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I have a LinkSys WRT54G router/access point connected to a wireless broadband internet modem. All machines in the house (MacBook, Android, XP laptop) use the wireless for internet.

Today, the wireless connection started dropping. I used an app on the Android tablet to monitor the RSSI and found that it was sitting at -80 dBm. I removed power to the LinkSys and reconnected, and the RSSI jumped to -35dBm and everything leapt into life again. A short while later, the same thing happened, and the RSSI dropped to -80dBm again. The pattern is repeatable - restarting the router always cuses the signal strength to jump again, but not always to -35 dBm - but always above -45.

Now this could be coincidence, but today my son received a SMS at home from one of the major mobile carriers saying they were upgrading cell sites in the area, and "we might experience ..blah blah". Their web site describes the improvements as customers can go now up to twice as fast on our speedy DC network with a capable device....

2 questions:

  • Can a (newly arrived in the neighborhood) strong signal source cause a WiFi router to unnecessarily back off its transmit level?

  • Is there a way of monitoring and logging signal strength to a text file (Windows)? I have InSSIDer, which can log to a file, but the format is XML, and is rather verbose, including lots of other stuff.

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In my experience, other wireless devices in the home can cause the biggest problems for WiFi, including wireless phones. If you've recently started using one of these devices, try turning it off completely. Normally I'd suggest switching to the other available frequency, but your router only seems to support 5 GHz.

Also, the WiFi radio in a router can go bad while leaving the router otherwise functioning normally. Considering that your router is rather old, this is definitely a possibility.

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Wi-Fi can't conflict with GSM networks because these technologies use different frequency bands. However, Wikipedia says that there is a 4G band BRS/EBS which uses 2,49–2,69 GHz. Wi-fi uses a little bit lower frequences(2.41-2.48 GHz), but anyway, these bands are close enough.

Also, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have similar band frequencies, so usage of these technologies simultaneously usually result in network problems. Consider this if you got some new devices with bluetooth or new wireless keyboard or mouse.

Thus, I would suggest trying 5 GHz (802.11a/h/j/n) bands on your router.

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