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Weak wireless signal and Internet Connection Sharing


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Woland's Avatar
Woland Woland is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2006
21-May-2008, 03:31 PM #1
Weak wireless signal and Internet Connection Sharing
Hello everyone. This is a two part question.

I have a laptop running Win XP pro and a desktop with linux/win xp home dual boot. My router (D-Link) is on the second floor. For some reason, my desktop gets a very crappy wireless signal. I have a US Robotics wireless card that uses more current than similar other cards, and still my connection flickers between low and good. This is a bit of an annoyance, because my laptop gets almost perfect wireless signal with its Intel PRO/Wireless connection.

I suppose my first question is: Is it possible that something is causing interference to my network in the proximity of my desktop? The antenna is at the back of the PC. I have a power bar and a big power box for my surround sound system. Is it possible that these device are creating enough electromagnetic fields to degrade the signal so much? Maybe I have some screwy drivers and its a software problem. Any help would be appreciated.


My second part of the question is about internet connection sharing.

So lets say I just have a weak signal at the basement floor level (compared to the desk level where my lap top is). I thought, well why not use a cross over cable and share my laptops wireless with the desktop. Sounds like a cool plan. I tried following a couple of tutorials with bridging connections and so on, but it did not seem to work. When I tried to connect in Linux, it just would not work. Now I must admit I havnt tried it on windows yet, but I suspect it also will not work. As I mentioned, my lap top has a Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG drivers, and their website says that they specifically dont support shared internet connections.

My question is: Is there any way to bypass this? Maybe some program or a software trick?


Its a long post, but any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
virox's Avatar
virox virox is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Experience: Advanced
21-May-2008, 04:07 PM #2
There are a number of environmental issues which can cause weak wirless signals. I remember back when I lived in England, I had an old Victorian house - the walls in those houses are incredible thick (nice well built houses!) - anyway this as you can imagine this interfered with the wireless signal from the router upstairs to my laptop when I was downstairs. Aside from that, you are absolutely correct about electronic devices causing interference as well, with the signal. Generally I try to keep my router away from ANY electronic device, especially other computers. Watch out for cordless phones within close proximity of the router too, that can cause a lot of problems. I would definitely suggest experimenting a little with moving your surround sound system around and seeing if you can find a significant change in the signal strength.

If all else fails, you can always buy a wireless antenna which would boost your signal. They're reasonably cheap to get these days!

It might pay to just double check your Device Manager (Right click My Computer > Properties > Hardware tab > Device Manager) and check under the Networking section to see if there are any notifications there showing that you have a driver issue with one or more of your devices (look out for a ! or even a red X). If every displays fine in there, then there's most likely no need to reinstall your drivers - it's still good to check for updates though!

I'm not sure about how to configure a wireless connection on Linux, and I'll have to have a browse through the Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG manual to check the status of using ICS. I'm at work at the moment, but when I get home (if no one has already) I could provide some instructions for setting up a wireless ICS on a Windows machine.

Have a good day,

Virox
TerryNet's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Ottawa, IL
21-May-2008, 05:26 PM #3
Draw a (imaginary) line between the router and the desktop's wireless antenna. Is the desktop itself, or the laptop, or any of that other equipment in that path? If so, you found your main problem.

If you're getting a good signal on the top of your desk and a poor signal on the floor, doesn't that suggest a solution?

Have you actually tried connecting the two computers with a crossover cable (unless either has an auto-sensing port) and enabling ICS or a bridge? ICS won't work if the router is also using the 192.168.0.x subnet and some routers have a bug that would require you to use a static IP on the desktop with bridging.
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