WiFi Weirdness

While I was having work done in my house, my office was piled high with boxes of stuff from downstairs.

As a result, for a while, I moved my router and computers downstairs, to work on the dining table.

A couple of weeks ago, the office got a bit emptier, so I moved my kit back up again, taking the opportunity to have a good tidy and rearrange.

Since then I have had problems connecting my laptop to my router. Sometimes it would work, but often it would connect by WiFi, but then perpetually be waiting for an IP address. Initially I thought it was a problem with the laptop, which is pretty old and only gets used occassionally. This was because my smartphone and my set-top box could both hold good connections to my WiFi without problems.

However, I then used my laptop elsewhere, and it was fine.

Then this week things escalated. It seemed that whenever I started the laptop and tried to connect, not only would it fail to connect to WiFi, but my router itself rebooted, cause me to lose connection for my whole network. Had I misunderstood? Was it the WiFi in the router that was bad?

Last night, I spent the evening watching Outcasts on BBC Iplayer. My settop box held a solid connection to WiFi for 4 hours, without a dropout. At lunchtime today, I booted up the laptop, and it couldn’t connect to WiFi. I tried my Smartphone – that connected. I rebooted the laptop, and the router went down on me. I turned off the laptop, and the router connected, and stayed connected. I turned on the laptop, and the router went down again.

It was then that I realised that the router was in a different position than it used to be, and was immediatly behind the laptop, although they weren’t touching. So I rearranged the desk, and moved the router the other side of my monitor – about 18 inches, if that.

Since then, router has had a solid connection, and the laptop not only connected to WiFi, but has stayed connected all afternoon.

I have no idea what the problem was, but I’m beginning to wonder about the wisdom of allowing WiFi on planes, now!

One Comment

  1. February 18, 2011

    Inverse square law. You were probably saturating both receivers, and rebooting was just the last straw for the router. Indeed, the EMF at reboot may have even reset the router’s processor directly.

    Although WiFi is “low power” putting one aerial close to the other will result in a high coupling. Moving it from, say, 3″ apart to 18″ apart will be a factor of 36 in the power, or around 15dB lower.

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