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The problem is that I periodically experience major speed drop in my Wi-Fi home network. Sometimes I even loose the connection at all. Videos on Youtube don't load normally and webpages don't load properly too. However, I never experience problems when I download something using, say, uTorrent. I know this is not my ISP problem because when connect using a wire - the problem never occurs. I have also tried to analyze my wireless connection using ping command on Windows and InSSIDer. That is what ping gives me when there is a speed drop:

C:\Users\username>ping 192.168.1.1

Pinging 192.168.1.1 with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 192.168.1.3: Destination host unreachable.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.

Ping statistics for 192.168.1.1:Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 1, Lost = 3 (75% loss)

C:\Users\username>ping 192.168.1.1

Pinging 192.168.1.1 with 32 bytes of data:
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64

Ping statistics for 192.168.1.1:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 1, Lost = 3 (75% loss)
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 2ms, Maximum = 2ms, Average = 2ms

C:\Users\username>ping 192.168.1.1

Pinging 192.168.1.1 with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=40ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=64

Ping statistics for 192.168.1.1:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 3ms, Maximum = 40ms, Average = 12ms

When I turn on "permanent" pinging:

Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=2ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
**Request timed out.**
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=4ms TTL=64
**Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3271ms TTL=64**
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64
Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time=3ms TTL=64

And this is what InSSIDer shows me even when there is a connection problem:

inssider

Looks alright or am I wrong? I would appreiciate any help with solving this issue, these connectinon troubles happen too often and this is getting annoying. It would be glad to know some tips on how can I analyze my connection in a more advanced way, too. I am using Asus RT-12 router and Windows 7 Professional.

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An InSSIDer spectrum plot at the wireless router's location could also be informative. The plot for the PC end is telling only half the story. Have you also considered other 2.5GHz interference such a microwaves and phones? –  sawdust May 13 '13 at 22:52
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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Switch to channel 1 and 20MHz bandwidth. You are partially overlapping some 5 other WiFi networks, which is a disaster. Ideally, get on 5GHz.

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Could you please tell me how do you determine those 5 partially overlapping networks? InSSIDer shows me 12. –  noname May 14 '13 at 14:48
    
Count the ones that overlap yours but do not fully overlap (neither edge is the same). Those are the ones that partially overlap. WiFi does not tolerate a partial overlap well at all. –  David Schwartz May 14 '13 at 17:04
    
Thank you, your advice about switching to channel 1 and 20MHz bandwidth helped. –  noname May 22 '13 at 8:25
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This definitely looks like an interference related issue. Taking a look at your inSSIDer post I see that it informs you that you're overlapping 12 networks, what it doesn't mention is that some of the strongest connections around you are the ones you are overlapping with the worst.

Ideally in this situation you would indeed switch to the 5ghz band as long as that is a usable option for you, because it would likely avoid most of the networks currently interfering with your broadcast. If that's not an option, I would set to 20mhz and choose channel 11. This would mean that your signal is overlapping signals mostly in the -87+ range, most of them around -90 or worse. This means that not only are you less likely to get interference from them, but you're also being neighborly and avoiding the interference you're causing for your neighbors currently on those strongest broadcast strength networks.

The brief pauses in network connectivity represent areas basically where there's difficulty with your device sending signals back to the AP, with the channel based interference we're seeing here it's likely that they're caused by your device picking up the interference and trying to "roam" to that AP. That being said, depending on what windows operating system you have you could also look up the "roaming" settings for your operating system and how to adjust them, forcing your device to "stick" to one access point. This will help with the issue some by eliminating the roaming data drop.

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Try running through walls and other obstacles yourself. I'm curious to know if you will experience occasional reductions in speed.

More practically, adjust the location of your router to a more central location. Good steady signal requires experimentation and vigirous testing.

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A router connection depends on a lot of things, to name a few: distance between router and computer, objects between the connection(especially walls and floors), and any other wireless device.

If possible you should hardwire using an ethernet cable rather than using the wifi connection(obviously this is inconvenient).

Even with the most favorable conditions a wireless connection can drift from time to time, and if it is too frequently annoying you should try minimizing some of the problems I listed above and when it gives you problems you can try power cycling your internet connection by turning off your computer, router, and modem then restarting them in the order of modem > router > computer. If problems continue further you can upgrade your router to a move powerful counterpart.

By the way, the reason torrents can download even with a bad connection is because it can reconnect and continue where it left off. Sometimes webpages timeout if it takes too long and then watching a video requires constant download speed, if you drop connection the video will definitely stop to buffer again or timeout just like the webpage depending on the technology and how long the drop lasts.

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