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  1. #1
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    Very slow Wi-Fi on one laptop

    We have two laptops here, an older one running Vista and a new one running Win8.1.1. The Win8 one has been extremely slow lately so I ran some speed tests today and found very strange results. My tests were to check download and upload speeds at speedtest.net. These tests were run with the laptops sitting side by side and both plugged into power. Here are the results:

    Vista laptop cable: Ping: 16ms Down: 58.64Mbps Up: 63.55Mbps
    Vista laptop WiFi: Ping: 16ms Down: 39.51Mbps Up: 36.28Mbps

    Win8 laptop: cable: Ping: 16ms Down: 52.80Mbps Up: 52.40Mbps
    Win8 laptop: WiFi: Ping: 34ms Down: 0.50Mbps Up: 3.56Mbps

    The WiFi speeds for the Win8 laptop were repeated a number of time with only small differences in the numbers. One time the Ping was 187ms! The Down and Up speeds were pretty consistant and very bad! The Win8 laptop seemed to get very reasonable speed when we first got it and it seems to have gotten bad in only the last few weeks. I didn't actually run any speed tests earlier.

    Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot this problem will be greatly appreciated.

    Bill

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  3. #2
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    Usually the first place to start is with the wireless adapter drivers.

    If the computer support site isn't well maintained then you can go to the adapter manufacturer's site.

    That's quite a drop even for the Vista machine so it could be worth checking for any firmware updates for the router, but back up the current one first - re-flashing the firmware with the same version if no update can still be beneficial.

    While you are in the router, check that the Transmission Power is set to High - there's no reason why it should have changed from the normal default, but worth confirming anyway.

    Download inSSIDer and check for any channel conflict from other users - these can be on the same or overlapping channels with similar or lower RSSI values, but any in excess of -70dBm shouldn't cause you any problems if your signal strength is ~ -50dBM or less.

    The Link Score is a good indicator as to the best channel to be on.

    More local users since you first got your Win 8 machine would have added to the congestion.

    Another thing to consider is your environment - has a cordless phone base crept closer to your work area or the router and is the line of sight to the router the same as before - no furniture additions, aquariums, plant pots or mirrors ?
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-08-12 at 18:17.

  4. #3
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    Thanks Sudo15, that gives me a lot to work on. I'll post the results after I make some progress.

    Bill

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    Well, I have made a little progress but the puzzle has increased. I downloaded inSSIDer and ran it and it showed a lot of WiFi signals in my area. Most of the active ones are on channel 6 where my router is parked. It looks like I would be better off if I changed to channel 1 but I haven't found any place to do that. I found that the router is set to select the channel automatically but at the place that was displayed in the router interface it would not let me change it. My WiFi signal is shown to be about -57dBm and the other signals don't get any higher than -69 or -70dBm. Every few minutes my signal will jump to the -70 range and then return to the -57 area. The WiFi settings so show that it is set to 100% power.

    I also ran speedtest.net again and now the WiFi in the Win 8 laptop registers around 25 Mbps -- a long way from yesterday's 0.5! I don't have any idea why it changed.

    I have Verizon FIOS service and they supplied a combination modem and router and that is the router I am using. That hardware is in a junction box in a coat closet so it isn't in an ideal place for a router. Opening the closet door doesn't seem to make in difference in the signal strength. There is no cover on the metal box that contains all the cables and the hardware. I suppose I could buy a separate router and mount it out in the open but then all the cables would be exposed too.

    I'll keep working on it.

    Bill

  6. #5
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    Stuffing wifi device antenna in a metal box is bound to have some ill effect in some directions. It might be 'amplyfing' the signal in one direction, google pringle can antenna if you are curious What model is your router? For a FIOS combo device the 'rules' may be different than we are used to for OTS stuff.

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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    Since your XP box works as expected (a bit of overhead loss via wifi compared to wired), the wifi box is fine.

    Since your Win8 box fails on wifi but works wired comparable to wired above you know the connection is good wired, but the Win8 PC's wifi is bad. Does the Win8 PC's wifi work on another wifi connection?

    If uninstalling the wifi driver and reinstalling the driver does not clear up the problem, and messing with wifi driver advanced settings does not help then it is time to contact the laptop(?) maker for RMA or if past warranty, replace the card yourself. Easy to hard depending upon make/model. Fairly inexpensive part.

    This does assume you have tried the wifi in direct line of sight with the wifi router or at least next to the XP PC. I am assuming you tried both laptops next to each other. If it was interference why would one work and the other not? This also assumes you have correctly set up your access to the wifi connection---but uninstalling and reinstalling should take care of that since I assume you set up your XP connection as well and are familiar with the process.

