Wifi problems with new laptop

#1
First off, I'll admit that my knowledge of networking is pretty limited, though I'm competent with computer stuff in general. I just got a new laptop, a Gateway NV78 with Win7 Home Premium, but I'm having troubles with download speeds. While another laptop (vista) in the same place can get ~150 kilobytes/s, this one can get at most 60. Often, it loses internet connectivity altogether, or goes down to bytes/second. Windows diagnostics is unhelpful, it usually says that no problem is found. Occasionally it will say "Your computer appears to be correctly configured, but the device or resource (DNS server) is not responding." My network adapter is an Intel Wifi Link 5100 agn. I have the latest driver installed. The router is older, but that didn't affect things on the Vista laptop

I'm sure thatI should post more information about my setup, but I don't know what to write. Also, I wasn't sure where to post this. If you have any suggestions, I'd be very grateful.

Thanks!
 
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#2
I updated the firmware on my router (Linksys befw11s4) and now things have improved. My connection is more consistent, but it is still slower than the other laptop. Does anyone have any tips, or is this just something I'll have to live with?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
Obviously not a lot of networking expertise around at the moment Freg.
Have you tried a hardwired connection to the router to see if the problem is in the wifi link or elsewhere ?
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#6
Appears some interference is going on. Try changing the broadcast channel if your router allows it or setting it to the auto setting.
 
#7
The router you have only supports 802.11B and the connection is half-duplex due to multiple devices being connected. Have you tried doing the speed tests while the other connected device is powered off?

Like kairozamorro has said have you tried using the device closer to the Linksys befw11s4 to check for interference levels? using something like netstumbler (software) can help.

But in my opinion if budget permits I would recommend a new router if you use the wireless regularly or even connect up a new Access Point which supports 802.11 G/N specifications much better range and throughput available considering you have new wireless gear hanging off old gear.
 
#8
I just enabled WAP security on the router and my connection is good right now. I'll see if the problem is fixed, and post back when I know.

In answer to your question HappyHippy, connectivity doesn't seem to be impacted by whether or not another device is connected. I tried netstumbler, but it said my adapter was not detected, even though it appeared in the menu.

If I still have problems, I'll try changing the channel. If I need to get a new router, what would you recommend? What price range am I looking at?


Addendum:


Apparently I was overly optimistic. Although I could temporarily get good download speeds, all of my former problems have returned.

A few additional details: when I run the windows diagnostic, it sometimes says that it resolved something like "this computer doesn't have a valid ip configuration." Additionally, a dialog will occasionally appear telling me that another computer on the network has a duplicate ip (which I assume is because Windows constantly changes it. I sometimes also am told that my computer is correctly configured but the DNS is unreachable. Usually, when I reset my connection or my adapter, my speed is pretty good at first, then gets worse as time goes on.

kairozamorro, I don't think that interference is the problem, as other wireless devices function properly.
 
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JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#9
If I need to get a new router, what would you recommend? What price range am I looking at?
A decent router can be obtained around $100usd. I favor 802.11n but a 802.11g router should do fine too. Linksys or D-Link routers usually come with a wide range of settings to adjust network performance/security right out of the box.

A few additional details: when I run the windows diagnostic, it sometimes says that it resolved something like "this computer doesn't have a valid ip configuration." Additionally, a dialog will occasionally appear telling me that another computer on the network has a duplicate ip
Apparently your DHCP server isn't handing out addresses to your wireless devices or the computer you're having problems with has a static address assigned that matches another device on the network. In router settings make sure its enabled and on the computer where you're having problems go into network connections in control panel and view the tcp/ip propertiies. Make sure the computer obtains an IP automatically.
 
#10
Both my router and my computer say that IP addresses are obtained automatically.

If the other laptop works fine with my current router, wouldn't my problem lie with the new laptop? I guess I don't understand why the problem would be caused by the router.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#11
Reboot the router/computers. Do an "ipconfig /all" at command prompt on all the computers on the network and make sure they have different IP addresses. If you're unsure about something post the output.
 
#12
I changed the router channel, and I think it actually worked!! I was actually able to get good download speeds consistently for about ten minutes, after which I restarted the computer and still have them!!!

I'm not quite ready to say this is solved, but it sure seems like it. Thank you!
(I do feel kind of sheepish that it was something so simple, though)
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#13
That's the problem with wireless networks. Its becoming more and more common to have multiple networks nearby (I've got at least 4-5 other networks in my area thanks to the neighbors), and when they all run on the same channel out of the box compromise in performance is a real problem.