Wifi problem

Maurice55

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This is a connection problem with the local harbour wifi. The problem is that it keeps disconnecting itself in an irregular kind of way, as if it needed to warm up like an old petrol engine. Sometimes I will spend the evening reconnecting every time I change page or try to download or upload something (and I can assure you that is a pain) and then for no apparent reason it will function perfectly well, allowing me to do anything. It is not unique to me, but this happens to me only on this wifi. I put the laptop next to two other laptops in another boat. They carried on working well and mine badly. Wether I use the computer's own aerial or a Bullet 2 does not make any difference. We moved the boat. I got a local engineer to look at it and he gave up. The local cyber caf owner told me I'm jinksed.
Has anybody got a good idea or know where I could get help with this.
All help much appreciated.
 

Modulation

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Try finding out where the wifi signal emanates from and try to connect just beside it. That way you can at least rule out whether you are just too far from it. That was my problem last year so I changed location and there was a huge improvement.
 

VicMallows

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Had a somewhat similar painful experience in Cyprus recently. (Painful in that I had paid Euro 40 for a months unlimited service). The WiFi signal was constantly and consistently strong, but every so often the connection would drop for about 3 to 5 minutes. I suspect that for some reason the local WiFi controller (router/server ?) was rebooting.

Are you sure you are connecting to the same WiFi node as the others who seem to have no problems?
 

Martin_J

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Have you checked/updated the wireless drivers within your laptop. Even with a brand new laptop you will usually find that the drivers (software) will most likely be a few years old.

Depending on the make of laptop you should be able to go to the laptop manufacturers website and download the latest.

From experience with my current HP 2530P... With the default drivers I had to walk around the marina and get closer and closer to the main aerials until I could connect... with updated wireless drivers I can now connect with the laptop at the saloon table with no issues.

(In all cases the signal showed as strong but connectivity was poor with old drivers).

If you can say what laptop you have and what version of windows you are using we might suggest the way of checking driver versions.
 

lustyd

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If there are multiple access points in the marina you could be "flip flopping" between them if you are halfway between the two. there's no real way to tell this without looking on the controller.
If you have a power setting on the laptop for the wifi make sure it's NOT turned up to max as this will cause interference.
Does the signal show as strong when connected?
 

FistralG

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Possibly hardware if there's a dry joint/faulty component in the wifi card in the laptop it could cause those symptoms.
 

ostell

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Could be the hardware you have and the router are just not compatible. Seen it many times, can't explain it. Couldn't even fix it at times. One brand of laptops did have compatibility problems, can't remember the details now.

Suggestion of new drivers is the first step, otherwise try borrowing a USB wireless adapter, install that and see if matters improve.

I know everything says that the equipment is compatible but the N mode of WIFI connection was only fully ratified not that long ago, with many manufacturers in the meantime building to their own interpretation of the (changing) interim specs.
 
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You have moved your lappy round the marina with no improvement. Now try someone else's lappy on your boat. If his lappy works on your boat and yours doesnt then you have a problem in the lappy itself.

You can then try re-installing the drivers but if that doesnt work then there really is little practical alternative to a new lappy. Its very unlikely that the card in your existing lappy is intermittently faulty - not impossible but you could easily replace the card oinly to find you still have the problem.
 

lenseman

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This is a connection problem with the local harbour wifi. The problem is that it keeps disconnecting itself in an irregular kind of way, as if it needed to warm up like an old petrol engine. . . . . .

You might find it is due, not to any hardware or software problem with your laptop, but to RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) or EMC (Electro-magnetic Compatibility).

You are logging onto a network which shares the radio spectrum with other devices which are also 'transmitting'.

Microwave ovens will generate a strong signal on the WiFi frequency band which cooking and some of the later 802.11 WiFi protocols are bandwidth hungry and can block earlier 802.11 protocols. Also there are industrial machines which are designed to melt/form/seal some types of plastics. These RF machines generate strong radio frequency interference. Are you near any industrial complex which might have an 'open-throat' microwave process (often used to make pop-corn). They use the microwave cavity as a 'wave-guide beyond cut-off' to do the heating but still leak serious interference for many hundreds of yards! :eek:

How many WiFi networks cover the area where you are trying to connect?

