okay, so he brought home a bad ethernet cable. I call him and he insists the guy tested it and it’s a perfectly good, brand new cable. That’s great and all, but in the real world, it doesn’t work.

But being the nice guy I am, I give it another shot. I take one of my short cables off, and run his cable from the computer to the hub.

And it works.

So maybe I crimped the cable weird or something when I was running it. Hmmm. So I run the cable back to the router, bypassing the hub, and it stops working. I run the short cable from the PC to the hub and the long cable from the hub to the router and it all works fine. Which is where I am now.

So WTF? What’s the signal range over an ethernet network? Is the hub boosting the signal or something? I fixed it, but I want to know what I did.

You need a crossover cable to connect two pc’s without the hub. Basically when you crimp the little RJ45 connector on the end, you switch two of the connections to make a crossover cable.

Ethernets only good for 100 meters then you need to increase the signal stength all over again. … 30 feet is about 100 meters.

But being the nice guy I am, I give it another shot. I take one of my short cables off, and run his cable from the computer to the hub.

And it works.

100 meters is 328 feet.

So close… And yet, so far.

30 meters is about 100 feet, rather than the other way around.

Ditto the crossover problem. Easy to solve, too – check google on “crossover cable” and re-crimp (I think you switch wires 4 & 5 or something like that?)

HA! it is too… DUH me. (I can forgive myself… I haven’t slept since yesterday)

Ditto the crossover problem. Easy to solve, too – check google on “crossover cable” and re-crimp (I think you switch wires 4 & 5 or something like that?)

I have never owned a crimp tool. Ask someone in an IT dept and they shoudl be able to give you a cable. Othwerise, go to your local computer store and ask for a crossover or patch cable.

Doesn’t sex with your girlfriend help you get to sleep? That always works for me.

Heroin is good for anything that ails you! :)

Ok, herion is not good for networking problems. I read the post above mine and thought I was in the sleep deprived thread.

You’re having sex with nutsak’s girlfriend? lol!

In his mind, Koontz is having sex with all our girlfriends.

But, but, but… the cable from the roommate’s computer wasn’t going into my computer, it was going into the router. I was once told (who knows by whom) that a router was a hub with a WAN jack-- so why do I still need to twist the wires?

You know you can save a bit of money on a new cable by just getting a converter (over here they’re about 2-5 bucks)

I hav no idea why you’d need a crossover for a router, maybe check the manual for it and see if it makes mention of the ‘fact’.

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Yeah, whatever, dude. Does the local paraplegics ward know you’re breaking in for sleepovers?

Dean, I’ve read the explanation for that question but it didn’t stick with me. I know that sometimes you have to use a specific port on a hub, or press a little “uplink” button, to get it to work without the crossover cable. Maybe your router has the same sort of thing. Look at the manual that came with it, if you haven’t already.

As opposed to what happens when you have sex with your boyfriend?

Badump, bump. Crash. Be here all week folks. All week.

I suppose its entirely possible you were attenuating the signal with the lone 30ft cable. Not necessarily because of distance, but perhaps because of some sort of resistance, or a “skin effect” – which basically means the signal travels on the outer “skin” of the copper wires.

Or perhaps the NIC in roommate’s PC is underpowered and the signal isn’t strong enough for the data to be recognized (though the signal still reaches, so the LINK and ACT LEDs will show active). Either way, that hub is working as a repeater.

Okay, that last seems to make a bit of sense.

One other bit of info-- I have cheap, identical networking cards in both PC’s. When I plug the cable in and it works, one green LED blinks according to network usage (so lots of blinking means lots of usage).

When I hook the cable up and it doesn’t work, both LED’s go on, with the top one doing rhythmic blinking (like ping, ping, ping), the bottom one just stays constantly on.