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  1. #1
    WS Lounge VIP access-mdb's Avatar
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    Problems with Wi-Fi

    I have a problem with getting onto the Internet with my W8.1 desktop. The story started when the router I got from my ISP started losing its connection to the internet (normally overnight). I was in communication with my ISP (its customer relations is better than most) but decided that getting a new router would be better as free ones from ISPs are quite basic, so I purchased a Netgear N300. Connection to the Internet was then restored, so it seemed to me that the router had been faulty. However, speeds began to drop, until it was crawling along at about 5 to 10 kbs (I have tbbMeter which monitors speeds). It then just went to zero and nothing downloaded at all. I tried various diagnostics and sometimes it returned, but when it did after a while it just faded to nothing.

    I've run Malwarebytes etc as well as sfc /scannow, with no issues found. Is it likely that I have a problem with the PCI card? Is there a way I can test it?

    I did get an error 651 once but Googling it didn't really help - but it's why I ran sfc.

    I have moved the PC to be near the router (not something that can be done on a permanent basis) but with no real improvement. My wife's laptop continues to work without issue, so I think that points the finger at my desktop. I'm going to try moving it to the router and connecting with an Ethernet cable to see if it then works OK.

    Some thoughts. What about a powerline connection? I've heard that it only works when the two devices are on the same electrical ring (they wouldn't be).

    What's the optimum length for an Ethernet cable? I've heard there are limits.

    Sorry this has been a bit long

    Connected by ethernet cable and it works fine. I can only think my PCI card is going west (south for you westerners). Any suggestions?
    Last edited by access-mdb; 2014-12-15 at 15:12. Reason: Updating for Ethernet

  2. #2
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    What's the optimum length for an Ethernet cable? I've heard there are limits.
    Generally it's 100 Meters, a little over 300 Feet.

    south for you westerners
    Usually 'going south' means going to Hades or Hell, situation bad.

  3. #3
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by access-mdb View Post
    ...What's the optimum length for an Ethernet cable? I've heard there are limits...
    AFAIK the max. for a cat5 ethernet cable is 200 metres.

    Quote Originally Posted by access-mdb View Post
    ...I can only think my PCI card is going west (south for you westerners...
    Assuming your "PCI card" is an add-on (not onboard) WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) card, then you probably need to look up the model number of the card on the manufacturer's support website to see if there is an updated driver which will work properly with Win8.1.

    If you have poor WLAN signal-strength on the desktop you might be able to connect a higher-gain antenna. Also ensure that the antenna is not too close to any cables or metal items that could interfere with the WLAN signal.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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    Run inSSIDer3 on both your and your wife's machines from the same location to see if there's any difference in the signal strengths, using the Link Score as a guide.

    That can vary as other users come and go because of overlap, but the RSSI value should only fluctuate by 1 or 2%.

    Depending upon how far away your desktop is from the router, ideally you should be looking for a channel that will give you a RSSI of ~50 but less than 60.

    Sometimes one channel isn't a one size fits all and experimentation may be required.

    Problems can also occur when the router is default set to Auto for the channel setting and changing it to the best that inSSIDer3 gives can usually produce better results.

    Does the speed still drop off when booted into Safe Mode with Networking and do both machines have the same AV program installed ?

    If there's an improvement in that mode then perform a clean boot - if the speed starts to drop off again, that could point to your AV program as the cause, but if the improvement maintains in the clean boot then you should look at your Start up items.

    What network adapters do you have listed in Device Manager and have you checked the status of the Wireless one when your speed drops off ?

    This can be done by right clicking on it and selecting Properties and will be displayed under the General tab.

    The max length for an Ethernet cable is 100m.

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    WS Lounge VIP access-mdb's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies guys. My card is a Realtek RTL8190 802.11n Wireless LAN(Mini-)PCI NIC- so it's an onboard one. Note that I never had any problmes with wifi until the problem with ISP's router a week ago.

    I had no problems with signal (still don't - it's normally 4 or 5 bars), it's just the speed of downloading that's the problem. I've installed inSSIDer3 on my wife's laptop already, so I'll do the same on this PC (I've only used wifi on this PC since we moved 3 months ago). Her laptop only has 3 bars but works fine (is there a correlation between apparent signal strength and download speed?). I've also checked the driver but it tells me it's already got the latest one.

