I'm new to the forum - and WiFi/WLAN, but not rf - work professionally in the field of digital wireless comms (antenna's & propagation to be exact). I know the basics of WiFi/ WLAN and thats about it - so maybe one of you tec experts out there can help me on the following:
It's about a BELKIN product - their F5D7000 wireless desktop card:
All card manufacturers have firmware running "silently" in the background on their wireless cards to control a whole host of parameters and settings related to performance that the users never interface with, or have access to – just as is the case with mobile/GSM phones (there is a whole load of handshaking between cell phones that we, the users, never know about, but which takes place to ensure good cell phone performance, and billing).
In respect of Belkin, in particular their F5D7000 desktop wireless card, does anyone know for a fact (one way or the other) if Belkin has software running in the background that controls this card’s rf power output & gain?
I tell you why I ask: with 2 x F5D7000 cards in different computers placed no more than 2 feet apart, it doesn’t matter what program I use to collate data on their signal strength, it is never more than – 33dBm - -31dBm (max).
Belkin state the max output for this card is around 50mW – what’s that guys, around 16-18dBm, not much more. I accept that there are all sorts of losses involved when transmitting & recieving, but no-way is there going to be a 50dBm plus drop in signal over 2 feet or so - unless:
a) the power output figure Belkin gives is hugely/massively/wildly off.
b) there is software in the background controlling card rf power to a level required to establish & maintain a link to a required min spec.
I note that Belkin does says in their paperwork that the 50mW figure is a max figure – is this suggesting that 50mW is only produced when required (implying that there are indeed rf power control logs’ running in the background on the card operating software/firmware)?
Does anyone know anything about this – and, can anyone refer me to any on-line literature confirming the use/implementation of such software/firmware?
Well, after 2weeks I have managed to hack into the HAL layer software: and got access to the power settings: Belkin does use a power control log: the 7001 only outputs what it needs to, which explains why close up to a 2nd Tx/Rx the power out was so low (it simply didn't need any more power to establish a full rate link, so it simply lowered the power output).
Firm ware updates are on the Blekin website - go to the Belkin Support page and then type in the product number and the words "driver update".
It is in theory possible to increase the power output - but it requires access to HAL - which is 3rd or 4th level software -very deeply embedded in the product (atcually its part of the chipset manufacturers software - not strictly speaking even Belkins software)! Honestly, to have to go through it here would be nothing but a nightmare. Speak to anyone about HAL - they'll roll their eyes - and I am no expert - it took me close on 30 horus over 2 weeks, a lot of downloading and a lot of learning.
Not worth the effort quite frankly trying to hack it - you really need the chipset software.