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Thread: WiFi setup tips and problems

  1. #1
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    Unhappy WiFi setup tips and problems

    Hello everyone.

    I am currently stationed in Iraq and I get my internet wirelessly from an internet provider who in turn gets his internet from a big provider in the city who leases a line from a large satellite company in the UK or Germany or wherever in Europe.

    I am the last in the chain to get the internet off of these guys. Some internet providers choose to skip the first guy and buy their own satellite dish and deal straight with the UK/DE internet provider.

    Anyways. My setup is like this: On my desktop machine which I am using as a gateway to my laptop. I have turned on Windows ICS and connected a LAN cable to my laptop. .. On this desktop I have a Dlink DWL-G520+ card. This card is connected to an R P-SMA-Male to N-Female connector. Then connected to a LMxx Coaxial RG cable which is connected to a Hyperlink Parabolic 24dbi antenna. (I hope I got these names right).

    Now comes the annoying part. The configuration:
    The way I have the dlink card setup is pretty simple. Through the dlink utility I have selected: Short Preamble, 54meg TX and speed enhanced mode Enabled. **Picture 1**


    If I were to go into the device manager and select the advanced settings for the card I am faced with many options. For example D-Link has an option that says ďDesired TX PowerĒ and the options are Auto, Level 1 through 5. No real explanation as to what is 1 through 5.
    Of course there are more settings as you can see in the picture. **Picture 2**


    Another thing I did was use TCP-Optimizer to fix my MTU and other values. I selected the optimal settings. And yes I did notice an improvement.

    Now comes the real part which I need help with.

    My ping times are decent. Here is an example: (this is the ping from my laptop to the internet provider). Same results are seen if I ping from the desktop/gateway


    Pinging 192.168.1.1 with 32 bytes of data:

    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=55ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=226ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=69ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=24ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=56ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=144ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=49ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=11ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=165ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=133ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=196ms TTL=63

    At times I face the dreaded Request Time Out but most of the time its ok.

    Now the speed part.
    The provider has given me the following speeds (Or so he says. No way for me to really verify). 256kb Down and 128kb (yes. Thatís kb NOT KB).

    According to Google earth I am about 1.35 Kilometers away from the internet provider.

    I am not expecting Cable modem speeds or even a T1 but I am having pains at times opening pages. I can tell thereís a lag getting to the DNS server because once a website URL is open its smooth sailing from there so what I have done to work around that is use an anonymous proxy server. Sometimes I turn it off and go straight to the provider.

    Different scenarios at timesÖ
    I try to open google.com and I get a Firefox error saying Server Not found or The connection has timed out error.
    I enter in a proxy from an anonymous proxy list and I can load google.com
    But when I when I ping I get a reply. OR
    I donít get a web page. I donít get a ping but when I check the dlink utility I see thereís an active connection going which leads me to believe that his server maybe down.

    Ok so thatís 1 problem. The biggest one I am suffering from is this: when I download something in the background or have one webpage open and try to open another I am smacked with an error. Itís as if its saying to me that I can only do one thing at one time.

    I donít know if this is windows ICS not distributing the bandwith properly OR I am reaching my bandwith cap limit

    I am no expert on wireless.

    How should I have the desktop machine setup?

    Is there a conflict between the power of the antenna and the lame dlink card?

    What can I do to improve my performance? According to the provider heís given me the highest speeds he can give a subscriber.



    I can say that at times I do notice things are going fast but for the most part they are a pain.

    In regards to interference. Ha. Well thatís a crazy one. If I use network stumbler and scan the area I can pickup LOTS of internet providers. It seems thatís the business to be in here in Iraq right now.

    My provider is using channel 6. At the moment I am seeing about 4 (or more at times) other signals on the same channel.

  2. #2
    Dr Tweak mnosteele52's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Forums , the first thing I can tell you is that Dlink wireless cards are terrible, but there are a few things you can do to improve things.

    Don't use Dlink's drivers or their wireless utility, uninstall them both, they are the worst. That card should have an atheros chipset, so use the drivers from HERE, those alone will likely help tremendously. Just download the file and you will have a folder with the .inf file for the drivers, direct it to that folder and manually install them. Then use XP's wireless setup for everything, since SP2 it is simple to use and works perfect.


  3. #3
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    mnosteele52.

    thanks for the reply.
    windows doesnt want to use those drivers. it says: "The specified location does not contain information about your hardware"

    I read here that this card uses the TI TNETW1130 drivers.

    now the question is where to find the best TI drivers...

  4. #4
    Dr Tweak mnosteele52's Avatar
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    It's funny you say that Windows doesn't want to use the drivers, that's what my brother had told me happened to him when he tried to install them. I think what you have to do is manually install them, instead of directing it to that folder choose the option "don't search I will choose the drivers to install", then see if they work. I have used them 3 times already and they worked great and showed a marked improvement.


