View Full Version : 802.11b troubleshooting

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
21-08-2003, 18:29:27
I recently bought a Wireless Access Point and PCMCIA card for a laptop for my home network. While in the same room, the signal strength and link quality fluctuate, but it usually keeps the laptop connected, if only at reduced speeds.

Problem is, I bought a PCI network card for the kids' PC, and the signal strength and link quality is close to 100% all the time - ontil I try transfering data to or from it, in which case it tends to lose connection completely. I pulled out the card and stuck it in my PC, and it works almost flawlessly, so I don't think it's the card or the access point that's the problem.

I tried building a deep dish parabolic antenna from cardboard and tinfoil :) but that didn't work too well (I wonder why?)

The kids PC is a crappy old Compaq Presario from about 4 years ago with some version of Windows 98 on it. It's situated maybe 5 years from the access point on the other side of the room (and I couldn't cable the wall since the ceiling is one of those stupid vaulted sheetrock-right-up-under-the-exterior-roof kind of deals) with a single piece of furniture (a sofa) in between LoS of the two antennas. Plus, the person sitting at the PC blocks the signal (but that shouldn't affect it, right? After all, the signal is strong until data transfer occurs).

I'm thinking about getting an antenna extension (the one I'm currently using for it is a 2dB antenna that screws into the PCI card exteranl to the case using a reverse SMA connection) with a 6-foot cable. Is the length of the cable going to degrade the signal, or pick up more interference? Is it the crap operating system that's the problem? Is my house awash with 2.4GHz interference?


21-08-2003, 20:27:45
It's situated maybe 5 years from the access point

Wow! You are able to use WiFi over 5 light years distance? Impressive! Perhaps you should try moving your lap-top further out!

I got a wifi card for my notebook, along with a WAP, a while back. I found that the signal strentgh bounce around tremendously, despite the fact that I was using the notebook from only 5 to 7 feet from the WAP. Very odd. I also found that almost anything other then sheet rock tended to block out the signal.

Of course, that was a simple PCMCIA card. Perhaps an external antenna would help, but I never got around to trying other layouts. It was just simpler to buy a new long ethernet cord to drop in on the WAP (as it was also a 4 port hub). Between lousy signal and the card putting the notebook over its heat tolerances and causing lock up, it was simplier.

However, I was able to transfer data easily enough between the notebook (on Wi-Fi) and my other computer (on regular 10/100 ethernet line) via the WAP/4 port hub. Never got around to trying them both on Wi-Fi though.

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
21-08-2003, 22:57:19
:lol: yards of course, not years. Either that or I'm way ahead of my time.

Your setup sounds a lot like mine, DS. We tried rearranging the furniture so there was clear line of sight, but the signal did exactly the same thing upon data transfer. I'm guessing it's the O/S, but I can't be sure, and I don't want to shell out for a new antenna for the thing if it's going to have no impact.

21-08-2003, 23:10:14
My wi-fi uses a dual diversity antenna integrated into the LCD panel of my laptop. My base station is diagonally across the house, two floors up, and I still have 100% (11Mbps) connection strength constantly.

22-08-2003, 15:06:40
I'm about to buy this


802.11g broadband router, with Ethernet/USB ADSL modem and 1 pci wireless card. :)

26-08-2003, 22:26:45
'1 pci wireless card' stops my pc from booting (even showing anything on screen) :cry:

other than that it works well (just not using the wireless bit). netgear stuff looks cool, very compact with a beveled silver finish.

26-08-2003, 23:23:21
Wow! Poor Nav! You have my condolenses.

27-08-2003, 20:48:47
aparrantly my motherboard needs to have a 2.2 compliant PCI Bus.

Does anyone know how to check that?

My pc is about 2 1/2 years old now (Athlon 1.2)

No longer Trippin
28-08-2003, 02:17:54
It should be 2.2 compliant, the PCI bus hasn't changed much over the years - though being 2 1/2 years old, I'd just check to make sure.

Use google and search for Sisoft Sandra, download it and after install and stuff, launch it, a bunch of icons will be in a window. Click on PCI, AGP Card Bus Information Icon. Sandra comes with a free version or a pay version. The free one still allows you access to that information though. It'll be in the top grouping of basic information, so you won't have to scroll down or anything.

28-08-2003, 08:12:52
802.11b is such a catchy name.

28-08-2003, 10:42:16
2.1 dammit. :bash:

cheers, trip

No longer Trippin
28-08-2003, 18:12:52
Sorry to hear that - like I said, it has changed little over the years... I couldn't even tell you the damned difference btw the two.

