Recently, I acquired a new linksys (Cisco) e2500 (a.k.a n600) wireless router. I wanted to use it to replace or mesh to an older D-link that I had in the basement of our four-level split. I was having some issues with a weak signal from the dlink and wanted to fix that. Also, I knew the E2500 was fully supported by DD-WRT, the open source, very flexible wireless software.
The first thing I tried was flashing ddwrt to the new wireless router, and setting it up as a bridged repeater. That mode will associate to the current wireless ssid from the dlink, and broadcast its own ssid; essentially extending the current network. It was pretty easy to set up using instructions on the ddwrt site. Now I had two ssids I could use in my house, one in the basement and one in the upstairs rooms. Although it worked, I wasn’t happy with the performance. The link between the two routers was pretty sketchy, and I would get occasional drops.
So on to Plan B: Use the Linksys n600 (Cisco) E2500 in the basement and get better coverage around the house.
This plan also proved a total failure. I needed something a little more powerful–even through with DD-WRT I could turn up the transmit power, the Linksys still did not give good enough coverage throughout the house.
Add four external antennas to the Linksys e2500! There are kits available on ebay that will get you everything you need to crank the wireless coverage and satisfy your need for nerdification!
I bought a kit on ebay for about $24 that includes two 6db, two 7db and four pigtail connectors for this project. It requires some soldering, and will allow you to extend your 2.4 and 5 Ghz bands. If you are not nerdy enough to solder, order the two-antenna version (but it only will increase the 5GHz signal (A-band), not the 2.4 (b/g band). So older wireless cards and older laptops may not benefit at all.
Opening the Linksys E2500
1.) There are three screws on the bottom of the unit, flip it over. The screws are located under the three rubber feet. Remove all three screws and set them aside.
2. Use a plastic wedge to pry the cover off. I used a guitar pick, which really worked well. I also had a small plastic ipod tool that came in handy as well. Be careful not to damage anything, this is where patience and nerdyness meet.
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