PC World bad experience

  lil27 08:59 18 Aug 2007

Bought a laptop from PC world a couple of weeks back. Set up a wireless connection and can only access router from about 30 feet. Tried to sort problem using technical forums i.e drivers etc but to no avail. I can also not detect other networks in the area when i know they exist. My neighbours PC detects several networks from my house.
At last resort took PC back to PC world as assumed faulty wireless network card. They turned on my PC and could connect to their wireless system and therefore said nothing was wrong. I showed them that the signal strength was poor from about 25 feet away from their router. They said that this was due to interference from metal structures (and pointed to a wooden desk with metal legs). I had to laugh but was now getting frustrated. They then told me that flourescent lights could be the cause. Now starting to get severely wound up. I suggested that they should advertise that their laptops may have problems in houses with flourescent lights and metal table legs which didn't go down too well. I also asked why my neighbours pc works in my house and mine struggles to connect. Response was "I am not a Technician". This unqualified Technician can state that lights and table legs affect my machine but then clams up when asked a reasonable question.

They would not exchange the laptop even though I was within the 28days returns period. On my way out I appologised to the young lady as I was now becoming a little irate. She appologised to me for being a bit short with me as "I do not get paid Overtime and it had gone past 5.00pm".

I had to leave before I threw something. I was advised not to buy anything from PC world but gave them the benefit of doubt. Never again.


  GANDALF <|:-)> 10:42 18 Aug 2007

For most ordinary wireless routers, 30 feet would be about tops. I am not a technician but I can tell you that wireless routers can be a pain in the neck and even something like re-adjusting the aerial slightly can boost performance. I would suggest that you get one of the long range wireless routers that retail for around £100. There is nothing wrong with your laptop.....and yes, a signal can be affected by metal objects and lights. The signal from ordinary routers is not that strong and even thin walls can affect it.


  Forum Editor 12:18 18 Aug 2007

about detection ranges on wireless laptop adapters. All new laptops have WiFi adapters built in, and most of them are pretty good, but detection ranges depend on several things, and as GANDALF <|:-)> says, objects and walls can make a difference.

The fact that your neighbour's PC can detect networks in your house may be due to a number of factors - the adapter in his machine being one of them. The fact that another wireless adapter can pick up a signal when yours can't doesn't mean the laptop is defective, it might simply mean the two adapters are of different quality.

I don't believe you have a case for saying that PC World should exchange the machine, just because your neighbour gets better WiFi reception than you, and it's certainly not a justification for never shopping there again, but of course that's for you to decide.

  spuds 12:48 18 Aug 2007

I am surprised that the person you consulted was not a technician, all PC World stores have technicians in attendance, now perhaps renamed and called TechGuys.

PC World also offer a 'in-home' service for setting-up computers and add-ons like networking devices. Perhaps you could consider using this service and see what the results turn out, at least it may resolve any issues.

  lil27 13:01 18 Aug 2007

I was in touch with the Tech Guys prior to my visit and they suggested that i downloaded the latest drivers which i did.

I understand the problems with distance and interference etc but would expect a laptop to connect to the router from downstairs (router upstairs). At the moment, i may as well connect hardwired as i almost need to be in the same room. It was a PC world guy who recommended the particular model of PC in the first place hence my fustration of it not doing what i wanted. Also did not excuse the attitude of the PC world staff once they have your money.

  Forum Editor 13:13 18 Aug 2007

to the router from downstairs"

It should, provided that 'upstairs' isn't several floor away, and that there aren't too many walls and doors in the way. In the average house most laptops will easily detect a router anywhere in the building, and if yours isn't doing that then maybe something is wrong. Is the router new, or have you used it with another machine?

  lil27 08:59 19 Aug 2007

Forum Editor,

My Router (Belkin 54g) is new. I live in a standard 3 bed semi and the PC signal from downstairs (1 floor below) is poor. i sometimes get a signal but often cuts-out. my neighbours laptop easily picks up my router as well as other routers in the neighbourhood. This is why i am convinced there is a problem with the network card inside my PC.
This is what I explained to pc world but they were not interested.
Thanks for your responses to my threads. The reason for my mail was not to try and resolve the problem (tried this on the networking forum), it was to highlight PC worlds inept after sales service.

Thanks again.

  Forum Editor 09:46 19 Aug 2007

I think it's possible there is something wrong with the wireless adapter, but it's impossible to say without more testing.

The fact is, the machine should be able to detect a wireless router on the floor below in an ordinary two-floor house, and I suggest that you tell PC World that you wish to return the machine as being 'not fit for purpose' under the terms of the Sale of Goods Act. Tell them that a laptop with a wireless adapter should be able to function with a standard wireless router on the floor below in an average house,and say that is the purpose for which the machine was sold and purchased. If they say anything about the type of router, remind them that they recommended it.

Before you do all this, make absolutely sure that you have set up the router in accordance with the makers' instructions. I'm sure you have, as your laptop can connect, as can your neighbour's machine, but double-check - it's the first thing that PC World will mention. On the occasions when you do get connected, what is the signal strength like?

  Taff™ 10:22 19 Aug 2007

Could I suggest changing the router channel. It may well be that your neighbours are using the same one and affecting your range. Move up or down two channels and see if the signal strength is better.

  lil27 21:44 19 Aug 2007

Forum Editor,

When I do connect from downstairs, the max signal i get is about 15%.

I have tried all channels from 1 to 11, no difference really.

It is possible that a driver may be affecting this. Someone on this forum suggested a new driver was available for vista dated March 07 (current driver version dated Jan 07 which windows found automatically off the web). I have tried to download this suggested driver but it did not function with my network adaptor at all.

To be honest I mainly use my laptop in my bedroom (next door to where the router is so I can manage). I really cannot be bothered with PC world again. I have thought about buying a cheap USB network card just to prove the internal laptop card is not functioning correctly.

Thanks for listening to me.


  Forum Editor 23:26 19 Aug 2007

if you need further help on this.

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