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Debate: which side is more right in this case?

Hi. I'm a student in a College, where Wireless Access Points (802.11b) are installed around our college to provide wireless network connection for our computers.

The Access Point (outdoor version, sorry I cannot find the make and model, but it claims that it is possible of transmitting and receiving a wide range) that we're connecting to frequently hangs (access point seen, but nobody can connect, nobody can use). The current solution that the vendor does is to shut down, restart the Access Point, temporarily fixing the problem, which will recur in a while (sometimes a few hours, sometimes a few days).

We're looking at a more permanent solution here. The vendor insists that it is the presence of Ad-hoc networks (for WLAN gaming like Warcraft) that is bringing the Wireless Access Point down.

I however suggested that that is not the problem. My reasons are:
1. The access point's transmitting and receiving power should logically be stronger than the individual wireless card's power. So if there really is interference, why is it that the Wireless Access Point that "loses the battle", but not the Wireless Cards setting up the Ad-hoc network? Using Physics law, if the amplitude of the Access Point's wave is +3a, and the Wireless Card's wave is +a, even if destructive interference occurs, the lowest amplitude is still +2a right? Is that not enough for transmission of data? (Please correct me if I put the relative strengths incorrectly)

2. Using Intel ProSET/Wireless to check, the Access Point is set to Channel 6, while the Wireless Cards setting up the Ad-hoc network are set to Channel 1. The 802.11b specification states that Channel 6 and Channel 1 does not overlap. Hence, should interference be a problem here?

3. If interference occurs, it should be some computers that are affected only, but in our case, the whole body of students using that access point is affected.

4. Emperical evidence of situations where many Ad-hoc networks are present while the Wireless Access Point is working well (I'm surfing the net well while my friends are playing Warcraft for example), and many examples when the Wireless Access Point is down while nobody is using any Ad-hoc networks.

From my points, do you think my case that "Ad-hoc networks are not the cause of our college Access Point's malfunctioning" are justified? Actually I'm trying my best to prove to the vendor that it is that Access Point unit that is faulty, and the Vendor should replace it, instead of bringing up reasons like Peer to Peer Network.

Any suggestions would much be appreciated! Feel free to discuss any points that I've mentioned, if you think they're weak, they're strong etc.


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Other interference might include..

In reply to: Debate: which side is more right in this case?

Cordless Phone, Microwave, Baby Monitor...

In such environment, I can imagine many using it..

The access point is 'so good' that it detect and receive those interferences.

Just maybe... some of the users... doing or trying something.. that cause the problem (can you control who use it and what they do?)

you may try other channel...

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So the Access Point is should be replaced?

In reply to: Other interference might include..

Hi. I'm actually in a part of the student body that wants to prove to the college that the vendor shouldn't be trusted. Unfortunately, the college prefers to trust the vendor, and in doing so, gets the problem nowhere.

In our college, we don't use cordless phones, but we do use Mobile phones, which operate in the 900/1800 range. Hence interference shouldn't be an issue here right? And no, we don't have microwave ovens, it is strictly phohibited in our college.

I still believe that in the event of interference, the access point shouldn't hang, but should keep on working hard, even if it's slowing down, isn't that?

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If only it was so simple.

In reply to: Debate: which side is more right in this case?

The adhoc networks do interfere with the other networks even when on another channel. What some think is there is no spillover from one channel to another. Sadly, the spillover is bad enough that I find that only channels 1, 6 and 11 to have enough seperation. And in the case of those turbo Wifi systems (108 mbps) 6 becomes shaky.

The real problem here is that no one may be "right." The other wifi systems may be an issue, but a WAP should not need reseting if it's a proper design. Sadly I'm seeing far too many "flighty" systems out there. But that's another story.

Bottomline? The spec is one thing, reality is another. It's too bad they didn't choose 1 or 11 for the campus WAP of interest.


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Thanks.... any suggestions then?

In reply to: If only it was so simple.

Hi Bob, thanks for your reply.

The WAP is set to channel 6 because in the college, there are more than 1 access points. The WAP I'm connecting to is at the border of the range, the neighbouring one is Channel 11, so maybe I can suggest them to change to Channel 1. Eventhough there are so many access points, our college is not implementing the Extended Service Set protocol, because each access point is connected by Fibre Optic cables to the central server, and each of the Access Points are not using the same SSID.

Actually I do acknowledge that what I say might not be certainly right, but the fact that the Access Point always hangs and needs resetting means that it itself is not working well.

Any suggestions as to how do we get over this deadlock? Do you have any suggestions as to how can the vendor or I can prove/disprove the claim that Ad-hocs are bringing the WAP down?

I'm relying mostly on my last point that there are many situations when the WAP is working well even with the existence of Ad-hoc networks, and many situations where there are no Ad-hoc networks but the WAP is down. But I realise that using this point, it is necessary for me to prove that interference occurs immediately, otherwise, the vendor might argue that although they coexist for a while, the ad-hoc eventually brings the wireless network down.

I really hope you can provide some expertise here, and provide some suggestions as to how to get over this deadlock. We're having an uphill task, because I'm part of the student body fighting for better wireless connections, but unfortunately, the college while understanding the need of good wireless networks prefers to listen to the dealer, and blame the students for having ad-hoc networks. What we need now is a way to prove things: if it is really the ad-hoc that's causing the problems, we'll persuade all to not use ad-hoc networks; if it's the other way round, we want to make the dealer change the WAP for us.


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With more than one WAP...

In reply to: Thanks.... any suggestions then?

My choice would be all three channels so to keep each from interferring with the other. The designers need to talk to a desinger of cellular systems. It would be a bad thing to set 2 cell towers next to each other and use the same frequency.

When this is designed, it's quite simple. You take out a map and put in your towers. Then you puzzle over what frequencies you have and how to keep adjacent cells from using the same frequency as an adjoining cell.

All you've show me is that the designer didn't learn this topic.

Best of luck in helping them sort it out. And keep in mind that all this could be just a failing WAP.


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From server: can ping WAP

In reply to: With more than one WAP...

Hi Bob. I have an update on this issue.

Yesterday night, when the AP is down, I met with the college's IT advisor, and he pinged the access point from the server room (the WAP is connected by fibre optic fibres to the server room). He said pinging was successful, hence the WAP is working.

I insisted that he came to my area, and he did, and at my area, he confirmed what I said is right: he can't ping anything because he's not connected. Some computers which were 'still connected', when he ping the WAP, no reply was received. Once he disconnect and tries to reconnect, he can't reconnect.

In the end, he restarted the WAP again. He seems to have softened his stand that the WAP 'is working well', but now, he says "he'll have to think of why".

I questioned him about the brand of the WAP, he said is Senao, but he refused to agree that the Senao AP is bad, because many people (from other places) are using it as well and nobody has such complaints.

What do you think? Does successful pinging from the Server room means that the WAP is not hanged?

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In reply to: From server: can ping WAP

Heck, GE lightbulbs are all over. Mine works. How about yours?

-> It's a lightbulb. It failes so get it swapped out.

Hint: Don't think of it (the device) as more than a lightbulb. Just because others work does not mean this one is working.


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