Basic Wireless Question?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by roark37, Jul 28, 2012.

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  1. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Hi, I got a new laptop but I am puzzled and frustrated some because it seems slower for web browsing than my 6 year old laptop. The new Acer is a cheap model but it has 4gig ram and runs Windows 7 64 bit while the 6 year old Toshiba has only 512k ram and runs XP. When I use them side by side on the same home network on my dining room table which is one floor up from when the router is located the old is much better. The old never has issues with the wireless but the new although it gets the signal is much weaker and flakier. The only way that this makes any sense to me is that the old has a better wireless card. Is that likely the case? I noticed the same thing when I had an ipad briefly in that from the same spot as the old laptop it did not browse nearly as well. So even though the old Toshiba was cheap even when I bought it 6 years ago is it possible it just has a strong wireless card? I am also using an older wifi set up with a b/g router but it has been super reliable and never any problem with the older laptop. If I upgraded the router to say a Ciso Valet N or something else similar would that likely give me a much stronger wireless signal one floor above compared to an old b/g router?

    Thanks.

    roark
     
  2. Dark Shadow

    Dark Shadow Registered Member

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    I dont know if its isolated to just Acer wireless cards and if recall its atheros that had some issues and are weak.I had a Acer new Laptop windows 7 64 bit same issues and returned it and got a dell.I dont recall if it was the same card but the wireless issue was not a problem.I since sold that and got netbooks by Gateway that are owned by acer and my wireless card are also weak.A couple of rooms away on the same floor and my signal drops halfway down.

    As far as XP I think it's faster then windows 7 but in general I find 64 bit slower the 32 bit but maybe thats just my experience.IMO the quality 6 years was better then what they use now a least for entry or mid level laptops and netbooks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
  3. jonyjoe101

    jonyjoe101 Registered Member

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    you can always try getting a usb adapter, some are very tiny. But I would get an alfa 36neh which is small but has tremendous range.
    I also have an acer netbook d260 but it has good range but I always take my usb adapter to the library for better reception. I wouldnt replace the router.
     
  4. whitedragon551

    whitedragon551 Registered Member

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    Update the drivers.
     
  5. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    First, thanks for the replies.

    I am not really sure what that means and have never done it with the old 6 year old laptop. It is likely that a new laptop would need updated drivers? I plan to Google how to do it now but is updating the drivers easy?

    I was considering a usb wireless adapter but was not sure if they give much more range than built in. Do they usually do? I also was considering a wifi extender for upstairs. Do those tend to work well?

    Thanks again.

    roark
     
  6. Dark Shadow

    Dark Shadow Registered Member

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    Thats could be the problem but there is reported problems with Atheros wirless. I have Atheros AR 5895 wireless in two gateway netbooks also owned by Acer and suffers from weak signal as well.There are no new driver updates to be had either.

    What I did is move my wireless router to a in between location which can make a big difference but that might not be an option for the OP or at least a easy one.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
  7. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Re: Wifi Problem

    Hi kdcdq, apologies to the original poster for changing topic but I need a router/network expert as I have a question. I have netgear b/g router that is around 6-7 years old. It has been super reliable so I hate to change it without a good reason. It is located in the basement and I usually work on a 6 year old laptop with only 512k ram almost exactly one floor above where the router sits and never have any wifi issues and always get "excellent" strength. When I tried an ipad2 though in the same place as the old laptop it picked up the signal but not nearly as well and struggled with it at times. I also have tried a brand new inexpensive Acer laptop with 4gig ram and that does not connect nearly as well as the old laptop either from the same place. So the only thing I can think of how this makes any sense is that the much newer ipad2 and laptop have weaker wifi cards? Does that make sense and is that likely? And if I kept the router in the same place but upgraded to a Cisco Valet N router would that likely give me much more range that would eliminate these issues? I don't want to start changing things like that unless I am sure that is the issue but it does not seem to me that my wifi is the main problem when the old laptop never has any problems. Any recommendations or advice would be appreciated?

    Thanks and again sorry for changing the original question.

    roark
     
  8. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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  9. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Thanks but I realized the powerline was an option but was more trying to understand how a new ipad and laptop could have seemingly much less wifi range than a 6 year old laptop. That seems very odd to me being so much older. Since you recommended the powerline adapters for increasing wifi signal does that mean you don't think a newer N router would give more wifi range than the old b/g router I have?

    Also, since my router almost never has an issue I rarely have to power it on/off to reset and maybe do that twice a year if that as it seems to almost never go out. But should I do that regularly anyway like monthly or even weekly to "clear it out" and does that tend to make routers run better?

    Thanks again.
     
  10. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    Re: Wifi Problem

    I would recommend a new "N" router in order to get the additional speed (with devices that also support the N standard), but I wouldn't expect it to significantly increase the range. In my experience routers that claim to extend range don't make enough difference to be worth the cost. To really make a difference you need a dedicated range extender or powerline option.

    I couldn't say why you get better range with the old laptop compared to the iPAD. Are you determining that by the actual operating range or by the indicated signal strength on the device?

    I don't find that router performance degrades over time - I would stick with the 2X/year reboots unless you have issues :)
     
  11. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I did not think I would get any benefit with N compared to b/g other than range as the b/g router I think goes to 54mbps and I am pretty sure my broadband(Comcast) is well below that so did not think it could make a difference speed wise? Or is my reasoning incorrect?

    As far as the ipad from the same spot as the 6 year old laptop. I did not measure it but it just seemed sluggish browsing and at times seemed to have trouble picking up the signal. Things like youtube on ipad were really bad. In the Apple store itself so same network it seems to me the ipads browse much slower than the macs but I have tried someone else's ipad in a ranch style house with router closer and same floor and it seemed much better. Still not as fast as pc/mac in my opinion for browsing but way more than fast enough for me. So I was not sure if that was in ipad issue or similar for all tablets in terms of wifi range.
     
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