Conflict of wireless connections?

susanjnDecember 2, 2012

Toshiba netbook NB205
Windows XP SP3 kept updated
Firefox is primary browser addons/plugins kept updated
Opera and Chrome used occasionally, IE rarely
Win SE antivirus
Cable broadband w/Netgear wireless router used at home

This computer came loaded with ConfigFree to manage network connections. My system tray always has double icons showing connection status - 2 for local (cable unplugged), 2 for wireless. I'm assuming one set represents ConfigFree, and one represents Windows. I frequently lose my connection and have to repair. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. I use ConfigFree, and if that doesn't work, I let Windows configure it. Sometimes rebooting helps, sometimes not. Pages often load very slowly or timeout. I often get "nonresponsive script" messages with Gmail, which I blame on slow response.

When these things happen I've found there are plenty of CPU resources available. My C drive has 114GB free space. One thing I've noticed is that when the fan comes on, things speed up. (Don't know which comes first, of course.)

I'd love to blame this on my DH's online gaming sucking up bandwidth, but alas, it happens when he's not playing, too.

I periodically run Ccleaner which doesn't seem to help.

My main question for this post is: How should I be using ConfigFree and/or Windows to manage my network connections?

Maybe I should just get a new computer? ;)

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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Do you ever power cycle the entire system including the router and modem? I always suggest trying that first for connection problems.
Disconnect power in this order and power up sequence. Power disconnect power to computer, disconnect power to router and modem. Power sequence, power to modem till fully lit, power to router till fully lit, then power to computer. Wait about 5 minutes from powering down to powering up to allow a full clearing.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 2:32PM
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Reboot might help (order of device off/on doesn't matter in my experience, it might for some components)

Otherwise, it sounds like it may be a Wifi signal problem. Which can be caused by 1)interference from neighbor on same channel, 2)weak signal where PC is located, or 3) dying router.

To check for each, 1) Check channels used by visible Wifi networks (there's free software like inSSIDer if you don't have something already). Change the channel (on the router) if you see another signal using the same channel as you're using. If that's not it, 2) Try PC in same room as Wifi router. If not better 3) I'd try a new router, buy it from somewhere you can return it if that doesn't solve the problem. They're cheap enough.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 4:08PM
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> Sometimes rebooting helps, sometimes not. Pages
> often load very slowly or timeout.

Does not matter what language is spoken on the radio. If the signal is weak (ie static) then changing languages does nothing.

You need to do same with WiFi. First get signal strength numbers in dBs (five bars is mostly useless). Some computers provide a utlity that does that for their WiFi card. Or try that works on many WiFi interfaces.

All those other attempts are futile or frustrating without first defining what is most important. Signal strength or signal to noise ratio expressed in dBs.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 11:26PM
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I agree with getting a new router. I had disconnection problems for about 3 or 4 years (!) and always assumed it was a problem with interference of some sort.

I got tired of it, and after much troubleshooting, similar to snidely's suggestions, I ended up just getting a new router. Now I never become disconnected and everything works great.

The duplicate icons on the taskbar that you're experiencing aren't 'normal' I don't think.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 8:15AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

often you see 2 sets of icons one is for the wired connection one is for wireless if you don't have the wired connection set up then it will show as it does but the wireless is what is being used so it is what is shown.
Those icons are easily set in the settings page as to show or not show so that can be easily removed if it bothers you.

I am assuming by Win SE antivirus you actually mean Microsoft security essentials MSE? I ask because there are so many rogues that have similar names and mimic the real thing but are bad.

However until we get a response if anything suggested has helped or been tried...

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 2:59PM
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Thanks, everyone.

I do power down the modem/router/computer occasionally when all else fails.

I do get a better signal nearer the router - Excellent vs Good. I'm not sure how to check the signal strength in dBs.

Interesting thought about the channel on the router. We are on the same channel as one of our neighbors which I had never noticed. I'll figure out how the change that. (Right now there's a cat on my arm. I don't think I'm allowed to get up until my hand dies.)

