The 2Wire gateways are used by several Internet providers. They come with the wireless functionality and encryption enabled. The wireless settings are limited by default due to FCC regulations. However, these settings can be changed to boost the range of the wireless signal. Interference and positioning also affect the range of the gateway. Adjusting these variables will typically more than double your range.
Go to gateway.2wire.net. This loads the 2Wire's interface. At the very top of this interface page, click on the "Home Network" icon. On the right, click on the "Edit settings" button. Change the channel to 2 and the power to 10. This strengthens the wireless signal that is being broadcast since the default power is only 4. This also allows the wireless frequency to bypass the most commonly used frequencies, such as 1 and 6. Most other wireless routers and cordless phones operate near the Channel 6 within the 2.4Ghz range.
Check for any devices in the house that could be generating electromagnetic interference. These devices could include, halogen lamps, dimming light switches, motion detectors, arc welders, power generators, baby monitors and garage door openers. See if you notice a connection between the times that a device like this is turned on and when the wireless signal deteriorates.
Interference can be difficult to track down, but you can try turning devices off to see if the wireless signal improves. Also keep the gateway away from anything that has magnets in it since those may also interfere with the wireless signal.
Wireless signals travel best when they have a direct line of sight between the gateway and the computer. Each obstacle that the wireless signal has to go through degrades the signal and affects the range. The gateway should be placed in a relatively central location so that it has minimal distance to travel to wherever the computers will be. It should also be placed as high up off the ground as possible to allow the signal to broadcast further. The gateway should not be placed within 3 feet of any other electronics since they can inhibit the signal.