Solved: wired and wireless network - bad connection

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psychtobe

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Hello, newbie member here. Not too savvy with the computer, please bear with me.

We have a home network with one laptop and one desktop PC. Cable modem, router, Vonage phone and things seemed to be fine.

6 months ago, we bought a wireless laser printer and installed it. Since then, our internet - both wired and wireless - is very inconsistent. Page hangups are very common. Sometimes but not always we can refresh and the page will come up. This happens all the time, for what seems like 10-30 seconds at a time. Has made the Vonage phone unusable, we can't use Checkpoint to access work computers (we get 'kicked off'), can't download large files reliably.

We took out the printer (literally, we put it in the garage like it was possessed) but no improvement. Replaced the router. Replaced the modem. Took off our Vonage phone. Turned off firewalls. Cable company has repeatedly found nothing wrong with the delivery to the house. Nothing has helped. What's really strange to me is that this affects the wired laptop as well as the wireless desktop. When one is down, the other is down; when one is working, the other is working.

We're at our wits' ends. Any guidance that can be provided is much appreciated.
 

JohnWill

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Please supply the following info, exact make and models of the equipment please.

Name of your ISP (Internet Service Provider).
Make and exact model of the broadband modem.
Make and exact model and hardware version of the router (if a separate unit).
Model numbers can usually be obtained from the label on the device.
Connection type, wired or wireless.
If wireless, encryption used, (none, WEP, WPA, or WPA2)
Version and patch level of Windows on all affected machines, i.e. XP-Home (or XP-Pro), SP1-SP2, Vista, etc.


Please describe EXACTLY how everything is wired, modems, routers, any switches, and hardwired computers.


It's hard to imagine that the wireless printer caused this, and since removing it didn't solve the problem, that would seem to verify that contention.

Can you connect a single computer directly to the cable modem and duplicate the problems?
 

psychtobe

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ISP is Comcast
Modem - Motorola Surfboard SB5120
Router - Netgear 54 Mbps Wireless Router W6R614 v 7
encryption - none
laptop runs Windows XP Professional
PC runs Windows XP Home v 5.1.2600

sorry, I don't know how to look up patch information or even what that is, really?

I wasn't aware of this but yes, my wife has tried connecting her docking station directly to the modem and had the same problem. That's weird. Maybe it's the modem (even though it's the second one we've tried)?

The connections are:

cable to modem; modem via ethernet to router; wired laptop docking station to the router through LAN #2; wireless PC to the router via wireless.

One other thing - even when I can't access the internet, my wireless connection (PC to router) is 'excellent' and status is 'good.'

Given the above, it sounds more and more like it's an issue at the level of the modem?

thanks very much for your help thus far.
 

TerryNet

Terry
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When you have internet access the modem's top 4 LEDs are solid green and the Activity LED is blinking, right? Describe the LED behavior when the internet access is lost. Those LEDs usually tell a pretty good story when there is a connection or modem problem.
 

psychtobe

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The outage is short - usually 30-60 seconds - so it's sometimes hard to tell what's happening at that moment. I haven't checked but will tonight. Thank you for the suggestion.
 

psychtobe

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we tried a couple of things.

First, directly connecting the laptop via wired docking station to the modem, the connection is significantly better. This is different than before. What is different is that we disabled the wireless adapter. Not sure if that explains anything.

Second, when our connection sticks, the pc activity light on the modem is either solid orange or a slow orange blink.

Appreciate the help, please keep it coming, thanks!
 

TerryNet

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I take that to mean the power, receive, send and online LEDs remain solid green. The blink rate of the activity LED is relative to the packets sent and received. So, just from the LEDs I'd say the connections, cables and ISP service are good and the modem is good unless there is a rare problem with the ethernet connection.

The connection being better with the wireless adapter disabled implies to me that you are getting significant wireless interference. Perhaps from a 2.4 GHz cordless phone or another wireless network.
 

psychtobe

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the problem is, it happens when the laptop is wired through the router as well. are you saying that a wireless interference can somehow interfere with the ability to use the wired router, as well?

If it is interference, what do I do about it? We do have 2.4 GHz cordless phones in the area, but we've had them for much longer than we've had this problem. If someone else (a neighbor) has an interfering wireless, what can we do about it?

thank you for the help.
 

TerryNet

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are you saying that a wireless interference can somehow interfere with the ability to use the wired router, as well?
We've had previous discussions on this. There are people with more knowledge and experience than I have who disbelieve. Under some conditions I am a believer. You said you get more consistent connections with wireless disabled; why shouldn't I suspect wireless interference?

Changing channels (e.g., 1, 6 and 11 in North America) sometimes avoids wireless interference.

To test if your cordless phones are the problem unplug the base station(s) and remove battery from handsets.

Do you detect other wireless networks? If so, what channel(s)? Since some people disable their SSID broadcast and not all adapters report them as 'hidden' you still should try changing your channel even if you detect no others.
 

psychtobe

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We do detect another wireless network - security enabled, it must be a neighbor's. I don't know about channels - what does that mean? When you say channels 1, 6, 11, are you talking about cordless phone channels or something different?

We will try the cordless phone route you suggested.

Thank you
 

TerryNet

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Channels are small frequency bands within the 2.4 GHz range. If you subtract two channels the difference has to be at least 5 to guarantee no interference (cross-talk). Cordless phones, if you are lucky, may use a frequency near channel 1 or near channel 11 and give some Wi-Fi channels a chance to share geography with them.

With most wireless clients you can determine the channel used by a network. Or there is NetStumbler.
 

psychtobe

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We have unplugged all 4 cordless phone bases, and taken all the battery packs out. We continue to have the same problem.

It doesn't seem like this is a wireless problem, because it happens even wired, and even when I can't download a page, the little icon in my desktop tray says "signal strength excellent/very good" and "status connected."

Are you talking about channels on our cordless phones, or on our wireless devices? How do you change those?
 

TerryNet

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To change your Wi-Fi channel login to your router, navigate to the wireless section and set the channel to something different than its current value. You, of course, may consult your user manual for more specifics.

I don't know if any 2.4 GHz cordless phones let you select the exact frequency, and certainly don't know about yours. What does your documentation say about that matter?
 

psychtobe

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I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean - is this in the control panel?

At any rate, I still have a hard time believing this is the primary problem - even plugged directly into the modem, the Vonage device works extremely poorly, and our connection frequently drops. That's using a wire. It does not seem like this is a wireless/network problem at all, and again our ISP insists delivery to the house is perfect.

To me it sounds like a problem between the cable in and the cable out of the modem.

Appreciate any additional help that can be suggested.
 

TerryNet

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To me it sounds like a problem between the cable in and the cable out of the modem.
Fine. Work on that angle then. I already said, "So, just from the LEDs I'd say the connections, cables and ISP service are good and the modem is good unless there is a rare problem with the ethernet connection."

If you take the intersection of our two statements you get the modem's ethernet port being bad. :) However, not knowing how much you've tested cables, I'd also suspect the ethernet cable connected to the modem.
 
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