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I have encountered a very peculiar problem with my wireless network. Every minute or two, the network will 'hiccup', and suddenly things will become very slow for a split second before becoming fast again. An example of this happening:

Reply from 4.2.2.2: bytes=32 time=20ms TTL=246
Reply from 4.2.2.2: bytes=32 time=20ms TTL=246
Reply from 4.2.2.2: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=246
Reply from 4.2.2.2: bytes=32 time=19ms TTL=246
Reply from 4.2.2.2: bytes=32 time=3314ms TTL=246
Reply from 4.2.2.2: bytes=32 time=21ms TTL=246
Reply from 4.2.2.2: bytes=32 time=19ms TTL=246

I have attempted to track down the source of this problem without success. My laptop does not exhibit this behavior, nor does my Playstation 3. Not only that, but I was getting 'hiccuping' behavior when connected to my apartment's Linksys router and a neighbors Apple Network. Convinced that I had narrowed the problem down to the NIC, I yanked out the cheap Edimax card that I had and replaced it with a shiny new overpriced Linksys card. I put it in, installed the software...and promptly discovered that the new card was exhibiting the exact same behavior.

So, erm...I'm at a loss as to what to look at next.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The problem you're facing is very well known and happens with some wireless hardware.

The problem is, Windows is scanning regularly for Wireless networks, even if you're already connected. While scanning, some wireless cards cannot do anything else (like actually exchanging packets), that's why the "hiccup" happens.

Fortunately, there are solutions:

On Windows XP: when you're connected to the Wireless network, disable the "Wireless LAN autoconfiguration" service. Note that if this service is disabled, scanning for networks won't work, so you need to be connected BEFORE disabling it.

On Windows Vista: use software such as WLAN Optimizer or Vista Anti-Lag.

On Windows 7: unfortunately, I don't know of any solution for Windows 7. The two aforementioned solutions do not seem to work.

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Fantastic! This worked! However, a few followup questions... First off, WLAN Optimizer claims it supports 7. Have you tried the most recent version? Second of all, is there a known fix for Linux? (it was doing this from a Ubuntu bootable CD as well) And finally, can you recommend a WALN card that does not behave like this, because right now I'm 0 for 2. –  AlexMax Sep 6 '09 at 22:16
    
"First off, WLAN Optimizer claims it supports 7. Have you tried the most recent version?" No I didn't. My knowledge of this issue is quite ancient. "Second of all, is there a known fix for Linux? (it was doing this from a Ubuntu bootable CD as well" I don't know what the fix is, but there is certainly one. If it was me I would manage the wireless connection manually using iwconfig but it's not very user-friendly. "can you recommend a WALN card that does not behave like this" The D-Link DWA-547 is just perfect. 802.11n, Atheros chipset, fully Linux-compatible, etc. –  e-t172 Sep 6 '09 at 23:17

It might be that you're encountering interference on your wireless network by some unknown agency. Try to change the channel and see if it "fixes" the problem. The book Wireless network coexistence by Robert Morrow has this to say:

Wireless networks operating on a fixed channel are susceptible to interference from another nearby fixed-channel network. One obvious way to escape such interference is to change channels such that frequency orthogonality is achieved.

In north America, a non-overlapping set consisting of channels 1,6, and 11 or an overlapping set composed of channels 1, 3 5. 7, 9, and 11, can be selected. The corresponding sets in Europe are channels 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11, can be selected.

This gives you the best channel numbers to try.

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