Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    1,070
    Thanks
    42
    Thanked 132 Times in 86 Posts

    Curing unexplained Wi-Fi interruptions




    LANGALIST PLUS


    Curing unexplained Wi-Fi interruptions



    By Fred Langa

    It's extremely frustrating when your Wi-Fi connection suffers periodic slowdowns and dropouts. Here's what's going on. The causes might be mysterious, but a little sleuthing with some free tools can usually get things working properly.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/curing-unexplained-wi-fi-interruptions/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Austin TX
    Posts
    3
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Fred,

    Your suggestion of diagnostic tools to find other WiFi users is really helpful. But if you just look at your picture, you'll see that while the router may give you the option to select a channel by number, it's really using a range of channels when you do that. For example, Channel 6 actually uses 4-8 due to the bandwidth required.

    The channel numbers were originally specified when a single 1Mbps channel would do the job. But as we've added 802.11b, g, n and ac, the number of channels needed to get the data through has grown to the present 5-channel wide scheme. That's why you found prudent systems only using 1, 6, and 11. Every time you send a signal out on your 'open' channel 3, you stomp on those centered on both 1 and 6. Likewise, those using 1 and 6 will stomp on your traffic, too. In your case, your router might be 'winning' on Channel 3, but Channel 1 users will still impact you on the others and visa versa.

    The problem is that there are way more WiFi devices in some areas than the channels can support without interference. Your suggestion of moving to 5GHz (802.11a and some of the 802.11n channels) is a great one. Apple devices typically have 5GHz support built-in and inexpensive adapters are available for PCs that only do 2.4GHz. If you really need to stick with 2.4GHz channels, try to more carefully place your antennas and even consider directional ones if your device has an external connector.

    But the bottom line is that choosing any channel other than 1, 6, or 11 is a bad idea in the long run.

    Greg
    Retired Data Network Architect

  3. #3
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Hinsdale, IL, USA
    Posts
    2,482
    Thanks
    176
    Thanked 152 Times in 129 Posts
    Directionality and shielding were not covered much in the article. Just adjusting the position or orientation of the existing router may not make it discreeet with regard to directionality. If you only need one or a narrow range of directions of your in-home signal, there are directional antennas which may fit some routers. Anotheroption is that if interference is coming from just a few directions, a metal screen or foil could effectively shield your router from such direction-specific interferences.

    Part of the interference problem arises from the increasing range of WiFi signals, with 802.11a being the shortest range, followed by b and g, and n having a range well past the boundaries of many suburban yards. On my block, strong interferance in the Wireless-g range can be detected by my Linux LinSSID applet (meant to look and feel like the Windows InSSIDer program) at distances of up to 300 feet from my neighbors' property lines. That extends clear across my property. So you can see the problems which the article is dealing with.

    In my opinion, such strong, far-reaching WiFi signals are not appropriate for most residential uses, but the FCC seems to be perfectly OK with the present situation.
    -- Bob Primak --

  4. #4
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Fitchburg, MA, USA
    Posts
    17
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    A fix for my two identical Windows 8 laptop dropping the wifi connection constantly.
    (Ralink Technology, Corp. - WLAN - Ralink RT5390R 802.11bgn Wi-Fi Adapter)

    http://cohanrobinson.com/2013/03/04/...on-constantly/

    Multiple places to switch off the default wifi power management.

    Firstly, disable it in power management.
    Head over to the control panel. (Press+hold the Windows key and hit R. In the text box that pops up chuck in “Control Panel”. )
    In Search feild enter: “Edit power plan” hit enter and select that link.
    Change advanced settings.
    Open up the “Wireless Adapter Settings” then “Power Saving Mode” and make sure it doesn’t disconnect your wifi to save power by setting
    Switch it up to Maximum Performance to hopefully stop it from disconnecting at random.

    If that one doesn’t work there’s one other option I’ve found so far.

    Go into your network settings (oh god where have you put this one Microsoft )
    Control panel again -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center -> Change adapter settings (on the left hand menubar)
    Right click your wifi adapter -> Properties -> Configure -> Power Management
    Uncheck the box “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”

    Also of note, after switching from FiOS to Xfinity, experienced terrible wi-fi performance loss when leaving the room with the Arris TG8562 modem/router.
    (Yes we played the change channel game to no avail.) This problem was resolved by Comcast replacing the router with a Techniccolor TC8305C modem/router.

    fyi: We still loose wi-fi connection randomly when plugging in the A/C adapter.

