EJM Designs Limited Blog

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Case of the Intermittent Wireless Signal

When it comes to network technology, I know enough to keep the lights on, to secure my wireless network, and to get a couple different computers to speak to each other. So last week when the signal from my wireless router started dumping into the crapper, I was at a loss. It had been happening for a month or two, but only for very short bursts.

I was certain that it was not my laptop or my wife's, as the signal itself would dump at exactly the same time on both and we're sporting different OSs and firewalls. Then the SSID would be completely missing (our network would not appear on available networks) for anywhere from a few seconds to an hour or more.

I talked to Time Warner. Or attempted to. After an hour on the phone and conversations with 3 different tech folks, I was finally forwarded to a wireless specialist who had a hold time of almost 30 minutes. He then proceeded to tell me that because the server logs were clean there really was no problem and began asking questions like was my card or maybe my eyebrows were on fire. And when he couldn't diagnose it and started repeating himself and I told him we'd already discussed that angle, my specialist became my ornery specialist. He actually said the words "I have no idea" and grunted.

I set up an appointment to have someone come out with the knowledge that if it were a computer problem, they would charge me, though the fact that they would probably have to diagnose that problem might be problematic for them.

Saturday, after two hours online with a friend over the problem, I got a call confirming that they were coming on Monday and I actually said the words "Yeah, my signal has been fine, actually just until you called." Later that afternoon, when my daughter was calling from her friend's house, I put it together.

I'm running the 802.11g Netgear router that Time Warner handed out. 802.11g routers run on a frequency of 2.4GHz. My wireless phone runs on 2.4GHz. And I have a 12 year old daughter. Case closed. Well, as soon as we get to Target and pick up a new phone.

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