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I've been having problems with my wireless. I moved to a new apartment, and the wireless seems incredibly unreliable. Sometimes it will be stable for hours until, all of a sudden, it starts cutting in and out. I'll get 30-90 seconds of normal behavior, then 5-30 seconds of nothing, then repeat. Sometimes the connection will stop working entirely, until I power-cycle the router.

It is extremely, extremely annoying. Surfing the web isn't too bad, assuming you can stand the random 5-30 second waits. But some connections are sensitive enough to timeout, and it certainly makes multiplayer games unplayable.

Facts:

  • I confirmed the problem using ping google.com -t. I get normal traffic, interspersed with bursts of "Request timed out.".
  • I've never had this problem before with this laptop.
  • I didn't bring my own router or modem to the apartment. I'm using what the old tenant had.
  • Hooking directly to the modem via an ethernet cable results in a stable connection.
  • Temporarily cutting power to the router sometimes fixes the problem. Sometimes it doesn't.
  • I reset the router, but the problem remained.
  • Apparently the previous tenant had issues with the internet, but I don't know what they were specifically.
  • The router is a D-Link DIR-615, and their tech support is useless. Hardware Version: C1, Firmware Version: 3.10NA.
  • The laptop is a 1-year-old Toshiba, running windows 7. I think the wireless card/whatever is an Intel WiFi Link 5100 AGN with up to date drivers.
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2 Answers

You should try changing the channel the wireless network is operating on. I had similar (but not exactly) the same symptoms with my wireless -- it turned out it was interference with our baby monitor. Given what you describe, it could be that a neighbor has a portable phone or baby monitor that uses the same channel as your router. (It could also be a neighbor's wireless network -- can your laptop spot many other networks from your apartment?)

That said, the previous guess (faulty hardware) could also be the issue ...

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I tried this earlier, actually. Interference made sense since there are like 8 wireless networks in range, but the issue persisted on the channels I tried. –  Strilanc May 18 '10 at 12:41
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Well your notes that Ethernet cable works fine, and that you're using the same router as someone who had previously had internet problems... clearly points to a defective router.

I recommend replacing it if possible.

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