  5. #5
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    1
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Fred,

    In a word, NO! Do not use any other channels in 2.4 GHz in the US, other than 1, 6 and 11. These are the ONLY channels in the 2.4 GHz band you can use that do not cause adjacent channel interference. Your RSSI signal on channel 3 may be "OK" with your laptop near your access point, but you have just caused adjacent channel interference on everyone on channels 1 and 6!. The best thing to do in this situation, is to find the channel with the least activity (1, 6 or 11), manually select this in your AP, and allow co-channel contention to do it's 'work', on this selected channel, as it is designed in the 802.11 standard. However, the 'best' thing to do is to avoid 2.4 GHz completely! Move to the 5 GHz band. Dual band routers are really inexpensive (if needed) and more than likely, there will be few if any other stations on the 5 GHz band.

    -Glenn Cate, CWNA/CWAP/CWSP

  6. #6
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    240
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 24 Times in 24 Posts
    I've found that most of the time there are two WiFi software packages available on a laptop: the built in windows "Zero Config" and the WiFi vendor's software. In my experience I was usually able to solve my problems by switching to the alternate software package. i.e. disable Windows Zero Configuration and fire up the vendors, or visa versa.

  7. #7
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    1
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I agree with the previous two posts advising against using intermediate channels in the 2.4 GHz band.
    While the Farpoint WiFi Analyzer app is very nice, it is important to realize that the graphics are just that - graphics. The drawn curve shape has nothing to do with the actual spectrum of the signal. A single point of data is taken for each SSID strength, and the curve is simply extrapolated. The true shape of the 802.11g or 802.11n spectral occupancy is a 20 MHz wide rectangle with "shoulders" dropping off on either size. In the referenced Wikipedia article, you can see it in the figure captioned "Spectral masks for 802.11g". Or this image. Actually the older 802.11b signal did have the curved shape shown, but it is rarely used anymore.

  8. #8
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    5
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    +1 on gkellysr's post. I have had several new laptops drop their wireless connections, and have always fixed them by adjusting the power settings. Avoid settings that say time-out, reduce power or sleep. Choose settings that say always-on and max power.

  9. #9
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    43
    Thanks
    9
    Thanked 6 Times in 3 Posts
    Dear Fred,
    Found the article useful, but I've a slightly different issue. My house is spread over 3 levels, and has a lot of metal in the floor construction.
    Because of this, I use 3 WiFi routers to provide good signal throughout the house.
    They all have the same SSid, but operate on different channels.
    Is this the best solution for connectivity?
    Should I put all on the same channel?
    Should I use different SSid as well?
    Any advice welcome, as I frequently have problems when walking through the house from floor to floor with mobiles and tablets disconnecting, or losing a good signal.
    Cheers,
    D.

  10. #10
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Houston, Texas, USA
    Posts
    6
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Fred,

    Intel has a white-paper on their website (http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/...nce-paper.html) detailing the effect of the "broadband noise" generated by USB3 devices on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It looks like a pretty serious problem for 2.4GHz-band and Bluetooth devices.

  11. #11
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Hampshire (the old one)
    Posts
    525
    Thanks
    21
    Thanked 72 Times in 62 Posts
    I had this problem on my lappy (but not on my desktop machine which has a WiFi card). I solved it with a simple driver update from the Intel site.

  12. #12
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Hinsdale, IL, USA
    Posts
    2,482
    Thanks
    176
    Thanked 152 Times in 129 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by BigMac56 View Post
    I've found that most of the time there are two WiFi software packages available on a laptop: the built in windows "Zero Config" and the WiFi vendor's software. In my experience I was usually able to solve my problems by switching to the alternate software package. i.e. disable Windows Zero Configuration and fire up the vendors, or visa versa.
    I had a Windows XP laptop where the vendor supplied ProSet Wireless was much more selective than the then-current MS Zero Config.

    On my current Toshiba Satellite laptop (Windows 7) the current MS Zero Config seems better than the built-in Toshiba driver. In Linux there is nothing to compare, as the built-in Toshiba driver has not been ported to Linux. But my Ubuntu 14.04 Linux does a better job of handling Wireless in general than my Windows 7 installation does, regardless of Windows vs. Toshiba drivers.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-05-20 at 18:10.
    -- Bob Primak --

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •