ethical repair
September 25, 2006 9:00 AM   Subscribe

so i'm "borrowing" a wireless connection from my neighbors... after having done this with no problems for almost four months, it's now become a pattern that every fifteen minutes i have to repair my connection using winXP's "repair" function. this works great until i have to do it again. what gives?

[please no comments on sharing connection... i am aware of all issues]
posted by yonation to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
 
Do you know how far away from the access point you are? It's likely that your connection is just weak, and you're losing it every now and then.
posted by odinsdream at 9:03 AM on September 25, 2006


odinsdream: i should add that, according to windows and the belkin utility i have, the connection never actually drops out -- that is, it stays associated but the internet/ip functions cease working. that's why it's so weird. if it did lose connection, it would just "reconnect" on its own; why do i need to repair it all the time?
posted by yonation at 9:05 AM on September 25, 2006


For what it's worth, for the longest time my connection worked exactly as described. Both computers had wireless connections would report 'excellent' signals despite being entirely unable to connect to anything network-facing. Web, email, file sharing, nothing worked.

Eventually I reflashed my router with DD-WRT and set some startup rules to help shorten the time the router held records about past connections (apparently running BitTorrent, which I'd been doing, causes its memory to fill with records of old connections).

All at once these issues disappeared. Apparently the open connections from BitTorrent were simply overwhelming the router. With the change of firmware and retention settings everything's been working swimmingly.

Are you running BitTorrent (or perhaps some other file sharing software)?
posted by owenkun at 9:10 AM on September 25, 2006


Perhaps the user has limited the number of concurrent IPs that are allowed. Whenever he gets on, he kicks you off, and vice versa.
posted by zabuni at 9:40 AM on September 25, 2006


Similarly to what Zabuni said, the person may simply be killing your connection, or set up their router to automatically do this every x minutes.
posted by Darke at 10:21 AM on September 25, 2006


If two people really were fighting over the same “slot” on the router, it seems strange to see this happen at regular fifteen minute intervals, you’d think the frequency would increase and then stop or something even less predictable as the other user tried to get online. Also, I’d have though it would be more troublesome to set up a rule to kick unwelcome users after fifteen minutes as opposed to say, blocking them by their MAC address etc or something like that.
posted by ed\26h at 10:44 AM on September 25, 2006


If you have no issues with "borrowing" their internet connection, then you should have no issues knocking on their door, explaining your situation, and asking if they have any advice.
posted by mkultra at 11:34 AM on September 25, 2006


I had this issue with a router that was solved by moving it to a new location in my house. It is possible your neighbour moved his router and now you are getting interference or attenuation.

ed\26h writes "Also, I’d have though it would be more troublesome to set up a rule to kick unwelcome users after fifteen minutes as opposed to say, blocking them by their MAC address etc or something like that."

Sometimes that's the fun.
posted by Mitheral at 11:35 AM on September 25, 2006


If they're not too smart (the neighbors), the WiFi point might include the make and model of the router in the name. You could then look up the default admin login and router config address on the router-maker's homepage and then fiddle with the router's settings to benefit you (if that would help the problem)

This is all very underhanded, of course.
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:56 AM on September 25, 2006


mkultra - hear hear!
posted by shokod at 1:36 PM on September 25, 2006


I had the same issue with shitty internet components and Windows XP service pack 1. SP2 fixed things up nicely, for the most part.
posted by antifuse at 2:03 PM on September 25, 2006


Maybe they keep `fixing' their connection?
posted by tomble at 4:53 PM on September 25, 2006


mkultura and the elusive shokod: you're really, really, really helpful

to the rest: thanks for the suggestions; it isn't every 15 minutes necessarily, it's a little more random. i guess they may have just moved the router.
posted by yonation at 9:09 PM on September 25, 2006


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