in the end broke the case open on the dongle and attached a wire to the antenna which improved it slightly. Dongle doesn't work at all now for some reason.
And this suprises you? LOL
I think EX0 thinks you are using a 3G dongle, but as i read it, you are using a wireless router and dongle......
Unfortunatly, if you want a good solid wireless connection you will need a wireles "N" router and dongle. You can pick them up for around £70.
B/G routers are ok but are hindered by factors such as distance/ thick walls etc... this sounds like your problem.
you can possibly pick up a 2nd hand N router off ebay, if you do , I have a N dongle you can gladly have.