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Solved: Wireless Signal Strong Then Non-Existent

Discussion in 'Networking' started by dcbell, Jul 22, 2006.

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  1. dcbell

    dcbell Thread Starter

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    I am using a Linksys 2.4 ghz router in the basement of my house. On the second floor, I have a laptop. It is an iBook with an internal wireless card (airport), which has been receiving minimal signal upstairs. I thought it was just a dead spot, but I added a linksys usb adapter and the signal began clearly going from very strong to out of range every couple of seconds. Why is this changing so rapidly? How should I aim the router's antenna/ usb adapter for maximum range?

    I should also note that i have 900 mhz cordless phone a few feet away and a 2.4 ghz phone about 30 feet from the laptop (both upstairs).
     
  2. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Well, you need to look for sources of interference, I'd start by turning off any 2.4ghz devices and removing the batteries in the case of phones. I'd also move the 900mhz phone, though I have one sitting next to my wireless router, and it's never been an issue.

    If you're trying to get WiFi signals to propagate in the vertical plane, you need to orient the antennas horizontally. A vertical omni-directional antenna has a signal pattern that looks like an 8 on it's side, the strongest signal lobes are at the sides.
     
  3. dcbell

    dcbell Thread Starter

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    I've ruled out interference because another wireless windows laptop has no issue with signal upstairs. In the exact same area, the iBook cannot connect. The iBook has no problem connecting downstairs, closer to the router. The internal card could be weak or something, but the usb adapter improved the signal enough that I don't think the issue is a weak signal. I'm getting a strong signal followed immediately by a weaker signal, then no signal, then a strong one again.
     
  4. onsite

    onsite

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    welcome to the world of WI FI. Most wireless routers only put out about 3mv of signal.
    You can get rebroadcaster and signal boosters, there is nothing like cat5 cable if you can run it. Someone in my neighborhood. Took a wireless router put it in a tupper ware box, took cat 5 cable, used 2 of the unused wires in the cable for the 12v power going to the unit. Put the whole thing on the chimney of the house.:D
     
  5. dcbell

    dcbell Thread Starter

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    So it isn't weird that one computer can get a signal where another cannot?
     
  6. onsite

    onsite

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    Ummm , it all has to do with the signal. A 3mw signal can get swamped out by just about anything. For instance I st up a wirelss net work for this guy. His rig with wireless router was upstairs. He had a pc down the steps, sharp right, then 15 ft straight back. Could not get the wireless. So he got this small device, you hook a cat5 cable to it, program it. You disconnect it from the cat5. Now it is stand alone with all your network settings. We took it and plugged it in to the house A/C . SO it takes the signal coming down the steps and boosts it back to the other pc. Normally that device would not be needed. It could be the earth, other wireless devices, phones whatever interfearing. I have been in homes where wireless would not work at .
    here are some WI FI amps that you probably could broacast your internet connection for a mile:D
    http://www.hyperlinktech.com/web/24ghz_amplifiers.php
     
  7. wacor

    wacor Banned

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    Sounds like you ruled out interference only but reasoning the other laptop gets the signal ok?
    If that is the case I would still do as John Will suggested and see what happens. Electronics are weird and I cant speak from experience but would guess since the laptops have different wireless cards that it would not be impossible for one to have trouble with interference while the other does.
     
  8. onsite

    onsite

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    anything is possible when you are talking milliwatts, I have a program at home, for the life of me can't remeber the name that will show the signal strength in milliwatts. You know it might have been part of net stumbler ?
    http://www.netstumbler.com/
    check DLs
     
  9. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    Sounds like your iBook's antenna is not up to the task, and maybe its USB port has power problems. Do you have any other USB devices connected? When using the USB adapter does the wireless signal come and go whether on battery or AC? Even when close to the router?
     
  10. onsite

    onsite

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    I am not a big fan of wireles USB devices. The church i go to has a small wireless network, they had these linksys usb wireless devices, that one by one broke. I ended up replacing them on. I know you have a notebook. I am much more happier with my notebooks PCMCIA wi fi card.
     
  11. dcbell

    dcbell Thread Starter

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    i googled the problem and found that airport cards tend to operate with a weak signal when the antenna is only plugged in partially. i tightened the antenna and now everything is working.
     
  12. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    A poorly connected antenna causes problems? Who woulda thunk! :)

    Glad you got it working, and thanks for telling us the solution.
     
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