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I'm having trouble with my laptop Internet connection. It's patchy at best and resets or freezes a lot. The signal strength is also random. I thought it might be a driver issue but now I don't know.

  • Three other computers using the same wireless network run well.
  • I've switched out wireless routers so I don't think it's the router.
  • I thought it might be the laptop's internal wireless card but I just bought an external USB network card and I'm still having problems.

Lenovo T-60p
Windows 7 Ultimate Edition
Patches/drivers are up to date

I only use one of the below at a time, disabling the other:

  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG v. (Internal wireless)
  • Medialink Wireless-N USB 2.0 Adapter (USB wireless)

Any ideas on what might be the problem?

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Sounds like interference. Do you experience the same problems all over the house, or just in certain areas? Is there, like, a cordless phone or other wireless device nearby? – goblinbox Jan 8 '11 at 18:13
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I've generally had poor experiences with wireless LAN. It just seems to be a slightly ropey technology.

One of the major problems is that the 2.4 GHz spectrum it uses is highly shared, with interference from (an example subset only):

  • wireless baby monitors [these can blast out lots of power and can have poor spectral filtering so they are wide-band]
  • cordless phones
  • microwave ovens
  • wireless doorbells
  • anything Zigbee
  • bluetooth stuff

And those are just a few off the top of my head. There's more.

It may also be that you see this only in some locations - inside buildings the attenuation of wireless signals is highly variable (factors of 20-30 dB... which equates to signal strength variation factors of 100x to 1000x) are quite normal.

You may be in a localized black spot in your building, but there may also be an interferer from a neighbor, or other device such as those listed.

If you find that moving the machine around in the building makes a difference then interference is the most likely culprit.

If moving around makes no difference then it may be something to do with the machine, its wireless adapter, or (co-incidences do happen) it may be that AND ALSO the new plug in adapter is also a bit dodgy.

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Looks like location was the culprit. Thanks for getting me on the right track. – Jason Jan 11 '11 at 5:03

On my HP laptop, I opened the bottom of the laptop, and found the (removable) wireless card slightly ajar. reseated it and problem disappeared..

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