Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a Clear mobile hotspot:

Device Name :   IMW-C610W
Device Manufacturer :   INFOMARK
Software Version :  2.0.0.0 [R2207 (Dec 7 2010 14:13:20)]
Firmware Version :  1.9.9.4
Hardware Version :  R05
WiMAX API Version : 1.2

I was getting terribly frustrated at the unreliability of internet access when having the hotspot directly plugged into my system via USB cable despite the fact that it had a moderate/OK 4G signal (yellow light) so I called their support line. The only thing they could offer was that I should get it into an area where the light was green for improved reliability. But the only place I know of in this house with a strong signal is out of range of the USB cable. So they suggested I get a wireless adapter. So I did. But now when I'm on the wireless/Wifi network reliability is worse than ever, even when the signal on the device is strong (green)! Furthermore, not only can I not access the internet, even accessing the devices local configuration page (192.168.1.1) is unreliable, which makes me think that the new problem is not related to 4G signal, but the wireless signal. My wireless signal is always strong (4 or 5 bars), but I still can't access (or take 1-2 minutes to access) 192.168.1.1 regularly. I know a wireless adapter can do much better than that. It's a Belkin USB wireless adapter. It works better with another T-Mobile hotspot that we have (which is generally in the same room), so it seems to be specific to the Clear hotspot.

My question is, why would wireless be so unreliable even when it indicates a strong signal? Does it have anything to do with the 13 other wireless networks visible in the neighborhood? Is signal strength a bad indicator of reliability? How do I diagnose this?

share|improve this question

It doesn't help if the Wireless signal is strong but its source is having some kind of connectivity problem. You said it takes around 1-2 minutes to reach the device configuration, it can happen if the device is trying to connect but can't for some reason, so it ends up stuck. Also, if you have any other wireless device around there to connect, try it. Maybe it is the device you are using that is not that good.

There is a software called WiFiView that will help you see which hotspots are around you and their respective information, including channels. Maybe you are in a too much crowded channel or there are people in the overlapping channels causing interference on your signal, so maybe it would be good to change to another channel that is less crowded.

You can get information about how to choose the best WiFi channels for your network here.

There is also a chance that your ISP connection is bad, so it would be in their end not yours. I guess you can always ask them to go check their transmitters near you (unless you know someone that use the same provider around you and is not having any troubles with their connection).

share|improve this answer

if yours and all the other APs are in the same channel, let say the default in US #6 then just set your AP to i.e channel 10 o some other channel witrh no much activity

sometimes certain APs do not like certain clients, try to see if you have a better access with a different wireless device...

Some APs are just too cheap and they work really bad...

share|improve this answer
    
Is there a way to determine which channels are "crowded"? – BlueMonkMN Aug 27 '12 at 15:36
    
Unfortunately just with the OS (windows) it’s not easy, At least Vista does not tell you the AP channel… Sometimes I use airodump-ng from a linux box with an atheros card – Pat Aug 27 '12 at 19:22

It appears to me (very unscientific) that the network works much better in low humidity even though there's no difference in the reported signal strength of the local wireless network. I suspect the problem is that the reported signal strength, although it appears to be high on high-humidity days, is actually bad.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .