25 Questions, 25 Answers

Page 5 of 10

How Can I Get My Wi-Fi Signal to the Far End of My House?

I have plenty of potential solutions to this problem, but no guarantees.

First, try moving the router. The higher you put it, the better. Keep it away from wireless phones, microwave ovens, washers, dryers, and large CD collections.

If that approach doesn't help, consider buying one of the following items:

A large external antenna: These are very easy to set up and put to work.

A range booster: These tend to be a pain to set up. You have to plug them directly into a PC so you can optimize all of those pesky Wi-Fi settings, and then you have to find a good location for them on the outskirts of your router's range and near an AC outlet.

An 802.11n router: Installing one solved my range problem--and without a single 802.11n-equipped PC in the house.

Do I Need a 64-Bit PC--And If So, Why?

No, you don't. Not yet, anyway. And probably not for a long time.

A 64-bit CPU has two strengths: It can run 64-bit apps, and it can handle more than 4GB of RAM. Of course, a 64-bit system won't run unless you have a 64-bit operating system (like Vista 64-bit).

In the indefinite future 64-bit applications will probably run faster than their 32-bit counterparts, at least for CPU-heavy jobs like video editing. But as yet almost no 64-bit Windows apps exist. Luckily, the 64-bit versions of XP and Vista support 32-bit programs, too.

More RAM improves performance, but we're not yet at a point where we need more than 4GB. Undoubtedly, you will eventually need more, but you'll want a whole new computer by then.

Finally, Vista 64-bit has even more compatibility problems than Vista 32-bit has, starting with the fact that it won't run 16-bit Windows or DOS programs. And since it comes with a 64-bit version of Windows Explorer, standard Explorer extensions won't work.

Wait a few years. Eventually, 64-bit will become an intelligent choice.

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