WiFi problems? Start here.

spidey07

No Lifer
Aug 4, 2000
65,469
5
76
JackMDS has done a great job with ezlan.net

But there are some fundamentals about WiFi that need to be stickied that don't pertain to products and would help everybody. This only pertains to 2.4 Ghz wireless.

1) Change channels to 1, 6, 11 to see what works best - this solves most problems. You can download netstumbler to see what is in your area but really what channel is a "try to see what works best for you". Apartments or other close living quarters can be problematic.

2) Eliminate interference - phones, bluetooth, microwaves. Keep them away from senders and receivers. The farther you have these devices from you router and clients the better.

3) Don't "point" antennas at each other, that is the lowest strength there is in an omni-directional antenna. Imagine a doughnut as your antenna, the shape of the doughnut is your signal. The "hole" of the doughnut is where it is the worst, if you point these holes at each other even the best wireless gear out there will not perform very well. If your antennas are like this "AP- -client" that is the worst you can get. If your antennas are like this "AP| |client" that is the best you can get. This applies to any omnidirectional antenna (every antenna on a SOHO wireless device), any other type of specialty purpose antenna you can ignore it.

4) Broadcast the SSID - there is no security in not doing this and best practice is to broadcast it because many clients have problems if it is not.

And lastly - if you have a noisy environment with other wireless devices or interference within a 100 meters...you're going to have trouble. Trouble is very poor performance, frequent disconnects, you are "connected" but can't really communicate reliably and general "it's not working all the time and most of the time it's really slow".

If you are indeed in an environment with other 2.4 Ghz close to you there may not be a lot you can do after changing channels. If this is the case then look to 5 Ghz wireless, but the principles of antenna placement/positioning still apply. Even though 5 Ghz loses more signal through dense material the result can still be MUCH better than a noisy 2.4 Ghz environment.

-edit-

Edited for clarity.
 
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Crusty

Lifer
Sep 30, 2001
12,684
2
81
I PM'd JackMDS with this suggestion awhile ago too, but I suspect the PM became a victim of the Fusetalk 1st PM eating monster :(

Either way, it's a good idea... but we I think adding more general information as well would be helpful. Maybe some info on some of the various firmwares for routers and some definitions of some common terms like DHCP, NAT, Port Forwarding, Gateway, DNS etc.

Edit: Yay :) Have fun spidey :p
 
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ScottMac

Moderator<br>Networking<br>Elite member
Mar 19, 2001
5,471
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0
I suppose it won't hurt to give it a shot.

I put a sticky on it and I'll check with the seniors to see if there's any issues with it.

Scott


Edit: I appears there are no issues with the management, so we'll keep it pinned up for a while. The post is being left open so that anyone with a good hint, tip, tidbit, or troubleshooting technique can contribute.

If you believe someone has posted incorrect information, please be civil and point out where you believe the specific error(s) are and they can be checked or discussed.

Thanks to Spidey07 for the request, and all other that contribute; this could be a Very Good Thing.
 
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xSauronx

Lifer
Jul 14, 2000
19,586
4
81
Originally posted by: Crusty
I PM'd JackMDS with this suggestion awhile ago too, but I suspect the PM became a victim of the Fusetalk 1st PM eating monster :(

Either way, it's a good idea... but we I think adding more general information as well would be helpful. Maybe some info on some of the various firmwares for routers and some definitions of some common terms like DHCP, NAT, Port Forwarding, Gateway, DNS etc.

Edit: Yay :) Have fun spidey :p
a lot of Jacks general info could go in here

i always assumed he never asked for a sticky and did something because most people dont read stickies to start with.
 

mcmilljb

Platinum Member
May 17, 2005
2,144
2
81
Originally posted by: xSauronx
Originally posted by: Crusty
I PM'd JackMDS with this suggestion awhile ago too, but I suspect the PM became a victim of the Fusetalk 1st PM eating monster :(

Either way, it's a good idea... but we I think adding more general information as well would be helpful. Maybe some info on some of the various firmwares for routers and some definitions of some common terms like DHCP, NAT, Port Forwarding, Gateway, DNS etc.

Edit: Yay :) Have fun spidey :p
a lot of Jacks general info could go in here

i always assumed he never asked for a sticky and did something because most people dont read stickies to start with.
This.
 
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VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
53,249
7,690
126
I think that we should add a note to the sticky, suggesting NOT to mess with the "Advanced Wireless settings", just because someone is having wireless troubles. I think that causes more trouble than it solves. I talking about things like DTIM, Beacon, etc.
 
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ScottMac

Moderator<br>Networking<br>Elite member
Mar 19, 2001
5,471
2
0
For folks having trouble with intermittent drops, slowness, or connection problems, consider getting NetStumbler (www.netstumbler.com) and taking a look at your RF environment.
It will show you other 802.11 systems, as well as other interfering signals. It will show you which of the three recommended channels (1, 6, 11) are least congested.

