I Want My WIFI Back!
April 5, 2010 4:08 AM   Subscribe

Someone's wifi extender is screwing up my wifi!

I live in a dormitory-type setting. I can get a weak wifi signal in my room. Normally it's poor to fair 1mbps to 5.5 mbps, just enough to just email and websurf.

Over the last 24 hours, the wifi has degraded to nothing. I believe it is because someone in the building has employed a wifi extender in an attempt to boost the weak wifi signal. I believe this because I tried it myself a few months ago.

Here's what's happening... instead of a poor to fair signal, I am now getting an "excellent" signal that fluctuates between 24 mbps to 54 mbps. Sadly, I am not actually receiving internet, but instead an empty signal. This is exactly what happened when I tried out a wifi extender. Also, the signal continuously drops, about every 2 - 3 minutes. I've tried to connect to the wifi network manually and it shows "connected", but I still experience the same problems.

I know the easy answer would be to ask for my neighbor's cooperation. However, I am in a situation where I cannot do that (military deployed location). So, my question is how do I avoid picking up this wayward extender signal? Or better yet, is there a way to disable it? The little weak wifi signal was one of the few things making life bearable.

p.s. we do not have access to the router or the router's IP number. They are actually hidden.

Piggyback question - The extender that I tried out was a Lynksys, which did not work. I was able to get a hold of Lynksys tech support who told me that without knowing the router's IP address and programing it, it would not work. Is there another type of extender/catcher that is more plug and play and will not screw up my neighbor's wifi capability?
posted by Stylistique to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If the wireless network that has been “extended” is the same one that you were connecting to than you are going to have a difficult time finding a solution. If you have the technical prowess and the proper wifi card software, it might be possible to survey the network and manually select the MAC address that you want to connect to. Both signals will have the same SSID, but you’ll want the weak one and not the garbage “strong” one.

You could try using a tool like Wireshark to survey the radio situation. However you will need customizable wifi card software to actually make the MAC address switch (software that depends on your OS and version).
posted by mazniak at 5:52 AM on April 5, 2010

Try changing the channel on your own wifi router - if you're lucky the interference doesn't cloud all channels equally.
posted by DreamerFi at 8:03 AM on April 5, 2010

For a second there I was afraid you were talking about me.

Since you're not, I'd suggest you try this. I haven't gotten any complaints from my roommates about it killing their signal.
posted by biochemist at 11:46 AM on April 5, 2010

I think you need a better wifi adapter, such as the Alfa, which will facilitate your picking up the weak wifi signal (whether the interfering signal, whatever it is, is present or not). Other than that, the last resort is trying an antenna that you can point toward the wifi router's antenna (if you know where that is! maybe it's secret too?). And I think you're on the right track to make the connection to the wifi signal manually. What OS are you using? The networking utility should make that pretty easy.
posted by exphysicist345 at 6:37 PM on April 5, 2010

I'm not sure how a WiFi extender can interfere with your signal. (I'm no expert, however)

My approach would be to build a cantenna. YMMV.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:07 PM on April 5, 2010

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