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What's wrong with my wireless connection?

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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January 7, 2008 5:59:24 PM

I'm running Windows XP home and I've had a Netgear DG834G Wireless Firewall Router since about August 2004. Since I’ve had it, it's seen practically 24/7 operation and never get’s switched off, but used most of the day. Last year, around February I started having connectivity issues, but that was with a cheap wireless USB adapter which got changed around June for a much better PCI wireless adapter. With my laptop, I connected to it using a Wireless B network card that ran at 11mbps and I never ever had any connectivity issues. With the Wireless G PCI adapter for my desktop I've always had connectivity issues.

Ever since I changed to the PCI adapter I get "Excellent" signal strength at all times, except for the occasional moment when it goes down to "Very Good". The router is situated literally the other side of the wall on top of a large desk with plenty of space around it (hence the excellent signal strength). It's in the next room because that's where the wall socket is for the ADSL filter. That’s also where the family desktop PC is, and this also has a wireless PCI adapter that sees a constant 54mbps speed and "Excellent" signal strength.

Here's the interesting part, the link speed to my PC will sometimes fall as low as 1mbps (meaning it's actually communicating with the router slower than my internet is running (which is a 3.5 meg line)) making surfing the web really slow, and online games unplayable due to huge amounts of loss. The link speed will vary and be unstable, running at speeds of 48, 36, 24, 18, 16, 11, 5.5 and 1mbps. Rarely does it operate at 54mbps. The whole time I am getting these unstable speeds the signal strength is staying constant at "Excellent" or "Very Good". This never occurs with the family PC that is right by the router in the same room. I've even tried running the two PC's at the same time, and whilst the family PC will be getting 54mbps my PC will be getting 5.5mbps – nothing works out.

What could possibly be the problem, because I've tried pretty much everything, including getting a new ISP, new adapters, moving the router about and adjusting the wireless settings of the router (which sometimes works temporarily).

More about : wrong wireless connection

January 7, 2008 9:53:18 PM

First I'd hardwire the laptop to the router just to make sure that's not the problem, not likely but you never know. If you haven't done so try resetting the router to he factory defaults, should be a reset button that is frequently on the back and reset so you may need a paper clip. This will reset everything including passwords so make sure you have the default log on before doing this.
January 9, 2008 5:05:46 PM

Every now and then I get a similar symptom although not all the way down to 1mbps. Reconnecting to the router has always brought my speeds back to normal. Since your family PC isn't affected, and is physically located right next to your PC, I would suspect a marginal antenna on your PC??
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January 10, 2008 6:27:48 AM

My family PC isn't affected, and is in the same room as the router, right next to it. My PC is in my room which is literally the other side of the wall (both PC's are against the wall). It's odd really, I don't even get why it happens. Someone else from another forum suggested moving the antenna around when I get the slow speeds, but that doesn't really help a great deal. I mean, it sometimes helps initially, but then again, so does changing the wireless channel of the router. So it's just like a temporary fix.
January 11, 2008 7:45:58 PM

Could it possibly be interference from a neighbouring wireless network? If your PC can detect other wireless networks you can login to the router and change the channel your wireless is operating on. If it's set to Auto try manually setting a channel. If it is already manually set try a channel at the other end of the spectrum (e.g. if you are on channel 3 try changing it to 10 rather than 2 or 4).
January 20, 2008 5:11:42 PM

I have a WGR614v6 (netgear) wireless router and have the same variation in speeds. Just today it dropped to 1 Mbps and was driving me insane. My max speed is 54 Mbps but it rarely get that connection.

My goal today is to learn about wireless stuff because I am clueless as to why I am getting a 100% signal and a 1Mbps connection. Stupidly, this is my second WGR614. The first one crapped out because the power node on the router stopped working and I couldn't get it to turn on. My experience with that one wasn't so great either.

I think the bottom line is that Netgear just sucks. The signal never seems to be stable. I am probably going to order a Linksys if I can't figure out the problem. Anyone know of a better brand?

Yeah right now as I am typing I am at 36Mbps with a 95% signal...doesn't make sense...no one is on my channel and I am on the other side of the wall just like you are. I blame it all on Netgear. :) 
January 21, 2008 7:09:08 AM

SpinachEater said:
I think the bottom line is that Netgear just sucks. The signal never seems to be stable. I am probably going to order a Linksys if I can't figure out the problem. Anyone know of a better brand?

Yeah right now as I am typing I am at 36Mbps with a 95% signal...doesn't make sense...no one is on my channel and I am on the other side of the wall just like you are. I blame it all on Netgear. :) 

Yeah, perhaps it's just that Neatgear does suck? Could be that, I duno.

A fix that has worked thus far (since my posting) is turning the antenna/aerial of my PCI Adapter 90 degrees so it's horizontal instead of vertical.
August 25, 2008 5:48:07 PM

I'm going to go strongly in the favour of some sort of interference either from a neighbouring network or other nearby electrical device like a microwave or coedless phone.

Example:

I use a netgear DG834GT and a WPN311 pci network card in my main PC, for about 18 months I thought I was getting a good internet sevice - 6.5mbps (line sync 22.5 mbps) with a 100% signal and 108mbps connection to my router.

I tested the speed with my laptop connected to the router by a cable and got 16mbps download speed with a lot less laggy response times for general browsing, I checked the connection between my desktop and router and got a high rate of packet loss despite an apparently 'healthy' connection in the taskbar....

Anyways after about an hour or two i found the source - the transformer in the paper shredder in my office - even when it wasnt being used - switched it from standby, to off and now my desktop gets 18mbps on speedtest.net (about 1800kb/s downloads in bitcomet).

Just goes to show how important it is to evaluate your connections with real tests not just the windows icon.....
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