*USB adapter instead of built in wireless

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking' started by Nicdig, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. Nicdig

    Nicdig Guest

    Hi, Have a pretty basic question. My laptop has built in wireless. But, I
    have been having issues with the connection dropping.
    Happens no matter what browser i use, on and off throughout the day; it has
    become inconsistant at times.
    I did some trouble shooting and I cant determine what the problem is. I am
    thinking getting a linksys wireless USB adapter so that I can see how the
    connection works when used on my laptop.

    If while trying the USB adapter, the connection is up 100%, then I will
    assume that my wireless card is going bad on my LT. If I am still havin
    issues, then its back to looking within the laptop files itself.

    My questions are in regard to the initial set up of the USB adapter:

    Is it simply a matter of manually turning OFF my wireless button, then
    installing the linksys software and letting it wireless configure my laptop
    (so that windows does not)??? Is that all that is to it?

    I already use a linksys usb adapter on a desktop (in my home) that never
    came with wireless. (There is no issues with the desktop. The qwest modem
    works perfectly.) But I was wondering if this is the way to do it on a
    machine that already came with wireless installed.
    Thanks in advance
     
    Nicdig, Feb 6, 2010
    #1
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  2. Nicdig

    Lem Guest

    Although you certainly can do what you want, it seems like it's starting
    with the most expensive solution to your problem first. Before you buy
    the new adapter, you might try a few no-cost solutions:

    - Do you have the problem no matter where you are physically using the
    laptop? Try using it in a different room and/or turning it in different
    orientations (the antenna generally is in the lid surrounding the
    screen). Consider that the USB adapter you're using with your other
    computer may have a better antenna than the laptop, so just because the
    other computer has no problems in a particular location doesn't mean
    that the laptop similarly should work well in that location.

    - Do you have any sources of RF interference near where you generally
    use the laptop, e.g., cordless telephones, microwave ovens, baby
    monitors, other wireless devices? See if your drop-outs correlate with
    usage of any of these.

    - Do you live in an area where you have nearby neighbors who may have
    their own wireless networks? Try changing the channel --> do this on the
    *router* You should use channel 1, 6, or 11. If you currently are
    using channel 1, try 11 (and vice-versa); if you're using 6, try 1 or 11.

    You should disable the built-in wireless, either with the "wireless
    button" or by going to Device Manager and disabling it there.

    You can use either the Linksys software *or* Windows to configure the
    USB adapter -- but not both at the same time.
     
    Lem, Feb 6, 2010
    #2
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  3. Hi
    In general the installed Wireless adapters are better on laptops then an
    Ad-On USB.
    May be if you give some technical data (like what type of Wireless is on the
    laptop, how it is configured, the type of OS, etc.) someone can come up with
    another solution.
    Unstable Wireless connection can occur as a result of, two Wireless
    utilities running at the same time, as well as the Power saving
    configuration of the Wireless card, and other factors.
    Jack (MS, MVP-Networking).
     
    Jack [MVP-Networking], Feb 7, 2010
    #3
  4. Nicdig

    Nicdig Guest

    I thank all that replied.
    I think though, Lem, that you mentioned something that I did not even
    consider.
    Is the antennae ON the screen itself?? If that is so, then maybe that is the
    problem.

    On the bottom right corner of my HP laptop, the screen is broken somewhat.
    It's like the hinge broke and the screen in that area only, dangles. So long
    as I keep the LT in an open position, then the screen does not 'open'up too
    much in that area.
    But if I jiggle the screen is to try to get it flushed and stay put on the
    hinge (where main part of the laptop is), I can see that eventually screen
    will break away from that corner & will need to be replaced. The screen size
    is 17".

    I will out rule interferrence of other appliances and such because this LT
    is pretty stationed in the same spot for months and months. Never had a
    problem until I got lots of malware that took forever to clear up.

    Ironically, 6 weeks ago when the LT cleaned up, the wireless problem
    started. I have thought that maybe the virus thing had something to do with
    it. Have been rescanning and posting log files to reputable sites for help,
    but they cant seem to find anything still regarding the wireless issue. The
    screen being broken, I think, happened a weeks before the virus prob..

    My LT channel is set to channel 9. And so is my desktop using the linksys
    adapter. Should I change them to be different?
    BTW, the majority of networks in range and in my neighborhood have secured
    connections. So, my laptop wouldnt be able to 'use' their connection; which
    means even if they have channel 9, it wouldnt interefere...right?.

    thanks again,
    Windows XP home edition sp2 using firefox or IE8
     
    Nicdig, Feb 7, 2010
    #4
  5. Nicdig

    Lem Guest

    Laptop antennas run along the top and/or sides of the screen (under the
    covers), and are reached by wires that are under the back cover of the
    screen. The antenna cable (which likely is several separate wires) goes
    through the hinges to reach the wireless adapter in the main chassis of
    the laptop. Depending on the model, one of the antenna wires may run
    through the right hinge -- which on your laptop is broken. Even if all
    of the antenna wires run through the left unbroken hinge, the fact that
    the other hinge is broken puts stress on those wires and may be
    loosening their connections. Thus, your broken hinge could very well be
    the source of your wireless problems.

    In the US, wireless-G is allocated 11 channels. The way that the system
    is specified, however, causes adjacent channels to overlap and therefore
    interfere with each other. The usual recommendation to avoid
    interference is to use only channels 1, 6, and 11, which have the
    maximum separation from each other.

    Your use of channel 9 thus -- potentially -- could cause interference
    with neighboring systems that use either channel 6 or channel 11. See
    this picture:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2.4_GHz_Wi-Fi_channels_(802.11b,g_WLAN).svg

    If you want to change your channel in order to be a better neighbor you
    could, although you run the risk of guessing wrong, so you might as well
    leave it alone. I suspect that any nearby neighbor that was bothered by
    interference from your system has long ago changed to channel 1.

    That the nearby wifi systems are secured is not relevant with respect to
    interference. Think of it this way: suppose you like to watch TV on
    channel 2. If your next door neighbor broadcasts TV in Chinese on
    channel 3, you won't be watching much TV that you can understand.
     
    Lem, Feb 7, 2010
    #5
  6. Nicdig

    Gary McQuigg Guest

    Gary McQuigg, Feb 12, 2010
    #6
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