Wireless Internet Connection Dropping

By bjvaughan ·
My setup includes a DSL line coming into the building, connecting from
my dsl modem to my 4 port switch. from there, it branches out to 2
Cisco 837 routers. One customer and one manager, From router to
switch, switch to Cisco Aironet 1100 Access Point which distibutes my
wireless connection.

My problem is:

I am sitting in the lobby on a wireless connection. To test, I had two
Dell Latitude D620's, side-by-side both on wireless. I am working
online an I'll see my connection status go from 4 bars to 3-2-1-drop
and come back up, all in 5 seconds. It happens on both computers so I
know it is not my wireless cards.

To test my DSL line, I did a ping -t on a manager's pc on the manager
side of my network and the same on my wireless connection on my
customer side. The manager's side never timed out and my customer side
did so by doing that, I narrowed it down to my customer side of the
network and determined it isn't the main connection.

To determine if it was my Wireless connection and not a faulty router,
distributing my wireless connection, I connected wirelessly into the
access point and hard wire into my switch then fast ethernet 1 on the
back of the router. Same thing.

I tried a different access point and i get the same thing.

What I'm trying to say is that I pinpointed it down to my wireless
signal coming out of my access point.
I don't know what the deal is, but I think it has to do with something
interfering with my wireless signal.
There is only one other wireless router in that area that I can see
and it is a little down the street, so I don't think that can be
I'm wondering if anyone has seen this kind of error before?
What else operates on that frequency that could interfere?

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All Answers

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Yes you are getting RF interference

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Wireless Internet Connect ...

This could be coming from any number of sources like cordless phones to a TV or Radio signal being concentrated for a short time on a semi regular basis in your area.

Remember that you are using a Wireless connection here and that you have a Wireless connection that can be interrupted by other signals within the Radio Spectrum so look for Two Way Radios in the area, cordless phones that are between the access point and computer terminals, TV or Radio Repeater Stations, Microwave Links for TV, Radio, Data Transfer or even Satellite access. You need to remember that the signal that is causing the interference need not be on the same frequency but it could be a Harmonic of something much lower or higher in the spectrum that is causing the interference.

Problems like this are hard to track down because there are so many possible sources for the interference to originate from and without the correct equipment it's impossible to see what's actually happening. You may even be getting swamped with another signal on a totally different band that is causing the Computer WiFi connection to be dropped as it's being totally over ridden by the other signal that may not even necessarily be even close on the spectrum. But because of Government Regulations covering Computer WiFi connections they are limited to an upper limit of transmission power which is very low so some strong signal can be causing it to drop out all together even the common Cell Phone can cause this to happen.

If you have another WiFi Access point try switching them around and see if the problem persists or moves to the other connection. If the problem persists you have something locally interfering with the signal and if the problem moves it's the WiFi access point that is faulty.


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Thanks for the Insight

by bjvaughan In reply to Yes you are getting RF in ...

I already switched out access points. I went from a linksys to a Cisco Aironet and got the same problem. I think I will try moving the access point to the other side of the building.

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That may not be sufficient

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Thanks for the Insight

If you are getting swamped with RF it could be overriding any WiFi signal and making the connection drop out.

One place that I was at effectively had to construct a Faraday Cage around the inside of the building and directly connect to earth to prevent any outside signals entering the building. While it did cure the WiFi problem it was an expensive solution and the entire place could have cable pulled for many more computers that they could use for far less than the cost of the Cage. Which I should add also killed off any Cell Phone Signals. So it was probably worth the effort.


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