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I do a lot of traveling, mostly in Mexico, where IT infrastructure isn't quite up to the standards I'm accustomed to. As someone who depends on reliable Internet for work, a recent trip to Mexico City left me quite frustrated. In the two hotels where I stayed, I ran into the same basic problem: Multiple APs, broadcasting the same ESSID, and in many cases on the same channel.

Using iwconfig to configure my wireless adapter manually was much more reliable than using the Debian Network Manager, but was still rather unreliable. Connectivity was often slow, or I simply lost connectivity, and had to manually reconnect--often with much effort.

So my question is: What can I do to improve my wireless connectivity to poorly configured networks?

I'm currently using a Broadcom Corporation BCM4312 chipset, but will probably be buying a new laptop in the next few months, so I will be considering this when buying a new laptop.

I'm interested in any possible solutions, including better software/drivers, better configuration, buying a new laptop with better wireless chipset, and/or buying a USB wireless adaptor, or even a completely separate device, such as a range-extending AP, antenna, or magic potion.

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So, there's no ethernet in these hotels? (I also own a BCM4312, by the way. It will sometimes disconnect from the WiFi router that resides within my house, so you're not the only one to see this kind of performance out of the b43 module.) – new123456 Oct 6 '11 at 10:31
@new123456: Sadly, no ethernet in most of these hotels. – Flimzy Oct 6 '11 at 19:11

I guess you're hoping for a software solution... but a friend of mine used a pringle's tube to channel the signal from and to the AP - worked great for him.

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for more info on this, look up "cantena" but imho you'll get better milage with a diy "wokfi" ariel. – Sirex Oct 6 '11 at 14:36
A hardware solution is fine, so long as it's sufficiently portable. :) Thanks, I'll take a look at this option. – Flimzy Oct 6 '11 at 19:12

I also have a wifi card running with the b43 module.

When the signal is low, the wifi disconnects from time to time, the best solution for me was manually set the speed of the connection to 1M, that usually gives me a more stable connection.

iwconfig wlan0 rate 1M

You can get a better wifi card but it will not help if the signal and sensitivity of the AP is weak.

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Good suggestion, I'll try that. – Flimzy Oct 6 '11 at 19:12

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