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I have several laptops in the house, plus a desktop that has wired internet. (The laptops are wireless) The desktop's internet speed is normal, but on the laptops really sluggish. It can barely load a webpage. The laptops are in different places around the house, but they are all slow so I don't think it has to do with how far away they are from the router (ASUS DSL - N13).

Any clues on what it might be?

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Some standard things to try:

  • Try a different channel. And if everyone stuck to channels 1, 6, and 11, the world would be a better place. There are network-scanning tools like inSSIDer that help you visualize which channels are most busy where you are.
  • Try disabling wide (40MHz) channels. If you're in an area where you can barely find a single 20MHz-wide channel that's free enough to use, then trying to use a double-wide channel is probably just going to make you run into more interference.
  • Try disabling other sources of 2.4GHz interference around you, such as Bluetooth, Wii Remotes, wireless speakers (including subwoofers), wireless webcams/security cams, wireless room-to-room A/V senders, cordless phones (some labeled 5.8GHz actually use 2.4GHz as well), microwave ovens, etc. etc.
  • Re-enable the B and G rates if you previously disabled them. Even N gear uses B and G rates for best performance at range, so it's a bad idea to disable those rates.
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I am ignorant of "if everyone stuck to channels 1, 6, and 11, the world would be a better place" -- please clarify. – Mr.Wizard Dec 24 '11 at 17:48
Channels other than 1, 6, and 11 spill over onto 1, 6, and 11. So if you use, say, channel 4, you'll likely harm channel 1 as much as if you were using channel 1 and you'll harm channel 6 as much as if you were using channel 6. – David Schwartz Dec 24 '11 at 21:22
@Mr.Wizard The 2.4GHz Wi-Fi channels each overlap several nearby channels. 1, 6, and 11 are far enough apart that they don't overlap each other. So if you only have 3 networks in range of each other they should be on 1, 6, and 11. If you have a fourth network in range it's better to re-use one of 1, 6, or 11, because same-channel interferers are dealt with more efficiently by the 802.11 protocol than partially-overlapping-channel interferers. – Spiff Dec 24 '11 at 22:15

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