  5. #5
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    thats exactly what i did.
    here are the steps that i am doing:

    1) clicking Update driver
    2) No, not this time. (for the windows update crap)
    3) Install from a list or specific loaction (advanced)
    4) Dont search. I will choose the driver to install
    5) Have Disk - Browse then select the drivers.
    and then i get the error.

    i can tell you this. right now if i go into device manger and click on the current driver information it says "Gplus.sys" -- Provider: Texas Instruments

    so based on the info that it uses the TI TNETW1130 chipset i found two cards that have that. The Trendnet TEW-423PI.
    so i downloaded those drivers and they gave me the same error ..

    i also found the USR5416 802.11g Wireless Turbo PCI Adapter
    (USR805416)
    and those drivers dont work .. at first i couldnt isntall them but i managed to do so through safe mode then when i reboot into normal windows it locks up at the load screen so they dont work.

    i am starting to think maybe this card doesnt have this chipset? (The TI)

    so i did some more reading and found this quote:
    Your G520"+" has TI ACX111-Chipset like USR 5416/5410, Asus WL138g and many more. ......
    Greetings,
    Daniel


    that comment above doesnt exactly make sense because when i tried the USR drivers my system would lock up. i tried the asus drivers and those give me the same error as the atheros drivers. windows doesnt like them.

    i dont know what else to try. i wish i had a utility like the linux one that can show me the actual firmware/name of the pci card...

    UPDATE:

    i did find drivers that DO work besides the dlink crap.
    aparently the card has a ACX111 chipset ..
    the drivers that i got are from Airlinkplus. the model # is: AWLH3025.
    Only issue is these are outdated and kinda old.
    if you know of a card that has new drivers based on this chipset i'd appreciate it.

    UPDATE 2:
    I managed to get the USR drivers to work. they appear to have this "125meg" thing which i hope will come in handy.
    Last edited by cylent; 04-03-06 at 08:13 PM.

  6. #6
    Dr Tweak mnosteele52's Avatar
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    Glad you got them to work, I was wrong about it having an atheros chipset, most Dlink cards do. Is it working better now?


  7. #7
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    I dont know for sure about that. I tried three different drivers/utilities.
    The netgear version, the very basic airlink, and the USR version.

    The USR version uses the same basic utility as the DLINK with different colors and a few extra buttons. It also claims it can do packet bursting and can connect at 125megs. Signal strength is about 85%+

    The Netgear version is nice however it dropped the signal to 60%!!! I dont know why.

    The Airlink has its own design and uses the very basic TNET1130.sys file and can connect at the same signal strength as the USR.

    so. i left the USR version installed at the moment.

    and no i am not really noticing any major speed improvements over the dlink drivers because as it turns out they may all be using the same driver with either a different name or a different utility interface.

    also in device manager the settings for the card are all the same whether i use the dlink, netgear, usr, or airlink. this leads me to believe what i said above is true. same driver with different name and perhaps a few customization here and there.

  8. #8
    Dr Tweak mnosteele52's Avatar
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    Do not use any utilities, they do more harm than good, simply use XP's built in wireless setup.


  9. #9
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    With the mess of combining already weak wireless, with Windows ICS...ugh. I can't stand Windows ICS on a good fast setup...not to mention a touchy faint wireless.

    If you are stuck with that particular setup for a long period of time, I'd look at getting an access point that can act as a bridge...have that link to your para antenna out on the window....then uplink your two rigs using ethernet.
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
    Guinness for Strength!!!

  10. #10
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    i am a linux guru and i would LOVE to slap linux on the server and call it a day. in fact i used to have an access point before with this windows box being a smoothwall box and things couldnt be better thanks to the dns and proxy cache.

    i had to ditch that setup because the dlink ap i used to use was borrowed and it was causing problems so here i am in windows using a dlink pci wireless card and ICS.

    i have tried wingate and winproxy and also nat32.

    all failed except for wingate which worked ok but i noticed it was creating more delays.

  11. #11
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Hmm...well I'd give smoothwall or m0n0wall or IPCop a shot before continuing with ICS. I flat out just don't like the base Windows ICS. I generally don't like any software ICS solution running on a desktop OS..the only software ICS I don't mind is a full blown server solutin like ISA. Else...I'm a firm believer is going after the hardware approach of sharing an internet connection..and that's a router. Course in your unique situation you're at the end of just a wireless LAN...not even Motorola Canopy or WIMAX which should be what's being used in this situation..but it appears you're just on a wireless LAN.

