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Wireless Networks Thread, Wireless network signal very patchy but AP is close by in Technical; Just looking at a problem a teacher is having with the wireless network connection on her laptop (running XP). I've ...
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    kaphc's Avatar
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    Wireless network signal very patchy but AP is close by

    Just looking at a problem a teacher is having with the wireless network connection on her laptop (running XP). I've seen it go from Excellent 54mbps down to very low 5.5Mbps and back again to Excellent in the space of 5 minutes. Switching the laptop's wireless connection off and on again also takes it from very low back to Excellent but apparently she's tried this before as well and it doesn't always work.

    The AP it's connecting to is a Netgear WG302 which is up on the wall about 3 metres away and about 2.5 mtrs off the ground. There's clear line of sight apart from a washing line with some paper hung across it. Can't see that this would affect it would it?

    I'm just about to order a new battery for this laptop anyway, so don't want to if there's a problem with the laptop.

    Any ideas why the wireless connection might be so intermittent?

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    Are they having problems with speed and connectivity that would match up with what the "strength indicator" is telling you? If usage isn't impaired I wouldn't be too concerned.

    It could be any number of things - do any other laptops have similar problems in the same area?

    Maybe try reinstalling the wireless card driver.

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    kaphc (26th April 2012)

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    Try a different channel ... Ive had problems with ch6 on one of my access points in the past doing the same thing .... a change to ch11 sorted the problem ... never got to the bottom of why ch6 was so flaky in that room ....

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    Too much power from the AP? If the AP is set to bang out signal at full power it could be a case of both the laptop and AP screaming at each other so loud when you take into account signal bouncing that they can't hear each other.

    Try turning down the transmit power on the AP and maybe even the laptop.

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    Do you have any PIR sensors in the room for the alarm transmitting at 2.4ghz?

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    Yeah when the signal drops, the laptop loses the network connection completely and has to be rebooted. There are two other wireless PCs running off the same AP without any problems (though in a different place in the room) and I've tried another laptop in the same place and that drops slightly from 54 to 48 Mbps occasionally but it doesn't drop off the network.

    Starting to think it's the laptop, might look at the wireless card drivers first I think.

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    kaphc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnykewell1 View Post
    Do you have any PIR sensors in the room for the alarm transmitting at 2.4ghz?
    Can I just clarify - is that for a physical alarm / sensor system rather than anything to do with the wireless network. Can't see anything in the room but will have a look.

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    Yes a physical security alarm, anything on that GHz band could interfere.

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    Simplest thing is to give her a new, different brand, laptop to trial for a day, if the issue goes away get an external wifi card for the laptop if it has an expansion bay, otherwise get a new laptop. If the issue remains swap out the AP for a known working AP, if the issue goes then it's a dodgy AP/Setting, if the issue remains with a known good AP then look at your cable connection/POE/Power

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    Stick insidder on a known working laptop and see if there is any cross channel interference the recommended channels would be 1, 6, 11. As all ready said PIR sensors and other bits do giver interference off as well but this wouldnt be detected by insidder. Could always take the WIFI card out of the "faulty" laptop and place it in teh same model and try in a known working room and see if problem still exists if so its the wireless card if no problem wireless card is okay. You could also try a known working wirless card from same model of laptop in "faulty" laptop to see if its ariel etc to try and eliminate other issues. Hope this helps

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    Check that the device has the latest drivers as we had a similar issue with the Dell Latitude series laptops and it turned out to be driver related.

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    kaphc (26th April 2012)

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    What is the model of the WNIC?

    check the advanced settings of the driver in device manager and switch off any settings relating to Power Saving Mode.

    Always update to latest driver as well.

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    kaphc (26th April 2012)

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    It's an Intel WiFi Link 5100 AGN. There was an option on the device settings to "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" which was enabled, so I disabled that but the connection still dropped.

    I've upgraded the drivers from 12.1.2.1 to 14.3.1.1 and sat there for 10 minutes afterwards and the connection didn't drop at all so that might have done the trick, especially as it upgraded through a couple of versions. I've asked the teacher to keep an eye on it and let me know, but am only in that school once a week so will have to wait till next week now to find out.

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