Laptop Wireless Signal Drops

by on November 17, 2006

Q: I have a Systemax wireless laptop and a few weeks ago I started having connectivity issues with the Linksys Wireless-G router. I would constantly get low signal and no signal strength, which the signal strength had been very good previously. Could my computer be infected with a virus? During some trial and error troubleshooting I saw something indicating that my wireless network adapter failed along with the default IP gateway, DHCP Server, and DNS Server Search Order. The computer is still under warranty should I ship it back to have the company repair?

A: With the information provided it doesn’t sound like it’s a virus. Typically wireless issues are experienced from either interference or driver/firmware issues. Try out these steps to resolve your problem:

1. Try changing the channel in your Linksys router. Typically the default channel is 6, I have found using 11 may reduce the interference experienced. You may also have a neighbor’s access point over riding yours, so a channel change is the first thing you should try. Keep changing it until you either find a channel that works great, or you run through all of the channels without improvement (if that’s the case, follow the steps below).

2. Do you have cordless phones in the house? If you do, are they 2.4ghz? 2.4ghz phones operate in the same frequency band as Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/a. You will want to ensure that you keep cordless 2.4ghz handsets and base stations away from your access point and laptop while using it. You may consider buying yourself a set of 5.8ghz phones, which won’t interfere with your wireless network (I had to do this myself).

3. If 1 & 2 don’t help then it’s time to upgrade your drivers on your wireless adapter. Go to the support site for your laptop (from what I could find on Google, it’s http://www.supportforyourpc.com/ for Systemax products). Download the latest driver for your wireless chipset/card and install it as per the instructions included.

4. If that doesn’t improve matters you need to visit http://www.linksys.com and download the latest firmware for your model of Linksys Wireless G Router. Make sure you pay close attention to the model number located on the sticker under your router. There are typically many versions of a router model (For example there is a WRTG54 v1, v2, v3 and so on). It’s critical that you download the appropriate file for your specific model. Follow the instructions (Especially the part where you need to use a wired connection to flash the router’s firmware). You will likely need to reconfigure the router after it’s been flashed, so write down your settings prior to flashing it (SSID, Encryption key and so on).

We suggest doing these before sending your laptop back to the manufacturer because none of them will take you more than 5 to 10 minutes and they could solve your problem. If you are unable to get your wireless adapter working using these steps then you will need to contact the manufacturer of your laptop and send it back to get repaired.


3 Responses to “Laptop Wireless Signal Drops”
  1.  

    Very good site! Thanks! :-)

     
  2.  

    you say 5.8GHz wont interfere, I bet to differ! My folks got some for christmas and pluging them in took down thier whole wireless network.

     
  3.  

    Luther–

    It should be noted that now there are now wireless N routers, which were not covered back in 2006 when this answer was written. These wireless N routers do run in the 5GHz so a 5.8GHz phone could wreck havoc on them.

    If your wireless network is running on 2.4GHz and your phone is on 5.8GHz then there should be no conflict. Now I say “should” because there is always a possibility it is just not a good one.

    Thanks
    Matt