 

chizow

Diamond Member
Jun 26, 2001
9,537
2
0
To emphasize point #3, adjusting the wireless router or access point's antenna or position can impact reception as well. I've had to do this 2x now with my new router in the past 2 months, where one of my PCs on a USB key dropped off the network and was stuck on scanning for my router. Slightly adjusted the antenna, and its working again without issue, both times now.
 

westom

Senior member
Apr 25, 2009
517
0
71
If you pickup a phone and have no dialtone, are you going to pull out and inspect wires in the wall? Do you start looking for microwave interference? Do you check the circuit breakers? Obviously start with the most basics.

Same applies to WiFi. All that complicated stuff is nice. But if you don't have signal strength, then all that other stuff is exponentially complicating the problem.

Step one to WiFi analysis. Even channel swapping is irrelevant to this. What is the signal strength in dB. Five bars is good enough to say a signal does not exist. But to recover signal strength means software that expresses signal strength in a useful number - dB.

Only after sufficient signal exists should one move on to all those other ideas.
 

JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
29,269
318
126
Originally posted by: westom
Only after sufficient signal exists should one move on to all those other ideas.
When Commercial institution installs WIFI and money is available the installation can be done in a way that would insure good coverage of desired the area.

Numbers of APs, their and their locations are professional installed with the right tools and some level of mastery on the environment.

Situation is different when it comes to End-User. The household and other members of the house dictate the location of the hardware connection?s placement etc., many times they forbid, or resist changes in the environment in order to get Better Signal. Signal Noise many times comes from the outside and it is beyond the individual control.

In sum in most cases, End-user Signal is what you have, and what you can change.
Given this, we trying to help people to do the best of what they have.
As an Analog if someone got sick from bad eating habits and goes to the doctor he is Not expected to be told go home changed his/her eating habits as a condition to get help.
One expects to get help at the spot and then hopefully he/she would go home and start changing their eating habits.
 

JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
29,269
318
126
Originally posted by: DivideBYZero
Hi all,

Was checking out this thread and found that inSSIDer (http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider) was a much better tool than Netstumbler, and it works on vista and XP-64.
Hmm... this proggie seesms to give only basic info. It looks like a simple "Hook" tool to buy other software by the same developer.

For real evaluation tool you have to buy their Wi-Spy 2.4i

 

DivideBYZero

Lifer
May 18, 2001
24,117
2
0
Originally posted by: JackMDS
Originally posted by: DivideBYZero
Hi all,

Was checking out this thread and found that inSSIDer (http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider) was a much better tool than Netstumbler, and it works on vista and XP-64.
Hmm... this proggie seesms to give only basic info. It looks like a simple "Hook" tool to buy other software by the same developer.

For real evaluation tool you have to buy their Wi-Spy 2.4i
I dunno. The information was accurate, whereas the Netstumbler got even my own AP settings incorrect and didn't report correct channel #'s (on Atheros chip set). This tool was great for seeing other AP's and choosing a free channel, which is all I used it for. I didn't feel compelled to buy the other tool, although I saw the links, I just ignored them.
 

chess9

Elite member
Apr 15, 2000
7,748
0
0
What about the network adaptor? If you have three laptops, and two of them will connect just fine to the router (n router), but the third won't connect to the router but will connect easily to a router 100 yards away!

We have a laptop (Compaq running Win 7), with a Linksys wusb600n adaptor that will not recognize the Linksys N router. It will connect to all the neighbors' G routers though.

:)

-Robert
 

SeanFL

Member
Oct 13, 2005
143
0
76
thanks for the link to wirelessnetview. Netstumbler wasn't reporting good stuff to me on a newer laptop and your suggestion seemed to work and give me channel info. Tiny program too.
 

tbird2340

Senior member
Aug 3, 2003
619
0
76
I can't figure out what the heck is up with my Wifi..

I have a Buffalo WHR-HP-G54. I had DD-WRT (tried multiple version) and recently switched over to Tomato..

I have two wireless PC's on my network and one wired.. My wired PC gets 10MB down and 1MB up via the Internet..

My two wired PC's get on average 3MB down and 1MB up (sometimes 5mb down, sometimes 1mb down)..

I tested file transfer speed via FTP for them and it got 1.9MB via the LAN!!

Both Wireless PC's show "excellent" for the connection strength and Netstumbler isn't show any interference (I don't think).. I do have baby monitor in the room with the router (not sure if that could be an issue) and I do have some wireless phones..

http://shup.com/Shup/224105/10...B20091004195123%5D.jpg

Any ideas?
 

newaj

Junior Member
Dec 10, 2010
5
0
0
That's right. 2.4 Ghz might be noisy but not 5 Ghz. However, 5 ghz has shorter range than 2.4 Ghz.
 

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