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  ADSL Wireless Faults  

Before investigating a possible wireless fault, be sure that you have a sound hard wired connection so as to limit the potential causes of the problem.  Our page on General ADSL faults may be useful before proceeding here.  Wireless signals are NOT constant, even in the same room the signal will be affected by

  • time of day (due to position of celestial bodies affecting earth's electromagnetic properties),

  • the weather (particularly humidity as vapour distorts signal propagation),

  • furniture position and movement of people (as topography provides different surfaces to reflect or absorb the signal)

  • the X factor (some call it the will of the Gods)

There are some steps that may be take to improve the chances of getting a strong signal:

  • Ensure the antenna are pointing up to heaven

  • Position the transmitter (and to a lesser extent, receiver) as high as possible

  • Ensure there are no items of furniture, especially white goods (computer case, printer, fax machine, microwave ovens) between transmitter and receiver

  • Put as much distance as possible between transmitter/receiver and wireless phones, bluetooth devices, security systems and other gadgets operating on the same 2.4 GHz frequency.

  • Minimise the distance between transmitter and receiver

  • Avoid sending a signal through too much masonry as walls soak up signals and RSJs distort them

  • Be aware of the direct line between network devices. A wall that is 1.5 feet thick (.5 meters), at a 45-degree angle appears to be almost 3 feet (1 meter) thick. At a 2-degree angle it looks over 42 feet (14 meters) thick! Position devices so that the signal will travel straight through a wall or ceiling (instead of at an angle) for better reception.

  • Do away with mirrors (which contain a metal oxide backing) and other electro reflective surfaces as they will cause multiple signal shifts

  • Use a channel far away from the one your neighbour is using

  • Ensure that both transmitter and receiver are using the same encryption protocol with the same passphrase

  • Keep electrical mains cables away from the antenna as they will soak up some signal strength and divert it elsewhere

If the above does not help, consider additional or alternative hardware:

  • A high gain external antenna should help push the signal further horizontally (but not vertically)

  • Position parabolic reflectors (e.g. old CDs) behind the antenna; use wireless test tools (e.g. NetStumbler) to verify the best position.

  • Use a WiFi repeater to boost the signal strength, or configure another access point in a sub-network to carry the signal further

  • Upgrade the router to a MIMO one using the 802.11N standard

  • Sometimes open source router firmware allows the signal gain to be increased, but be aware that this may invalidate your warranty

  • It may be better to use the mains electricity network to carry the signal and simply transmit/receive from the nearest power socket

Further advice is available from Netgear.