Wireless Adaptor Issues

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by Jeff Strickland, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. I have two computers, one is a PC and the other is a laptop. The PC has a
    PCI bus wireless adaptor from D-Link, the laptop has an unknown wireless
    device built in.

    When sitting side by side, the laptop connects to my wireless router at
    something on the order of 90%, the PC connects to the same router at
    something approaching 30%. The laptop is connected with "excellent" signal
    strength, the PC connects with "very weak". When the PC connects _really
    well_, the signal strength is reported as "good".

    I'm guessing that the wireless adaptor in the PC is crappy. I think I paid
    about $30ish for it. I want to get a good wireless adaptor for the PC, any
    suggestions as to good ones, and the expected price range I should be
    looking at?

    Any suggestions as to adaptors to stay away from? (I place my D-Link Gold on
    this list, by the way ... )
    Jeff Strickland, Aug 31, 2007
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  2. Jeff Strickland

    - Bobb - Guest

    Just asking - so don't get mad ... did you setup /tweak the desktop card?
    or just plug it into PC and boot ?

    Is desktop nic the same settings as laptop nic ( channel, ad-hoc etc) ?
    If all is setup OK, are you sure no external interference ? ( that maybe
    big antenna is more susceptible to rather than laptop's built-in). (
    built-in wireless for laptop IS tweaked for enclosure). I want you to
    avoid buying another only to then discover it's the overhead fluorescent
    light causing the interference.

    I've had friends with issues and know that initial wireless issues can
    drive you crazy.
    - Bobb -, Aug 31, 2007
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  3. Do a search for Zydas/g chipset on ebay. Last time I looked they were
    about $6 plus shipping for the USB dongles. They have great range, work
    with XP and Linux and are better than anything I've tried.....and I've
    tried a bunch!
    Mountain Mike^^, Sep 1, 2007
  4. I'm not sure of any of the settings, to be honest. The external interference
    issues are the same though, so that shouldn't be the problem. That is, the
    house is the same for both machines and does not change as I move from one
    keyjboard to the other placed on the same table.

    I understand the issues you are pointing out, but those issues are the same
    for both computers at the same time in the same place. One computer works
    very well, the other works poorly -- where "poorly" is being generous.

    Channel and ad-hoc are good things to look at. I have Verizon FiOS, and the
    computer geeks at Verizon said to set the Channel to channel 11. I do not
    think that I am running an ad hoc netwrok, but I am (frankly) a bit fuzzy on
    that point. My goal at this juncture is to get the equipment to get onto the
    web, after I get them to do that, I'll set out to get them to talk to one
    another so that we can share resources -- printers and files, etc.

    While the router can be forced to channel 11, I'm not sure the wireless
    adaptors have that ability. My recollection is that the adaptor simply goes
    out and finds a signal, then sets itself to whatever the signal is being
    carried on. The router has an Auto setting, but therer is also a way to set
    it to a dedicated setting.
    Jeff Strickland, Sep 1, 2007
  5. Excuse my ignorance ...

    Are you saying that there are wireless that looks (for lack of a better
    description) like a flash drive, that simply plugs into a USB port?

    These work better than PCI cards?

    I don't want to pretend that money is no object, because it is. But, I'm
    willing to pay for a product that actually works. Since my kid's laptop
    works in the same environment that the desktop machine does not work, I have
    to believe there is something I can do to the desktop to make it work.
    Jeff Strickland, Sep 1, 2007
  6. I should have mentioned that the PC is running on Vista Home Premium and the
    laptop is running XP (I'm not sure if it is Home or Pro).
    Jeff Strickland, Sep 1, 2007
  7. Jeff Strickland

    - Bobb - Guest

    Well , check them !
    You have been ASSUMING that your desktop has been talking to YOUR router !

    Let's say your router is set for CH 6.
    The laptop is set for CH 6 - fine. EXCELLENT connection !

    If the desktop is set to CH 7 and a neighbor with no protection on his
    equipment broadcasts on 7 - guess what - you'll connect to his router.
    Guess what - LOUSY connection.

    If you're set to use ad-hoc channel 11 and a nearby PC is broadcasting on
    11 then - you'll use HIS lousy connection.
    1.. When using ad hoc mode, be aware of several security issues and
    performance limitations of ad hoc WiFi networks.

    2.. The most common sources of trouble in ad hoc mode networking are
    incorrect configuration and insufficient signal strength. Ensure your
    devices are located close enough to each other, and ensure configuration
    settings are made identically on each device.
    Connect to your Router / laptop and WRITE DOWN the SETTINGS - set up both
    PC's the same way.
    In the amount of time we have typed you might have fixed this.
    - Bobb -, Sep 2, 2007
  8. Jeff Strickland

    dennis Guest

    Hi Jeff...
    I've had good luck with both linksys (wmp54g) as well as the dlink (don't
    remember the model number but it is pretty much their base one). If I have
    a customer who already has one brandname of router I try to stay with the
    same manufacturer of client adapter just in case I need to call their tech
    support to minimize finger pointing.

