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Wireless router problem

Posted by bibbus (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 16, 13 at 22:19

I have a Linksys Wireless G 2.4 GHz router and Comcast high speed internet. The router is an older model located at my work station in a bedroom that was added on to the original exterior brick wall. Using my laptop, I used to get 5 bars of signal strength in the room with the router and only one bar on my back porch. But I had no problems staying connected to the internet.

A couple of weeks ago my signal strength abruptly dropped so that I can't maintain the signal on my laptop except in the bedroom. I bought a Belkin N600 dual band range extender and it only added one bar of coverage outside the bedroom. So after doing some research, I upgraded the firmware on my router and changed frequencies.

My signal strength actually got worse! I lost one bar of signal strength in the bedroom and back down to one bar outside the bedroom. The reviews on switching to a N router seem very mixed. I know of no interference with my router (nothing else has changed in my house). Any ideas on why my signal strength dropped and what I can do to get a stronger signal? Its not feasible to move the router.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Wireless router problem

Do you use a 2.4 ghz cordless phone? If yes, turn it off and see if there is improvement. Are there other wireless networks around you? Don't know? You could install inSSIDer and find out. I have multiple networks around me and sometimes I get enough interference that I have to change the router channel.

Here is a link that might be useful: inSSIDer


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RE: Wireless router problem

It appears to be a 1.9 GHz phone but as I said, I've had it for years in the exact same place and it didn't interfere before. There's no on off switch so I don't know how to turn it off. I'm afraid to unplug it since all the data I've save on the phone could be erased.

I did see a couple of other networks that appeared on my list but they are gone now. Since I changed the channel, I have not seen them. But my signal is worse.


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RE: Wireless router problem

I've heard anecdotal comments that "G" has better range than "N". I'd first try turning off the "N" signal and see if that helps.

Before changing the channel, I agree with asimoh that you need to check what channels are in use by your neighbors and go in the direction that has the fewest strong signals. Just changing it without assessing what's in the air could indeed make it worse. Remember that although it's a 1-11 scale, there are really just three channels that should be used: 1 - 6 - 11. Using one of the others, like 3, will result in interference from both CH 1 signals and CH 6 signals.

You haven't described the geography of the rest of the house or where the repeater is located, but it should have as clear a path to the router (no walls) and ditto for the repeated signals to the areas of usage as possible.

If these two things don't work, then the next thing to try is to buy two Wireline wall warts. One gets plugged in near the router and has an ethernet connection to it, the second gets plugged in where you want a strong signal and you connect your repeater to it with an ethernet cable. You set up the repeater to work as a WAP (wireless access point) and away you go.


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RE: Wireless router problem

Get a new router from a store with a liberal return policy. I bet it's the router.


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RE: Wireless router problem

Snidley, my router only has G and I didn't even know you could get a router with both. I thought you had to chose. My router is set up in the worse possible place since the rest of the house on the other side of the brick former exterior wall is pretty open and all on one floor. There isn't a way to put the repeater in a straight shot but its in the closest spot to what you describe.

So I downloaded the inSSider and while it is very cool, I don't really understand the terminology. It does say I am on channel 11 (I had been on 6) and it says co-channel 1 network and 0 overlapping. But both of those are named home and are on channel 11. Is that my wireless printer?

Unless I am right in front of my router, the analizer says I have a weak connection and a low signal.

So my signal just dropped when I was sitting in front of the router but had my back between the laptop and router. So, pkponder, I think I will take a little trip to the Walmart tomorrow and buy a new router. If you have any suggestions on what kind, or the most powerful, please let me know.


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RE: Wireless router problem

I agree with pk, I'd try a different router. A different copy of the same one may be just fine. My experience is that the QC on routers, all brands, isn't often what is should be.

A Belkin N600 is surely an N router. Does your repeater handle both G and N, can it be set to just G? I think you need to connect to the router and double check settings while rummaging around.

Myself, I have a Linksys N (Cisco) router, but it can broadcast both G and N, and also dual band. I have N turned off because I have a G only repeater and I want the more distant users to connect to it and not to a feeble N signal. You might try doing the same, there's a slight chance that could be the problem.

If you put your laptop where the repeater is (and turn off the repeater), how's the signal strength from the router? If not good, you need to move either or both. You should know what signal is yours, in the router's settings you give your network signal a name (It's called SSID).

Report back what happens.


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RE: Wireless router problem

I bought a new router to test out and I will try to set it up this weekend and report back. But I will also check the repeater as I didn't realize it might not be a G compatible. I am learning so much.


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RE: Wireless router problem

Other way around, Bibbus, depending on the age of the repeater model it might not be N compatible. Mine isn't (meaning, it's G only), I got it just as the N standard was being finalized and this particular manufacturer (Hawking) kept it simple.

Try it both ways, it should be easy enough to change the settings on the router. See if it makes a difference, maybe it won't. Unless you have an old device connecting to the wifi signal, there's no setting necessary on the devices, they should pick out what they see that they can connect to. Remember to use your laptop to check out the signal in various locations, as I mentioned in the earlier post


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RE: Wireless router problem

So I installed the new router and it is much stronger in the bedroom but it is still weak in the other part of the house. InSSider recommended that I change to channel 11 and that I add more access points. So the router is a N600 model which was $14 more than the N300 and claimed to have a little greater range. There were more expensive models with higher numbers. Would I get more range if I spent more money? The info on the boxes in the store indicated they were for heavy users like gamers etc. What I care about is signal strength. One other question. Is the usb cord that goes from the router to the modem a regular usb cord or is it specially for that connection. I can't really move my pc but I might be able to string out the modem from the pc and then the router from the modem but it would be some long cord. That way I would have line of sight to the other part of the house which is through a door way.


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RE: Wireless router problem

I think that the router you chose is perfect for this application.Do you not have an ethernet connection from the modem to router? USB is not what I would consider ideal for speed or signal. I could be wrong, but I've not seen USB used in this application. After adding the router (or connecting it via ethernet cable), did you powercycle all of your equipment? This refreshes the connection and ensures the best possible connection and speed.

1. Turn off your computers and disconnect the power supply from the modem and router.
2. After 30-60 seconds plug in the modem and let the 'connection, ready or online' indicator light go steady.
3. Plug in the router and wait about 2 minutes.
4. turn on your computers and other networked equipment.


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RE: Wireless router problem

I misspoke. I meant the ethernet cable It is an ethernet cable, not USB. I did power off everything according to the directions when I installed the router. So it is very strange that while this router is more powerful �" I can see that �" I still can’t use it outside my bedroom. And the less powerful router I’ve had for many years did previously work in the rest of the house. I just can’t figure out what could have changed. There is some activity on other channels but nothing I can see that could be interfering. It’s so frustrating.


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RE: Wireless router problem

I was curious about, when Comcast installed did they provide a router / modem ?


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RE: Wireless router problem

Well, it seems that you've ruled out the router as a culprit. Did anything else change at the time that you originally lost connection outside of the bedroom?


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RE: Wireless router problem

Get a longer Ethernet cable. It can be up to 100 meters long between the modem and the router ... so about 300+ feet .
Move that wifi router somewhere else and try to find a happy medium.. Sometimes it only needs moved inches.

It could be that your laptop wifi lost some sensitivity. Its internal antenna came loose, corroded, or something. Or an update to it or windows has messed you up.


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RE: Wireless router problem

zep516 - Now that you mention it I have at times (but not at the same time my laptop stopped working on the porch) had modem failures and comcast told me I probably needed to have it replaced. But it works fine for about three weeks and then goes down. So i've been lazy and haven't taken it in to swap it out. Comcast isn't my fav company to deal with.

pkponder - I have wracked my brain and the only other thing that I know of that has changed is my ADT system got a trouble light a few weeks ago, maybe around the same time, but ADT told me that checking their records, they haven't had a signal from my home in a year... ADT is also not my favorite company since they continued to bill me. But the security system is wired not wireless, if that makes a difference. It is connected to my Comcast phone service though.

mikie - Well, I do have an older, refurbished laptop so that could be possible. There is no way to check the internal reception, is there? And windows update has messed me up on other minor settings before.

I will work on the things I have control over like the modem and the ethernet cable and see what happens. You guys (and gal) are awesome.


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RE: Wireless router problem

I'm BAAACK... With no good news. So I went to my company's main office and had our IT guy test my wireless reception and it matched his iPhone. He updated everything he could think of. So I came home and there is no change with my reception.

So I brought back a longer ethernet cord and chained the modem and the new router to get as close to line of sight as I can to the rest of the house. Unfortunately the doorway to the rest of the house is a little offset and its not completely possible to get a full straight on line of sight. But I can just barely see the router when I'm standing in the other room. No change in reception - I'm still only getting one bar and changing webpages takes SEVERAL seconds. I am so disappointed.

I'm down to one last option if this could make any difference. My modem is several years old and I can take it in and exchange it for a newer model. Could that make a difference? Any other ideas I can try? This is just so very strange. I'm losing hope...

This post was edited by bibbus on Sat, Nov 2, 13 at 22:05


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RE: Wireless router problem

how did your IT guy test wireless reception from someplace other than your home? It's been so long since I read your entire thread, but the issue involves more than one device, right?


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RE: Wireless router problem

Sorry for the delay - I had to ask him. He told me he used speedtest.net As for the number of devices, I primarily use a laptop but occasionally I do use my iPad. But I've had the iPad for more than a year and my usage on it hasn't changed. I'm not even sure if I always remember to connect it to my local wireless as it has service on it through verizon.


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RE: Wireless router problem

So, the IT guy tested the laptop and it was good with a decent signal.

You did the network powercycle that I posted way back, with the old router and again with the new router, right? This is an often ignored step, but IMO, crucial when new hardware is added to the network. It re-synchronizes all of the connections.

1. Turn off your computers and disconnect the power supply from the modem and router.
2. After 30-60 seconds plug in the modem and let the 'connection, ready or online' indicator light go steady.
3. Plug in the router and wait about 2 minutes.
4. turn on your computers and other networked equipment.


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RE: Wireless router problem

Still a complete mystery as to what happened, but after a nightmare experience last weekend with Comcast customer service, one of their techs came to my house today and used a work around to somewhat fix my problem. He tested everything and couldn't figure out why the signal ends at the bedroom door.

But he used some kind of little plug in squares that use the electrical outlets to put the Comcast wireless gateway modem in the bedroom and the new router in my living room. I do have to switch routers when I change rooms but I can live with that to get my reception back. Thanks so much for all your help and I learned a lot! Still wish I could figure out why I suddenly lost reception.


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RE: Wireless router problem

Those are wireline units, as I suggested in my very first post on Oct 17th.

Sorry if that wasn't clear. If they supplied them for free, you saved yourself a few bucks.


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RE: Wireless router problem

Sorry, I was only focused on finding the problem at that point but I didn't understand what you were talking about either! I didn't see them in the store I checked. But I did get them for free from Comcast!


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RE: Wireless router problem

Well they say lightning doesn't strike twice but I had another issue with my laptop wireless reception but fortunately this time I'm here to share a solution. I went on vacation to Mexico and the wireless in my hotel didn't work well - very low reception, especially when others were on it. So there is an internet cafe on the square and the owner does IT work. So I told him about my problem and he sold me a little gadget that is WONDERFUL. Its a TP Link wireless adapter, model tl-wn725n. I had to pay a premium price for this very cheap device ($9 on eBay and Staples online) but it was worth it for the huge increase in reception. I now am able to disconnect the wall warts and only use the router connected to my pf. I am back to my old reception level with this device. And it's the size of the plug for my wireless mouse. TP LINK is awesome!!


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