    The FIOS combo unit does effect things though not for this troubleshooting. But once things are working you should find out how to switch to channel 1 or 11 (whichever has the least strongest signal interfering) and see if your wifi speeds improve. Your ISP ought to have a manual to download. Have you tried (wired) accessing the router's menu via 192.168.1.1, 192.168.1.0, 192.168.0.1, or 192.168.0.0? If it asks for a password try both blank or user: "admin", password: blank or "admin" in both spots.
    https://community.newegg.com/eggxper...9/t/99723.aspx
    Last edited by Fascist Nation; 2014-08-13 at 16:33.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillWilson View Post
    ....I also ran speedtest.net again and now the WiFi in the Win 8 laptop registers around 25 Mbps -- a long way from yesterday's 0.5! I don't have any idea why it changed....
    Seems like progress to me. Could still be a intermittent (failing) bad wifi transmitter/receiver inside the laptop, but if you changed out the driver that may have reset/corrected some problem. Either way the problem lay with the laptop assuming you were initially testing both wifi connections side by side. Keep an eye on it and if it relapses then I'd RMA it if under warranty or repair it myself with a better replacement card.

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    If the router is connected with a detachable ADSL cable then you can buy longer ones than normally come with an ISP router so that you can reposition out of that metal box, as that can't be good for the Wifi signal - which could be why the loss you are getting on the Vista machine.

    Moving the position of where you are using the laptops by a couple of feet or so either way can alter the line of sight to the point where it could improve or degrade the signal strength.

    Have you done anything with the Win 8 driver yet as that adapter needs to be eliminated as a possible cause and while it's rare for a laptop WiFi adapter to be bad, nothing is guaranteed with electronic components - new or otherwise.

    If there's a problem with the Win 8 adapter/driver, then it could just have been swamped by the congestion.

    While running inSSIDer on the Win 8 machine, can you gently move the screen backwards and forward to see if the signal strength varies ?

    The aerial cable from the WiFi adapter is fed out through the hinges and runs around the screen in a laptop, so if there's any damage to the cable - that may show up when you move the screen.

    The signal strength can spike downwards occasionally and it sounds as though most of the other users are quite close by with those RSSI values.

    When you are unable to change a setting it can be because you need to enable something else - a bit like when you want to change the DNS settings in a router which would un-grey the Auto DNS settings, but if you can't find anything like that in the router - you will need to contact your ISP for advice, but you need to get off channel 6 because of the congestion.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by wavy View Post
    Stuffing wifi device antenna in a metal box is bound to have some ill effect in some directions. It might be 'amplyfing' the signal in one direction, google pringle can antenna if you are curious What model is your router? For a FIOS combo device the 'rules' may be different than we are used to for OTS stuff.
    Sorry to take so long to get back to this. The combination modem/router is a Actiontec Mi424WR Rev 1. It seems to me that one way to probably get a stronger WiFi signal would be to get an additional WiFi source device that can be mounted outside that closet in the open. I don't know what kind of hardware would be used for that purpose. With that approach all the wired ports could be left in the box and the WiFi source would be out in the open.

    I have not done anything about the driver yet. I'll do that next.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
    Bill

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    I've just been looking at the manual for your router and you should be able to change the channel in Basic Security Settings by using the dropdown - is this frozen on yours ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    I've just been looking at the manual for your router and you should be able to change the channel in Basic Security Settings by using the dropdown - is this frozen on yours ?
    Sudo15, the interface to this router does not have anything that is identified as Basic Security Settings! You capitalized that name so I assume that you would expect me to see a place with that label. Were you looking at the manual for the Rev 1 version of the router?

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by BillWilson View Post
    Sudo15, the interface to this router does not have anything that is identified as Basic Security Settings! You capitalized that name so I assume that you would expect me to see a place with that label. Were you looking at the manual for the Rev 1 version of the router?

    Bill
    Yes, it's in Section 3.4 and you can download the PDF from http://www.verizon.com/support/resid...er+guides.htm#

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    It turns out I had to click on one of the items in the first menu on the left before the Basic Security Settings was visible. So, I was able to make that channel change and it looks better on the channel overlap screen now but it is not any faster. I also uninstalled the network drivers and rebooted and they were installed again but that didn't help either.

    If I want to buy a new piece of equipment that can be the WiFi source and mount it outside of the closet, what would that hardware be called? I would want the present router in the closet to still be used for the cat 5 cables that are being used but I would move just the WiFi source outside the closet.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  15. #14
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    You can use a WiFi Extender and this article will take you through setting one up.

    http://www.sysnative.com/forums/netw...-repeater.html

    There are various makes and models and a Google should bring some up - Netgear and TP-Link do them but when you come across something that looks okay and is within budget, find it on Amazon and check out the customer reviews so that you're not stuck with a lemon should you go and purchase first.

  16. #15
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    I have a router (WRT54G) that I was using until Verizon installed their combination device a few months ago. Do you know if there is any way I can use my router as the WiFi source for my house, instead of buying a WiFi Extender?

    Thanks,
    Bill

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