Wireless router intermittent

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Game_boy
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Wireless router intermittent

Postby Game_boy » Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:51 pm UTC

I have a laptop and I'm connecting to a BT wireless router.

About ten seconds out of each minute in a continguous block, ping requests through the router time out, to multiple sites. Ping usually looks like:

response ping=20ms
response ping=20ms
response ping=20ms
request timed out
request timed out
response ping=500ms
response ping=20ms
response ping=20ms
response ping=20ms
request timed out
...

The signal strength remains on all bars throughout and there is no Windows indicator that the connection is dropped. In all tests I am sitting with a 5ft direct line of sight to the router, but same happens wherever I go in the house.
The laptop has previously worked on said router, I've been away a few months.
Other laptops have no problem.
This laptop has no problem with other networks, or an ethernet connection to said router.
I've tried changing the security to none, WEP and WPA, and wireless channel to 1, 6 and 11.
I've tried resetting the router and the laptop each.
I've tried automatic and manual IP address acquisition

Any other suggestions?
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ekolis
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Re: Wireless router intermittent

Postby ekolis » Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:38 pm UTC

What's a BT router? All I can think of is Bluetooth, but that doesn't use routers...

Do you perhaps have a MAC address filter on the router? If so, you'd want to add the MAC address of your laptop to the filter.
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Game_boy
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Re: Wireless router intermittent

Postby Game_boy » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:50 am UTC

ekolis wrote:What's a BT router? All I can think of is Bluetooth, but that doesn't use routers...


BT is formerly British Telecom, an ISP. I'm sure someone else designs their routers but they are ISP branded.

Do you perhaps have a MAC address filter on the router? If so, you'd want to add the MAC address of your laptop to the filter.


I don't have a filter on. If I did, how would that explain intermittency?
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Re: Wireless router intermittent

Postby arbyd » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:58 pm UTC

What happens when you ping the router address? If it still times out, then the problem is on the wireless side. There may be interference from new equipment in your home, or even at a neighbors.

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Garm
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Re: Wireless router intermittent

Postby Garm » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:16 pm UTC

arbyd wrote:What happens when you ping the router address? If it still times out, then the problem is on the wireless side. There may be interference from new equipment in your home, or even at a neighbors.


If the interference is regular then it might be a hardware issue. I can't think of anything that would interfere with such regularity.
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Re: Wireless router intermittent

Postby arbyd » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:42 pm UTC

Garm wrote:
arbyd wrote:What happens when you ping the router address? If it still times out, then the problem is on the wireless side. There may be interference from new equipment in your home, or even at a neighbors.


If the interference is regular then it might be a hardware issue. I can't think of anything that would interfere with such regularity.


You're probably right. I can think of a few things that would cause regular interference, for example an electric fence or animated neon sign, but the 1 minute period is suspicious. As the OP says the route works with other laptops, and the laptop works with other routers, I'd be looking for a compatibility issue between the two devices. Since it used to work, I'd look at any driver updates (perhaps from automatic updates) on the laptop. Maybe boot the laptop on a live Linux CD and see if it works.

I still think pinging the router IP is a good test. If it works, that means the wireless link (physical layer) is not the issue, and you can start looking at higher network layers. If it fails, then look at the wireless link layer.

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Garm
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Re: Wireless router intermittent

Postby Garm » Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:37 pm UTC

arbyd wrote:
Garm wrote:
arbyd wrote:What happens when you ping the router address? If it still times out, then the problem is on the wireless side. There may be interference from new equipment in your home, or even at a neighbors.


If the interference is regular then it might be a hardware issue. I can't think of anything that would interfere with such regularity.


You're probably right. I can think of a few things that would cause regular interference, for example an electric fence or animated neon sign, but the 1 minute period is suspicious. As the OP says the route works with other laptops, and the laptop works with other routers, I'd be looking for a compatibility issue between the two devices. Since it used to work, I'd look at any driver updates (perhaps from automatic updates) on the laptop. Maybe boot the laptop on a live Linux CD and see if it works.

I still think pinging the router IP is a good test. If it works, that means the wireless link (physical layer) is not the issue, and you can start looking at higher network layers. If it fails, then look at the wireless link layer.


The fence or the sign aren't going to be a problem if the client is 5 feet away from the access point. Plus I think the signal would have to pass through or near the fence for it to interfere. More common things would be cordless phones or old microwaves.

You could try downloading something like NetStumbler and see if there's something blasting away near you. Or you could download something like Wireshark and get a packet capture (I'd recommend doing a wired packet capture directly off the router) to see if there's something funky going on with the innerworkings of the router. My guess is that it's not an interference issue because you're on 2.4 ghz and the breakage is pretty regular. Can you set up a ping test between the router and the client from the router's pov?
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phlip
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Re: Wireless router intermittent

Postby phlip » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:07 am UTC

There was a thread a while ago for someone who had similar symptoms - every minute, like clockwork, packets would be dropped. Apparently it's because of an alleged "feature" of the wireless card. Maybe you're having a similar issue?

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Game_boy
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Re: Wireless router intermittent

Postby Game_boy » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:21 am UTC

Thanks for your suggestions.

It went away without me doing anything after 2 days. This is the worst kind of problem as the true cause is clearly not fixed. If it happens again I will try what you said but without the problem there isn't a lot I can do.
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Kromix
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Re: Wireless router intermittent

Postby Kromix » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:58 pm UTC

I have seen US ISP routers equiped with crappy Atheros Wifi cards, same issue you show, it would most likely be HW related.
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Axman
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Re: Wireless router intermittent

Postby Axman » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:00 pm UTC

Is this a Windows laptop? If so, check the power management settings for the wireless card. Also, have you tried changing the router to another wireless channel?


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