How to increase the snr of a wireless signal

Written by steve mcdonnell Google
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How to increase the snr of a wireless signal
Improve the wireless signal to raise SNR. (wlan router 02 image by pmphoto from Fotolia.com)

Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) is defined as the signal divided by the noise, both measured on the same power scale. When measured in decibels, a logarithmic scale, both signal and noise are negative numbers and SNR is computed as: SNR (dB) = Signal (dB) - Noise (dB), for example: SNR = (-80) - (-98) = 18. SNR is a composite measurement of how fast wireless data travels and how far a wireless signal reaches. A higher SNR is better, and acceptable SNR is typically in the range from 8 dB to 25 dB, with 8 dB supporting a data rate of 6 megabits per second (Mbps) and 25 dB supporting a full 54 Mbps data rate. To increase your SNR, try these suggestions for increasing the strength of the wireless signal.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Wireless router
  • Advanced firmware

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Instructions

  1. 1

    A wireless signal gets weaker the further it travels from the router, which means SNR also decreases with distance. For a simple method to improve SNR, place the router and the client physically closer to one another.

  2. 2

    Double the transmission power of your wireless router to improve the signal output and the corresponding SNR. For example, if your signal is -85 and your power is 100 milliwatts (mW), you can improve your signal to approximately -82 by doubling the router's transmission power to 200 mW.

  3. 3

    Install an antenna with increased gain on your wireless router to improve the signal and SNR. Replace a standard 3 dB antenna with a 12 dB antenna to get an additional 9 dB of signal. For example, if your signal was -82 with a 3dB antenna, it should increase to -73 with a 12 dB antenna.

Tips and warnings

  • In order to change settings such as the router's transmission power, you may need to flash your router with advanced firmware such as the free, open-source "dd-wrt" firmware.
  • Increasing the power of your wireless router can also increase the noise level, which decreases the SNR.

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