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I have a newer laptop, purchased within the last year (acer aspire 7740). This laptop does not have any problem connecting to wireless networks and indicates that the signal strength is excellent on most of the wireless networks I connect to. When the laptop is within 10 feet of my wireless router it gets 30 down 10 up. When it is farther away than 10 feet it will be lucky to get 3 down and 1 up. I also have an older laptop, purchased in 2005, that has no problems at all at the same range. None of my phones, gaming consoles or tablets have this problem.

I am beginning to think that the problem must be some hardware defect with the wireless card.

I can provide additional information if needed. Just thought I'd check to see what others thought because I've been working on computers my whole life and have never heard of this happening. I have also tried to change the channels on my wireless router and have had no success with this idea.

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If any of your friends have a wireless dongle, it may be worth while trying that to confirm it. It doesn't seem like the hardware is faulty per-se, just that the range is very poor (which may be down to a fault or the build/quality etc). Either way, speak to Acer as it's within a year, you're covered for parts etc under warranty. As you've worked with computers for your life I will assume all drives are up to date. –  Dave Rook Oct 30 '12 at 15:37
    
@DaveRook That is a GREAT idea I'm going to go buy one right now! and yes the drivers are up to date :D –  Matt Case Oct 30 '12 at 15:43
    
here are my speed test results...pretty pathetic... speedtest.net/result/2274659497.png –  Matt Case Oct 30 '12 at 15:50
    
and from your old laptop at the same distance away (so we can compare like for like)! –  Dave Rook Oct 30 '12 at 15:52
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I had this same problem once. Do you know which 802.11 you're running on both devices? In my situation, my router was running 802.11g and my new wireless card was getting a really poor signal off of that. Once I bought a new router that was using 802.11n, the signal went up drastically and all my ills were cured. Try that, and your ills may be solved as well

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I just tried this and you were right! I now have a very strong signal! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! –  Matt Case Aug 14 '13 at 18:57
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Your internal wireless card may be disconnected from the antenna. Look for a circular connector that matches a tiny circular snap on the card. enter image description here

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