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3 posts

Wannabe Geek

# 41837 23-Sep-2009 18:50
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Hi all,

I've recently moved into a new flat, connected to new ISP (Orcon), and have set up the ISP-provided Dynalink RTA1320 modem paired with an old D-Link DI-524 wireless router that one of the flatties provided. This setup is generally working well for everyone with laptops in close proximity to the router, however I'm using a NetComm NP545 wireless usb adapter to hook up my desktop down the other end of the house (maybe 3 or 4 walls in between).

Now, half the time I can get a decent signal strength and speed (5.8Mb/0.8Mb). The rest of the time the signal drops out completely, or is very weak and I cannot connect using Windows Zero or the NetComm utility prog. Rebooting the router and/or the desktop sometimes helps, mostly does not.

I'm wondering whether this is more likely to be the fault of the wireless usb adapter or the router, or the combination of walls and distance affecting things? I often check the signal strength from the router on my iphone and it seems to go up and down in a similar fashion to that received by the desktop. There is a kitchen between the router and my desktop, but the problem occurs without the microwave in use.

Orcon is sending out their Homehub (a Siemens SX763 i believe?) so I can try it to see if there's an improvement, otherwise I'm also considering buying an internal wireless adapter card.

Any other thoughts as to what the issue could be?


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Go Hawks!
943 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 257926 23-Sep-2009 20:36
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Agreed with Mauricio - check the frequencies in use, you make like to download and see what kismet tells you about what is using the frequencies as well.

Cordless phones are another device that will encroach on your wireless network. Sometimes putting a bigger aerial on will help (although bear in mind that you may also just cause issues for others around you).


3 posts

Wannabe Geek

  # 258076 24-Sep-2009 14:21
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Thanks for the replies guys. With regards to interference, we have a microwave (operating at 2.45 Ghz) but no cordless phones. There is usually only one other AP that we can pick up (operating on channel 6). I've tried a few different channels at the lower end of the spectrum and channel 5 gives the best speeds.

However, the problem occurs randomly - suddenly you cannot access webpages, the signal strength and connection is still there, but the wireless utility tells me 95% of the frames are received with CRC errors (found some info here about this ). I can still ping the router and the modem with success although sometimes packets are dropped.
Strangely enough, in the same location, most of the time I can connect to the WLAN with my iphone and surf without hassle. Both netstumbler and my wireless utility prog indicate low (-100 dBm) noise levels.

What's the easiest way to use Kismet to look for other sources of interference?

Cheers in advance

Go Hawks!
943 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 258077 24-Sep-2009 14:26
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I may have put you wrong with Kismet - if I recall rightly it shows other WiFi signals in the area, not what else is on the air.

regarding that you state that it seems the iphone is ok, perhaps it's time to try a cheap PCI wireless card or a different USB adapter to see if that corrects the issue?

3 posts

Wannabe Geek

  # 258082 24-Sep-2009 14:41
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Yeah having a look on the net, it seems a lot of people have problems with their USB adapters, apparently driver issues. If the problem persists once the new router gets here, I'll have to try the PCI wireless card option..

124 posts

Master Geek

  # 258114 24-Sep-2009 16:40

USB wireless adapters are also subject to the vagaries of the USB interface, in particular power supply/control

from what you say, seems like other devices don't have signal drop problems from the same location so suspect the USB device and as there's not much difference in price between USB and PCI adpaters, go for a PCI replacement, if possible one with antenna on a cord so you can place it for best reception (i.e. not necessarily hidden behind your desktop machine)


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