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Connected but "No Internet Access"

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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March 20, 2012 1:08:00 PM

I have a long distance WiFi system that works great, that I setup myself.

I am using a Alfa AWUS036H Upgraded to 1000mW 1W 802.11b/g High Gain USB Wireless Long-Rang WiFi network Adapter with a 2.4GHz 24dBi High Performance Die Cast Reflector Grid Wireless LAN Antenna. Also I am using just an 18" low-loss pig-tail cable, with a 10 meter usb active repeater cable

I am located about 1 mile out of town, (& from the closest signal), & I can pick up several strong signals that I can utilize; some are a 2 - 3 miles away.

I assembled the dish cabled it to the adapter plugged the adapter into my pc.
IT WORKED!

Now I am trying to set up an identical system, only it will be located right in the middle of a large city. I thought it would be a breeze, assuming there would be more & closer access points.

I WAS WRONG! There are fewer (un-secured) APs, but I can find a few; & I can connect to them with 70% - 80% signal strength & 70% - 80% link quality. It shows I am connected but, with "NO INTERNET ACCESS"

I'm not all that versed in technical knowledge, but have stumbled through enough stuff to know the basics of systems like my own pretty well. (or so I thought)

This is beyond me... I've tried everything that I can think of to try. The next thing I was going to try (& the one thing I haven't tried) is radically raising the dish, get it higher in the air. Idk? Hate to go to the trouble & it not work, & get the same results as all the other tweeks/adjustments I've made to no avail.

Why would the signals be so strong but can't access the internet???
I am totally exasperated! I am totally obsessed with it, & it's DRIVING ME CRAZY! (LOL!)

HELP! Anyone know what the problem could be?

Any/all advise suggestions would be deeply appreciated...

This is a first for me I've never posted on any forum before, so I hope I stayed within the proper etiquette.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.
March 20, 2012 11:06:06 PM

I am not advocating using any connection you do not have permission to do so.

However, it is entirely possible to connect to an unsecured WAP, and yet not have adequate access to go onto the Internet. I doubt I could condense the information regarding that to anything appropriate. No doubt you understand what I'm saying but simply gaining access to an unsecured WAP in no way guarantee's Internet access. All that is guaranteed is that the data between you and the WAP is unencrypted (unless you intervene at the application layer).

I believe that despite all the scaremongering by the media there are significantly less truly unsecured networks via WAPs than they like to make out.
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March 22, 2012 5:48:09 AM

Thanks man. I hear what you're saying. I understand connecting to a (as in one (1)) connection there's always the chance that there may not be internet access; But, all of them? Every single one?? - (Idk, like 4 or 5)

Also,

Something I left out of my original post. Wasn't sure if it was relevant... .. .
(Actually, I was too embarresed to include it.) :o 

So, , Due to my anticipation of easier targets at this location... .. .

Originally I already had a Hawking 9dBi panel (directional) antenna. So I just purchased the Alfa 1W - 1000mW network adapter. Done a very sloppy temporary install, just mounted the antenna on a 7' - 8' pole & leaned it against the outside wall, within 5-10 minutes, located & connected to a strong signal & was ONLINE! Streamed Netflix ALL-NIGHT with absolutely no problems. Woke up the following morning, was no longer connected when I re-connected acquired the same strong signal again, (or so I thought), but - NO INTERNET ACCESS.
MESSED WITH IT & MESSED WITH IT, NOPE - COULD NOT GET IT BACK.
Until, about 3-4 days later, on a whim, I tried connecting & it was magically working again! Think it lasted, a day & a half.

So I thought, must be on the far extreme reach of the 9dBi antenna.

Must need a better antenna. Right?

So, I purchased a 18dBi Yagi. Never did get online with the Yagi. It was the same story, "CONNECTED, NO INTERNET ACCESS"

So then I thought, "Man, but mine works so well. I have a PARABOLIC DISH (24dBi); must be the antenna design.

So then, I purchased another PARABOLIC DISH, only smaller, (15dBi I think). When I received it, I unpacked it & half-hazardly mounted it, connected the adapter, & Voila! My problems were over.
IT WORKED GREAT! - For about a week, that is. Never worked again.
(Well, you know, "CONNECTED, NO INTERNET ACCESS")

By then, I was so frustrated I said " F#%@ IT! I'm getting another antenna identical to mine. I know that one will work.
My browser hasn't opened one (1) page since I installed it....

"CONNECTED, NO INTERNET ACCESS"
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March 22, 2012 8:00:21 AM

Antennas are surprisingly touchy. I've used tiny omni directional antennas that have better connection success than directional and/or powered ones. If you are not in close proximity to the WAPs then there are limits, but when in close you might be surprised how much better the tiny stock ones do which much less effort.

Another issue is 'What OS are you using?' (Trust me this does make a difference).

After that I would have about 20 questions before I would be satisfied it has much to do with the antenna (especially since you have the right idea).
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March 22, 2012 8:37:37 AM

WINDOWS

My original (functional/online) station: VISTA - Home Premium

The other (problematic) location:

There are two (2) PCs present:
(1) netbook running XP
(1) tower running WINDOWS 7
I have attempted connecting with both, both produce the same results.
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March 22, 2012 8:41:30 PM

Have you tried using the stock antenna that came with the Alfa now you are close by the other signals?
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March 23, 2012 4:24:25 AM

MikeKF said:
Have you tried using the stock antenna that came with the Alfa now you are close by the other signals?



The stock antenna doesn't even detect them.
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March 23, 2012 4:56:50 AM

I thought you said this was in the middle of a large city? With the stock antenna on that wireless NIC I can see screens of WAPs when I'm in a large city. Even in suburbs I can usually see half a dozen. I find that if a connection can be made with a 9db antenna then it is better quality that the same with an 18db antenna (its something to do with noise I've been told). Sometimes a 13db directional works well after a little fiddling about with. Your results seem odd to me too now.
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March 23, 2012 5:02:07 AM

I'm really only familiar with this sort of stuff on Linux so if there's a problem with your OS or security apps then I'm not much help with the nitty gritty.

Have you tried other wireless NICs to see what networks are detected on the same systems under the same antenna conditions?
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