How do I make my WiFi network stop hiding from me?
February 19, 2008 7:45 AM Subscribe
I cannot maintain a connection to my wireless network. I think it might have something to do with the EIGHTEEN other wireless networks available around me. What can I do? (And let's knock this one out early: I'm on a completely different channel from all the other networks).
posted by logovisual to technology (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I just moved to a new apartment in Astoria, Queens, and was having trouble getting onto the new roommates' wireless network (and learned that one of the other roommates, a fellow Mac user, couldn't get on it either). So I bought a new Airport Extreme and set it up yesterday in place of the old Linksys router. This took HOURS, because I couldn't get a signal in the next room (where my computer is) strong enough to maintain a connection to the base station for long enough to go through the entire setup process. I eventually got it up and working, but ever since, I'm lucky to get 20 minutes of internet access before my iMac drops the connection to the network.
Here are the gory details: The network is on channel 1. The eighteen (no joke) networks around us are all on channels 6, 8, or 11. When I run MacStumbler, our network consistently has the strongest signal strength -- around 70, compared to the other networks in the 40s or 50s -- but it also appears very infrequently, only poking its head above the fray of competing networks once every couple of minutes. A couple of networks with weaker signal are much more consistent, almost never disappearing from MacStumbler's view. Ours, apparently, likes to play hide-and-seek.
The Airport Extreme (one of the brand new 802.11n ones) has to be set up in my roommate's bedroom, since he's on a paleocomputer without WiFi and must be jacked into it. The distance from the router to my computer is maybe fifteen to twenty feet total, with a closet and wall in between. The closet does have some metal fixtures (rods and hangers), but is mainly wood and fabric.
My computer is a 20" iMac G5. I have my doubts about its WiFi antenna to begin with, since I also have an Airport Express (which is not currently on the network, since I can't hold a signal long enough to get it rebooted and connected onto the network, otherwise I'd use it to improve my signal strength) which I tried plugging into the power outlet DIRECTLY BELOW my computer, and the iMac only registered a signal strength of about 80.
I also have a Powerbook G4 which I wandered around the house testing signal strength with; I tried setting the Powerbook literally on top of the Airport Extreme, and got the same problem wherein the signal was exceptionally good -- 116 -- but only when it appeared, which was once every couple of minutes. Then it vanished.
So: what are my options? Is there something I can do to make the network consistent, and not be playing this "I'm here, I'm not here" game? Is this likely to be a placement problem for the router, or more likely to be an antenna problem with my computer?