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Tricky Situation to Increase Wireless Reliability: HELP!

by nettynette / January 12, 2010 2:52 PM PST

Ok, this may be a "no brainer" for some of you (I'm hopeful), but it's got me.

We have a desktop (no wireless capability) and a laptop (wireless capable) in our home. The desktop is about 10 feet from the phone jack (hence our wireless router is about 10 feet from the phone jack). The problem is that I have run the cable from the phone jack to the wireless router along three walls under the carpet for aesthetic and safety reasons. This has caused my laptop's wireless connection to be unstable. I have come to this conclusion because when I connect a direct short line from the wireless router to the phone jack through the middle of the room, my laptop's wireless connection is great.

So the question is, what is the best way to eleviate this problem? Here are two thoughts that I have entertained:

1) Put the wireless router right next to the phone jack (which is in a closet...not thrilled about this) and buy a really long (maybe 25 foot) ethernet cable to connect the to the desk top. However, will there be any issues with speed to the desktop with such a long ethernet cable? Or other problems I haven't foreseen?

2) Buy a wireless USB Adapter for the desktop. But most I have read about, seem to heat up fast and/or are unreliable. I would not want to trade a reliable wired connection to the desktop for an unreliable wireless one.

Sorry this is so lengthy, but I know y'all like details Happy

Any suggestions, reflections, or even criticism would be greatly appreciated Wink


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Just checking.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 12, 2010 9:39 PM PST

You didn't tell about the wifi settings. For example that dated old advice about hiding the SSID turns out to cause wifi to drop out on many machines. This is why we don't suggest that in the CNET Networking Forum sticky.

Your post never did reveal what the issue was so all I'm left to do is to guess. But I see no reason to change anything but to check the settings and try it per the forum sticky.

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Didn't know that was even an issue
by nettynette / January 13, 2010 9:23 AM PST
In reply to: Just checking.

Sorry. That is how "green" I am. I didn't even know the "SSID thing" was an issue.

I will look for and read up on the CNET Networking Forum sticky to learn more.

As for "wifi settings", I'm not sure what you're asking for. Are you refering to "public" vs. "private" setting? At the risk of frustrating you, I will stop here, read up on the topic and then post back with more detail.

Oh, and I thought I had explained my issue. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. My laptop wifi connection keeps dropping (I think I used the word "unstable"). All I want is to be able to connect to the internet without it going out on me all the time. The short cable seemed to fix the problem, but I don't want an ugly cable running through the center of the room.

Thank you for your time Bob,

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 13, 2010 10:18 AM PST

That's not uncommon and in the Cnet Networking forum the setting we propose for the wifi router are simple. Ready?

1. Router defaults (except what's needed to connect to the ISP.)
2. WPA for security.

No router so far hides the SSID so this setup is simple, easy and works for most.

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Did my homework ;)
by nettynette / January 13, 2010 10:46 AM PST
In reply to: Dropping.

Okay, I read through the "stickies", and found some great information. I know what your talking about now (with the SSID thing) and I also noticed a post about people having lots of problems with the ATT2WIRE Gateway 2701HG router. Unfortunately that's the one we have. My laptop (HP)couldn't keep a signal until I upgraded to Windows 7. Then it was fine for a while. But now dropping again unless we have the "short" telephone cable hooked up.

I will try Broadcasting SSID, and see if that fixes the problem. Otherwise, looks like I'll have to run a long ugly ethernet cable Sad


PS I suspected a while ago that the ATT router might have been a culprit, but when I phoned ATT, they said they would only guarantee service if we used their router. So any other brand and we would lose our customer service. Nice...

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Currently post 18 (link supplied)
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 13, 2010 11:31 AM PST
In reply to: Did my homework ;)
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Searched for instructions but no luck...
by nettynette / January 13, 2010 12:36 PM PST

Okay, I searched for information on how to Broadcast the SSID and switch from WEP here on CNET. Everyone says it's the thing to do, but no one EXPLAINS how to do it. I assume it is intuitive for everyone else, but I don't even know where to start.

So my question now is: HOW do I Broadcast my SSID and make the switch to WPA?

Also, I don't know if I have enough TECH savy to hook up a second wifi router. I'm going to do a Google search for the "Airport Extreme" router. Is there a "sticky" with step by step directions on how to use two routers? I'm a pretty quick learner, just very new at wireless technology.

Thank you again Bob for your patience and insight.

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The link to post 18.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 13, 2010 9:18 PM PST

Was supplied. Follow that and you're there. But this would be used on the AirPort Extreme so can I ask why the Airport? It would be just as much work to set that as any other router.

About changing to WPA. If you supply a link to the manual I'll point out which page it is on. Why step by step is nearly impossible is simple. Too many router models with too many variations on the setup screens. Writing "Change to WPA" is going to be the answer for years to come.

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Here's what I found...
by nettynette / January 14, 2010 12:52 PM PST
In reply to: The link to post 18.

Okay, I tried to find the "manual" online for my ATT2Wire2701HG-B Gateway Wireless Router, but all I could find was how to change the WEP to a custom WEP key instead of the default one.

I tried searching the site for WPA, but didn't find anything. Anyhow here is the site I used.


Oh, I almost forgot. Link 18 did have the instructions, I was foolishly looking at link 20. That's where I got the Airport Extreme idea. Someone posted to use the ATT2Wire and the Airport Extreme (I think it was the Apple guys from Cupertino).

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 14, 2010 10:19 PM PST
In reply to: Here's what I found...
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Did it and...
by nettynette / January 15, 2010 8:27 AM PST
In reply to: YOU FOUND IT.

I changed the WEP to "WPA-PSK". Do you know what the PSK means? Also, there were other options, like "WPA-PSK and WPA2-PSK" or just "WPA2-PSK". Did I choose the right one?

I also used a custom pass phrase. Is that the right thing to do? Or should I have used the "default"?

Should I also change the network name? I think I read somewhere to change the that for better security?

Finally, I have a wireless printer (HP Photosmart C7280) that will not print wirelessly anymore. I am assuming this is because I changed the WEP. Any suggestions?

Thanks again for your time and patience,

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Fixed the wireless printer
by nettynette / January 15, 2010 10:19 AM PST
In reply to: Did it and...

Sorry, jumped the gun on that one. It was actually a very easy fix. Even for me! Wink

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Glad you fixed it.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 15, 2010 10:33 AM PST

And thanks for the links. This is all volunteer and you made it easy on me so I was able to point it out.

As to PSK, please ask google but it's what I would use.

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