So I've got a free cheap D-Link router from my ISP, but I've determined it is only giving me about 70% my actual internet speed over wireless, and about 90% over wired connections (vs. plugging right to the CAT5 off the incoming fiber stream).
I've been shopping for a $100-160 router, but one thing that is complicating things is all the CAT5e in the house terminates at a metal networking/equipment box (most new homes have them now). It basically kills wireless reception, as I'm down to about -70 dB just 30-40 ft away with 1 wall between me and the router. I'm around -60 dB right outside the enclosure with the door shut, and it goes up to the ~-40-45 dB range with it open and right in front of it. This gives really bad signal coverage over part of the house, with the signal around -80 to -89 dB.
There are only a few wireless networks around me now, and they're fairly far away, so the noise floor is between about -80 and -90 dB across most the house, but obviously with the box killing a ton of my signal it makes connections a bit dicey.
So my question is - should I spring for a more expensive wireless router with removeable external antennas like the Asus N66U, or do you think something like their N56U would be fine with the internal antennas? I'd probably just get some cheap "booster antennas" and run them out of the enclosure and I imagine that'd be fine. I don't think I really need more antenna gain so much as not chopping off a ton of signal by broadcasting it inside a metal box.
I do want gigabit ethernet going to my main media server, as I've already gotten to the point of almost saturating the 100 Mbps connection with a bunch of streams going and other network activity.