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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
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    Diagnosing an unreliable WiFi connection

    I'm looking for suggestions on how to deal with a WiFi reliability problem.

    The problem happens in a rented room where I stay during the work week. The modem belongs to the owner of the house. Every so often (actually, pretty often), data transmission simply stops. Sometimes I find it gone when I wake up the computer; sometimes it goes away while I'm working, triggered by no particular event that I can identify.

    When this happens, a little exclamation mark in a yellow circle appears over the signal strength meter in the system tray. The meter shows two or three bars, which is no different from when the connection is working. The problem sometimes resolves if I open the list of available connections, disconnect, and reconnect. More often I have to reboot. Sometimes (like today), even rebooting doesn't help, and I have to wait for as much as a few hours for the problem to go away.

    I've had this problem with two different computers, my old Windows XP laptop and my current Windows 7 laptop. Meanwhile, my Kindle has never had a problem maintaining its connection, and no one else who uses the same wireless modem has experienced a problem. Nor do I have such problems with any other wireless modem I use.

    By elimination, it appears that Microsoft Windows just doesn't want me, in particular, to use this particular modem. Which is absurd, of course, but I have no more plausible theory, and I can't think of a way to arrive at one. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger
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    Since it is linked to Windows, try adjusting the wifi driver settings in IP4. Increase transmit power to max. and roaming to low-medium.

    Stabilize by making sure you are operating on a 20MHz channel not 40MHz.

    https://community.newegg.com/eggxper...9/t/99723.aspx

  3. #3
    jwoods
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    Try changing the channel the wireless uses to something like channel 3.

    If too many people in your area are using the same channel, it can cause drop outs in the wireless signal.

    This free tool will show you exactly what's going on with wireless channel usage in your area, in real time...

    http://nutsaboutnets.com/netsurveyor-wifi-scanner/

    You can also create a PDF report with it and post the report on the thread.

  4. #4
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    As you just have 3 bars normally then you're probably in a bad spot in the house regarding the house construction with the signal being degraded by having to travel through concrete or even heavy wooden furniture.

    Try different locations in your room to see if there's any improvement in the "line of sight" of the signal but if there isn't, then you'll probably have to invest in a range extender or home plugs.

  5. #5
    3 Star Lounger
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    Consider using InSSIDer. They try to push quite expensive paid versions at you, but there is a free version, for personal use, and this will show you if some other user is camped on your channel.

  6. #6
    4 Star Lounger
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    Thanks to everyone who made suggestions. It will take me a week or more to check them out, but I'll report back when I have results.

    I do want to make a few observations.

    First, there are at most three other people who could possibly be using this WiFi network at the same time I do. At some of the times when I have problems (like 6:30 AM) I know that the number of other users does not exceed two, and more likely it's zero.

    Second, I'm puzzled by the suggestion that three bars means my computer is in a "bad spot." In my experience, it just means that the modem and my computer are a few dozen feet apart. I've never had connection problems that I could associate with signal strength until I got down to two bars, and that was speculative.

    Finally, please remember this is happening in a rented room. I do not pay for the service or control the modem. Solutions that require me to replace the modem or change its settings are not applicable.

  7. #7
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    The further you are away from the router the more tenuous the connection becomes.

    inSSIDer has already been mentioned so download inSSIDer3 which is the free version and if the RSSI value is anywhere in the 70s that will be the indicator of a weak/degraded wireless signal.

    The further you are away from the router, reduces the broadband throughput and increases the chances of a lost connection.

    Move around the room with the laptop in your hands and look to see if the WiFi icon increases or lessens in bars or if that puts a yellow alert on it.

    Also have a look around your room to see if any electrical devices could be the cause of interference.

    At -75dBm a wireless signal is too weak to connect and as SNR can vary throughout the day, with a weak signal strength, that won't leave you much wriggle room when your RSSI is in the 70s

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