Turn your home or small-office router into an enterprise-level powerhouse

Four steps to increase your router's capabilities

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The DD-WRT documentation says that using up to 70 mW should be safe in most cases. You may want to start lower than that, and keep increasing it until you find that the wireless signal is strong throughout your house. Click Save Settings every time you make a change.

Improve network performance

Several other settings on the Advanced Settings tab may help improve the performance of your wireless network. Changing the Beacon Interval setting can help if wireless clients are getting poor performance. The beacon is a wireless packet the router sends out as a way to synchronize the network. The default setting is 100 milliseconds. Change it to 50 milliseconds if you have wireless clients with poor reception.

The Advanced Settings screen lets you increase your wireless signal and set other advanced options for wireless.
The Advanced Settings screen lets you increase your wireless signal and set other advanced options for wireless. (Click image to see larger view.)

If you have a network with from only one to three wireless PCs on it, you can also improve performance by allowing Frame Burst. This enables packet bursting, which can increase overall network speed. But if you have more than three clients, you can actually decrease throughput by doing this. By default it's turned off; select Enable if you want it on. When you're done, click Save Settings.

Improve security by auto-turning off wireless signals

When you're not at home or when you're sleeping, you most likely don't turn off your wireless network. If you're worried that bandwidth vampires or network crackers will steal your bandwidth or break into your network when you're not around, you can schedule your router to stop transmitting at certain times of the day and night. Wired connections will still work, but wireless connections won't.

On the Advanced Settings screen, scroll down to Radio Time Restrictions and click Enable. A timeline of all the hours in the day will appear. Click on all the hours that you want wireless access disabled. That hour will show up red, as you can see in the nearby figure. When you're done, click Save Settings.

Optimize bandwidth for certain applications and PCs

DD-WRT includes powerful quality-of-service (QoS) features that let you ensure that certain applications and PCs get the most bandwidth when they need it. This is particularly helpful for voice-over-IP applications like Skype that need all the bandwidth they can get in order to get as high a voice quality as possible. You have numerous options for QoS, and can prioritize network bandwidth not only by application, but by PC as well.

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