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Wifi Signal Strength


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#1 oldcorpsgunny

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 03:09 PM

:thumbsup: I received my new Gateway laptop yesterday evening and noticed that the "Wireless Connection" icon in the taskbar says my speed ivaries between 11 Mbps and 24 Mbps and signal is low. My wife's Dell laptop, being run from the same location, connects from 37 Mbps (average) to 54 Mbps with a very good to excellent signal strength.

The Gatewaylaptop is running WinXP Media Center Edition 2005 on an AMD Turion64 at 1.8Ghz, the NIC(?) is a BroadbandCom device. The Dell runs WinXP Home and the NIC is made by Intel (the same for the CPU - Pentium 4). .The distance between the the router and where the laptops are located is approximately 20 feet. The router is operating on channel 5; my card detects another network in the vicinity operating on channel 11.

Is this could this low speed and signal strength be caused by the different card? This is the first time I've been involved in WiFi and am completely ignorant on the subject. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that I have not attempted to secure my network yet; I wanted to have all the computers on hand before I started punching in encryption keys and MAC addresses. Could someone be using my router and, if so, would that slow things down (hog the bandwidth)? :flowers:

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#2 River_Rat

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 11:44 PM

What make & model or router?? What firmware version installed on the router??

There are several things that can cause this.
Signal meter is wrong, can you notice a difference in speed between the 2 computers??
Do you have a 2.4ghz cordless phone close by??
Try unplugging the power from the router wait 30 sec. plug it back in.

Need to go ahead and set up your security settings on the router.

Edited by River_Rat, 07 February 2006 - 11:45 PM.


#3 oldcorpsgunny

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 04:18 PM

I used a Belkin 54g router. The Dell laptop still shows "excellent" signal strength and 54Mbps speed. From the advertising I've read, it seems some cards receive signals better than others; perhaps this is the reason for the disparity between reception, all other factors being the same. I understand that there is hardware available that acts as repeaters to boost the WiFi signals, but I am leery of complicating a system I am not all that familiar with.

As far as access speed goes, the Dell computer doesn't seem to be appreciably faster than the Gateway computer.

#4 River_Rat

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 05:34 PM

Ya there is no need for the purchase of a range extender of any kind unless you are trying to reach out 200+ feet.
You can try a different channel (6) and see if it makes any change.

You can check Gateway's website to see if they have put out an updated driver.
You can check Belkin's website to see if there is a firmware update.

Sure there is probably a difference in all noteboot Wi-Fi cards as far as quality &/or the ability for signal reception, just like the difference in Belkin, D-Link, & Linksys Routers on the ability to transmit.

#5 oldcorpsgunny

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Posted 10 February 2006 - 11:01 AM

[size=2]The Belkin site says there is an update, but when I tried to open the download Windows said it could not read it; it had an strange extension (.rar). I let Windows search for an application to read the file and was presented with a utility that emulated WinZip. It stored the file, but would not open it or allow a download. Since there was no description accompaning the download, I really don't even know what it is supposed to accomplish -- fix a bug, increased security algorithm, whatever.

Upon further research, I have identified several problems associated with the location of the antenna. Some I can try to fix, others I'll just have to live with, i.e.,:
a. I placed the router on top of my desktop PC because of the length of the Ethernet cable and AC adapter. I have since learned that the PC can cause interference; I will get a longer cable and relocate the router.
b. There is a washer, dryer and associated water supply pipes between the office and the router. I understand that water absorbs RF at the frequency involved. Since moving the water pipes is out of the question, and the location of the office and modem is fixed (the modem is connected by cable to an antenna mounted on my roof), I'll live with that After all, I am getting a usable signal.

My main concern was the disparity of the apparent signal strength shown by the two computers. I think that you are correct in changing to another channel and pointing out that there ARE differences in the reception capability of various cards. I'm going to try changing the location of the router a few feet, switch to channel 6 and see what happens. If that doesn't work, then I may swap cards to match the one installed in the Dell.

#6 River_Rat

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 11:03 AM

The Belkin site says there is an update, but when I tried to open the download Windows said it could not read it; it had an strange extension (.rar). I let Windows search for an application to read the file and was presented with a utility that emulated WinZip. It stored the file, but would not open it or allow a download. Since there was no description accompaning the download, I really don't even know what it is supposed to accomplish -- fix a bug, increased security algorithm, whatever.


Sorry for not getting back sooner.
Them are firmware upgrade and have to be installed a certain way. The easiest way is through the router interface.
There should be install instructions on the page where you found the upgrade, also most routers have a place in the interface that you click to upgrade. Log onto your router via Cat5 cable and look around there should be a place to upgrade. I am not familure with Belkin so kind of in the dark here.

#7 Snapper

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 09:14 AM

.rar , btw can be extracted with winrar, a trial/free download from www.download.com
Google...Google.....browse..read




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