Due to 802.11b being rather new I don't think there would be much if any offerings to support the older 2.1 bus spec. out since they expect it to generally go on new computers. Googling or just searching a few manufacturer's pages couldn't hurt if you need it, or just want it badly - though with what I generally hear of it and what's posted here, it doesn't take much to kill the signal, so just an ethernet card would be just as well, and you probably have that already.

28-08-2003, 18:37:22
Buy some jiffy pop,
pop it,
carefully cut the foil loose from the bottom, be careful not to tear the foil too much around the vent hole,
dump the popcorn into a suitable container,
use the foil dome as a reflector for your signal.

28-08-2003, 20:28:42
an 802.11b card might work. I got an 802.11g. I'm currently connected via a standard ethernet cable, till I get a new motherboard / pc.

30-08-2003, 00:02:01

Trying to connect a Laptop (XP pro service pack 1) with a 802.11b cardbus adapter (D-Link-650+) to the internet via the 802.11g wireless router I have (Netgear WGR614).

Normal networking works fine, I'm able to see the other computer on the network, but I am unable to get the computer to 'see' the internet.

By setting the TCP/IP settings to automatic it gets an IP and points to the default gateway correctly, however auto DNS doesnt get the correct settings. Forcing the DNS doesnt seem to work either.

(I have got this working on my PC, so I know it should work)

This isn't a signal strength problem or anything (tried it at 6 inches!). Could it be a compatibility problem between the products or is Win XP just being a real shitter?

30-08-2003, 04:41:10
My Toshiba Windows XP notebook did just fine with my Syslink 802.11b PCMCIA card...

Now, to get my Big Box to be able to access the Toshiba, I had to set the Toshiba to allow it.

To get the Toshiba to see the internet, I had to call up my ISP and give them it's MAC. You've done that, right? Otherwise, your machine will get on your local net, but your ISP will block it out (not allow it). ISPs like to track that sort of thing... Humm... So, I ask you... on a direct connect to your modem or a via an Ethernet line to your local hub... does it see the Net beyond?

Other then that... you running your wireless access point keyed? Got the key entered in to your network connection on your notebook? I think you'd still get an IP from the 4 port/WAP (without a key), you just wouldn't be able to access anything without the key. But its been a while since I was messing about with that stuff so I could be COMPLETELY off base.

30-08-2003, 09:47:13
It's almost like there's a one user limit to using the network for internet sharing. Earlier I could get to the router controlpanel from the laptop when my PC wasn't connecting properly (somehow lost the DNS addresses). Now my PC is working on the internet, the Laptop can't see the controlpanel.

I doubt my ISP can stop me from seeing an internal device in my own network.. odd.

All the settings are right it should be working! aarrgh :bash:

30-08-2003, 10:03:18
yes, it is. I need a different kind of account with the ISP.

30-08-2003, 19:15:43
Ah. Well, good luck. My ISP hasn't gotten that choisy yet. Every way they can screw you for money, they will though. The truth of capitalism.

No longer Trippin
30-08-2003, 23:43:11
You need to firewall the first PC up really good, then run a network from it - dummy box it. Generally they can't tell if you set the "server" up right. Though one little screwup and they'll either drop you or just start pinging you to death like Cox does down here until they get in, then they just zap your damned HDD of everything internet related - email, IE, connection drivers, log files for software firewalls - and even sometimes hardware ones as well. They will get in... your running off their bandwidth, so they have a huge advantage in eventually just getting through a port eventually. Have a friend with literally a small book on logs from Cox when he tried to do that - it was setup almost good enough, he just ran too many comps at the same time from it which is what screwed him. Too much saturation caught their attention, they found he wasn't running with the full set of spyware, I mean drivers... told him to, he didn't, so they pinged him for days until they eventually broke through a hardware firewall, a heavily walled up dummy box, and a NAT router. Took them days, but they found an open port or just crashed it with one of the many security holes as even firewalls can be bypassed when you have enough bandwidth to ping a cable connection to where it won't connect, and soon as it does, it will crash within the hour. Bellsouth is even worse, they'll drag in the corporate servers from Atlanta to ping you as well as the "smaller" local one that is hosting you.

If you set it up right and don't have 10 people over gaming online from your network, your ok - if you have it setup slightly off and only use it from both connections twice, you probably will be bypassed - just if your tearing up bandwidth, they WILL dig regardless of the law.

31-08-2003, 02:40:41
Well, sounds like it might be worth talking to the Secret Service, FBI, or your local police department. If they are damaging your computer, that's a criminal violation of the law. They can ping you to death, and DoS you, as they can claim they are just trying to validate the end nodes off their network. But if they cause you damage in doing that, or "hack" your box, that's a criminal violation, and they are on the hook. If they always do it, it would be easy for the local police to sting them then. Not smart.

If they shut you down because of too much bandwidth usage, I'd take them to the Better Business Bureau. Most old style agreements do not have a bitcap, although they are moving in that direction. With a bitcap, they shouldn't try to crash you... merely not let you have any more bandwidth then your service agreement. Either way, crashing a computer is a criminal act, and if it causes you damage (costs you time) then small and moderate businesses will not want to use that provider. Complain to where it counts.

No longer Trippin
31-08-2003, 05:30:25
That's the bad thing, he was a damned idiot and didn't print the log files - though I saw them and looked them up... Cox servers, then when with Bell South, they dragged in New Orleans servers, but after they couldn't get a high enough ping rate, they had the corporate office in Atlanta banging on his door. In about 5 seconds that was all it took. He said the comp froze after 5 seconds of heavy HDD activity then stayed frozen, on reboot, all email was gone, all websites gone, his drivers for modem gone, outlook destroyed, and IE wouldn't work on any server which require a sevure hookup... Had to reformat as using XP's fix utility didn't work. Shows how much an MSCE is paper when he can't configure a damned firewall right - hell, his friend did (who's a good friend of mine, and he's only MCE or something like that along with a+). He had the hardware to lock it up good, just was too dumb to configure it the best and was also dumb in pulling heavy bandwidth for any business. Games on one machine which he played while my friend built the comps (his parents gave him the money to start the shop up, fucking retarded since he did no work) did all the onsite stuff, and the networking stuff that he shouldn't have been doing to keep their certs for public display to say the least. I mean a dedicated firewall (nice one, can't recall the brand, but it wasn't the linksys garbage), a dummy setup with serveral firewalls, then a NAT router, then his server, and from their he had a 20 point hub that was half full. Thus he was pulling a ton daily from movies, gaming, mp3s, and the occassional legitimate shit. So he deserved it, especially since he was too stupid to print out the logs - saying that they were safe since the firewalls were stopping it (yet it was hitting his server on every few dozen pings of some ports, so they were close to getting in early one - idiot - could have made himself a decent bit of cash. I just could tell that by looking up the addresses (which he didn't know how to do :rolleyes: (MCSE he is supposed to be), and didn't know his own internal addresses, I had to get them from my friend to see what was what. So he fucked himself with his own incompetence... I told him it was illegal and he had a case, he just wanted to "build more evidence" yet didn't back up.... lost even account information on what was sold and to whom along with stock. Rather vicious fucking program they used if in 5 seconds it does that - more likely it got in and they just found everything, then erased it all at once. Stupid is as stupid does.

31-08-2003, 11:30:14
Actually I phoned my provider and they said my setup should work. figure that.

No longer Trippin
31-08-2003, 19:15:37
Oh, DS - he had a commercial liscence... just that he was too ignorant to install the full setup of software needed and installed the consumer version so to speak. The commercial one had a monitoring program according to him which was killing his connection speed. I asked how often it went out or tried to (firewall blocked it), and he said once every hour. Asked the size - he didn't know. Fucking retard. Cox he had a home license, hence why he got booted, bell south he just had to install the software. He still thinks it's spyware - but if it was, it would be awfully bloated for spyware. Asked a friend who worked for a large ISP that does broadband what the file set could be calling out for - it's to check to make sure that all the computers in the network are working, so if they get a complaint call, they already know when the phone idiot pulls up the records - thus saving them a bit of time. Spyware my ass. I'm sure it might send simple system specs / internal IP addresses, but thats about it. but whether or not your downloading mp3's - no. He got what he deserved. They asked him to comply (to save them money which they can (doesn't mean they will) pass down to the consumer to stay more competitve and be a little bit more of a help when a technician has to come in and fix some moronic problem. Idiot - just cause it goes out doesn't mean that it's bad. Hell, IE goes out all the time with no restrictions pretty much - if they wanted something to go out unknowingly, they'd just bundle it with their own version of NS or IE and nobody would be the wiser. Retard.

Not saying Bell South or Cox should have screwed him like they did, as that is criminal and he lost a lot of business info, especially when Bell South got pissed, they wiped the server, his main comp, and all comps in the shop on that LAN. Cox just pretty much bitch slapped the server then dropped them contract wise as Cox just didn't want a certain port blocked for them - again, that is how they scan the internal network, and with the firewall he had he could have set it up for just their IP as they did provide it. Bell South made him pay to even get out the contract (commercial, 2 years, in it for 3 months, do the math there) - which I wouldnt have done but he did. I would have repeated it and watched them do something illegal and bloody print it. Granted you'd have to pay som BS fine for not agreeing to their EULA or whatever, but they'd be paying a whole lot more for what they were doing. I'm counting several felonies off the top of my head (but it being in LA - bellsouth would have gotten off with his incompetence, we're just too damned corrupt - you haev to be on the ball when playing against the big boys majorly here).