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I have this problem on my home network where when I try to copy files via wireless connection, at some point the copy fails and the machine doing the copy loses connection to the network. I'm pretty much lost as to figuring out the source for the problem...

Some more details that might help:

  1. It's not OS related. I have Windows 7 machines and Leopard machines and this occurs on both
  2. I'm using a 3com OfficeConnect router
  3. Wired transfer works fine
  4. Other programs that require heavy wireless traffic work just fine:streaming large HD movies, Xbox Live! ...

I'm lost as to how to even begin trying to diagnose the problem so any tips are welcome...

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3 Answers 3

It's probably worth downloading a copy of netstumbler and seeing what channels other networks in your area are using. You should aim to have your network at least two channels away from any others that are in range. However if that's not possible try and stay at least two channels away from the strongest networks around you. File copies are very sensitive to interruption whereas streaming and other internet based network traffic is designed to cope with interruptions.

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+1 for netstumbler. Couldn't remember the name for a moment –  Xetius Sep 28 '09 at 10:30
    
Thanks. Following your tip I got iStumbler for the Mac and it did help improve my wireless connectivity. But file copy still doesnt work well... I guess file copy just wasn't meant to be wireless :( –  Eran Kampf Sep 29 '09 at 8:30
    
I think a lot depends on the size of the files and how bad your connection is, too many dropped packets and bang goes your copy. You could try using something like rsync that's designed for copying over connectons that will be interrupted. I know there's a version for windows I'm not sure about OS X –  Col Sep 29 '09 at 9:26

Most network file copy operations have a lower tolerance for connection dropping than things like streaming video on the web.

I'd try working with your router first, change the xmit channel and such, try to eliminate any potential interference.

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You may well find that something is causing your wireless network connection to drop temporarily. With most streaming protocols, they have the ability to reconnect and resume. With bufferring, you would not notice this.

Windows file copy is horribly bad at dealing with connection drops, so will usually just terminate. If you want to try to resolve this then you may need something to check for conflicts on your wireless channel. Also, dect handsets and microwave ovens can cause problems. Switching to another wifi channel may help resolve the problems. As @Col mentions, NetStumber will help you resolve these issues. Other software is available on Mac and PC. (Thanks Col, couldn't remember the name for a moment)

To get around the problem of terminating connections when copying files on Windows, look into something like teracopy or fastcopy. These have the ability to notify and retry failed files and still continue copying.

I'm not sure if there is something similar on OSX. I'm sure there will be, but don't know of anything. PathFinder does the same thing when it detects a failed connection.

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