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Wifi signal strength


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#1 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 28 July 2018 - 04:53 PM

Samsung Notebook model NP-N140 running Linux Mint 18.3

 

This elderly and battered notebook belongs to an even older lady of my acquaintance. She's a lovely old lady and considerably less battered than her laptop. However she comes to a club we run for older computer users to improve their ability to use their equipment.

 

Her problem is that when she comes to the club, which meets in a local bar, the wifi on the laptop works perfectly but she was saying it wasn't working at home. So I popped round to have a look. Sitting at the table in her living room I could not get on-line although there appared to be plenty of signal and her Android tablet was connecting with no problem. This was at a distance of about 10 feet (3m) from her router, a late model BT router placed in the same room and, yes, the wifi was looking at her router. So I took it home with me.

 

It connects perfectly in my kitchen and in my downstairs 'office'. I took it outside and it was still connecting at a distance of 30+ yards and there is nothing special about my router.

 

Could it be, for whatever reason, a signal null zone at her table ?  Or is there any way I could measure signal strength on my own laptop ?  I really want to get to the bottom of this, as I said, she's a lovely old lady !

 

Chris Cosgrove

 

 



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#2 Nunos

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Posted 28 July 2018 - 05:33 PM

You could try WiFi Analyzer by Matt Hafner in the Windows Store. It can show you the channels in use and various things that will help you make a choice of what settings may need tweaked in the Access Point to maximize the settings and performance of the network. 



#3 Replicator

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Posted 29 July 2018 - 08:00 AM

Samsung Notebook model NP-N140 running Linux Mint 18.3

 

 

Wow, a granny geek running Linux.........awesome!

 

You say her own tablet connects to her network with no issues, but the laptop wont.

Although it has no problem connecting to other networks.

 

You took hers home and it connected fine, did you try bringing your own laptop into her place and see if it connects sufficiently from the same spot?

 

If not, I would be looking into her router for more configuration clues!

 

Netstumbler is a great open source network analyser!

 

Good for

  • Verifying network configurations
  • Finding locations with poor coverage in a WLAN
  • Detecting causes of wireless interference
  • Detecting unauthorized ("rogue") access points
  • Aiming directional antennas for long-haul WLAN links

Regards

 

Rep :)


The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear!
CEH, CISSP @ WhiteHat Computers Pty Ltd

 


#4 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 29 July 2018 - 03:25 PM

@Nunos #2

 

I'll give that a go. There's something definitely odd about her wifi. But since I cannot get it from the Windows Store I will wait until I have arranged to go back and see her. You only get a five day free trial with this application which I do feel is a bit mean.

 

@Replicator #3

 

You are the second person to suggest Netstumbler for different reasons in the last few days. Given that two people have suggested this I will get that as well. I had actually looked at it but information about it is thin on the ground and I am allergic to downloading and installing software when I don't know what it is going to do !

 

I am going to copy your 'Granny geek' remark to her, she will be well amused !  Actually she will laugh at your remark because she is some way from being a geek. She was given this  notebook by her grandson as either surplus to his requirements or obsolete. Somebody had actually put Win 10 on it and it definitely couldn't run it. On top of that it looks as though it had been thrown out of a third story (fourth story to our American readers) window !  But it runs Mint XFCE quite well.

 

No, I didn't have my own laptop with me. I was in the throes of watching Stage 19 of the Tour de France. I watched the Peloton go over the summit of Tourmalet and said to myself 'I can nip down and see her and get back for the climb up the Aubisque'. I was right but I wouldn't have been if I had taken a laptop with me !

 

I will post back if I get a resolution to this.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#5 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 11:37 AM

I finally got back to 'Granny Geek's' house this afternoon.

 

I tried Wifi Analyser but only got as far as starting the download. When they insisted I sign up to let them send me publicity materials before I even started the download I stopped it.

 

I downloaded and installed NetStumbler and it looks like a program with great promise but it also looks like the work of a hobbyist and it supports a strictly limited range of wifi cards. The author says he will add more if asked but unhappily none of the ones available to me were supported. I do think hat if your card is supported this program could give very good results.

 

I finally found a program called NetSpot which has a limited capability free version. The free version turned out to be more than adequate for what I wanted to do and having run it in my home to familiarise myself with it I went round to her with it installed on my laptop.

 

It turns out that her router is faulty. The output waveform is not a continuous one but a series of drop-outs. Looking at the graph of signal level against time she might get anywhere from 15 - 30 seconds of quite high quality signal and the it drops to 0 for 5 - 10 seconds, and then back to normal. so I left her with a copy of the image of the graph and she is going to phone her ISP and request a replacement router. And if they give her a hard time, she has the evidence !

 

So one happy elderly geek of the female persuasion !

 

Chris Cosgrove



#6 Condobloke

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Posted 03 August 2018 - 06:40 PM

:thumbsup2:


Condobloke ...Outback Australian  fed up with Windows antics...??....LINUX IS THE ANSWER....I USE LINUX MINT 18.3  EXCLUSIVELY.

“A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."

It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don't agree. The wounds remain. Time - the mind, protecting its sanity - covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone. Rose Kennedy

 GcnI1aH.jpg

 

 


#7 JohnC_21

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 10:39 AM

 her Android tablet was connecting with no problem.

 

With that kind of router drop out it's strange the Android tablet had no problem.  I wonder if the drop off could be an interference problem that a channel change could help.



#8 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 04:05 PM

Attached File  Netspot - signal strength v time 03-08-2018.png   59.28KB   0 downloads

 

Attached File  Netspot - Begonia 04-08-2018.png   17.4KB   0 downloads

 

The first of these images is the one NetSpot made of her wifi signal Friday afternoon, the second is one I just made of my own at my desktop.

 

The difference between the two is immediately obvious. I did consider the possibility of interference but her house is relatively isolated and there are only 3 significantly strong signals within range, and hers is the only one on Channel 1. Unhappily I did not take a screen shot of the view of all wifi systems within range. But even with interference I would not expect the signal to drop to zero.

 

My mental picture of where she uses her laptop was wrong, it turns out to be in direct line of sight to her router. There is an angle in the room and Ii had thought that this was in the line of sight, it isn't. But I cannot explain why her tablet connected and her laptop didn't.

 

Chirs Cosgrove

 

 



#9 JohnC_21

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 04:18 PM

I'll have to remember that program.



#10 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 05:03 PM

Yes, ti's a neat little application, but don't ask me where it installs in Win 7 but it does show up in 'Programs and Features' should you wish to uninstall it. Thee are three versions of it avaiilable, one free and two paid for with increasing capabilities. But for analysing an existing network the free version seems to work pretty well. The web-site link is -

 

https://www.netspotapp.com/

 

Chris Cosgrove



#11 Replicator

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 06:36 PM

Nice work Chris!

 

Will check it out also  :wink:


Edited by Replicator, 04 August 2018 - 07:35 PM.

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#12 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 05:40 PM

A final note on this problem.

 

BT, her ISP, made no protests and agreed her router was faulty and they would send here a new one. And that's where she ran into more problems !  Her formal name is 'Margaret' but she is known to everybody as 'Peggy' (a common Scottish corruption) but she says all her business dealings use 'Margaret '. All that is except for BT !  It seems she opened her BT account as Peggy and it then took her three phone calls and five converstaiions before somebody said 'But we have a 'Peggy S____' registered at that address!'

 

Anyway the new router arrived on Wednesday and she, her laptop and her tablet are happily on-line again.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#13 Condobloke

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 11:45 PM

ISP companies.....takes very little to confuse them.

 

Onya Peggy !


Condobloke ...Outback Australian  fed up with Windows antics...??....LINUX IS THE ANSWER....I USE LINUX MINT 18.3  EXCLUSIVELY.

“A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."

It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don't agree. The wounds remain. Time - the mind, protecting its sanity - covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone. Rose Kennedy

 GcnI1aH.jpg

 

 





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