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Help with wireless installation

I have a customer who I recently installed a wireless network for.
The main PC and router sit on the bottom-level of a split-level home.
His son's PC is upstairs, though in very close proximity (across the hall) to his office.

He purchased a Netgear router and adapter.  I will tell you upfront, that I am not very familiar with Netgear.

It seems that when I go over there, I change some configurations and get the network working for him.  As little as a few hours to a day or two later, the network quits working.

I have tried moving the antenna, changing channels, changing security, etc.
The last message I received from him stated that he was receiving the following error.

"This connection has little or no connectivity. You might not be able to access the Internet or some network resources.
This problem occurred because the network did not assign a network address to the computer."

I thought that perhaps the problem was that there was enough of a network hiccup that the wireless PC could not update its DHCP lease information.  So, I sent him instructions on setting it to a static address, but I am told that it still is not working.

So I am presuming that the problem lies with something I am missing with the Netgear configuration.  Thus, I am seeking Netgear-specific wireless experts to help me troubleshoot and rectify this problem.

Both systems are running XP Home, SP2.  I have tried using both Netgear- and XP- managed wireless configuration.  The signal strength averages about 84%.  When it was set to an automatic channel, it would use 11, then continually scan for another channel and drop the connection while doing so, until it returned to 11.  I was able to force it to 2 and it worked for me, while I was there.  

If you need further detail, please do ask.
Thank you in advance for your time and support.

Shawn
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shawngilbert
Asked:
shawngilbert
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6 Solutions
 
devsolnsCommented:
Just a thought...is there any wireless phones in the house?  I had an issue like this with a customer, and after hours and hours of troubleshooting, I found the problem to be a 2.4 ghz cordless phone interference!
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shawngilbertAuthor Commented:
Yes there is.
And I have already asked him to remove it, at least temporarily, but I have not heard back whether this was done yet or not.
It would be nice if that were it, but what does he do if it is?  Does he buy new phones or is there a method to have them coexist?
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devsolnsCommented:
Only way to coexsist is if they are on different floors of the house.  It seems it does not cause any issues (but again it depends on phone, router).  The best thing would be to say get new 5.8 ghz phones :)
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devsolnsCommented:
Also, I have seen this too.......dont use WEP and instead restrict wireless use to MAC address of the wireless cards.  On some routers the WEP is terrible and causes issues after about a day of running.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
I have run into 2 Netgears in the past 6 weeks, one a wired unit and the other wireless, that kept loosing connections. Installing the most recent firmware from the Netgear site fixed both. Though there can be lots of reasons to loose a wireless connection, such as cordless phones (as suggested), microwaves, some heavy equipment, you might want to try the firmware.
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hnlk808Commented:
Have you restarted the router? Is DHCP server still turned on?
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shawngilbertAuthor Commented:
DHCP is still on, on the router.  The main PC still retrieves a lease from it, but his son's PC does not.

You have posted many good suggestions here.  I do not know why I did not think about firmware, since I had to recently apply a new firmware to his son's PC.  I will certainly give that a try!

Additionally, he mentioned that he has had some problems with his phone setup.  He has had a 2.4G phone for the past 2 years and any time he gets near his computer, it causes poor reception on the phone.

Apparently he has went through a couple of different brand 5.8G phones, but still experienced the same problem.

So, he is going to replace the cordless downstairs, near the router/modem, with a corded phone and replace the upstairs cordless with another 5.8G model.

I will post more after I return over there, probably tomorrow.

Thank you very much.
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devsolnsCommented:
Hope all these suggestions help......wireless can be such a pain sometimes!
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cwilluCommented:
Just so ya know, quite a few '5.8' phones are only 5.8 from the base;  the handset still transmits on 2.4, and so will cause problems.

You may just find it simpler to switch to 802.11a or ag equipment on the network (moving the wireless to 5.8).  Using the combo (ag) allows you to still connect to 2.4 access points (or even get double bandwidth by using both at the same time, depending on the equipment), and will basically make this problem go away, even if your neighbours all buy 2.4 phones and plug them in on your doorstep :p
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shawngilbertAuthor Commented:
cwillu - can you further elablorate on what you posted?  That might be of some value.  How does one determine if the handset transmits on 2.4, and how would be switch to a 802.11a or ag equipment?
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devsolnsCommented:
shawngilbert,
before you go crazy trying, ask your customer to unplug ALL cordless phones in the house and remove the batteries from the handsets.  Tell him to do this for a few hours and see if the problem still exists.  If not you know that it is the phones and then go from there.
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cwilluCommented:
re: handset:  have to check the spec sheet/manual for the phone (written or website, wherever you can find it;  http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A2Y1M5UOCSFTE0/002-0668163-7900046).  Bit of a pain;  a salesperson who knows something about what they're talking about in the store is useful here :)

re: 802.11a equipment;  your typical wireless equipment is either 802.11b (11mbit) or 802.11g (56mbit, compatible with 802.11b).  Both of those run on 2.4.  802.11a equipment is 56mbit, running on 5.8, and 802.11ag works on both frequencies, and so can talk to 'b' or 'g' equipment on 2.4, or 'a' equipment on 5.8.

The downside of switching to 5.8 equipment is cost;  you have to replace both your router and wireless card with 'a' equipment.  Also, I would strongly advise getting an 'a/g' card if you're planning on using anybody else's access points, and same for the router if you plan on letting other's use your access point.  I'd expect the cost to be under $200 to replace both pieces, possibly under $150.
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shawngilbertAuthor Commented:
Customer has not called since.  So rather than leave this open, I will grant points to the suggestions that probably would have helped.  Thank you for your time.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Thanks Shawn,
--Rob
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