Help me improve my wireless network connection in a hotel
April 12, 2004 3:54 AM   Subscribe

Wireless network question. I just moved into a hotel with a 802.11b wireless network for internet access and am having problems maintaining my connection. [Inside, there is more!]

The closest access point is mounted high on the wall about 30 feet down the hall. In my room, I have a G4 Powerbook and a laptop running Windows XP, both with 802.11g wireless cards. On both machines I get a fairly consistent signal level of 5-10 Mbps, which isn't great, but is OK. My connection, though, seems to be pretty unstable. For example, I'll have the same signal strength as always, but not be able to connect to any sites or receive e-mail. In other words, the status indicators show the same signal strength, but I seem to have some DNS issue where I can't ping anything - sometimes the computers can ping each other, but sometimes they can't. The signal drops out from time to time and I usually have to wait a few hours before I can get any sites or e-mail again.

There are three Linksys devices that make up the access point, one of which is a WAP 11, which apparently can also be used as a repeater to extend range. My question is, would it work to mount another WAP 11 over my door to strengthen the signal? Also, I have an Airport Extreme Base Station, can I use this as a repeater somehow, or does it only work with other Airport Base Stations? I've googled some of this, and it seems like a Linksys repeater is the way to go, but the consistent signal strength puzzles me.
posted by bendy to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Have you tried entering DNS server addresses manually into your TCP/IP settings? Just do a couple of nslookups or digs on the main domain name of your upstream provider(s) and use those.

When you can't ping is your DHCP address valid? If it is valid, what happens if you reset it?

Have you tried using the settings for interference robustness?
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:59 AM on April 12, 2004

I have no idea if this is relevant or not, but I can have great signal on my wireless connection but my provider craps out. Mind you, I have a cable modem at my own residence, but the same thing could be happening. The pipe just isn't open past the wireless router.

Just a thought.
posted by ajpresto at 9:04 AM on April 12, 2004

when it's bad, how far out does traceroute get?
posted by andrew cooke at 9:30 AM on April 12, 2004

Best answer: Mo Nickels: I had noticed the lack of DNS servers and will try that first. Renewing the IP address always gives me the same IP address again. When I try to "make one up" - just change the last number - I still don't connect. Probably making one up isn't the best strategy though.

ajpresto: it could be a provider issue. One thing I've noticed is that the signal often disappears right around 2 am. I don't know if this is a load issue, or something with the provider. Maybe it's a hint that I should be asleep.

andrew cooke: when I get home later tonight, I'll try traceroute. I was tinkering with it over the weekend, but don't remember the results.

Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll try some stuff when I get home again.
posted by bendy at 12:18 PM on April 12, 2004

Best answer: I did track down some DNS servers and they seem to be doing the trick for now. Thanks for the suggestions and help everyone!
posted by bendy at 10:51 PM on April 12, 2004

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