    I didn't see what kind a router you have... does it have maybe some added
    functionality like mimo, N or some kind of rangebooster that your laptop
    supports but not your desktop pci card?

    As another poster mentioned it might be best to set your router to channel
    11. Your adapters for the pci and laptop would automatically switch to that
    freq range. But that really doesn't explain why the laptop gets better
    performance than the desktop if they are next together and everything is

    It sounds like either a minimal performing pci card or maybe the fact the
    router is supplying some technology the laptop can take advantage of but not
    the desktop.

    Dennis Meissner
    dennis, Sep 2, 2007
  9. Sorry, I wasn't clear. I checked that first. I am connected to my own
    router, and my router is connected to my computers. I can get into the
    router and see all of My Stuff, and I can ping it from all points within my

    My only problem is that one machine has an Excellent connection to the
    router and another has a Very Poor connection to the same router, with the
    computers sitting side by side on the same table.

    I went out and bought 802.11n wireless adaptors (I actually have two PC that
    have the same problem, but the same laptop does not have the problem so I'm
    hung up on the adaptors as the trouble spot), and the PCs are now connected
    with Very Good to Excellent signal strength where they previously had Poor
    to Very Poor.

    For those of you keeping score, I selected the Linksys Wireless-N PCI
    Adaptor. This uses the new 802.11n spec. This product has an external
    antenna that looks like something out of StarWars, but the upside is that
    the antenna can be taken out of behind the machine and placed up high so
    there is less blockage of the signal between it and the router. ONE PROBLEM
    with the product is that the drivers for Vista are not included, so one must
    go to the 'net separately and acquire the Vista drivers. This can be
    difficult if for those with only one computer, and it's a Vista machine. The
    driver file is small though, and if you take a 1.44 floppy with you to the
    store, you can surf the 'net from Best Buy and download the driver files ...
    Jeff Strickland, Sep 2, 2007
  10. Much better. Cheaper, easier, transfer a snap, better range....(I'm picking
    up either my own signal or my neighbors anytime I want. Get the Zydas (now
    Atheros) chipset though. The Ralink ones are crap.
    Mountain Mike^^, Sep 2, 2007
  11. I selected the Linksys Wireless-N PCI Adaptor. It is an 802.11n device. The
    thing that I _think_ makes it work well is the antenna; it looks like a
    fighter-ship from a StarWars movie. It is not mounted to the back of the PC,
    it has a 2 meter (6ft) lead that allows it to be placed high above the
    machine where the line-of-sight to the router is less obstructed. Of course,
    the radio frequency is better too. (I gotta back up on the radio frequency,
    it is a 2.4 GHz, but I'm not sure what the other adaptors use.)

    The only problem I ran into was that the drivers included do not support
    Vista, so I had to go to another machine to get the drivers. This was easy
    for me, but for those with only one machine this can be a problem. If you
    only have one machine, and it's a Vista machine, then take your 1.44 floppy
    with you to your favorite store to buy the adaptor. Download the Vista
    drivers while at the store and store them on the floppy (or flash drive) --
    I only suggest the floppy to give an idea of how small the driver files are,
    I have no illusion that one might actually still have floppy disks laying

    As for my particular hardware set up, I have the router provided by Verizon
    that supports the FiOS system. This router is 802.11(b or g, but not n).
    What this means is that the .11n adaptors are not named properly in the
    router -- they appear as "new host (n)" where n is a number. Other than
    this, I see no problems. I am having network (workgroup) issues, but I think
    they are from incompatabilities between XP and Vista. I have XP Home, XP
    Pro, and Vista Home Premium. I'm having problems sharing my printers across
    all of these platforms, and I am having a problem with the Vista machine
    connecting to the workgroup. This is an odd problem though, I can connect to
    the Vista machine's printer from some of the other machines but not all, and
    from the Vista machine, I can't connect to any printer. And, I have one
    machine (XP Home) that is hard wired to the FiOS system, and none of the
    wireless machines can see it, but it can see all of the wireless machines.

    I don't completely understand that which I know, and I am pretty sure I
    mucked things up trying to share my resources throughout the house. I now
    have failed attempts at making workgroups appear on some machines that I
    can't seem ot get rid of. I have never made a network before, and had it
    running pretty well for a day or two then my router started giving me fits.
    I convinced Verizon that they should bring me a new router, and now I can't
    get my network running. The common thread among the problems I have is that
    none of the wireless machines can see the machine that is hard wired. (by
    "see", I mean that the name of the hardwired machine appears on the list of
    Network Places, but the printer is not available to them. Actually, the
    machine is blocked to the wireless machines. I could be having a Sharing
    Issue that I can't find ...)

