Troubleshoot my Wifi connection

Last month, my Bell Sympatico DSL connection was humming along beautifully, with consistent speeds of 2.5 down. I had the modem directly plugged into the wall, and then into a Linksys router with ethernet direct into my box from the router. My Xbox wifi adapter in the living room downstairs never had a problem, and I could even log on to Live even if I was downloading torrents or whatever.

Then the troubles started.

The phone jack in the room here died. Couldn’t even get a dial tone if I plugged a phone directly in. So, I bought a Linksys USB wifi adapter, moved the modem/router into another room and after some tweaking, I was back in business and running fast and stable.

Last week, I started running into some major troubles. No changes were made to the system or the network, but my connection keeps dropping and then reconnecting automatically. When connected, Windows reports a “very good” or “excellent” connection strength, but speedtests never seem to get above about 600kbps, often dropping down to 300kbps. I tried moving to yet another phone jack, but the current problems haven’t cleared up. Needless to say, downloads of any kind are impossible now (meaning I haven’t played the RoN or TR demos yet!), and even tasks like banking – or posting on Qt3 – are exercises in frustration. The Xbox can’t even connect to the network.

Bell tech support is no help at all because they don’t support wireless networks. All phones in the house have always been on filters. Nothing changed in the environment to cause the problems, at least nothing I did.

Do I have bad wiring in my house (house is only 5 yrs. old)? Is there a way to test that? Can a filter go bad? Is this symptomatic of a dying router? Is Bell screwing with me cuz I download a lot of torrent files?

Any assistance in troubleshooting this would be helpful, o’ sage and wise ones!

The first thing to do would be to isolate whether it’s the broadband connection or the wireless that’s having the trouble. Try connecting directly to the router’s Ethernet ports and see if you still have trouble; if you do, then it’s the broadband and you can complain to Bell. If not, then it’s probably the wireless.

If it’s the wireless, it could be interference. Try setting the wireless channel on the router to different values and see if it’s any better.

You da man, Fug’.

After connecting directly to the modem and determining the problem was not with Bell, I changed from channel 6 to channel 11 and all is well with the world once again.

I guess a neighbour must have installed a router recently on channel 6 and borked my connection.

Thanks for the help!

If you’re curious, go get yourself some NetStumbler – it’ll let you see which channels are in use nearby. Handy stuff.