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Wireless Connected but Internet Unreliable

Discussion in 'Networking' started by MrHazard, Jan 25, 2011.

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  1. MrHazard

    MrHazard Thread Starter

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    PLEASE HELP!

    I'm usually able to figure stuff out myself by reading various forum threads, but I'm stumped on this one. I will try to list you the basic features of the hardware I'm using & the problem as clearly as possible.

    I'm using: HP xw4600 Workstation (brand new)
    PCI card: Ralink Wireless PCI Card 802.11n, 300M (brand new, installed myself)

    I have a wireless broadband internet connection set up. Never have problems with it. Four laptops regularly connect to the network with ZERO issues. I am 99% sure the problem here is NOT router/internet-related.

    PROBLEM:
    I can connect to my wireless network with my newly installed PCI card. Full signal, connects no problem, everything is dandy. I will open a browser and it will load my homepage. I can load maybe a few more pages, AND THEN, the internet stops working. I am still connected, still full signal, etc. But web pages cease loading. If I keep trying and trying, after maybe 2 or 3 minutes, the connection seems to come back and I can load a few more pages (works for maybe 10 seconds), and then same thing. Nothing will load for another few minutes.

    Basically; although I am connected/full signal/no problems with the network on any other laptop/ipod, the internet only works intermittently and very rarely. This distinguishes my case from those where the Wireless is connected and the internet DOES NOT work: in my case, it DOES work, but only 1/20th of the time.

    Another peculiarity: the first time I connected with the new PCI card, the internet worked for at least an hour solid. No disconnects, no problems. I thought everything was fine. But since then, EVERY TIME I use it, it's giving me this intermittent BS.

    THINGS I HAVE TRIED:
    Uninstalling the card in Device Manager & rebooting
    Reinstalling driver w/ the CD
    Changing the PCI slot (i only have two)
    Updating firmware of card
    And 100 other minor changes in the PCI card settings & connection properties.

    Please skip all the basic solutions, "101-suggestions", as I am pretty sure I have tried them all (or have decided it is definitely not the problem) after reading them from various forums found on google.

    Any advice or recommendations or pointers (or questions) would be GREATLY appreciated!

    Sorry about the length of this post, wanted it to be clear.

    Thanks
     
  2. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    Make sure you have the latest driver from Ralink's web site.

    Please attach a screen shot of the Networks page of the Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector.
     
  3. MrHazard

    MrHazard Thread Starter

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    Hi,

    Thanks for the quick response! I do have the latest firmware installed.

    I download Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector and installed it, but when I tried to run the program, it gave me this error message: "C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET \ Framework \ v2.0.50727 \ mscorwks.dll could not be loaded"

    Tried re-installing it, then restarting the computer, same problem.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks again
     
  4. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    Copied from an etaf post:

     
  5. MrHazard

    MrHazard Thread Starter

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    Hi,

    Yes that much was clear. I checked yesterday and I had both NET Framework versions 1 & 2 (when looking in the Add/Remove Programs list). Re-installing it seemed like a headache though, so I was hoping it would not be necessary.

    Is there another path to take, or is Xirrus really the easiest? I don't want to cause more problems by having to fix the solution.

    I am not an expert at any of this, but I am much more apt than the average user. I only come to ask for help once I have already attempted everything I could think of & scanned dozens of forum threads. This is actually the first time in 5 years I haven't found the solution myself either by accident or in a thread.

    Thanks for your continued help!
     
  6. Unktone

    Unktone

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    Did you purchase the card from a retail store? The driver CD could have been compromised with malware if it was from an internet site, but even if it was from a retail store it is possible.

    A.) If you have another desktop, try the card in it using the drivers that you've downloaded from the website.

    B.) Scan your system with an anti-virus with the latest definitions (also an adware and malware scan).

    If it works perfectly in another desktop I would say that your workstation caught a cold. If not, places like best buy all have 30-day refund and exchange policies so you can replace the faulty card.
     
