The E2000 has internal antennas, but also has gigabit Ethernet and WLAN ports, as well as two networks, the standard 2.4 GHz, plus a 5 GHz.
The WRT54G has two external antennas and 10/100 Ethernet/WLAN ports, but only offers 2.4 GHz for the wireless network.
Whichever router is being used, it is situated two floors below the laptop location.
With the E2000, I generally see signal strengths on the laptop (running only Debian Linux) between 60 and 65% using the 5 GHz network and it will get into the 70%'s using the 2.4 GHz network. But when using the 5 GHz network, the wireless interface in the laptop will use 802.11a. On the 2.4 GHz side, it can use either 802.11b or 802.11g.
With the WRT54G, the laptop will display the signal strength between the upper 60%'s to low 70%'s and the interface can use 802.11b or 802.11g.
The interface in the laptop is an Intel PRO/Wireless 2915ABG.
The Linux network manager (wicd), will also display three or four other routers in the immediate neighborhood, all of them are using any of channels 1, 6, or 11, which are the only three non-overlapping channels in the spectrum. Only channels 1 through 11 are available in the U.S. on the 2.4 GHz side This is not a problem with the 5 GHz side, since my router is the only one that wicd will display as being on the 5 GHz side and I am aware that the 5 GHz signal does not travel as far as a 2.4 GHz signal will and the 5 GHz side also uses higher channel numbers.
I previously had the router sitting on top of one of the computers down there, which has a metal case, before I read online that a router should not be anything close to metal. Then I moved it to the top of one of the desks which sited the router roughly 2 feet below the ceiling down there and with the router in either location, the signal strengths were the same.
I have since moved the router location back to the other desk which is lower than the other, but placed as far away from the computer on that desk as I could. The closest anything-metal would be one of the speakers (only 6" tall and 3" wide) which is at least two feet away from it.
I'm running out of ideas as to how to improve the signal coming up two floors. Obviously, the 2.4 GHz side is providing a stronger signal, however, where all of the other routers the laptop finds are using channels 1, 6, or 11, all the remaining channels overlap. This wouldn't be much of an issue if there weren't that many other routers the laptop is finding. Moving the router up one floor is not an option since I would have to run additional cables from the basement up to the router and I don't want cables running here, there and everywhere.
I'm not sure if there are any advantages of simply using one of the overlapping channels on the 2.4 GHz side, or simly stick with using the 5 GHz side.
Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks.