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Thread: Wifi dropout trouble

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Unhappy Wifi dropout trouble


    Writing here in hope of some tips on how to stabilize a very unstable
    wifi network.

    I'm in a building with 5-10 active access points at all times. Half of them
    are unsecured, which is the way some of us like to keep it.

    The problem:

    1. Frequent dropouts according to the WinXP WIFI Network Connector
    2. It might be stable for hours, and then go wild for minutes or longer
    3. It affects me as well as several of my neightbors
    4. Sometimes the XP Network Connector will report "not connected"
    even though I have contact and can surf the net
    5. Sometimes it will report "connected", and I have IP, can ping the
    gateway fine, but is unable to go any further
    6. Sometimes trying to reconnect it will just sit there trying..and trying..
    7. Sometimes it will reconnect, but then fail to obtain an IP
    8. Trying to hook up to neighboor's wifi nets sometimes succeeds,
    sometimes fails
    9. Rebooting will often help, especially to remedy point 6 and 7 -- at least
    for a while
    10. Sometimes, apparently when the net goes wild, Network Stumbler
    will show one or several access points erraticly dropping in and out
    11.The XP Network Connector will also erraticly show/hide different
    wifi nets clicking the "refresh" task in those situations
    12. The problem was -worse- before we got people to put in SSIDs and
    change channels, but is far from gone

    Some facts:

    1. My NIC is a DLink DWL520+. I had no problems in my previous flat.
    2. All the wifi nets have unique SSID's and most are spread out on
    different channels (although some overlap on channel 6)
    3. Network stumbler report a stable 66-74db signal on all the wifi nets
    4. The XP Network Connector also report strong signals
    5. The access points are mostly a mix of Linksys, Dlinks and 3Coms.

    Does anyone have a clue as to what the cause(s) may be?

    What also puzzles me are how sometimes nets are not shown on the XP Network Connector, but checking with Network Stumbler the nets look
    strong, stable and fine. Is XP inaccurate?

    Also, does anyone know a way to control the wifi settings in Windows
    XP? The options on the DLink driver seems to have little or no effect,
    and there is no control panel applet or obvious place in the registry to
    change settings. All in all I think XP provides far too few options in
    this department.

    Last question: Network Stumbler would be prefect had it also had the ability
    to connect to the different APs/wifi nets by clicking on them, bypassing the
    need for the XP Network Connector alltoghether. Anyone know of a utility that
    has this ability?

    Thank's in advance for *any* input.


  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    It sounds to me like your problems are caused by being in a building with 5-10 access points, each one apparently managed by independent parties.

    With several access points operating on the same channel within range of each other, each one of them will cause interference for the others. It also sounds like your signal is jumping from one AP to another while the AP's are battling for air time.

    It is not very clear if this is an apartment building, office space, or just how many separate WI-FI networks are involved. But the only way of resolving it is to gather that information and map out a "plan" for the networks so that AP's within range of each other are not using the same channels, SSID's, or names.

    Once the interference issues are resolved and "normal" radio signals are present, if there was a need to connect to an AP on an adjacent network (with permission) NIC's could be configured to roam.

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