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Wireless network connection strong, but actual download activity stalls


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#1 amcclure

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 07:54 PM

Hi, I have a Dell Inspiron 600m with the internal wireless (Intel miniPCI 1300) network card. It is at the 802.11(b) level, as is my wireless router (a Netgear). Mysteriously, the network performance got slow maybe 6 or 9 months ago. The network always shows "Excellent" signal strength, and the system connects effortlessly, so I assumed I had a browser problem. The problem I see is that the traffic just stalls. The browser doesn't actually hang, it just says "web site found, waiting for reply" and stays in that state for a long time. Usually, after a few minutes, it kicks into gear and the page in question loads rather quickly.

Another typical symptom comes about when I try to watch a YouTube video. Once viewing a video, I will see the progress that the video is downloading, but then it will stop. I can watch the video up to that point, then it just stops when it reaches the end of what was downloaded. I can "tickle" it into doing more by backing up the slider. It may then download a little bit more of the video, but it won't keep going and just download it to the end.

Steps I have taken to resolve:I have taken Internet Explorer down to no plug-ins or added features
Switched to Firefox (still thinking I had a browser problem, not a connectivity problem); but the behavior was the same
Updated the driver for the miniPCI card from Intel
...but nothing seems to have changed this behavior. Again, it doesn't seem to be a browser thing as I can also replicate the behavior by finding a large file to download via .ftp, for example, and just watch the download stall part of the way through. The little computer screen in the system tray that shows wireless network activity just stays blank, then after several minutes, may show some green activity that it is doing something, then go blank again for a long time.

I recently installed the Intel PROSet Wireless utility and noticed something interesting using the diagnostics -- I have excellent signal strength on my wireless network, but "poor" to "fair" signal "quality". I don't think it is my wireless router, though, as I can bring my work laptop home and get perfect performance. I have compared my Windows XP wireless settings between the work laptop and the home one, and they seem to be set up the same way. So it is still a mystery to me.

I hate to go buy a new computer, switch to a wired connection, or buy a new PCMCIA wireless card...I just don't like to give up ;)

I would greatly appreciate any advice or direction.

Kind regards,

Andy

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 07:59 PM

Hi :thumbsup:.

Well...I would try a wired connection for a limited time...just to see where the problem might not be.

Connectivity problems can be hardware....can be software. One or the other needs to be eliminated or all that will take place is random guessing.

I resort to that only when reasoning fails me.

Louis

#3 amcclure

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 10:45 PM

Hi Louis, thanks much for your note. I think I will try that, like you say, to at least narrow the possibilities. Thank you!

Andy

#4 billa112

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 09:41 AM

andy i have the same problen i show i strong connection on wirewless and wired all i do is have the connections on my startup and just hit repair . this is a big problem on verizon fios and xp i have tried all the fixes and none work my wife use vista and has no problem so if you use verizon they know about it . itis there modem and there is no fix at this time
good luck Bill

#5 amcclure

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 10:59 AM

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the note. In fact, I am just talking about my wireless connection in my house. My internet connection is Comcast via a cable modem, but my own wireless network exhibits this problem. Sounds like you are talking about a wireless card for your laptop direct to the Verizon wireless network. I've heard those are not very reliable (regardless of provider...).

Cheers!

Andy

#6 ApperTon

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 11:11 AM

Have you tried updating your Routers firmware and wireless card firmware. Also there are come scanning tools you can find to see what other connections are coming into your house from the outside that might be causing a delay in signal.

#7 hamluis

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 01:18 PM

Have to ask...is the wireless network properly secured?

Louis

#8 amcclure

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 03:08 PM

Thanks again for the suggestions. I had already updated the firmware on my router, and the drivers for the miniPCI card (but I'm not sure if there would be firmware updates in addition to the driver?).

Regarding properly securing the network, I do have WEP security enabled -- but perhaps there is another issue you have in mind?

RE: scanning tools to detect other connections...there are a bunch of networks in the area. I live in a townhouse, so it is a rather dense environment, but I go back to the fact that my work computer seems to work fine when I bring it home and use it on my network.

I plan to plug into my wired connection tonight and see how it works.

Thanks much!

Andy

#9 amcclure

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 09:01 PM

OK, for anyone who is still interested ;) I tested a wired connection and Internet browsing was like lightning. No issues watching video after video, pages loaded fast, etc. So I can narrow it down to my wireless connection vs. a more general network software issue.

Any continuing thoughts / ideas are appreciated.

Cheers!

Andy

#10 hamluis

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 09:08 AM

Well, IMO that limits it to

a. Defective hardware

b. Corrupt drivers

c. Improper setup

It's not a system issue or it would impact connectivity by both wired and wireless methods (IMO).

Louis




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