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I have noticed that my laptop does not connect to public routers in close range when signal strength is 2 out of 5. When I move it closer to access points then laptop accesses.

Is there some kind of threshold in firmware that if not close enough, it will disconnect? Another thing which i though would be appropriate to tell is that my smartphone cannot access internet while connected to my 3 year old Edimax router located in the next room while having full signal strength but connects to the internet when i move closer or enter that room.

Weird... I did not play with router's QoS settings and any range.

UPDATE: This seems having nothing to do with range but more with angle at which i am holding smartphone. I tried surfing when sitting in one position and all was well given my router was located in the next room, however should i turn smartphone a little or lift it up a little or simply change angle, i no longer could surf however signal was same.

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Forget about the signal strength meters. They don't really say anything about the connection itself. – slhck Sep 19 '11 at 11:04
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Even when you think you signal is strong enough (2 from 5, for example, would be enough, but...) your connection quality might not be that good.

And so you're losing a lot of "packets" of your connection. As your connection might be encrypted, losing information will make it hard to retransmit the information, degrading everything to a point that you connection will fail.

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Is there a way i can check integrity of packets on smartphone? – Boris_yo Sep 19 '11 at 12:41
hum... what smartphone are you using? Brand, model, perhaps operational system... – woliveirajr Sep 19 '11 at 13:49
HTC Desire S, Android 2.3.3 – Boris_yo Sep 19 '11 at 18:13
1… – woliveirajr Sep 19 '11 at 18:33
This app does not let you check pings. – Boris_yo Sep 29 '11 at 10:07

Signal strength measures signal received by you laptop. You can have a 100% RX level on your PC, but this doesn't guarantee that signal TRANSMITTED from your laptop arrives at the access point at the same level.

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When this issue comes up, I think about the number of corporate wireless installs I have encountered where the access point has had a whacking big antenna fitted and the customer is puzzled why some devices still can't connect reliably from a distance. It sometimes takes a while for the customer to appreciate that wifi is a two-way thing. – Linker3000 Sep 19 '11 at 12:53
Maybe I'm missing something here, but wouldn't that whacking big antenna be used to receive signals too? – Thomas Padron-McCarthy Sep 19 '11 at 18:03
@ThomasPadron-McCarthy: you're missing a few years of experience as an ham radio operator :-) And there are limiting factors for the mobile device (available power, antenna size and shape, and so on...) – Axeman Sep 20 '11 at 6:38

Yep, if your signal quality deteriorates to the point where packets are lost (dropped is probably the correct term, correct me if I'm wrong), then you lose your connection.

Another way I've seen this happen is when your WLAN card stops receiving a response from the wireless AP. The connection drops after too many unsuccessful attempts.

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I did not lose connection with smartphone. I just did not have access to the internet. – Boris_yo Sep 19 '11 at 12:41
This is probably speculation on my part - but I suspect that internet connection is dependant on signal quality and strength, which varies with distance from AP. – ryanswj Sep 19 '11 at 12:45
As far as i can remember, earlier i did not have problems with range. – Boris_yo Sep 19 '11 at 18:14

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