    Unfortunately your situation seems so unique...I hate suggesting trying different things..but that might have to be the path you need to take. I don't know your budget, or what your ability to acquire hardware is. But things to perhaps look at....
    Hi Gain receivers....something like
    http://www.hawkingtech.com/products/index.php?CatID=32
    Or even this bad boy...
    http://www.hawkingtech.com/products/...=60&ProdID=280
    Course the latter one here requires a USB connection...which might limit your use...dunno if some *nix router distro like smoothwall would work with it. But maybe for your ICS.

    I think the cheapest thing to try that I would be try is to snag a router that supports WDS/Bridging....set it up with a hi gain antenna connected to it hung outside...and CAT5 your rigs to it.

    In my experience, native Windows ICS is wonky and a pain on a good day, on a good connection. It's hard to get it running reliably...not to mention introduce a flakey weak connection to it..and tossing tons of different NICs and drivers into the mix.
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
    Guinness for Strength!!!

  12. #12
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    ya. unfortunately i am going to have to forget about the access point at this time because its not in the budget.

    i like the hawking devices.
    i used to have a pretty powerful external wifi adapter. it was from SENAO. 23dbs ... http://melbourne.wireless.org.au/wiki/?Senao-NUB362

    great powerful little thing. in fact if i even connect it to my para.. antenna it doesnt do much for it.

    problem with those usb adapters is i have to use windows. linux is very difficult if not impossible cause of drivers.

    as much as i hate ICS (like you) i can say that its been going on (working) for the last few days with little problems.

  13. #13
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    Check your MTU

    Your ping times look very unstable indicating bandwidth saturation or
    packet loss.

    Do a ping -f -l 1472 to your local and remote gateway to verify that
    your packets are not being fragmented on the way out. 1500 bytes, sans
    header, is the normal ethernet MTU (maximum transfer unit). If you get
    fragmentation ping with lower values until they go through and then
    set the corresponding MTU value in registry - then reboot.

    Find your Dlink Interface here:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces

    ..and put in a DWORD named MTU and set it to the value you pinged successfully.



    Regards...

  14. #14
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    Thanks.

    anything higher than 1472 gives me a "Packet needs to be fragmented but DF set"

    these are the results from 1472:

    Code:
    C:\Documents and Settings\paul>ping 192.168.1.1 -f -l 1472
    
    Pinging 192.168.1.1 with 1472 bytes of data:
    
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=1472 time=37ms TTL=64
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=1472 time=65ms TTL=64
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=1472 time=7ms TTL=64
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=1472 time=32ms TTL=64
    
    Ping statistics for 192.168.1.1:
        Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
    Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
        Minimum = 7ms, Maximum = 65ms, Average = 35ms
    still jumpy but thats the best i can do

    i found out even ping 192.168.0.1 (the windows ICS box) is causing fragments so i set it to 1472 also. how odd. i thought with a local lan 1500 should work but i guess it needed to be lowered.

    ok so now my ping after setting mtu to 1472 looks like this:
    Code:
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=11ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=8ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=17ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=14ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=37ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=204ms TTL=63
    Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=63
    Last edited by cylent; 04-10-06 at 01:10 AM.

  15. #15
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    Hi,

    I was a little unclear there. An MTU of 1500 equals 1472 in practise
    because the header is added. So 1472 is the maximum you can send/ping
    when your MTU is set to 1500 -- so your original config looks ok and you might want to delete the MTU DWORD from the registry (its absence meaning
    the default value of 1500).

    However, you mention both x.x.0.1 and x.x.1.1 gateways there, but both
    pings show x.x.1.1. Does pinging your x.x.0.1 (Windows ICS) also show
    erratic pingtimes?


    Regards...

  16. #16
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    ya. 0.1 is the ics box
    and 1.1 is the isp.

    anyways. last night apparently my isp was having internet problems which somehow is affecting my ping to their server. it doesnt make sense much but in any case. i spent the last 6 or so hours redoing mtu numbers .. i finally settled on 1400 which is not fragmenting or so it says. even though i am still getting request time out but very little. like once every 30 or so pings.

    whats odd is 1472 worked before. why would it fragment now? why did i need to drop the number again?

    this is one hell of a headache ...
    Last edited by cylent; 04-11-06 at 07:24 AM.

  17. #17
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    Hi,

    Sounds strange, yes. Here's what I'd do:

    - Set your MTU back to 1500 and reboot
    - Ping your ICS box with 1472 byte packets.
    Is it stable and in the 1-3ms range?
    If yes, then your PC and ICS box is ok.
    If not, you might have local interference or setup trouble.

    - Then ping your ISP GW with 1472.
    Does it fragment? If so they might have changed MTU alltogether.
    I would email or call them to verify 100%.
    - Based on that I'd lower my MTU accordingly.


    Regards...

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