  7. Mordillo_98

    Mordillo_98

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    Hey,

    I would run a Live Linux CD and see if you have the same problem. If not, it's either driver, or OS.

    Good luck.
     
  8. MrHazard

    MrHazard Thread Starter

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    Hi!

    Thanks for the reply. I bought it on an eBay store in the US (item shipped from USA, not Japan/China). My gut feeling is that it's a problem with the settings of the PCI card, or just some other glitchy problem (ie. sharing IRQ's assignments).

    I have considered the possibility of Malware/Virus/Adware. I also doubt this possibility, because yesterday I decided to completely reformat/restore the computer (keeping nothing), then reinstall the card and I had the same problem. Also, before reformatting, I had done a complete system scan with AVG and there were zero problems reported, which is to be expected from a one-week-old workstation.

    One determination I would like to make is, if I were to go out and buy, say, a USB adapter, whether I would experience the same problem: is it a software (settings, driver, etc) or hardware (port/PCI card) related issue.

    I think I will try next to uninstall the PCI card driver, then instead of using the CD, download the latest driver from the website and re-install the card with that. But if it sounds like a long-shot, in my experience, it pretty much never works.

    Thanks again guys.
     
  9. MrHazard

    MrHazard Thread Starter

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    Mordillo: can you recommend me a specific Live CD that would be good for testing my specific problem? I'm running on XP professional SP2, that helps.
     
  10. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    With the Xirrus output I'd be looking for possible wireless interference from other networks. With XP NetStumbler also works well for that purpose, but is not so easy to display the results here. Look for networks whose channel number is within 5 of yours. Also look at the signal graph to see if there are fluctuations when the problem occurs.
     
  11. MrHazard

    MrHazard Thread Starter

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    Here is a screen shot of the graph view after a few minutes connected to my network (AWESOME!) along with a list of all the wireless networks in range... Does this tell you anything? Thankssss

    [​IMG]
     
  12. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    That channel 6 network is pretty strong, so you might try channel 1 to see if it makes any difference. If those other channel 1 signals make channel 1 worse for you then also try channel 3 for comparison with channel 2.

    Your signal seems pretty uneven. Do you have anything that may be contributing interference--for example, 2.4 GHz cordless phone, baby monitor?
     
  13. MrHazard

    MrHazard Thread Starter

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    Hi!

    Yes it does seem uneven. I checked the graphs of a few other networks and they were almost all just one even block of greenness (top was just a straight line).

    I don't have any other wireless devices being used in the apartment, that I can think of (no phones, baby monitors, etc). And again, no other devices using the network (laptops/ipods) are having this problem. I was wondering the other day whether a (wired) subwoofer might be contributing to the problem; I have a 150W bass sub set up beside my PC. I have no idea why it would affect it, but you never know!

    When I get home this evening I will install NetStumbler on my laptop and compare the graphs/numbers. I am getting the feeling more and more that this is a hardware problem... whether it's the card itself or unreliable PCI ports, I don't know. If that is not revealing, I will try what you suggest and change the channel.

    I am starting to think I might pick up a USB wireless adapter and see how that goes... That would be unfortunate, though, as I purposefully bought a PCI adapter over a USB one. I thought it would be more reliable! Plus it doesn't constantly use a USB port, plus it can get in the way, plus I have empty PCI slots that I might as well be using!

    Oh how much time I have already wasted on this!
     
  14. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    Sure could be. Anything close by that involves electricity and/or magnetism is a suspect. And the sound it is supposed to broadcast is not really different than Wi-Fi--just different frequencies, and sometimes spurious frequencies can be generated. And if this is the cause the damage is probably only done at very short range, which is why your other devices are not affected.
     
  15. MrHazard

    MrHazard Thread Starter

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    Guys

    I have moved stuff around so that the subwoofer is no longer between the path of the workstation tower and the wireless modem a few rooms away.

    This is a very tentative statement, but: I think it worked. I am trying a few more things, then I will restart the computer and test it once more. I will let you know!
     
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