    This is one of those things that they have classes at the local community
    college for ...
    Jeff Strickland, Sep 2, 2007
  12. I've always found PCI Cards work better. Because USB ones tend not to
    have an antenna.

    But perhaps there are a minority of really good USB Wireless adaptors.
    Nevertheless, you'd find it easier to find a good PCI card.

    There are some USB wireless ones with an antenna, they may be worth a
    look.. And maybe the ones this person suggests.

    You may be able to replace the antenna on some PCI Cards. I've heard
    there are some good " 7db antennas ", but i'm not sure what PCI Card
    would take it.

    You may also have a router where you can add or replace the
    antenna(s), with one of those / those. But I don't know what routers!

    Maybe worth contacting Buffalow or Hawking or something, i think
    they're the people that make the powerful antennas.
    jameshanley39, Sep 2, 2007
  13. the problem is that any antenna is only as good as it's cable, and they have
    notorious line loss (in inches). Even high dollar sat type dishes have this
    problem. With a USB, ou can attach a USB extension cable, and have no line
    loss, and move it around where ever. This is not just my opinion, it's
    shared by the ones that install and manage these networks.

    My best range ever, is just about any USB on my new "power case". It's a
    computer case with the USB slots right on the top of the box, under a flip
    lid in the front. This gets it away from all the RTF stuff immenating from
    all the PC parts inside. I get an easy 100 yds with no antenna and fences
    and trees in the way. A pci card will show " no signal" in the same
    invironment. I learned all this from full time Rv'ers that use hot spots at
    the camp grounds, BTW. You can increase the range easily, too. Just put the
    USB inside a noodle strainer, attach a USB extension, and tape it to a broom
    handle. One mile is not that un heard of in this config.

    Another thing I like is you can swap them out with ease (to test them), and
    they are muich less expensive. YMMV
    Mountain Mike^^, Sep 3, 2007
  14. Jeff Strickland

    - Bobb - Guest

    I bought a Dlink USB wireless b/g nic a few years ago at CompUSA - works
    fine. I gave that old laptop/nic to my brother. He uses it at his house
    and RIGHT behind his house are the main power transmission lines for the
    entire area.( No AM radio reception near there) I doubted it would work
    at all yet he gets excellent connection to his wireless router in the
    basement with no antenna.
    On that model you can plug it right into laptop OR it also came with a ~6
    foot extension cable that I sometimes used when in hotels. The antenna
    cable plugs into USB port and the dlink then plugs into the "stand" at the
    far end of the antenna. Never a problem. I paid about $40 for it.
    - Bobb -, Sep 3, 2007
  15. Well, you can attach a 30M USB booster / active usb cable but that's
    expensive, and it defeats the purpose of wireless. Some may put the
    USB wireless adaptor on a small cable, just so they can orient it.

    Are you speaking highly of usb wireless adaptors with an - internal
    antenna - i.e. it doesn't have an external antenna that can be
    oriented, and if you want to do that then you have to use a cable -
    small usb cable.

    My experience is that these that just use internal antennas are
    Well, i may give it a try some time. I actually don't use wireless
    internet, or mobile phones. Radiation! My experience has just been
    setting it up for other people.

    But I may try out your thing - on a wireless usb key. I saw it
    mentioned by a guy posting as seaweedsteve . He mentioned

    'USB cookware' idea.. Google it
    and he said it uses a "commonly availible parabolic reflector (wok,
    chinese fry basket, etc) and it's supposed to increase gain.
    around may 4 2007, in alt.internet.wireless

    I do have radiation concerns(i'm not a scientist, so can't justify it
    scientifically). It'd only be as a one-off.
    jameshanley39, Sep 3, 2007
  16. If you have a cordless phone, it's the same freq range and power. The FCC
    limits these devices so it's not a health issue. However, a cell phone just
    may have these problems long term.
    Mountain Mike^^, Sep 3, 2007
  17. FCC haven't tested your product with signal 'amplified' with a -
    potentially massive - 'parabolic reflector' thing. Didn't you or
    somebody mention something about a 1 mile range. That isn't the
    product the FCC tested. (and that's if you trust the FCC)
    jameshanley39, Sep 4, 2007
  18. Yes, it's the same signal, and NOT apmplified. It's only *aimed* like a
    flashlight. The range is achieved by critical aiming methods and converting
    the omni signal to a focused one. It's still less radiation than your
    cordless phone. No worries. the record for this hardware is over 130 KM. A
    guy in Peru or somewhere.........And NO boost n signal, just proper aiming
    and focusing. do a google search.
    Mountain Mike^^, Sep 5, 2007
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