WiFi Research

Reading up on wireless networking at 1842 this morning. I’m trying to figure out an easy (and cheap) way to expand my wireless signal for air_zucker, my home network. I’ve got an old Linksys WRT54G, but it’s a little dodgy — a little unstable. It worked well for about a year, and then started crashing on me. I upgraded the firmware, but it’s still a little suspect. I replaced it with a D-link DI-526, but it’s got crappy range. I’ve added an external omni antenna, but was thinking I could use the Linksys as a repeater. I’ve seen it referred to as a “repeater” in several online stores, but it needs a 3rd-party firmware before it will support WDS. Even then, it may not work with the D-link.
So, I was thinking of using one of the old spare boxes in the basement to act as a Linux repeater, though that would probably require me to buy a second PCI wireless card — at least that’s what this O’Reilly book is telling me (“Building Wireless Community Networks” by Rob Flickenger). It’s an OK resource, and has links to several WiFi community websites, so I’ll keep digging.
Maybe all I need to do is build a homebrew high-gain antenna — maybe that will take care of my little signal problem. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a problem finding a quantity of N-connectors and other coaxial supplies in this area. Not too many of the surplus electronic stores have any idea of what I’m looking for, and I don’t really want to resort to ordering them off eBay. I’m kind of torn — I don’t want to spend another $100 on some kind of repeater, but I can’t seem to find the materials (or time, or motivation) needed to put one of these things together by myself. Also, the signal’s fine right now, with this little 4dBi omni I bought.
I’ll just keep reading, and see what happens.