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Rifleman
Premium
join:2004-02-09
p1a

Why does my wireless adapter suck?

I've got a newer MSI GT780DX that has an Intel Centrino Wireless N-130. It contantly loses the signal but I am maybe 15 feet away from the router. The router is in the basement but I'm practically on top of it on the main floor.

BlitzenZeus
Burnt Out Cynic
Premium
join:2000-01-13
kudos:4
Most likely metal shielding the signal, like aluminum vents, and things of that nature.


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
reply to Rifleman
I can't really help diagnose wireless problems (I find wireless to be too unreliable/spotty as is), but this might explain your problem. See figure 8 specifically.

Most antennas I've seen used on routers are omni-directional, which means -- depending on how the user chose to position them -- may only be covering an area horizontally. So if you're directly above the router.......

There's also the issue of many routers having generally low transmit power by default. Router vendors tend to choose low power to keep the FCC happy and so on -- and I will state right here and now that too much transmit power can actually cause serious problems (excess noise/stomping over everyone elses wireless signals). The whole idea is to "play nice". I tend to set my router to output 100mW, though I could get along fine with 75mW too. My routers' default is 14mW.

My recommendation to you would be to install inSSIDer and run it. Hide the other SSIDs from other peoples' networks so you get a graph of just your own. You'll get an idea of what your signal level is like to your router. Walk around with your laptop to get an idea of what areas are covered and which aren't.

And alternately, if you have a known laptop whose wireless works good or know someone with such a laptop, have them come over and see what their signal is like in the same position as your laptop. If yours sucks and theirs is good, then you know it's not necessarily the router but is more likely a driver-level quirk or something physically wrong with your laptop (shoddy antennas, partially connected antenna, too much interference from surrounding components, bad miniPCI card, etc.).

HTH, or at least gives you some things to try + use to investigate/troubleshoot.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


sbconslt

join:2009-07-28
Los Angeles, CA
reply to Rifleman
Get your updated drivers from Intel too, it may not be that but it ain't gonna hurt.
--
Scott Brown Consulting


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
said by sbconslt:

Get your updated drivers from Intel too, it may not be that but it ain't gonna hurt.

This is actually incredibly applicable.

Intel's wireless drivers, at least for some wifi NIC models, have been known to have bugs in them (historically (e.g. 3-4 years ago)) where performance/signal dropped horrendously. I believe this was tracked down to a problem pertaining to power-saving capabilities of the NIC being aggressively enforced (despite what was chosen in Windows). Our IT dept. at my previous job, when Windows 7 was rolled out, started getting tons of reports of wireless drop-outs and most of them were attributed to said driver bug. Thankfully Intel keeps driver changelogs. I believe the issue I'm referring to was specific to the 3945ABG.

So yes, driver version matters quite a bit!
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


sbconslt

join:2009-07-28
Los Angeles, CA
Intel serves them here »downloadcenter.intel.com/default ··· ult.aspx

Select "Wireless Networking" under product family.

Usually new driver versions are available here months before manufacturers' support departments repackage them.


Rifleman
Premium
join:2004-02-09
p1a
reply to Rifleman
Thanks--I updated me drivers but still drops off all the time. I'll try to relocate the router.