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Recommendations on new wired/wireless network

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I've got an old D-Link router that has become just a pain to work with. I have a Cat 5e wired netowork but would like to add wireless so that my son can use his laptop without having to pull a cable from an existing PC. From what I read the 802.11g draft N routers are not producing much improvement in signal strength in real world settings. So, I wondering if I would be better off buying an 802.11g router and spend the difference on a high gain antenna or a repeater.

The physical setup is that the wireless router has to be on one end of the second floor of the house. The primary area for laptop use is in the basement almost directly under the router or in the middle of the house on the first floor. The straight linear distances are only 35 to 45 feet but there are potentially several intervening floors and walls. From what little I know about wireless routers that sounds pretty hostile to the router signal strength in the primary use ares.

I would like some suggestions as to how to maximize quality of coverage and minimize total signal quality. I would like to spend less than a total of $175 to accomplish this.
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