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I'm having an issue with my wireless, as it appears to enjoy cutting out on me at random times. Suddenly, I'll be disconnected and sometimes I'll be back on in a minute, other times it decides to not allow me to reconnect (a generic connection failed message) for a minute or two.

Here's the tricky part.

  • It does this on my desktop computer, my macbook pro and my roomate's computers.
  • It does this on both my wireless router and my friends wireless router. Mine is a nice Buffalo WHR-HP-G54, my friend's is some weird Zyxel router brand that I've never heard of before.
  • It works fine as long as you have a wired connection, so it's not our internet.

There are a bunch of wireless networks in close proximity, but I've tried switching the channel between 1, 6 and 11 and each one seems to fail. In addition, there's an unsecured wireless access point nearby and it works fine, if a bit laggy. It was also working fine for months and months, only deciding to mess up within the last week or so.

What else can I try?

EDIT: Even when I'm connected my connection is pretty awful. If I keep ping 8.8.8.8 -t going in the background, it usually gets something reasonable as long as I'm not doing anything, but registers a lot of dropped packets when I load a page with a lot of images or if I visit a site like Superuser for the first time after clearing my cache. If I try using something like Doomseeker to browse game servers, it grabs about 3/4 of the available IP's and can't seem to refresh all of the servers at once...works fine if I refresh things a server at a time though.

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That sounds like heavily congested airwaves. Non-802.11b/g devices that use that frequency range can really wreak havoc on wireless transmissions. We had to replace our wireless phone because it caused the wireless to degrade to dial-up speeds when someone was using it, and our older b access-point sometimes dropped completely when someone was using the microwave-oven.

If your WLAN card has these settings, they can be tweaked to perform better in heavily congested environments. I don't have one in front of me, but back in the advanced settings (if any) you can do things like add a preamble to transmissions (which improves interference resistance), as well as the fragmentation threshold.

As a fall-back you might want to consider channels 3 and 9. Yes they overlap, but considering how crowded your airwaves seem to be it's worth a try.

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I have tried all of your suggestions. I have changed the channel to 9, reduced the preamble from long to short, and changed the fragmentation threshold from 4096 to 2432, as well as another setting called RTS/CTS Threshold. While it has not made anything worse and perhaps have made things a little better, we're still getting disconnected at random and lots of activity still causes a backgrounding ping to lose packets. –  AlexMax Dec 12 '10 at 17:37
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