    I use Windows Defender, my wife's laptop is Win 7 so uses MSE.

    I did right click and look at properties but it didn't tell me anything (that I could see).

    So I'll try inSSIDer3 and see what gives. I'll also try safe boot.

    I would still like to use the powerline option - does anyone else use this?

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    When you right click on the adapter and select Properties, under the General tab it should say if it's working okay or if there's a problem with an error code.

    As for correlation between speed and distance from the router, this article should give you some insight into that http://superuser.com/questions/55687...internet-speed

    Were you using Device Manager to check if you had the latest driver ?

    You're better off either going to the computer support site or Realtek as Windows rarely has the latest drivers.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-12-16 at 05:52.

  7. #7
    WS Lounge VIP access-mdb's Avatar
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    Latest update: inSSIDer showed 51db when the PC was next to the router. I've now moved the PC upstairs to its usual place, albeit on top of my computer desk, and it shows 59db with occasional drops to ~65db (only last a second or two). I now have to try again under the desk to see if it still bad there. If so, it's probably the aerials. At least it's working well now - I test it by using BBC's iPlayer. Before it was stuttering and eventually stopped, now it keeps going without problems.

    I looked for drivers on the Realtek site but was unable to find one for this card. Looking generally seemed to indicate that my driver is the latest one (2002.1.106.2013).

    Update: it's now under the desk and I'm getting ~7000kbs when doing the Iplayer test. What have I changed? I did tighten the aerials and move them a bit. Now to connect all the other peripherals.

    One slight mystery. When I click on the wifi icon in the task tray, it tells me that broadband isn't working. But it must be as I'm getting internet. Oh well
    Last edited by access-mdb; 2014-12-17 at 07:03. Reason: PC now under desk

  8. #8
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by access-mdb View Post
    ...But it must be as I'm getting internet....
    Righto. but how good is your Internet?
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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    WS Lounge VIP access-mdb's Avatar
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    As good as it has already been. The problem seems to have gone away. Was it screwing the aerials a bit more. or moving their orientation? I just don't know.

    I will mark this as solved shortly.

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    Tightening and repositioning the aerials will have an effect as 2.4GHz is "line of site" between you and the router whereas 5GHz uses a "Splatter" effect where it bounces off walls to get around them as it has problems going through them, not having the same penetration of 2.4GHz.

    When setting up your workstation upstairs away from the router, you have to bear in mind if the signal will have to travel through old fireplaces or wardrobes etc. and moving 2 or 3ft either way can make all of the difference - and a RSSI of -59dBm is pretty decent.

    Mine can spike down to ~-70dBm at times and I'm only 3 - 4ft from my router.

    Is 7meg about the sync speed you should be getting ?

    If you log into the router and get your Downstream Attenuation and stick it (Integers only) into http://www.kitz.co.uk/adsl/max_speed_calc.php it will show approx. what you should expect.

    Have you checked to see if your router is set to a specific channel or set to Auto ?

    Not sure why Windows should think that you don't have a connection but as long as the icon doesn't have any yellow alerts or red crosses on it, you should be okay.

    When your speed deteriorates, it's sometimes worth checking to see if you have any noise on your phone line - such as crackling or hissing and while I don't know how long microfilters are supposed to last, having a spare one of those knocking about is always handy.

    Another thing to check when you have problems is to plug the filter and ADSL cable into the test socket which is behind the master socket faceplate to see if there's any improvement.

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  12. #11
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by access-mdb View Post
    ...Was it screwing the aerials a bit more. or moving their orientation? I just don't know...
    Often all it takes, with WiFi (WLAN) connections, is to simply reduce interference by moving the aerials (antennas) away from sources of interference such as mains power cables, monitor input cables, speaker input cables, LAN (Ethernet) cables, etc.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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  14. #12
    WS Lounge VIP access-mdb's Avatar
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    Thanks for your help guys, I will check out some of your suggestions Sudo. Coochin, the antennas were quite close to the monitor inputs but are now pointing away. However, I hadn't moved them before when they were working.

    I had to turn the router off as I was bringing in a couple of sofas (carpets now down in the living room - whahey!). Just switched it back on and it's all still working. I'll have to investigate that broadband thing. Not today though!

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