Reader Jim Murata wrote about wireless networking difficulties:
Good morning Terry….I have bought nothing but Linksys and have been partially successful….the connection has been spotty and I have converted to direct cable links in my home…..
My question….the way a present day home is built, with the steel framing instead of 2x4s, how come I am having problems?….yet when I go to an airport or commercial hot spot the connection is spot-on….while I am blaming myself for the home networking problems, I think the Linksys instruction and router configuration site could use a major overhaul to make it more consumer friendly…only in that way will they sell more of these devices….
Thanks for writing, Jim.
One of the "rules" of wireless seems to be: "if you want distance, you can’t have it, but if you don’t want distance, you can…"
I think airports space and hotspots like coffee shops have the advantage of open spaces. Airports also have a willingness to stuff them with multiple access points to make sure that there’s enough signal strength.
At home, we tend to put a wireless router in one spot and then try to use them from other rooms with several walls between. These can affect signal strength — the higher the frequency, the easier the signal is blocked.
At home, we also sometimes have neighbors using the same frequencies as we do. Also, some wireless phones (for land lines, not cell phones) broadcast in these frequencies and can disrupt the signal. That wireless phone might be at a neighbor’s, too.
Regarding the quality of the Linksys documentation, I’ve found almost the opposite of your finding. I think Linksys has a very good manual, if not the best. Their new easy-configuration “press the button on the front of the router” is a big step forward for Windows computers.
Unfortunately, it only works for one wireless unit — we have to manually configure any additional ones — but that’s a big improvement over the Linksys WRT54G wireless router I have (version 2!). Most people are only trying to configure one wireless connection, so it’s a pretty good move by Linksys.
Unfortunately, despite all the “wizards” and instructions, wireless networking has all the configuration problems of wired networking — plus some. In some cases, the network will work perfectly the first time. In other cases, any of many networking issues can interfere. Sometimes, it’s a firewall.
The worst surprise I had was a “trial version” of Norton Internet Security that came preinstalled on a client’s computer. He didn’t intend to use it (he used a different anti-virus and firewall) so he had not activated it.
Unfortunately, in its partially-installed status, it prevented file and printer sharing on his home network! Upon uninstalling and rebooting, all was well.