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How Can Dropped Data Packets Be Fixed Within A Wireless Connection?

Hi Everyone;

        I have a wireless computer which seems to have random dropped data packets to the router.  Sometimes I am able to ping to the router without any dropped data packets.  And, on other occasions, there are 25% to 50% lost data packets.  Of course, this creates a domino effect.  Whenever there are dropped data packets from the router, internet pages either load very slowly or not at all.  And, other times, internet connectivity drops all together when participating within online games.  

         Given this problem, I am interested in any strategies for fixing dropped data packets.  Theoretically speaking because I am not sure it can be done practically, is it possible to adjust the "size" of each data packet or block within a key of the registry file?  Or, can the data packet size be manipulated within the router's configuration?  And, if so, would I need to decrease the size of the data packet to help permit a smooth flow of packets to and from the wireless?  The signal strength of the wireless is "excellent", therefore, it does not seem to be the mechanism behind this situation.  

            On a sidenote, I ran the following command: netstat -s -p tcp and noticed the following most important parts:  segments sent.....1142.....segments retransmitted...135.  I am not exactly sure how to interpret this from a technical perspective, but, I do not think this is very good.  

            In closing, I certainly welcome any shared insights to this perplexing WLAN concern.  The OS on the wireless is XP Pro SP2 using a Wireless G Linksys Broadband Router (Model WRT54G).  The wireless adapter is a Linksys Wireless G (Model WUSB54G Ver. 4).  If any more technical specs are needed, please feel free to let me know and I will submit upon request.

            Thanks in advance for any attention given to this question.  


1 Solution
You can adjust the transmission size by altering the MTU (Maximum transmission unit) and there are plenty of free utils to do this online. I do not think this will solve your problem though. If you are getting spurious dropped packets it is either down to channel interference or physical interference.
In the case of the former you can check this by seeing what other wireless networks are nearby and on what channel they are transmitting by getting a tool called network stumbler. Download and install it and it will detect the networks near you. If there are any that are on the same channel as yours then you need to go into the setup for your access point and change the channel on which you are broadcasting to a different one that is not being used by anyone else (ideally you want to be at least 2 channels apart) if there are none free then pick the channel shared by the foreign network with the weakest signal.
If that does not fix it then it could be a problem with somebody sitting in front of the AP or something. It sounds silly and it is quite unlikely but if a person were close enough to the transmitter and directly between you and it then you will see a lot of signal loss as the body absorbs a LOT of energy.
The final answer may be simply congestion on the AP. As you dont mention the number of users this is possible. If there are more than 3 or 4 on a home grade access point or up to say a dozen on a commercial grade unit then they will probably be overworking the device.
GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi There;

          Thank you so much for the very well thought out suggestions to my wireless problem.  I have tried many different things which "temporarily" fixes the weak signal strength, but, I have not found anything yet which consistently keeps the signal strength for the wireless good and stable.  

        I believe I will be trying out network stumbler to determine the channels being used by nearby wireless setups and change our on within the router if need be.

           Thanks again for the help.

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