Continually losing Wi-Fi connection. Why?

By inaras
Jun 25, 2010
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  1. I am a 76 year old silver surfer with limited technical knowledge of the PC world.
    We live in rural France, where ADSL is not available and have a WIFI connection to a relay on our local church, with a maximum rated speed of 2Mbs. The parabole sits on my computer desk, inside the house with a direct line of site of the church.
    The system was installed in December 2008 and worked normally for most of last year. This year however, the connection has been constantly broken or, when connected, frequently very slow. Whilst there is tree between us and the church, and in leaf outside winter time, I am not sure that this is the problem as the connection was satisfactory for most of last year, and in winter, it even worked when we had the curtains (drapes) pulled in the room in front of the aerial. Very strange. Our neighbour is on the same system/ISP and has no problem, but he does have a clear line of sight all year round.
    I often get the message saying that " a network cable is unplugged" or, as now "Local area connection. Speed 100.0 Mbs. Status connected"

    What might be causing these frequent losses of connection - and what is, in fact, my local area connection? Is it the WIFI connection to the church.

    We are looking at a satellite solution, but do not want to go to that expense, if the problem may be local to our PC, so how can we, in non technical terms, check out that option first?

    For any or all replies, I thank you in advance.
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,283   +281

    Need to know your OS {XP, Vista, Win7} and which incantation (home, Pro, Ultimate, ...)

    A possibility is others in the area on the same channel number.

    Google for Network Stumbler and get the one for your system.
    Using an Admin login accoult, Install it and run it

    You will see every Router or Access Point in range, their SSIDs, the channel in use and if it is encrypted.

    Several Router or Access Point in range on the same channel causes RF interference.

    Another thing to research is the MODE of the router.
    Many times the router will support multiple MODES (eg a,b,g,n) and it's temption to
    run a -N router in G+N or Auto, but frequently that causes disconnects.

    Using one or the other (G or N but not mixed) will solve that, but then ALL users must have a WiFi adaptor that matches the selected Mode (guess there's no free lunch).
  3. inaras

    inaras Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thank you for your reply. However, in the meantime I think that I MAY have localised the problem although I have not specifically identified it.

    Having such poor or non existent WIFI connection, I have temporarily(?) reverted to dial up - and what happened?

    After a few minutes I was disconnected and then a few minutes later automatically re-connected. So, having previously unplugged the aerial/modem from the PC, it seems evident to me that the problem is with my PC, if I am continually disconnected both on WIFI and dial up. Would the technical members of this forum agree - and if so, what needs to be checked in the PC?

    Again, thanks in advance.
  4. inaras

    inaras Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    The problem is (almost certainly) with my PC!

    Since my first post, I have switched to dial up with a different ISP. Although much more reliable, I have still lost the connection a few times, which seems to eliminate the ISP as the source of my problem, and placed it firmly with my PC.

    Can anyone tell me if there is a specific card in the PC which handles the Internet connection, whether WIFI or dial up, which I can check - or have checked, before I consign my PC to the scrap heap?

    Thanks in advance.
  5. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,385   +205

    Keep in mind that we don't know what computer you have or motherboard or anything else about your PC. You haven't stated yet. What is the nature of the connection of your "parabole" to your PC? Is it to the LAN connector or to a USB connector or something else?
  6. inaras

    inaras Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Sorry for my delay. The PC is a hybrid, which ha worked fine for about two years, and still works on offline applications. Touching wood, I haven't had a connection loss on dial up for the past 24 hours, so am becoming confused as to whether the problem is with the WIFI connection or the PC.
    If I knew someone with a lap top, they could bring it here and check their machine out. Mailpup, I don't suppose you fancy coming over from Los Angeles to S.W. France for a couple of days?
    The aerial/parabole/dish is connected to a powered modem, which, in turn plugs in to a USB slot on the PC via a short cable. We have no other PC, therefore router, in the house. Operating system is Windows XP Home Edition.

    Thanks for your continuing help.
  7. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,385   +205

    Your dial up modem issues should not be related to the Wi-Fi problems. They should work separately unless you have some strange problem with the motherboard itself.

    Okay, so you are connected via USB port. Since your neighbor doesn't have this problem, we can probably eliminate the church end being the problem. That leaves your powered modem device that might be failing intermittently or there is something wrong with the dish or there might be interference with the signal from the church. Is it possible to test your components by substituting a known good component (one at a time)? Perhaps your neighbor's?
  8. inaras

    inaras Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks for your continuing help.
    Unfortunately, our neighbour has just left for a one month trip to Senegal so we can't try your suggested option just yet, and we don't know anyone else on the same system.
    Since you have declined my invitation to visit from San Francisco :) I think I now have no choice but to ask a local "expert" to come along with his laptop and try our WIFI connection on his machine.
    Incidentally, I have had no further loss of connection on this dial up since Saturday.
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