Why does my wi-fi die-fi?
December 15, 2010 12:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm stumped by what on the face of it should be a pretty simple problem with a ADSL router (Thomson ST585 v6.) The connection is flawless when I plug into the router with an ethernet cable, but a wifi connection will drop out if I move further than a metre away from the router. This is true regardless of where I place the router in the house. I'm thinking a physical fault in the device. Anyone have a second guess?
posted by chmmr to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
 
What have you already done to troubleshoot the problem?
posted by chillmost at 12:54 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does it happen with any wifi device on the other end of the connection, or have you only tried one? In other words, have you tried another wifi connected computer/smartphone/tablet/alarm clock/refrigerator/gizmo/whathaveyou?
posted by zachlipton at 1:11 AM on December 15, 2010


Used to install (an earlier revision of) these, and the only 2 problems I ever encountered were:
  1. Bad PSUs / caps. The first thing to go is the wireless - over a few weeks the range gradually drops down to 0, after the next couple of weeks they start dropping sync, then eventually they start cyclic rebooting.
  2. They seem oddly susceptible to certain types of wireless interference - 2.4GHz wireless video extenders were the worst culprits, followed by wireless alarm systems. Interestingly, they seemed to be quite good when the interference was caused by other WiFi devices…
Since they're a bit old (and discontinued), if nothing else around has changed / been added I'd suspect the former. If you've recently moved location or added a non-WiFi 2.4GHz wireless device, I'd possibly suspect the latter.
posted by Pinback at 2:32 AM on December 15, 2010


one failure mode that could cause this is if the cable connecting the antenna to the radio has gotten unplugged or jiggled loose inside the router. This assumes the router has external antennas, and there's a plug rather than a couple of solder blobs connecting it to the radio hardware, but I've seen routers that do exactly this, and fixed them by cracking them open and making sure the antenna was plugged in good and firm. depending on the client device, the same problem could exist at that end.

as zachlipton said, get another client device to narrow down which end of the wifi connection the problem is at.
posted by russm at 3:40 AM on December 15, 2010


Yeah, I've tried multiple client devices. The problem is most certainly to do with the router itself.

Cracking it open and checking that the antenna is properly attached isn't a bad idea. I'll give that a shot. It does have an external antenna, yes. Next step might be to borrow someone else's router and try it in the house, just to make 100% sure there's not some sort of weird local radiation or something messing with the signal. If that turns out to be the case maybe I should pick up a geiger counter also. :)

Thanks for your help, guys.
posted by chmmr at 9:37 AM on December 15, 2010


Have you tried changing the wireless channels? The setup should provide you with several channels to test. Also, along the same lines, you might try unpluging like everything else in the house, esp radio things like cordless phones. If that solves your problem you can plug them back in one at a time.
posted by d4nj450n at 10:15 AM on December 15, 2010


You know what, d4nj450n? I just tried switching it the channel from Auto to 11, which was just as bad as always, then to 6. And the wifi connection immediately seemed to become rock-solid. Still cautiously optimistic at this stage, but it's looking good! A best-answerer is you.
posted by chmmr at 10:34 PM on December 18, 2010


PS, a couple of days later - still rock-solid. The channel was the problem. Thanks d4nj450n!
posted by chmmr at 1:41 AM on December 20, 2010


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