Need guidance on intermittent wireless problems

Posted on 2014-01-18
Last Modified: 2014-01-20
The home user has intermittent internet problems.  They tell me that it often 'takes forever' to bring up websites, particularly in the morning and evening.

Today I brought my laptop over, to run tests alongside their laptop.  First I checked, and got a very respectable figure of 32 down/7 up.  They have a Comcast modem, connected to a Netgear N150 wireless router.  The wireless connections shows as 'excellent' signal strength.  Most of the time I've been here it has all worked fine, bringing up websites quickly.  I have been playing youtube videos on both computers simultaneously, with no hesitation.

But here are the two problems I've seen while here:

1) Once the wireless indicator in the system tray got the exclamation mark, on both computers, saying there was limited access.  That lasted for about a minute, and then went back to normal on both laptops.

2) Once I was trying to pull up another website on one of the laptops, and it hung for the longest time.  As I was about to go find the router and plug in with my network cable, the website finally came up, so I did not get a chance to do my test with the cable.

Unfortunately I have limited time to solve this problem, and that's why I need expert advice.  The possible problem sources that come to my mind are these:

1) A problem with the Comcast service.

2) A problem with the Comcast modem.

3) A problem with the Netgear router.

4) A problem with the Netgear's wireless connection.

I have a spare wireless router with me, as well as an access point.  It so happens that both are Netgear.  I would appreciate recommendations on what to try first.  TIA
Question by:sasllc
LVL 18

Accepted Solution

Steven Harris earned 125 total points
ID: 39791599
Netgear had some issues with software versions for a while that drove users insane.  Most had great success rolling back to an older software version.

What version software is the router running?  Is it up to date?  If not, update it.  If it is up to date, roll back to a previous version such as

Author Comment

ID: 39791614
It was on v1.0.0.3NA, so I have downloaded the v1.2.2.72NA it offers me.  I guess I will see what happens--if anything--for the short time I'll be here today.

Assisted Solution

wrwiii12 earned 125 total points
ID: 39791617
Download inssider on your laptop or phone and see what channels are congested in that area vs what channel they are using.  Many times this can be fixed by changing the channel in the wireless setting in the router.
LVL 83

Assisted Solution

by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 125 total points
ID: 39791620
First, download this program, Wireless Netview , to see how many other wireless networks there are and how strong the signals are and whether they are on your client's channel.

I have a NetGear N600 WNDR3700 that has been so good I bought one for my favorite client.  I did have some problems with the Arris modem so they 'upgraded' me to the SMC modem/router.  The SMC wireless sucks so I plugged the Netgear back in.

Assisted Solution

sgt_best earned 125 total points
ID: 39794079
Good advise already given above:
Update or rollback software & check what channels are in use in the area....a lot of routers use the same channel out of the box.

To rule out the Comcast service & hardware, hard wire one of them for a couple of days.
Is the morning and evening the only time they use it?  A lot of people use it then and are gone to work during the day.

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