Intermittent networking problem over Linksys wireless network

Intermittent networking problem over Linksys wireless network

Post by warren mon » Tue, 30 Dec 2003 23:58:06

I have 3 machines, two Windows XP, and one Windows ME, and have been using a
Linksys wireless network (BEFW1154 router/access point and linksys
transmitters on all the machines) for about a year with intermittent
problems that cause transfers between the machines or between one of the XP
machines (a Gateway desktop with a USB based adapter) to fail
intermittently. The symptom is that during a large file transfer (e.g.
download, printer spooling, or machine-to-machine file transfer), the
wireless link stops transferring data (i.e. lights go out and performance
monitoring tools say network transfer drops to virtually zero), and the
application either hangs indefinitely or fails with some unhelpful error
message. The XP desktop is the farthest machine from my access point, but
the signal strength always reads "good" or "excellent".

A possibly related problem is that several months back when Windows update
tried to install a new driver for the wireless network on this machine it
stopped working after the install. I rolled it back and tried to download
the driver from Linksys, with the same (not working) result. I gave up but
wrote to linksys who gave me this response:


I couldn't find the patch listed here (though there were LOTS of them and I
may have missed it, the machine is 2 years old and has gotten lots of
updates), and wasn't sure I really wanted to uninstall a Microsoft service
pack without knowing what was in it, so I left it alone and continued to run
on the old system. I think this is the same problem I've seen other revere

Some questions:

1) How can I tell what the signal strength/link quality really is. I have a
feeling that XP isn't telling the truth (my laptop, with a linksys tool, in
the same room reports a much less robust quality, but that may be a
difference in the receiver since the laptop has a linksys card that I've
seen widely panned for lousy range.

2) The problem looks to me like it's getting errors and losing packets and
something isn't recovering well from it. Moving the access point isn't a
good option for me, so I'm looking for something that will deal with the bad
link. Is it possible that tuning the TCP or 802.11 parameters would help?
(I should note here I teach data networking and know a lot about the
protocols, but not about the software that implements them on Windows

Warren Montgomery XXXX@XXXXX.COM ( ~wamontgomery )

Intermittent networking problem over Linksys wireless network

Post by Berni » Wed, 31 Dec 2003 01:21:05

've found that there are two updates from Microsoft that interfere with a
Linksys wireless network. One is a WPA update which requires one to
constantly enter the WEP keys as they seem to get dropped often and the
driver update which you've already discussed.
Like you I'd be in the middle of something and loose the connection and
after messing around with things I'd find the WEP key was blank and after
entering it again the link came back up.
For some reason Windows Update offers the WPA security update even to those
whose hardware doesn't support it. It's an individual update that is not
rolled into SP-1 you'd have to view your WU history to see if you've ever
installed it. I don't have my XP machine booted up right now or I'd go over
to WU and give you the details on it.
The driver update is trash and ought to be pulled from Windows Update's
driver section.
I've not had any problems with SP-1 at all.
As far as boosting signal strength there are several things you can do,
better antennas or Linksys sells a signal booster. The connector on the
back of the units for the antennas is just a common TV cable connector and a
line can be ran to another better antenna which can be placed or mounted
anywhere in the house, even on the roof. I have one up there. Kind of
defeats the purpose of wireless but the access point doesn't really need to
be moved just the antennas. Some are compact little boxes that would look
like light fixtures if they were mounted on the ceiling. If the cable run
is very long you'd need to use thicknet cable.

"warren montgomery" < XXXX@XXXXX.COM > wrote in message
news: XXXX@XXXXX.COM ...


Intermittent networking problem over Linksys wireless network

Post by Pavel A » Wed, 31 Dec 2003 07:02:23

This WPA update should be backward compatible with WEP equipment.
Just deselect the .1x option which is checked by default :(