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FIXING WI-FI PROBLEMS George Skarbek September 2013.

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1 FIXING WI-FI PROBLEMS George Skarbek September 2013

2 WI-FI 101 Wi-Fi is the technology that allows a device to exchange data or connect to the internet wirelessly using radio waves. Today many devices use Wi-Fi such PCs, smartphones, video-game consoles, digital cameras, tablets and more. These mainly connect to a network resource via a wireless network access point. Typical range is 10 to 30 meters. With solid brick walls it is limited to one room. Two frequencies are used. The more common 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz band. Wi-Fi was developed by a Australian radio astronomer. The Wi-Fi Alliance which was formed in 1999, sets standards, performs certifications etc.

3 WI-FI LIMITATIONS The number of channels on the 2.4 GHz band is limited to about 13. This is for world wide usage. Maximum power is limited to 100 mW (0.1 W) in order to limit the range. Neighbours may have Wi-Fi routers set to the same frequency as your router. Having multiple users on the same channel will decrease the signal-to-noise ratio and result in poor performance. Many other devices such as microwave ovens, baby monitors, remote garage doors etc. operate on the 2.4 GHz band. This can also cause interference. Bricks, concrete walls and lift shafts will block the signal. Even with encryption, security is not as good as a wired connection.

4 SOLUTIONS If your Wi-Fi response is becoming worse or you are experiencing intermittent problems there are a number of steps to take. The first is to check if someone nearby is using the same frequency as you are. A program such as Wi-Fi Analyser for the Android or similar PC program such as inSSIDer (both free) are indispensable for locating possible problems. The image on the left shows a classic case of this effect. Margaret’s signal strength, at the end of her house, where she wants to use a tablet is not only on the same frequency as nearby houses but is even weaker. In such a case it is virtually unusable. The obvious first fix is to move her router to another channel. Channel 3 is the best choice.

5 SOLUTIONS To alter the Wi-Fi channel you must connect to the wireless router and in the wireless section alter the channel. To do this you must connect your PC or laptop by an Ethernet cable to the router (using wireless to connect to the router may work but if it does then you should disable this immediately as your neighbours will be able to modify your settings and security) Open a browser and for the URL type the IP of the router. It often is but can be a number of other addresses. On the bottom there should be its address as well as the Admin user name and password.

6 MORE SOLUTIONS The image on the right shows the interface for an ASUS router and where you can alter the wireless channel. No changes are required to be made to any other devices such as laptops, phones. If this step has not fixed the problem then you can try several other methods.

7 POWER LINE CARRIER (HOME PLUG) Power line carrier devices are far more commonly called the HomePlug. This is a means of using the existing 240 volt wiring in the house as wiring for Ethernet communication. Recent standards allow for speeds up to 200 MHz over the 240 v wiring. It is very easy to implement. Just plug in one HomePlug into the 240 v socket near your router or switch, connect the Ethernet cable into the HomePlug and plug in another HomePlug in a room where you need the Ethernet. No configuration of any type is required on any device. The remote end can even have a HomePlug with a Wi-Fi transmitter as well as an Ethernet port, for a more secure connection, to allow several devices to use the Internet.

8 POWER LINE CARRIER (HOME PLUG)WITH WI-FI Image showing how to have Wi-Fi in your carport.

9 WI-FI RANGE EXTENDER Another way, and much cheaper way, to extend the signal to the far end of the house is to use a Wi-Fi Range extender. Margaret purchased her for under $20.

10 WI-FI RANGE EXTENDER There is some configuration required, but this is not that complicated. The essential part is to boost the signal of your access point and not the one of your neighbour. Once this is done, the Wi-Fi Range extender is plugged into a power point closer to where you wish to use your portable device. It should not be too far away as the original signal may be too weak or have too much interference to be successfully amplified. Once this is done, your Wi-Fi problems should be solved.

11 WI-FI RANGE EXTENDER As a result of the Wi-Fi Range extender being installed and configured, Margaret’s Wi-Fi problems have vanished.

12 Any questions ?


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