Wireless networking problems

We’ve got some serious wireless network interference going on in this apartment. The signal is usually weak and often drops completely for no readily apparent reason. The signal drops are sporadic and last anywhere from a few seconds to upward of 10 minutes or more in some cases. Sometimes it’s so bad that I can walk into the other room and stand right next to the access point and still not get any signal.

In my old house, using my old Orinoco RG-1100 (soon to be sold on Ebay, btw), the signal was strong throughout the house and usable in the house next door or all the way out at the street. In this apartment though, the signal quality has dropped considerably. I replaced the Orinoco AP with an Apple “Airport Extreme” (802.11b/802.11g) base station, which didn’t help any. We eventually added a Dr Bott antenna, which also made no appreciable difference. I can’t move the access point to another room without running cat-5 all through the apartment, which would kind of defeat the purpose of wireless networking.

I’ve re-enabled SSID broadcast because I’ve read that disabling it may cause some loss of signal quality. I’ve also cycled the access point through most of the available 11 channels, but they’re all the same. I’ve installed KisMac to scan for other nearby wireless networks but can only pick up one other one from inside the apartment, and it’s extremely weak. Walking around outside gives me two more, but they can’t possibly be interfering with ours. That leaves me assuming that the problem is being caused by a neighbor’s microwave or cordless phone, which would explain the occasional complete loss of signal. Is there anything I can use to detect the source of 2.4 GHz frequencies? Would wrapping my apartment in tin foil help?


avitania says:

Would wrapping my apartment in tin foil help?

No, but I do suggest wearing a tin foil beanie, taking a picture, and sending it to me. It may not help with your signal issue, but I would be highly entertained. :)