Why do dropped wifi connections cripple my computer?
July 13, 2006 7:49 AM   Subscribe

My wifi connection drops when I stream radio requiring a full restart of my computer to repair the connection. Any ideas on how to isolate and fix the problem?

I'm having an intermittent problem with my wifi connection which not only drops when I'm streaming a radio station but also freezes up my network adapter requiring a full restart of my computer. When the connection drops, my connection status light in the system tray is still green but the connection is definitely gone. If I try to repair it (or disable the adapter) it starts the process but then freezes with the "disabling the network adapter" status box on my screen. I then have to restart the computer to get it going again.

I'm running XP with sp2 installed and have a US Robotics 5416 card with latest drivers installed. I use windows to configure my wifi and not the US Robotics utility (although I did try that and had the same problem). I've also checked
Event Viewer when the freeze happens and there is nothing there

Is this likely a card problem or could it be something else (i.e maybe my router)? The reason I'm skeptical about it being the card is that sometimes I can stream radio all day with no problems. I have 4mb broadband and also have no problems when I'm just surfing the web. I get great download speeds and downloading large files is not a problem (although this freeze does occasionally happen when I'm downloading via bittorent).

Any suggestions on how to fix this?
posted by gfrobe to Technology (5 answers total)
i just had to change the channel on my girlfriend's router because her wireless kept dropping out...

routers use the same bandwidth area as cordless phones and remember how you used to be able to hear other people's conversations occasionally? well routers don't tolerate that like we do.
posted by noloveforned at 8:25 AM on July 13, 2006

You don't mention what make and model router you have, and it's important.

Lots of the newer cheapy-consumer routers are *crap*.

We got my sister 2 new ones in a row, the newer one, one of the new D-Link WGT models (really a repackaged -624).

I'd bet cash it's your router.

If you can borrow, say, a WRT54G from someone, give that a try for a week, and see how it works.

The issue is packets per second. Streaming protocols tend to have insane numbers of teeny packets, so they stress the router much harder per megabyte than, say, FTP and Torrent transfers, which can use 1KB packets.

The slower the router CPU, the worse off you'll be.
posted by baylink at 9:34 AM on July 13, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies. I have a d-link DI-624 router. However, if it is the router, could that cause the network adapter to freeze like this (leading to the forced restart)? I would think if the router dropped the connection I would still be able to disable the adapter and just repair it.
posted by gfrobe at 10:00 AM on July 13, 2006

You may have an unrelated problem between Windows Zero Configuration and your card; I've had that one as well; unsure what triggers it; some adapters behave better than others.
posted by baylink at 11:20 AM on July 13, 2006

One thing that wasn't mentioned is the distance factor. Does this happen when you have "excellent" signal"

One of the tricks I've learned with my router (not a D-Link) is to right click on the connection indicator, select view available networks and click connect. This re-establishes the connection without the reboot.

I've also found having my browser (Firefox) running in the background seems to keep things stable.
posted by ptm at 12:40 PM on July 13, 2006

« Older Help coming up with a name for my dessert company....   |   So I'm the victim of a hit and run... now what? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.