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My laptop creates below-average wireless LAN connections regardless of network or location. Often, I'm sitting right next to someone on the same network, (or even where someone sat a few minutes ago), but my signal is drastically worse than theirs - connections drop, movies freeze, games stutter, and my download speeds are usually the worst in the house. This is true regardless of location (I always have the worst connection, though it still improves if I move closer to the router) or even network; whether I'm at home, school, or Starbucks my laptop remains inconsistently connected - I generally have to disconnect and reconnect, or reboot my adapter, once or twice an hour, and it's simply futile to do anything requiring a high bandwidth.

For the above reasons, I'm nearly certain the problem is with some configuration of my laptop, and not with the network or my location. It's probably not a stray program either, as I can turn off my TSRs and start from a clean boot and still get the same problems, and while I haven't done the test recently I seem to remember the problem persisting even in Safe Mode + Wireless. I'm looking for help troubleshooting this problem and figuring out what's causing my inconsistency.

System specs:

  • Acer Aspire M5-481TG
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (SP1) 64-bit
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Qualcomm Atheros AR5BWB222 Wireless Network Adapter

Please comment if you need more information.

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Have you checked to see if any antenna cables are properly connected to the WiFi card? – Dave M Jan 18 '13 at 16:42
Sounds like a hardware problem to me. If you have/can borrow a USB WiFi adapter, plug that in and see if the problem persists. – Tanner Faulkner Jan 18 '13 at 16:46
@DaveM I'm afraid I have no idea how to do that, unfortunately. – linkhyrule5 Jan 18 '13 at 22:30
@r.tanner.f I don't and don't know where I could find one, but I might be able to get away with using my phone as an antenna. I'll see if that works and get back you on that. – linkhyrule5 Jan 18 '13 at 22:31
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Replacement USB Wi-Fi cards are cheap, it would be worth getting a spare. Just buy one and plug it in, there's a good chance that Windows will pick up the driver from Windows Update and it will then just work.

Certainly, the laptop should be powerful enough for most things. It's a little short on RAM for a 64-bit PC but this isn't unusual.

I've had good results with low-cost Edimax USB Wi-Fi dongles. They sometimes come with an extension cable and base. This is great for being able to move them around to the best position. Often just moving the antenna by an inch can make a big difference due to interference patterns.

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Okay, so this is tentatively a solution - at least, I don't seem to have the same problems in a highly uncontrolled test with the new dongle. I'll try a more controlled test later when I have more time, but answer accepted for now. Thanks! – linkhyrule5 Feb 11 '13 at 11:05
No problem, hope it goes well. – Julian Knight Feb 12 '13 at 20:52

there should be proper connection between the networks and laptop...Along with that your laptop should be stable enough for connecting the wireless networks

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