Wireless suddenly flaky - thoughts?

Discussion in 'Home Networking' started by Kevin Ashley, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. Kevin Ashley

    Kevin Ashley Guest

    I have a problem that seems depressingly similar to others reported
    here recently, although not similar enough that I think the
    answers are the same. I have some thoughts about how to proceed but
    would like any informed opinion on what might be most fruitful
    before I put too much time into what may be a pointless investigation.

    I have been using a wireless network at home (in conjunction with
    a wired one) for just over 18 months and until last Saturday
    it worked flawlessly. It is made up of a Binatone 802.11b+ WAP
    and is used regularly by one desktop with a Belkin 802.11b PCI
    card, one laptop with a Binatone PCMCIA card which came with the access
    point and two with a Belkin 802.11b PCMCIA card. Occasional
    family visitors also use their laptops.

    Last Saturday one of the laptops (with the Belkin card) had
    great problems connecting to it, but eventually succeeded.
    I wasn't able to find out more about this as my wife only
    mentioned it after she had got it working. I then noticed
    severe problems with my laptop which uses the Binatone card.
    It was failing to do anything useful in a part of the house
    where it usually had no problems, and reporting occasional
    disconnects. Closer investigation showed that it would
    connect, and report signal strengths and link quality between
    90% - 100%, but the link quality would then rapidly decline
    over 10 seconds or so until it reached zero. This persists for
    a few seconds and then the cycle would start again. The desktop
    machine showed similar symptoms. They persisted throughout
    Sunday. For a few hours on Monday, all appeared to be OK
    again and then the same symptoms reappeared.

    Looking at the access point management pages and logs wasn't
    very informative, except that the access point seemed to be
    restarting itself fairly frequently. I had not observed this
    behaviour before.

    There isn't any new equipment in the house (such as microwave
    or DECT phone) that wasn't present before. One thought is that
    a near neighbour may have acquired a wireless network and there's
    interference. I'm going to try asking around, if only because I
    think we all could do with coordinating things like what channel
    we use. I was also going to try varying the channel I use to see
    if it makes a difference, but I'm not sure if there's a sensible
    strategy to choose for this (I currently use channel 6.)

    The other thought is that the WAP is suffering some sort of attack
    on its web management interface which is causing it grief. It has
    a real (i.e. non-NATed) IP address and one of its flaws when it
    was working was that the web interface would seize up after a while.
    That is, the network was OK but you couldn't get a connection
    from the web management interface unless you power-cycled the
    device. I'm going to monitor the wired LAN to see if I can
    spot any evidence of this.

    Any other thoughts on what might be up? Any other suggestions as
    to what I might investigate ?

    All ideas appreciated.
    Kevin Ashley, Aug 16, 2005
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  2. Kevin Ashley

    deKay Guest

    Soni tempori elseu romani yeof helsforo nisson ol sefini ill des Tue, 16 Aug
    2005 17:14:39 +0100, sefini jorgo geanyet des mani yeof do
    uk.comp.home-networking, yawatina tan reek esk Kevin Ashley
    Maybe one of your neighbours has just bought a video sender device?

    deKay, Aug 16, 2005
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  3. try channel 1, as most stuff seems to default to 6 (middle of US
    speeds) or 11. 1 has the lowest frequency and hence goes a tad
    further. Otherwise try 13 - well away from where you started and not
    available on some kit (US only goes up to 11).

    Phil Thompson, Aug 16, 2005
  4. Kevin Ashley

    Kevin Ashley Guest

    Good thought - I had forgotten they used the same bit of the radio
    spectrum. The timing fits well too. I'm not too familiar with
    how controllable they are - do they also have the ability to select
    channels to broadcast on or do they use a wider bit of spectrum than
    802.11b kit ?

    I ask because my neighbours are generally a cooperative bunch
    of folks and I'm sure will be willing to cooperate in a planned
    scheme for using different bits of spectrum for wireless networking
    and video stuff and anything else relevant if I can find
    a technically feasible solution.
    Kevin Ashley, Aug 17, 2005
  5. Kevin Ashley

    Kevin Ashley Guest

    I'll give that a go tonight. deKay's suggestion that a video
    sender might be responsible seems quite likely, and I'm not
    going to spot that with any wireless network survey utilities.

    Thanks for the suggestion.
    Kevin Ashley, Aug 17, 2005
  6. Kevin Ashley

    deKay Guest

    Soni tempori elseu romani yeof helsforo nisson ol sefini ill des Wed, 17 Aug
    2005 10:47:30 +0100, sefini jorgo geanyet des mani yeof do
    uk.comp.home-networking, yawatina tan reek esk Kevin Ashley
    The ones I have seen (cheap ones in Asda) don't have any settings on them at
    all, which mean you might have to alter your side of things.
    I don't know. It might even vary from box to box.

    deKay, Aug 17, 2005
  7. Kevin Ashley

    Kevin Ashley Guest

    In case anyone else is interested, this does seem to have solved the
    problem for now. The access point has stopped rebooting regularly
    and reliable contact has been restored for the 3 machines using it
    regularly. Now to coordinate with the neighbours to see if we can
    prevent this happening again in the near future...

    Thanks for all the suggestions offered.
    Kevin Ashley, Aug 18, 2005
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