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Windows 7: Is it the network or the computer?

14 Sep 2012   #1
bru

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Is it the network or the computer?

I'm pulling what's left of my hair out.

More than a month ago I bought my first laptop. A low end model. I bought a Netgear router and easily connected the laptop wirelessly. Seemed to work fine but didn't have much time to play around as I decided to return the laptop and get a slightly better model.

The new(er) laptop also connected fine but immediately I noticed it acted different then the first. When coming out of sleep or hibernation I will get 4 bars on the network icon and after a minute or so it will go to five full bars. Now this is when the laptop is literally two feet away from the router. If I go upstairs (we have a small house) signal will drop to four or three bars. Also noticed I can't "see" other networks (neighbors I assume) as well as I used to on the other laptop.

And finally when I check status of the Wireless Adapter on the laptop it shows connection speed of 65 Mbps. Never better and certainly worse when the signal gets weaker.

I uninstalled/reinstalled the wireless adapter (I hate to do such things on a brand new computer) and also redownloaded the drivers. No changes.

So is it the laptops wireless connection that is bad? The reason I lean to this is because it gets a weak signal/can't see other networks that didn't seem to happen with the original laptop.

Or is it a bad router? The reason I lean to this is because I enabled the wireless on my desktop to check its performance and it being an inch away from the router only had a connection speed of 72Mbps.

Should I try a different router to rule that out? Return the computer and chalk it up to a bad wireless car/kinked antenna etc.? Thanks

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Sep 2012   #2

Windows 7 Profesional x64
 
 

What Channel is your wireless on? if you havent changed it I would guess 6. in the 2.4ghz spectrum theres only 3 non overlapping channels 1 6 and 11. I would suggest using inSSIDer – Discover The Wi-Fi Around You | MetaGeek and it will tell you what channels and signal strengths of the wireless networks around you. then pick the least used channel you can see from 1 6 or 11. Also what model is the netgear as it may also do 5ghz
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Sep 2012   #3
bru

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I manually changed the channel to 11 (may also have done 6) with no difference.

It is Netgear WNR2000v3 which is not dual band. But its speed is theoretically up to 300Mbps. The default is up to 150Mbps and going back and forth makes no difference. Only see 65Mbps (or 72 for desktop) max.

As for neighbors' networks like I said with the original laptop I could see six networks all with decent signals, 2 or 3 bars. Now with this laptop I see only 3 or 4 and they all are weak. This is why I think the laptop's wireless itself is poor.

Original laptop had an Atheros card, this one has a Broadcom.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Sep 2012   #4

Windows 7 Profesional x64
 
 

sometimes under advanced within device manager you can up the power level of the card, I would still recommend using inSSIDer as it gives a better understanding of networks around you. Also what house phone do you have? is it a cordless DECT phone?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Sep 2012   #5
bru

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I don't think the card has that function.

I just hooked up the desktop wirelessly again and it only got 4 bars right next to the router. Still showed 72.0 Mbps speed though. But it showed zero other networks. I know it is probably not the best wireless (has an option for external antenna) but this makes me even more puzzled.

I have an older 900Mhz cordless phone.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Sep 2012   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

MS Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
 
 

If the desktop is the same when using wireless its the router.

Things to try:

1. Reset the router to factory defaults (need to re-enter password etc)
2. Switch the router channel to 11 & change mode to g&b check your region is correct

Hope this Helps
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Sep 2012   #7
bru

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Have reset the router at least twice.

Curious why I would want to set it to g/b (not even sure where that setting is)? Both computers have wireless n.

edit: I think the b/g is "up to 150Mbps". Which is where it is and has been. No changes with channel 11 or b/g.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Sep 2012   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult, Windows 8.1 Pro,
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bru View Post
Have reset the router at least twice.

Curious why I would want to set it to g/b (not even sure where that setting is)? Both computers have wireless n.

edit: I think the b/g is "up to 150Mbps". Which is where it is and has been. No changes with channel 11 or b/g.
Ok if you are using wireless N adaptors, B or G should not be in the picture.

In fact the only way to achieve true 802.11n speeds of 300Mbps is to go into your routers settings, change to 802.11n Only mode, you can't use this mode if you have G or lower clients that need to connect.

You will also need to use WPA2 security with AES encryption which are also made to work at wireless N speeds.

Don't use channel bonding "20-40Mhz setting" unless you have 4-5 bars signal strength.

And comparing one laptop to another there will always be differences in signal strength. What's more important is to remove all Malware that was preinstalled on this new laptop. Add-remove programs is a good place to start.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Sep 2012   #9
bru

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

The router is at default settings. Security is WPA2 w/AES. No wireless G clients, only one wireless N laptop.

It must be the wireless card. I've read that some cheap cards only support up to X speed. No model number for the card to verify. All it says is Broadcom 802.11n Network Adapter.

No way any bloatware is causing this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Sep 2012   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult, Windows 8.1 Pro,
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bru View Post
The router is at default settings. Security is WPA2 w/ ASES. No wireless G clients, only one wireless N laptop.

It must be the wireless card. I've read that some cheap cards only support up to X speed.

No way any bloatware is causing this.
The Default settings may not be set the way I just described. Besides Windows update, you should also try the laptop manufacture's web site for the latest drivers.

If the card has connection speed limitations you can get a faster USB adaptor but removing the preinstalled malware would still be my first step with any new laptop.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Is it the network or the computer?





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