Take a look at the following and specifically look at the section called Limitations:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi

I would do as suggested above, use another laptop on board your yacht first and see if it suffers the same problems. If it does, then start looking for external radio sources causing you problems. :)
 

Maurice55

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Many thanks to everyone, I feel a bit less lonely,connecting, reconnecting, reconnecting...
Now, Martin, this baby is an Acer's Aspire 5532 with Windows 7 in it.
If you are going to carry on helping, I must warn you that I am only a computer user, and an average one as that, and I will not feel offended if you talk to me like to a simpleton. ;-)
 

Martin_J

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ok... to summarise. A 'driver' is bit of software that allows the hardware (the wireless circuitry in this case) in the laptop to talk to the application software. It is specific to the circuitry in the laptop - just like the software that you might have to install if you bought an external [wireless] card.

If you go to the www.acer.co.uk website you will see on the front page a 'quick link' to Drivers and downloads.

Before we start we need to check the version of driver on your laptop... (I will describe on windows XP and might update to Windows 7 when I get the chance later)..
So.. Start -> Control Panel -> Network Connections
Then right click on the 'Wireless connection' and choose 'Properties'
The front box says something like 'Connect using Intel(R) WiFi Link 5100' or 'Connect using Realtek 8191'. If you choose Configure and then the Driver tab you will see details of the date of the driver. Make a note of the 'Connect using' details and the driver date details.

Now - back to the acer website. After choosing 'Driver and Downloads' you can then go through the dropdowns selecting Notebook, Aspire, Aspire 5532 and then in the box below you choose your operating system. Do you remember which version of windows 7 you have?

With all these options chosen you can scroll down through the list of drivers and hopefully one of the wireless options will match the 'Connect using' details you noted earlier and the date on it will show it is more recent.

By clicking on the download button and then 'save' (making a note of where you want to save it on your hard disk) it will download to the PC.

Let us know how you get on up until this bit....


By the way - these updates are often needed if for example new wireless features/facilities are implemented on the wireless network. The card in the laptop needs to be able to understand anything new and updates to the drivers are the way this is achieved.

If you get this far the next part will be to install them!
 

Maurice55

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Martin, thanks ever so much for all this.
Being on windows 7, it took me sometime to work out how to get these informations. Could my driver be described as “Atheros AR5B93 wireless network adapter 05 10 2009 version 8.0.0.238” ? which I found in Control panel/system/device manager.
Now in Acer's site, an aspire 5532 with windows 7 home premium 64, I get : wireless Lan, Atheros Lan driver (XB63 XB91 HB93) version
8.0.0.238 23 10 2009.
Does all this make any sens at all and if this is right, I can't find the dowload button.
By the way, there is an Acer site for driver upgrades which is just the same and get to the same result but I still can't see the dowload button, unless it's the arrow on the left, but nothing happens with that.
 

BrendanS

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Before you go to any great lengths, have a conversation around theharbour, and see if other people are experiencing the problem at the same time of day as you are. If the setup isn't working well, everyone will be affected. Then you can decide if your kit has a problem. Lots of wifi setups in marinas don't work well, if not installed well.
 

ostell

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Maurice,
Is your Windows 7 the 32 bit or 64 bit version? Info used to be on first page on control panel but may have moved with Win 7. You need to determine this so as to download the correct version of driver. However it looks as though you have the latest available. If you are going to download you need to get the correct version 32 or 64 bit.

Even though it looks as though you have the current version it may still be worth downloading again just in case the copy on your computer has been corrupted.
 

steverow

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Backhaul?

This sounds very much like it is probably a problem on the wi-fi backhaul ie the link between the wi-fi hotspot and the internet. Many of the so-called hotspots in a marina or campsite are probably on a bit of Tatty old BT ASDL copper pair,(or whatever the local equivalent is) and in fact dont have sufficient bandwidth for a large group of users. All you need is a couple of users on youtube or playing an online game and that's all the backhaul B/W used up. No signal strength observations in the world are going to help you there. Like Brendan says check around you see what other peeps experiences are, go to Marina office, ask what the method of connection is used and what the available bandwidth is. They may not be able to tell you as usually these things are contracted out, but they should give you the name and number of a contact at the company responsible.

Whatever the bandwidth figure they give you, then halve it straight away, because of the contention rate on a Wi-Fi connection, and also the packet loss which is very high, caused by RF interference from adjacent wi-fi channels and also other systems nearby on the same channel.

Hope this helps and you solve your problem.
 

Maurice55

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Sorry every body I'm a bit slow on this but thanks to every one for their help.
It seems that downloading the latest version is worth a try. So I went to Acers, to aspire 5532, windows 7 home premium 64, and downloaded it. all very good but here I have no idea how to install it. May I abuse a bit more your generosity..?
Maurice
 
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