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Thread: wireless woes

  1. #1
    *Flashaholic* Rothrandir's Avatar
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    Default wireless woes

    about a month ago, we got cable internet.

    since my computar is upstairs and acrossed the house, running cat5 was out of the question, so wireless is what we got for my computer.

    well, it sucks [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img]

    it's completely inconsistant, and seems to have a mind of it's own. one minute, it's blazing at full speed (signal strength: excellent), and i go to reboot, and it's down to low!!!

    it's 2.4ghz 802.11b, and we happen to have a 2.4ghz cordless phone in the house, and i origionally thought that might be causing interferance, but it acts up even when the phone isn't in use! (like right now)

    sometimes disabling/enabling the wireless access point (it's going through usb) or rebooting helps, but most of the time it doesn't.

    why does my signal strength fluctuate between low, very low, good, and excellent, and is there anything i can do about it?

    i might as well have dialup!!! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img]

  2. #2
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: wireless woes

    my guess is that is your usb. Most computers put usb devices to sleep if they arn't in use.

    Beyond that I would check to verify that your telephone base station, and handsets are not between the transmitter two base stations.

    If all else fails, disconnect the antenna on the base station, and put on a directional antenna.

    I have used directional antennas from these two groups, and they function well.
    Net nimble is in california and fairly cheap, but fabcorp has a larger selection of cables. If you are lucky, and it is a linksys, or d-link, first start out useing the radio shack long range antennas.
    www.netnimble.net
    www.fab-corp.com
    and as a functional curiosity www.cantenna.com .

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* Rothrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: wireless woes

    yes, it is usb, but i turned off sleeping...

    as far as the directional antennas, do they really do any good?
    i built a curved metal dish for my access point, but i'm not sure if it does any good. i've also considered building them for my router, but haven't gotten around to it as of yet...

  4. #4

  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: wireless woes

    1) Could be interference from someone else's 802.11 A/P. Turn your base station off for awhile and just sniff the airwaves from your remote computer to see if there's a competing A/P within range. If so, try a different channel on your A/P and remote client that's at least a couple channels away from the interfering station. Wi-Fi channels overlap each other at the band edges.

    2) Could be a neighbor's 2.4ghz phone, baby monitor, garage door opener, remote video link, or other whizmo. Try another channel.

    3) A long shot - but it could be a nearby microwave oven. They operate in the same general RF neighborhood.

    4) Could be reflections from outside causing phase cancellation as cars pass by. A directional antenna could help with this.

  6. #6

    Default Re: wireless woes

    [ QUOTE ]
    Rothrandir said:
    ...since my computar is upstairs and acrossed the house, running cat5 was out of the question, so wireless is what we got for my computer...


    [/ QUOTE ]

    Roth,

    I've read that you can run up to 100 meters of cat5 for a LAN. Assuming that this is accurate is 328 feet not long enough for your house?

    Brightnorm

  7. #7
    *Flashaholic* Rothrandir's Avatar
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    Default Re: wireless woes

    it's not the length of the cables, it's the location.

    in order to run cables from the router, i'd need to go out the den, acrossed the living room, up the fireplace, through my sisters room, and finally into my room. it's just not possible. (well, i suppose it is, but theres no way my dad would ever allow it...)

    i've heard about changing the channel, but i have no idea how... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

    in fact, i think somone else is using the same frequency around here, because at times, i see another connection available. i never use it, but it's there from time to time.

  8. #8
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: wireless woes

    [ QUOTE ]
    Rothrandir said:
    i've heard about changing the channel, but i have no idea how... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]


    [/ QUOTE ]

    There's usually a Setup Manager that comes with every A/P that allows you to cinfigure the SSID, channel number and encryption settings. If you don't have the CD, go to the manufacturer's website - it's usually a free download.

    The remote machine probablly has a wireless card manager running in the system tray. Open it up and look for a channel configurator screen.

    [ QUOTE ]

    in fact, i think somone else is using the same frequency around here, because at times, i see another connection available.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    A-ha! You've found the culprit. Definitely change the channel, and if you're feeling adventurous, set up MAC filtering to keep him or her out of your network.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: wireless woes

    1) Change the channel.
    2) Change the SID.
    3) Turn on low grade encryption. It doesn't need to be at max, just on. Its a home network....

  10. #10

    Default Re: wireless woes

    Roth,

    I have wireless. It's a roller coaster ride alright. I might get two months of flawless, blazing internet. Then one day I boot it up, and it can't even find the network! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/rant.gif[/img]

    After you work out the kinks, things will get better, and you will love your wireless!

    Every now and then, you have to play around with it for about half an hour, changing random settings to get it to work again though....although that's only a few times a year. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

    One thing that helps a lot, is resetting the router and cable modem. I'm not quite sure about your setup, but for mine I unplug both the modem and the router. Then I wait a minute, then plug in the cable modem...until it says it has a good signal from the cable. Then I turn on the router.

    Good luck.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic StevieRay's Avatar
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    Default Re: wireless woes

    Anytime you are using RF, it is sublect to interference. I replaced my 2.4 GH phones with 900mhz and it solved my problem.

    Another option that you may want to try is PLC (Power Line Carrier).
    It uses your electrical wiring in your house to transmit your network!
    I have heard that the utility companies are planning on offering a service that bundles this with their other services. If this works, virtually everyone is a potential customer. No wiring necessaary. Just a modem/interface on each end.

    I believe that linksys offers such a product.




    Here it is.

  12. #12
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: wireless woes

    From reading the literature that comes with consumer WiFi gear, one would think that it's all just plug & play. Back when WiFi was really new and there were very few A/Ps in a city, that might have been a little more true. Nowadays there are so many A/Ps out there, on top of all the other stuff that's operating in the unlicensed 2.4ghz spectrum, that it's much more difficult to predict how well a network will operate without conducting a signal survey first.

    The FCC has always favored the good neighbor rule of "listen before you talk." In other words, when you're planning on activating a device that's going to put a signal into the air, it's a good idea to listen to that frequency before activating a transmitter or transceiver on it. This is especially prudent when using unlicensed spectrum, as there are absolutely no guarantees or protections from the FCC against interference.

    Fortunately the signal survey applet that comes with most WiFi drivers is made for this purpose. But while it can do a good job of identifying neighboring 802.11 networks, it is completely useless for identifying other devices in the 2.4ghz spectrum such as cordless phones, wireless video links, microwave ovens, etc. Thus when a wireless network is operating erratically, it's good to re-do the signal survey as a new network could have popped up on your channel, but it's also a good idea to experiment with other wireless devices operating nearby. Some cordless phones aren't really fully "off" when they're on-hook (in the cradle with no call in progress). I've found at least one model that broadcasts brief but regular spurts of data even when it's not being used on a call. Needless to say, this would drive a WiFi user nuts.
    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]

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