Too Many wireless networks- 802.11g

Posted on 2008-11-16
Last Modified: 2013-11-12
I'm trying to make a wireless access point work in a small office building.  The symptoms are that no matter what access point and laptop are used- it associates, then sometimes works well for a while- but usually within a minute or two stops working.  It will still indicate associated, but no local resources, no Internet, etc.  Any of these laptops will connect elsewhere just fine.  There are 4 floors and about 6 or 8 small suites per floor.  When I open up my laptop (that uses 802.11b/g) utility to look for wireless access points there are at least 4 AP's with 90 or 100% signal, and another 10 above 50%.  I am sure I have the settings correct on both the laptop and the AP.  And I have tried 2 different AP's that both work with my laptop, as long as it is not in this building.  The other suites are using a variety of channels, but since only 1,6, and 11 do not overlap- there is obviously a ton of overlap.    So, how do I tell conclusively that the issue is too much contention for any channel I use and how do I resolve it?  FWIW one of the access points I can use is a cisco 1200 series that has some pretty advanced settings that may be of some use.
Question by:scotthere
    LVL 18

    Assisted Solution

    If your equipment has the option, turn down the range of the aerial so that it only detects signals within your house.
    You could also turn up the signal strength of your router so it drowns out the other signals. This may cause issues for your neighbours.

    You could also try the suggestion here:
    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    What channels are the other APs using?

    Have you used a site scanner like NetStumbler to see what their relative signal strengths are?

    > Any of these laptops will connect elsewhere just fine.

    How many computers and devices do you need to support?
    If it's only a couple laptops you may get more satisfaction switching to 802.11a or even 5GHz draft-n.

    Author Comment

    I will be on site again tomorrow and can confirm what channels.  Most of the AP's were 6 and 11 so I used 1, but there were several on 1 as well so I didn't have much success.  I need to support only 3 laptops.  The laptops are all newer than 2 years, not sure off-hand what they'll support.  Seems to me the AP's I have currently are probably only a/b/g, maybe only b/g.  Does N require a different card or is it compatible with b/g cards?
    LVL 44

    Accepted Solution

    >  Does N require a different card or is it compatible with b/g cards?

    Depending on brand and model, they support 11a and/or 11b/g cards. The best draft-n models, in my opinion, are dual-band so they're not required to take up 2/3rds of the 2.4GHz band when using 40MHz-wide channels. Those would support 11a and 11b/g. The cheapest models are 2.4-GHz only, but as I said, that type takes up 2 out of 3 channels in the 2.4GHz band when using the 40MHz-wide channel for the highest speeds (up to 300Mbps).

    Intel, Cisco and a few others are refusing to support 40MHz-wide channels in the 2.4GHz band, to help protect their installed base of b/g cards and APs in the field already.
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Probably you are not the only one who is being frustrated by the wireless interference, your neighbor probably face the same issue.

    Why not try and talk to your neighbour, get the 2 nearest one to change their channels so that the three of you guys won't overlap.

    Would also help if everyone agree to reduce the strength of the signal so that it is just enough to cover each own office but not strong enough to interfere with the neighbours.

    There comes a time when 802.11b/g becomes too congested and not practical to use.

    When that happens either everyone try to work with each other to resolve the issue or everyone continue to suffer. Talk to the other company tech person.
    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    In the interests of continuous improvement, could you tell us how our answers were deficient, please?
    Your request for clarification was answered, and no further input was requested.

    Since this is going into a searchable database, anything you can tell us about the ultimate resolution would help, too.


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