Suddenly weak Wifi signal?
TipsyMcStagger

I live in a small, single level home...less than 1400 sq ft.  My FiOS wireless router is in a spare bedroom and has always provided a strong signal for my laptop anywhere in the house.  Usually, I'm less than 50 feet from the router.  This week, after making no changes to settings and without repositioning the router, I have only a "weak" or "poor" signal when using my laptop.  I'm sitting in the next room as I type this...maybe 25 feet from the router...and have only a single "bar" of signal strength.

I have tried rebooting the router to no avail.  There are no other wifi signals of any appreciable strength from neighboring homes to provide interference.

Suggestions?  Is it possible the router is physically failing?

Tipsy

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7 Replies
jmw1950
Specialist - Level 2

The usual cause of your problem is in fact interference. The specturm used for Wi-Fi is not only used for Wi-Fi, but for multple other services. It is unlicensed, and as long as the intent of the use is not to cause inteference, the use is generally legal.

So either you, or one of your neighbors has recently installed something (often another wireless access point, or cordless telephone), and it intefering with your signal.

Realistically the only thing you can try is to go into your router and try operating your wireless net work on another channel.

Most people leave the router set on automatic, however you can set it in 'Basic Security Settings' to a specific channel.

The commonly used channels are 1,6 and 11. If one doesn't work any better, try another channel.

Your laptop will find your network no matter what channel it is on, so no changes are necessarily in it. if you  change the channel your network operates on..

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TipsyMcStagger

I've tried every channel manually with no difference whatsoever.

Tipsy

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smith6612
Community Leader
Community Leader

Stupid question, but have you tried simply shutting the router off, unscrewing the antenna from the back, re-inserting it and rebooting the router? I don't believe the ActionTecs or the Westells offer the ability to adjust the transmit power, so if that isn't the cause, then there's some sort of Interference going on still, or the router may just be on it's way out.

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TipsyMcStagger

@Smith6612 wrote:

Stupid question, but have you tried simply shutting the router off, unscrewing the antenna from the back, re-inserting it and rebooting the router? I don't believe the ActionTecs or the Westells offer the ability to adjust the transmit power, so if that isn't the cause, then there's some sort of Interference going on still, or the router may just be on it's way out.


I have rebooted several times with no improvement.  But I haven't tried to unscrew the antenna.  Didn't really see what purpose that would serve???

I've had to move the router to another room because the signal has become unreliable from more than 20 feet away.  I plan to see if I can have the router exchanged.

Tipsy

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smith6612
Community Leader
Community Leader

The ActionTec router actually has two antennas. One is located internally on a small, vertical circuit board. The other one is the large antenna sticking out of the back. Ideally the router should be switching between the two antennas. It could be possible that what you're seeing is the router broadcasting from the internal antenna rather than the external, or vice versa. Could also be possible that something just came loose over time. It's really hard to say over an Internet forum what exactly happened though. Give it a shot though. It probably won't do anything but it's worth a shot to say the least. Failing that I would ask for another router to be sent out since the Wireless degraded like that.

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SRTKris
Newbie

I just got off the phone with support and was told in no uncertain terms that wifi is only assured for a 10ft unobstructed range.

She told me that their equipment wasn't meant to have a range farther than that. Now my house isnt small but one would think that one should be able to get a wireless connection in the same room.

I have never heard of an AP either stand-alone or part of a larger device that was only good for 10ft. I made it clear i was talking feet not yards.

So as far as verizon is concerned I cannot connect wireless from the other side of the living room. if this is the case why let me do it for many years then think it is ok for me to not. I really didnt want to drag cat5 accross the coffe table to be able to sit on the sofa.

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jmw1950
Specialist - Level 2

The range of the WiFi signal is almost entirely a function of the background noise or interference. As I pointed out in a previous post, there is no shortage of users and applications that share spectrum with WiFi. For most people and in typical circumstances the useful range is probably closer to 100 feet. However the reality of the world today is that I wouldn't even guarantee 10 feet to anyone. Too many existing Wi-Fi networks, cordless telephones etc.

However before doing anything else, I'd suggest powering down the router, and removing and re-installing the external antenna. connections can corrode over time, and often simply reconnecting the antenna will once again give you a good connection.

You basically have a couple of choices at this point. You could replace the antenna on the router with a directional antenna and point the antenna in the direction you want service. That effectively increases the transmit power. These antennas are not especially expensive.

However my advice would be to move away from wireless entirely. Consider using a powerline ethernet adapter. This allows you to get near cat 5 cable speed from almost anywhere in the household with access to an electric outlet.  You run a cat5 cable from the router to the adapter, which plugs into an outlet, and at the other end, you plug a cat5 cable into the device, and the othe end into the other adapter, which plugs into the wall.

Good luck.

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