Intermittently unreliable wireless network

  Pineman100 17:17 23 Nov 2008

About 18 months ago, I changed my Sagem adsl modem for a Belkin 54G wireless router, and added a Belkin USB wireless adaptor to my XP computer.

About 70% of the time, my computer connects to the wireless network as soon as I boot up. And it will do this reliably for months on end. Then, for no apparent reason, it will go through several weeks of failing to connect when I first boot up. The 'Repair' function never works, and the only way I can get an adaptor/router connection is to restart the computer (sometimes I need to do this twice).

After behaving like this intermittently (maybe 5 days out of 7) for a few weeks, the system settles down again, and connection between the computer and the router happens completely reliably on first boot-up. Whenever the connection is made, the signal strength is always reported as 'Excellent'.

I have tried and tried to identify some variable that is at the bottom of this behaviour, but I just can't. None of the equipment - router, computer, adaptor - is ever moved. Nor is any other nearby electronic equipment. The router's connection to the internet is completely reliable, and the electricity supply has no bearing on the situation. When it happens, the unreliability can't be pinned down to any particular days of the week.

My wife's Vista laptop logs into the network unfailingly, every time. But that can't be related to the problem, because she's only had it for 6 months.

As problems go, this isn't a major one. But it's bugged me for a year and a half now! Does anyone have any suggestions as to what might be causing it, please?

PS: The router is never switched off.

  I am Spartacus 18:06 23 Nov 2008

Whenever that happens on mine I switch the Router off for about 20 minutes which usually fixes it. Occasionally if that doesn't work I do a hard reset on the router using the reset button and then re-enter my username, password etc.

  Pineman100 18:26 23 Nov 2008

Thanks IAS.

You say "whenever that happens on mine...". Do you mean whenever it fails to connect first time you run through that routine and thereafter it connects reliably?

How often does this happen for you?

  I am Spartacus 18:35 23 Nov 2008

It happens very infrequently, possibly 2 or 3 times this year. When it happens one of the PCs connected by wireless just fails to connect and after a router reset it's OK for another few months. I don't know if it's the router, my connection or just a glitch with my ISP. Resetting the router has fixed it every time so far.

  Pineman100 18:42 23 Nov 2008

In my case, my ISP definitely isn't in the frame. It's always the connection between the computer and the router that's unreliable.

  Woolwell 18:44 23 Nov 2008

At work I use a Belkin adaptor and have found that I get a more reliable connection if I use the Windows connection rather than the software from Belkin.

  Pineman100 18:48 23 Nov 2008

Thanks Woolwell.

Presumably to do that I just run the Windows "Set Up New Connection" wizard?

Should I delete the Belkin connection first?

  Woolwell 18:55 23 Nov 2008

I'm not sat in front of an XP machine or with a Belkin USB adaptor so trying to remember.

You should be able to see the windows connection icon in the system tray and whn you open it will tell you that Windows cannot configure it (or something like that) but there is also a a method of getting windows to take over. I will have to start up the XP laptop!

  MAJ 19:16 23 Nov 2008

Woolwell is probably talking about the Windows Zero Configuration, which is a lot more reliable than wireless adapters own software. To switch it on, go to Start > Run, type in:


and click OK. Scroll down to the Windows Zero Configuration entry and start it. See if that helps.

As an aside: I would turn the router off at night, rather than having it on all the time, Pineman100.

  Woolwell 19:23 23 Nov 2008

Try starting the Windows Wireless Zero Configuration Service and see if this improves reliability. Control Panel - administrative tools - Service and scroll down until you come to Windows Wireless etc.

This may explain a bit more click here

Whatever you do make a system restore point before changing anything.

  Woolwell 19:24 23 Nov 2008

Thanks MAJ - it helps when you have the system in fron of you. Follow Maj's instructions.

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