Wi-Fi....Why you no worky ? (signal dropouts) [Solved]

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Wi-Fi....Why you no worky ? (signal dropouts) [Solved]

Postby GeordieJedi » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:20 pm

Hi there. I hope you're all well.

I have a frustrating problem with the Wi-Fi on my laptop at the moment.
This is driving me up the wall.

The Wi-Fi keeps dropping connection.

It will work for a while then drop out (it often shows good/full signal strength too
when this is happening).

My phone is not having these dropouts nor is my main PC or my flatmates PC either.

The only change I've made is the following - Location.

I normally use my laptop on my knees on my chair or bed and I usually use my desktop PC
at my desk (which has a raised shelf for my monitor and the PC case is 2ft away on
a trolly/shelf).
The laptop is now sitting where the monitor is usually situated, on the shelf.
The PC and monitor are sitting to the left of the laptop. The PC case is a big metal
jobbie (I thought the metal case might be causing interfeerence).

I'm beggining to think it might be the inbuilt Wi-Fi card in the laptop. However
My machine is only almost 2yrs old (but seriously, its brand spanking new. It's only
had around 2-3 months use maximum. Like I say I normally prefer to use my desktop).

I do have the Wi-Fi turned on all the time when using the laptop (as I'm mostly going
to be online). I was also considering that the inbuilt card might be overheating,
but I always use a fan-based cooling pad underneath the laptop.

I also have a couple of USB Wi-fi dongles that I could test instead of the inbulit
Wi-fi cards, to see if the drop outs still occour.

Relevant info

Laptop = Medion Akoya E7214 (MD 98360)
Wi-Fi chipset =
Realtek RTL8191SE Wireless lan 802.11n PCI-E NIC
Atheros AR8131 PCI-E Gigabit ethernet controller (NDIS 6.20)

ISP = Virgin media
Modem = Virgin superhub (in bridged mode at the moment)
Router = Linksys WRT54GC

Any help would be greatfull appreciated.

Last edited by GeordieJedi on Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MartyBartfast » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:45 pm

If you suspect the change of location might be at the bottom of this then that's easily confirmed - go back to using it where it was always stable (on your lap/in bed) if the drop-outs stop then it's most likely the location, if the drop-outs persist then it's probably nothing to do with the change of location.

As for the rest, how often does it drop out, and when it does how do you get it back again?
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Postby Bruno » Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:15 pm

Hi GeordieJedi,

What is the approximate distance between each wireless device and the router? Is there anything in the way, such as walls, floors, doors etc. and if so, from what are these things made? Wood and plasterboard are very permeable to 2.4 GHz radio waves but concrete isn't, due to any metal and trapped water it can/will contain. What has changed in these regards with the change of your laptop's location?

One other thing, how many neighbours do you have and how far away do they live? You may find that there are several near-by routers and access points that are all on the same WiFi channel. I recently had this problem and moving my router's WiFi channel into a clear part of the spectrum has helped. Channel 9 is also the most susceptible to interference from badly constructed microwave ovens.

In terms of how to find out what channels are clear, I used inSSIDer on my windows xp partition. Sorry to let the side down here, but I was struggling to find anything as good and as graphical for Linux. Suggestions would be gratefully received as installing .NET 3.5 AND all its service packs and updates (a requirement of inSSIDer) will take well over an hour. :(
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Postby einonm » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:10 am

It could be a kernel driver issue - which version of the kernel are you using, and has it been updated recently?
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Postby GeordieJedi » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:01 pm

Hi guys, thanks very much for the replies.

OK, well I discovered it wasn't the location !

I spoke to my flatmate again and he then said that he'd been having the same issues.

I then re-evaluated my equipment. My phone was getting the same dropouts.
(I thought it was only losing some signal strength not the entire signal itself.
However it turns out I was losing full signal strength and getting complete dropouts too).

So I narrowed it down to the router itself.

We also had a total loss of internet for 3 days. The virgin engineers came out and fixed it.
After they did that and we setup the new superhub (with a working Wi-Fi chip this time !!)
things have gone back to normal.

It was the old linksys router (served me faithfully for 5yrs bless her !).

So, once again thanks to everyone for all the help, it's much appreciated :-D
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