Fading wireless network and internet access

Posted on 2008-10-29
Last Modified: 2013-11-24
I moved to a new two story house that is an old farm house not that big.  It is about 300 square feet larger then my old mobile home that I lived in before.  I had a d-link wireless router dir-625 that I used in the old house and got full signal even to over 100 feet outside the house.  My ISP is comcast cable in both locations.  I used the same router in the newer house upstairs and often can not even get signal across the hall in the next bedroom over.  However, at times I can get signal down stairs in the living room.  I can have signal one moment that is full strength and the very next moment have nothing at all without moving.  I thought my router may be giving out so I tried an apple airport express since my laptop is a mac.  Not quite as bad but still the same problem.  Signal goes from full to nothing without moving.  Internet access goes from good to poor too.  
Is this bad luck with wireless routers, cable modem, or could my macbook wireless card be giving out?  The laptop is less than 3 years old. Or is it the house?
So if you know which it is, how do I correct this?
I have a dell desktop attached via ethernet and it seems much more stable although the internet is buggy at times too.  My old place was the same ISP, same equipment and never missed a beat.  The connection was perfect everyday all day.  What has changed?
Question by:mmbgriffin
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 22837923
You could be getting interference from the insulation, metal frames in the house construction? Is it brick?
Do you have a cordless phone? Could be problems with your wireless transmitter, its really hard to tell.

Move your computer to the same room as the transmitter and see how the signal goes. Problem solve from there.

Wireless is problematic at best in my experience. Works great when it does, hassles when it doesnt. ;)

Author Comment

ID: 22837950
The house is stick construction.  Computer in same room tends to be better but still has the same trouble.  No cordless phones in the house. I don't know anything about the wireless transmitter you talk about.  Is it possible if the router is failing that the wired desktop and wireless laptop will loose connection at the same time?
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 22837993
The transmitter is the wireless router I'm referring to.

Yes, if the problems is the router, then anything 'connecting' to it will lose signal at the same time. Can you get another router to test this out?

Author Comment

ID: 22838060
Yes.  As you will remember I started off with a D-link and then moved to the airport extreme.  Similar trouble with both.
LVL 13

Accepted Solution

kdearing earned 250 total points
ID: 22841216
A couple of things to try...

First, placement of the wireless route:
    3-6' above the floor, away from metal obstacles as much as possible.

Second, antenna pattern:
    If your wireless router has only 1 antenna, you normally get the best coverage with it sticking straight up, but move it around to test your environment.
    If your wireless router has 2 antennas, the normal optimal antenna coverage is when the antennas are about 45 drgrees off, pointing away from each other like a 'V'

Third, interference:
    There are many things that can interfere with a WiFi signal: cordless phones, microwave ovens, bluetooth devices, etc.
    There may be other WiFi signals operating on the same channel
    Download and run netstumbler  a powerful but easy to use WiFi analysis tool

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