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Wireless speeds fluctuate!!!!!!


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JMT74's Avatar
JMT74 JMT74 is offline
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23-Mar-2008, 05:30 PM #1
Wireless speeds fluctuate!!!!!!
Where to begin lol. I don't really use the computer that I setup the Wireless on but when I do I have noticed that the connection speeds fluctate bigtime. When I first get online I might notice the speed at 54mbps but if I wait a few seconds I notice it at 18 or so. Then I sat there and watched the speeds go from 54 down to 48,36,24,18,12,6,2. I am guessing it is not normal for it to show all those speeds in such a short period of time. So I contacted Linksys. I talked to this one guy who wanted me to change some of the wireless settings. Just to let you know my Router is a Linksys WRT54G ver.2 and the Wireless adaptor is a WUSB54G. So the guy had me change the Wireless Network Mode from G-Only to Mixed. Which I don't understand why that would matter because I use G-Only products. Anyway he then had me go to advanced wireless settings and change the Beacon Interval from 100 to 50. Then the Fragmentation Threshold: from 2346 to 2304 and then change the RTS Threshold from 2347 to 2305. Then he told me to download and upgrade the router's firmware. At this point I downloaded the firmware. I didn't install it yet because the tech support persons server reset and I lost connection with him. So I then connected to another person and he asked me my problem and then told me after I explained some things to him to try this. Here is what he said. Which I disagreed on a few things lol. All I would like to do if possible is to keep the wireless speed at 54 mbps at all times. Thanks.

Denver (25912): The settings you have is really not appropriate.
Jeff: ok
Denver (25912): We need them changed as they caused the connection problems you have.
Denver (25912): Please set back the Mode to Mixed, then save the settings.
Denver (25912): Please set the SSID Broadcast back to Enabled.

First of all why would he have me enable the SSID Broadcast? I have this disabled for security purposes.

Then he tells me to Go to the sub tab that says Wireless Security under the Wireless tab, you may select
WEP 64 bits and a ten digit combination on the key one. Please do not include dashes and spaces just the ten-digit number combination.

Again I had that setup up at one time until I saw that WEP can be easily hacked. So I then setup a WPA Pre-Shared Key with a 20 digit key. So now I am confused on why he would tell me to change it back to WEP. When I confronted him about this he says this: What if that level of encryption is incompatible with the WPA?

Can anyone give me specific instructions on what I should do? Sorry this was so long to explain lol

Last edited by JMT74; 23-Mar-2008 at 05:45 PM..
JohnWill's Avatar
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23-Mar-2008, 07:54 PM #2
First off, he's somewhat full of it.

There is absolutely NO reason to use WEP of any flavor if all your equipment is compatible with WPA or WPA2. Use the highest level available. WPA2 will sometimes give somewhat better performance than WEP or WPA, simply because much of the work is done in the hardware and there is less software overhead in the encryption protocol.

I happen to agree about not disabling your SSID broadcast, since all that does is make your network a bit harder for you to use. If you use WPA with a strong random key, there is no need for the other measures, and they just create more work for you.

The first thing to do in your situation is to try changing the router's channel. If they didn't suggest that, they apparently know little about wireless communications!

Truthfully, I'd indeed update the firmware, reset to factory defaults, and then enable encryption and change from the default channel for the wireless. I like channel 1, 6, and 11 as my first choices, one of them should improve things.

A good read: The Six Dumbest Ways to Secure A Wireless LAN
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23-Mar-2008, 09:53 PM #3
Also get, or make sure you have, the latest driver for the wireless adapter.
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23-Mar-2008, 11:49 PM #4
OK. So it sounds like I am going to have to setup the wireless connection over again huh? Should I upgrade the router's firmware first? Then the install the updated driver for the WUSB54G adapter? Step by step instructions would be nice. I am sure it's easy but I like to make sure before I do something. LOL Right now my Cable modem and router are next to me on this computer. I have my computer hooked up to the cable modem with the ethernet cable then an ethernet cable running from the cable modem to the router. Will I lose connection on this computer when I do the firmware update? Any suggestions before I attempt all this would be nice. Thanks. Also I did already change the wireless channel from 6 to 11. Another thing when I set up the wireless originally I enabled Wireless Mac Filter and clicked on Permit only PCs listed to access the wireless network. Am I gonna have to do this over again when I update the driver and firmware? I have both Mac addresses in the Edit MAC filter list.
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24-Mar-2008, 09:39 AM #5
Because of the experience I once had with the wrong driver giving the same symptoms as you have I would update the adapter driver first. But the order of doing that really makes no difference.

Since it's easy, and you've already tried channels 6 and 11, I'd next try channel 1.

Then the firmware upgrade (using an ethernet connection!), reconfigure whatever settings you need, and see how the wireless behaves now.

Then enable encryption. Continuing to echo JohnWill's post, use WPA-PSK if all devices support it. If you have to use WEP that's OK, it will keep most people out.

Before doing the firmware upgrade or reset to factory default settings make a note of any router settings
you may have difficulty remembering. Some people use pen and paper and some save screen shots. You can also (many routers) save the configuration and then restore it. This is convenient, but I still advise knowing what your settings are in case something goes wrong with the save/restore.

If you don't want to read that link in big red letters, the summary is that MAC Address filtering, SSID broadcast disabling, Dhcp server disabling and several other myths make your network harder for you to use but do nothing to keep the bad guys out. People who can break WEP can brush aside those other things even easier. People who are stymied by those other methods don't have a clue how to break WEP. So, the bottom line is that wireless security is spelled "encryption."
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25-Mar-2008, 02:16 AM #6
Before I install the new wireless adapter driver I wanna know something. I looked around on the Linksys website and noticed that there is something called a Linksys Wireless Network Monitor. There is supposed to be an icon for this in the lower right corner taskbar. Well I have never seen this before. When I first installed the cd driver that came with it over 4 years ago or so that thing never came up. I installed it with the Windows XP Wireless Zero config. I am wondering if I install the new adapter will I have to use this Linksys Wireless Network Monitor to set it up? Thanks.
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Dezaras Dezaras is offline
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25-Mar-2008, 05:50 AM #7
has this particular pc always reacted in this way, has it always fluctuated? the router "downsizing" its speed in that way can be a symptom of wireless signal interference, the router is trying to maintain the fastest connection it can based on the stability of the wireless signal available. do you have any 2.4 ghtz portable phones in your home, are the wireless pc and the router on the same floor of your home, or different floors? how far apart are they? all the above suggestions from the other posters are the best first place to start, but if this is an issue that been present for awhile, signal issues might be the underlying cause, wireless security conflicts and those kinds of things tend to more often cause your wireless connection to drop completely and then reconnect, not lessen or fluctuate.
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25-Mar-2008, 08:24 AM #8
You do not need the Linksys Network Monitor, WZC will work fine. As I said previously, I'd start by changing the router's channel, that's the top suspect here.
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25-Mar-2008, 11:43 AM #9
If you install the new driver you may end up getting the Linksys Monitor installed whether you want it or not. Since you are used to WZC, just make sure the Linksys Monitor is not running. If it is, it should have an option, such as "use Windows to manage the wireless," which will turn it off.
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