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Slow wireless on Westell 9100em - Please help

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Copper Contributor
Copper Contributor
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎08-22-2009

Slow wireless on Westell 9100em - Please help

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I had Fios installed 6 months ago and have used it on wire since day one. No performance problems at all. Recently I had occasion to connect my laptop via wireless and ran into severe performance issues. Pages were very slow to load, or just time out. I tried two other laptops ( different makes & wireless cards) and all had identical issues. Pinging from the laptop to the 9100em, I'm seeing packet loss as high as 60%. Same results pinging from the 9100em to the private address of the laptop. I loaded up NetStumbler to see what was going on. I was the only one on the channel (11), and the signal to noise ratio was excellent. I also tried switching back to WEP from WPA to see if that made any difference, but it did not. For the heck of it, I tried channel six, but got the same poor results. At this point I figured I had a bad router and called Fios support. After the 50 questions and answers about configuration, microwaves, cordless phones and distances, they sent me a new router.

 

I fired up the new router, but my problems remain the same. Both the old and new Westells are running the most current version of firmware. I'm not  sure where to go next and I could really use some help. Thanks in advance.

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Copper Contributor
Copper Contributor
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Registered: ‎08-22-2009

Re: Slow wireless on Westell 9100em - Please help

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The router reports -43dBm (5 bars). The only thing I have changed from default on the router was cranking up WPA, but tried going back to WEPas a test to no avail, so I put in back to WPA. Honestly, I have not tried channel 1 because there are a couple folks (with weak signal levels) already on it. I'll give it a try and post back here with the results. I don't have a WiFi router laying around here at the house, but I'll snag one from work and give it a try next week. Thanks for taking time to answer me.

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Platinum Contributor III
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Posts: 5,881
Registered: ‎07-22-2009

Re: Slow wireless on Westell 9100em - Please help

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those 50 questions are probably your key.   you likely have something in the house that is interrupting the wifi signal .   1, 6 and 11 are the only valid channels on that thing, and if you've tried all the channels then something in the house or neighbors has changed, something in general.   you might try a signal booster - that truthfully has the least amount of headache.  sure your shelling out dough for it, but if it works it works.  

 

is the router located near a tv, or any heavy electronics?

 

I have seen where big screen tv's even knock out wifi performance.   just a thought

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Copper Contributor
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Registered: ‎08-22-2009

Re: Slow wireless on Westell 9100em - Please help

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Thanks. You probably missed it in my rambling post, but I used NetStumbler to look at the signal to noise ratio. There was no significant interference on the channel. The router is in the garage, with nothing that makes electrical noise around it. I can take the laptop in the garage and be within a few feet of it and still have the same packet loss problem. The cordless phones are 1.9GHz, but I unplugged the base unit and took the batteries out of the handhelds just to be sure. No improvement. I don't see where a "signal booster" would help under the circumstances, do you?
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Platinum Contributor III
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Posts: 5,881
Registered: ‎07-22-2009

Re: Slow wireless on Westell 9100em - Please help

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I'm saying you're netstumbler is probably wrong. 

 

OR at least the information you are reading from it is not getting interpreted properly.

 

you have a simple process of elmination going on right now.   At the house on multiple machines multiple nic's (no single point of failure) you are getting excessive packet loss and so your natural thought process is that it's probably the router.  In my experience with wireless's it's rarely been the actual router.  Sure it happens but it's rare and infrequent.   So your knowns are that the router is ok, because you swapped it out with a different one, the pc's are likely ok (not 100% but we can say with high confidence that they are ok, since you have multiple pc's different ones, different locale's and different nic's)

 

That leaves what?

 

interferer's.

 

a signal booster would power out or drown out interferer's, even adding a 2nd piggy backed, wireless n router might solve your problem.     The netstumbler isn't giving you as complete a picture as you would like unfortunately.   The actiontec and Westell routers that verizon give aren't the "hottest wifi" Routers on the planet, they can't be because they are only g routers, so it's entirely conceivable in my mind that even though noone else is on channel 11 with you that something can still be interfering with the signal.

 

 

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Platinum Contributor III
Platinum Contributor III
Posts: 5,881
Registered: ‎07-22-2009

Re: Slow wireless on Westell 9100em - Please help

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wait I re-read your original post,  have you tried this on different wifi machines with the same results?
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Copper Contributor
Copper Contributor
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Registered: ‎08-22-2009

Re: Slow wireless on Westell 9100em - Please help

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Yes, three different laptops. Those were an HP and two Dells. The two Dell's have different models of WiFi cards in them. All three of them run fine at work with no packet loss. One would think that your answer of interference from something has to be the cause, but I don't see any noise sources (at least with the tools I have available). NetStumbler shows -35dBm on the signal and -90dBm on the background noise. That is an awful wide ratio, but like you say, it could be wrong. With the laptop only a few feet away from the router, one would not think that a distant and/or weak noise source would cause this severe of an issue. I'm  not trying to be argumentative, but it's just not making sense to me.
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Nickel Contributor
Nickel Contributor
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎08-19-2009

Re: Slow wireless on Westell 9100em - Please help

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It might be a TCP/IP issue rather than a data quality issue.  Are you using DHCP?  If something else on your network is using the same address as your laptop(s), you might get these dropped packets.  You could try assigning a static IP to one of your laptops to see if it helps.

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Copper Contributor
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Registered: ‎08-22-2009

Re: Slow wireless on Westell 9100em - Please help

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Thanks NielsBohr. I see that you are in Telecula also. I have 4 machines, three of which are on DHCP. The static one is not in the DHCP range, and the other three all have unique IP's verified with ipconfig /all. I have been doing some more reading, and some articles suggest lowering the MTU size as a cure. Not sure if that will help though, since the ping packets are a lot smaller than the current MTU setting. The ICMP ping packets should not be having an issue due to this.

 

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Nickel Contributor
Nickel Contributor
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎08-19-2009

Re: Slow wireless on Westell 9100em - Please help

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Also, in addition to the netstumbler thing, you can see what the router sees in terms of signal strength here:

http://192.168.1.1/index.cgi?active_page=9117&req_mode=1&mimic_button_field=goto%3a+9117..&button_value=9117

If this link doesn't work, try My Network->Network Connections->Network (Home/Office)->Wireless 802.11g  Access Point->Device List

 

This router has a million settings including settings that control the bridge between the wireless network and the wired.  Did you change anything in there?  I'm guessing not if this is your second router.  This is a puzzler.

 

Forgot to mention two things: (1) if you have an old wireless router laying around, you might try plugging it into one of the ports in the back of the Westell and disabling wireless on the Westell.  At the very least, it could be a good debugging tool to see if the problem is something internal to the Westell.  And if the problems disappear, then at least you'll have a solution, albeit an ugly one.  I've thought about doing this with my current set up since the Westell is only a wireless-G and I have a wireless-N just sitting around collecting dust right now. (2) Ifchannel 11 is bad due to some sort of interference, you might get as far away as possible and go to the other extreme with channel 1 since it's the lowest rf band (it may turn out that channel 1 is worse)

Message Edited by NielsBohr on 08-23-2009 02:05 PM
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Copper Contributor
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Registered: ‎08-22-2009

Re: Slow wireless on Westell 9100em - Please help

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The router reports -43dBm (5 bars). The only thing I have changed from default on the router was cranking up WPA, but tried going back to WEPas a test to no avail, so I put in back to WPA. Honestly, I have not tried channel 1 because there are a couple folks (with weak signal levels) already on it. I'll give it a try and post back here with the results. I don't have a WiFi router laying around here at the house, but I'll snag one from work and give it a try next week. Thanks for taking time to answer me.

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