When you keep losing access to your wireless access point

I have a Linksys WRT54G Wireless router, version 6, firmware Version: v1.00.7, Feb. 16, 2006 . When my friend is using my wireless, we both drop signal at the same time. I also lose signal if I am the only one using wireless. This seems to occur fairly frequently, I typically lose signal several times in a row within the space of ten minutes. Then it seems to work for an hour or so, before repeating. I had a friend look with their laptop and didn't see anybody else on the channel that I am using - channel 1. The other channels that were in use are channels 6,10 and 11. I am using WEP as my laptop will not support WPA. Can you offer any suggestions as to what may be the problem. I am wit's end. Help!

-- Lyndsey White

You have done some good troubleshooting. Based on what you described, I don't think you have an access point going bad.

I checked Linksys's web site and there is a newer firmware update available for your particular router. While I don't think this will totally fix your problem, it will help eliminate a firmware problem as being part of the problem. I also don't think you have an encryption key problem (because in that case, you wouldn't be able to connect at all). As an experiment, you can temporarily disable the encryption but I don't think this will make any difference.

Since the signal dropping problem happens repeatedly and with more than one laptop, that would seem to indicate a problem in the immediate area. It's possible there is another access point using that channel, but it's not broadcasting an SSID, which means your laptop might not see it. Grab a copy of NetStumbler and see what it shows.

If you dont see anything with NetStumbler, you may be dealing with an interference problem - from a microwave oven, a cordless phone or a wireless security system. See if you have a friend whos haa tool called Wi-Spy from MetaGeet.net. This will help you identify the source of the interference. If you don't have access to this type of tool, you will need to try the old fashioned way of troubleshooting - turn off any nearby appliances (microwaves, phones, etc.).

If you are still having a problem, you might have an access point that is dropping its signal periodically. If the newer firmware hasn't helped, you might want to try a different access point to see if that works any better. You can try some higher gain antennas to "pump up" the signal quality of the access point. Most retailers that sell your brand of router will usually have one or two options to choose from. Another possibility is to try some 3rd part firmware replacements to what is running in the router you have - DD-WRT is one that comes to mind. What you will have the ability to do here is to increase the transmit power of the AP a little bit to help your laptop to "hear" the access point a little better.

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