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Not sure if that's the right forum, but hope someone can help:

inSSIDer screenshot

This happens on any channel. Usually there are many more networks visible as well.

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The dropouts stopped for all wifi connected clients simultaneously, but ping pattern is still persistent. – Unirgy Sep 12 '11 at 20:06

I presume you mean the dropout? I'm not an expert, but you might be getting a "picket fence" effect. Are you near the transmitter when you get these readings? If you don't get a decent answer here, you may want to check on something like a ham radio forum for signal analysis.

Multipath Interference Multipath Interference (sometimes called picket fencing or flutter) happens when wireless signals bounce around between obstructions that lie between the transmitter and receiver. There may be a direct path between the transmitter and receiver and a secondary path. This secondary path will be a longer path and therefore a percentage of the power of the original signal will arrive later than the signal that travelled via the direct path.

It is possible that there will be a few microseconds of delay between the signal arriving by direct path and the signal that has taken a longer path. This can limit data rate and also limits the area of coverage of any transmitter.

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Thanks for the response! The issue is that this is a stationary computer and it was working almost perfectly up until now. There were no changes in furniture, or other possible interference sources. I have extended the antenna to a different location/direction, and now have mostly stable signal, but something is still very weird with ping: – Unirgy Sep 12 '11 at 19:59
+1 for "check with some radio people". Is there a radio.SE? – Shinrai Sep 12 '11 at 20:11
@Shinrai I think they're still trying to get one launched in area51. – OldWolf Sep 12 '11 at 21:47
@Unirgy Not sure, could be that a neighbor moved something that's reflecting signals, or you have some kind of interference across the band (say like a Microwave) or even something as simple as failing hardware. Again, someone more experienced with radio signals might recognize the pattern more readily. It looks like a fairly regular pattern. – OldWolf Sep 12 '11 at 21:52

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