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Strange wireless connectivity issue

Posted on 2012-09-21
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Last Modified: 2012-10-05
I have a 2003 server. we have a wing of a large building that uses wireless to connect their laptops. suddenly a week ago, they started having trouble connecting to it. The machines that are wired have no issue. The laptops will all suddenly just connect and as long as we don't shut them down, they stay connected. once they are shut down, the problem starts up all over again when they boot back up.
We have two WAP in the wing. AP 1 and AP2. At first it seemed like AP1 was the issue so I replaced it with a new one. Still having the same issue. AP2 had the issue only once but that was it.

What else should I look at for the cause of this? Could there be something on the server? I use it for DHCP but we have plenty of available addresses for lease. Could there be a licensing issue on the server since we only have 15 available and people are connecting to the wireless with their phone, and that is taking an address from the server?

If that were the case, wouldn't i be having problems with wires machine connecting as well?

Thanks.
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Question by:raffie613
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Expert Comment

by:Brad Bouchard
ID: 38424155
The phones connecting to wifi aren't taking up licenses on the server I can assure you that so don't worry.  What I would do is look for a bad connection to the aps.  I would also look at the event viewer of the laptops for anything strange related to connectivity.
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by:Brad Bouchard
ID: 38424158
What brand and model are these aps?
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by:doublestick
ID: 38424163
I see where you are going with the idea of "licensing" but that does not sound like the problem to me.  If you wanted to be sure, you could preconfigure your DHCP with reservations and do some testing.

If the problem seems to be the same WAP (wireless access point) that was replaced, could it be bad cabling?  If the problem is intermittent and the same WAP, my money would be on the cable.

It might also be a router/switch throwing you off.  When I get these issues, I reboot the switches (especially the Cisco 2900's) and many odd things go away.
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Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 38424921
We need to know how your clients authenticate to the network?  Do they use pre-shared keys or do they use a RADIUS server?

What model are your APs?

Are there any other RF sources close by (microwaves, cordless phones, etc)?
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Author Comment

by:raffie613
ID: 38429103
the AP are Cisco WAP 4410. I replaced the one I thought to be faulty with a linksys _n not sure of model .I will check the laptop event logs.

The security is WPA-WPA2
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Author Comment

by:raffie613
ID: 38440707
Nothing new has been introduced into the environment with RF. There is a microwave that is use for a bit during lunch.

The problem seems to be only in the morning when the laptops are booted up. Once they finally get connected, they seem to stay connected.
I have rebooted the switch.

There is nothing recorded in the event logs as a warning.

The laptops say connected  but sits on "identifying" for 5-10 minutes before connecting and having internet access.

The same machine is able to connect to wireless "2" with no problem right away.

I am wondering if one particular machine is causing the issue to create a log jam?
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Expert Comment

by:burrcm
ID: 38442958
Might try changing the channel on the new AP then remove the remembered connections on the laptops and let them re-establish.

Chris B
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aoakeley earned 2000 total points
ID: 38443248
> The laptops say connected  but sits on "identifying" for 5-10 minutes before connecting and having internet access.

This indicates they are having an issue getting a lease from the DHCP server.

Set one of the laptops with a static IP Address on its wireless interface and if it connects to the network straight away when it starts up then you know the issue is with DHCP. It may be as simple as restarting your DHCP server.
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Author Comment

by:raffie613
ID: 38443369
If it were a DHCP issue, why is wireless 2 and 3 not having any issues? They get addresses as well. I have also change laptops from the area of wireless 2 over to this wireless 1 and they start to have problems as well. None the less, I will try to givbe them static IP and see if that helps.
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by:aoakeley
ID: 38443383
> If it were a DHCP issue, why is wireless 2 and 3 not having any issues?
No idea at this stage. But troubleshooting DHCP seems to be a logical starting point.
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Author Comment

by:raffie613
ID: 38444619
FYI - I got a win messenger popup saying I was out of licenses. I am not sure what messenger is but it said I could be out of network licenses. What are the licenses on my server for if not to allow a certain amount of authenticated users on my network?
Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:aoakeley
ID: 38445329
Re licences: That has no effect on users/devices. getting a dhcp lease ip or being able to access the Internet via your wifi. The only thing that applied to is the the users accessing your server/ network via smb/ exchange.
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Author Comment

by:raffie613
ID: 38457240
ok it seems like dhcp is not releaseing addresses of devices so that it runs out of addresses. any ideas what i should do to fix this?
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by:aoakeley
ID: 38457247
how long is your DCHP lease time?
If you right click on the scope and choose "reconcile" then "Verify" is everything consistent?
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Author Comment

by:raffie613
ID: 38457355
I changed it from 8 hrs to 8 days. 8 hrs was giving me the issue with the wireless so I wanted to see if keeping the address longer would fix it and then I ran out of addresses bc it won't release any.
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by:aoakeley
ID: 38457364
So getting back to the wireless.

Did setting the IP Address as static enable you to connct via both access points without the long pause?
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Author Comment

by:raffie613
ID: 38459612
yes it seems to have worked as well as extending the DHCP lease on the server so the laptop do not have to go and get a new address each day.
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Author Comment

by:raffie613
ID: 38460721
So apprently there is an issue with DHCP not releasing expired addresses. I have reconsiled the scope and it is consistant. What should I look for to solve this?
Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:aoakeley
ID: 38461759
one might consider this is a new question as it is no longer realy a wireless connectivity issue, but I am happy to continue.

Check this registry key on the server
HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\DHCPServer\ Parameters\DatabaseCleanupInterval

This defines how often the DHCP serevr cleans up old leases. reduce the time to decimal 30
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Author Comment

by:raffie613
ID: 38461807
so under base, click on the decimal radio dial button and in the value put 30?
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by:aoakeley
ID: 38461852
Yep
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