Linksys WRT54G Wireless Signal Strength Loss

By SNGX1275 ยท 12 replies
Jan 31, 2006
  1. I have a Linksys WRT54G Router, I've had it for about 8 months, have been using the wireless on it for about 3 or 4 months. Up until this weekend I'd have anywhere from 70-100% signal strength. The laptop is about 30 feet away from the router and the signal goes through 1 wall. This weekend I notice I'm consistently below 50% signal strength. Nothing has changed as far as location.

    So today I move the router a bit closer, now probably 20 feet away and still through 1 wall, and the problem still exists. I drop down to 20% signal strenth pretty often. Is something going wrong with the router, or is this an issue with the NIC in the laptop? The laptop is a Powerbook with built in Airport card.

    Additional info: I just walked into the room with the router with the laptop and held it right up to the router. Still didn't get signal above 50%.
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Topic Starter Posts: 10,742   +421

    Update: I called Apple about this and the guy says Airport cards (and I imagine all other wireless NICs) either work or they don't, there is no degredation in accepted signal strength.

    Just to confirm this to myself I brought the laptop up to a place in town where there is free wireless. I am getting full signal strength here, so it appears the problem is with my router and or some interference that didn't exist prior to this past weekend. I didn't get any new products that would use the 2.4Ghz spectrum, but perhaps one of my neighbors did (I live in an apartment).

    Any words of advice before I get pissed off enough to go buy a different router?
  3. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Posts: 158

    update router firmware and wireless card drivers
    i have same router, and i kept loosing signal completly, randomly, untill i updated firmware, and wireless card drivers. now its working great
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Topic Starter Posts: 10,742   +421

    Update #2: Problem Solved.

    Here is the full story, now with details that were seemingly irrevelant prior to a few minutes ago.

    At my work, our building isn't set up for wireless, but 2 nearby buildings are. I brought my laptop in on Friday to help me with some data entry, and I was hoping I'd get some wireless bleedthrough from the nearby buildings. I didn't. (No wireless).

    Then I come home, and notice on Saturday or Sunday that my signal is all lame. Then like I said in my previous post, I decide to go to a known area where wireless is avaiable and it worked fine. I come back home from there, and now, I have full signal (well close, 12 out of 15 bars in OS X's Internet Connect program).

    So, this doesn't really make sense to me, but maybe by having this documented here it could help someone in the future.

    My only guess is that something may have gotten "corrupted" when it looked for a network that wasn't there, and then didn't have a secondary network to connect to. When I brought it back home and it was looking for the previous network I was on and didn't find it, it immediately found my house network and connected to it. "Uncorrupting" whatever got dorked up the first time.

    Update #3: Scratch all of what I said above, it worked fine for about 10 minutes, now its back to crap again. Will try firmware update sometime soon.
  5. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,188   +470

    Seems unlikely but could someone in your apartment building be using a microwave oven that could be interferring with your signal? I know I get interference when my microwave is in use, although relative positioning of the involved hardware might be the main issue. I don't know.

    Still, they couldn't be using a microwave that much. Oh well, just a thought.
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Topic Starter Posts: 10,742   +421

    I'm pretty sure its not microwave induced. This just recently started happening and it seems 90% of the time or more I'm at 20% signal or less. I was thinking perhaps my girl neighbor finally got a land line and a 2.4Ghz phone, but not even girls talk on the phone that much.
  7. X DarthMonkey X

    X DarthMonkey X TS Rookie Posts: 76

    Did you try updating the firmware like SultanGris suggested?

    Is the router still covered by its warranty? If it is, then take it back for a new one and see if that one works.
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,168   +986

    make sure you encrypt the link, and then add a hi-gain antenna to the router
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Topic Starter Posts: 10,742   +421

    It may be a talkative neighbor afterall. I'm home on my lunchbreak and have good signal strength. Been holding steady for over 10 minutes. If its external interference I'm kinda SOL I think. I shoudn't need any other antenna for this, its 20 feet away and only through 1 wall.
  10. jshields13

    jshields13 TS Rookie Posts: 109

    If it is your neighbor's phone, perhaps you could get a filter and put it on her phone for her. Shouldn't be a problem if you know her and it would probably solve yours.
  11. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,188   +470

    Under the circumstances, a cat 5 cable solution may be in your future. :)
  12. SultanGris

    SultanGris TS Booster Posts: 158

    or buy your neighbor a 5.7 ghz phone, or whatever they are;)
  13. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,168   +986

    but of course :) the suggestion was centered on drowning the interference
    with a much higher signal/noise ratio. It is RF after all.
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