Our router is fairly new, so I would think that's not the problem. I could be wrong, of course. Are there more powerful routers that reach the far corners of a house better?

And what about ConfigFree vs Windows managing the connections?

(Hand is falling asleep. Cat wishes I'd stop with all the typing already.)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:28PM
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Try reinstalling the wireless network adapter from the device manager. In the device manger it should look similar to this under Network adapters listing.

Atheros Wireless LAN

Right click on it choose uninstall, reboot the computer.

That computer has similar complaints from other users.

Let us know.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 10:27PM
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I wouldn't mess with the wifi adaptor or drivers, if there's a good signal and it works fine when close to the router, I'd try other things first.

You change wifi channels by logging on the to router from a PC's browser and then go to the wireless part of the router's settings. If you look at the user info that came with the router, it will tell you how. There's an IP address and a standard password (unless you changed it). Someone in your household would have logged on to the router already when setting up encryption and a wifi password - if that wasn't done before, put that on the to-do list when you connect to the router now. Your PC and other wifi devices will adjust to the new channel setting without any action on your part.

Yes, some routers send a stronger signal than others. Also, baby monitors and cordless phones can cause interference. If you have either, try unplugging the base station and moving the phones out of the house to see if that makes a difference.

Routers in North America come with channels 1-11 but you shouldn't think of them as being discrete like TV channels because they bleed into one another. Instead, think of it as having three channels to choose from - a low number (1), a middle number (5-6) and a high number (11). Choose one farthest away from what your neighbor is using - most routers ship preset to a middle channel and that's why so many people have conflicts with neighbors' signals. If your neighbor's is in the middle, choose either low or high.

Failing that, there are other things to do to boost signals. Google for simple suggestions, including homemade reflector gizmos made from cardboard and aluminum foil. You can buy a high gain antenna for the router, you can buy a repeater (Hawkings makes great ones), you can get a wireline adaptor with a wifi bridge, or you can try to relocate the router to a more central spot or one that minimizes physical obstacles that the signal has to pass through.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 10:52PM
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I always start with the network adapter reinstall from device manager first, it's an easy safe procedure, however other users have tried it on this model and it's not always been successful in fixing wifi issues on this model, in my opinion I'd still do it, regardless of the signal strength when it's close to the router, unless of course the connection never drops out when it is close to the router. Just because the signal strength is good or stronger when it's close to the router doesn't mean that the connection could be lost at that location even having a strong signal, but we have never really established that.

If you Google NB205 wireless adapter ISSUES

You can see others experiencing same issues, but I don't see a clear cut solution, just a bunch of things to try, some things worked for some and other things worked for others, maybe some of the ideas here given by all of us will prove to be helpful.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 11:49PM
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just guessing;
I've noticed is that when the fan comes on, things speed up

Maybe go into your advanced power savings and see if that wifi adapter has a power savings method there or possibly in its properties in device manager. Might try experimenting turning off its power saving feature.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:03AM
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I haven't disappeared - just had to deal with another minor emergency with this computer. The charger died and has been replaced now.

I looked at the power saving features on the Atheros adapter, but didn't see a way to turn them off. I'll look again sometime.

The router does have a password and encryption, and he-who-knows-the-password is many timezones away right now. Communication with him is slow. We use channel 11, as does one of the neighbors. The other two use 3 and 6.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 11:13PM
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Since some amount of conflict is unavoidable, pick your conflict to be whichever neighbor signal is the weakest in your house.

It would appear that the best outcome would be if the Ch 3 signal is weakest, you could prob use Ch 1 successfully. If one of the others is rather weak, maybe using the same channel could work. Otherwise, if your wifi signal is nonfunctional, I'd probably try to run cable or use powerline adapters. Those don't always work (depends on aspects of your home's wiring), so try to buy them from a seller that accepts returns of open packaging without a service charge.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 12:55PM
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