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Wireless Troubleshooting Checklist

Poor communication between wireless devices has many different potential causes. The following is a review checklist of wireless troubleshooting:

  • Auto transfer rate: By default, wireless devices are configured to use the strongest, fastest signal. If you’re experiencing connectivity problems between wireless devices, try using the lower transfer rate in a fixed mode to achieve a more stable connection. For example, you can manually choose the wireless transfer rate. Also, instead of using 11Mbps, the highest rate for 802.11b, try 5.5Mbps, 2Mbps, or 1Mbps. The higher the transfer rate, the shorter the connection distance.
  • Router placement: If signal strength is low, try moving the access point to a new location. Moving it just a few feet can make a difference.
  • Antenna: The default antenna shipped with wireless devices may not be powerful enough for a particular client system. Better-quality antennas can be purchased for some APs, which will boost the distance the signal can go.
  • Building obstructions: Wireless RF communications are weakened if they have to travel through obstructions such as metal and concrete.
  • Conflicting devices: Any device that uses the same frequency range as the wireless device can cause interference. For example, 2.4GHz phones can cause interference with devices using the 802.11g standard.
  • Wireless channels: If connections are inconsistent, try changing the channel to another, nonoverlapping channel.
  • Protocol issues: If an IP address is not assigned to the wireless client, an incorrect SSID or incorrect WEP settings can prevent a system from obtaining IP information.
  • SSID: The SSID number used on the client system must match the one used on the AP. Typically, the default SSID assigned is sufficient, but you might need to change it if you’re switching a laptop between different WLANs.
  • WEP: If WEP is enabled, the encryption type must match what is set in the AP.
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