Daily Archives: 7 June 2004

WiFizzeled

I’ve been using the Linksys
WRT54GS
wireless router/access point for a little over a
month now and find that I can’t get much use out it. I don’t
know why, but as more of my neighbors fire up their own access
points (there are now at least two others within range of the
Seto Shack), the Linksys signal strength goes down until the
connection is lost.

At first, I thought I had configured things wrong but after
trying everything I could think of or find on the Internet, I
noticed that as the number of other access points went up, my
signal strength went down. Note, some sites
talk about RF
interference from cordless phones or even microwave ovens. But
I don’t think that’s the source of my problem.

Here’s why. When no one else has their access point powered,
I get what the Linksys software says is “good” to “excellent”
signal strength. But when one neighbor goes online, signal
strength immediately drops to “poor”. When the second access
point comes on, signal strength goes to zero and my connection
is lost.

The big question is why is this happening. Some people said
to change channels or to use specific channels like 1, 6, or
11. So I did, even though none of the access points were on the
same channel. So, of course, changing that did nothing. Others
have said to change various other settings but none made a
difference.

There have been reports (here, and
here
) that, in fact, having more than one access point
within range does cause interference. But they also say to
change channels.

Surely, the 802.11 standards
committee would have anticipated environments with more than
one access point. Surely, they would not have created a
standard that allows the presence of other access points to
negatively affect the performance of others even when
on different channels
. This is such a basic problem
that surely it would have been solved by now by using, for
example, spread-spectrum technology, long in use in the
cordless phone world. Right?

Perhaps. Maybe I should switch to another brand of access
point? I’ve heard good things about the Microsoft offering but,
of course, they’ve since stopped making them. What I need to
know is if anyone lives in a similar environment to mine in
which at least two other access points are nearby, all on
different channels, and whereby they all get good access.

So, if you live in a such an environment and are getting
good reception, let me know what brand of access point/laptop
card you are using. Thanks.

Aloha!

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