Friday, November 02, 2007

Wireless Issues

Wireless issues - I had a Netgear Rangemax wireless router WPN824 that kept requiring a power cycle to restore network connectivity. Often I would lose my wireless connection - I never knew why. I would have to go unplug it and plug it back in. Eventually the problems got worse. Wired connectivity would drop also. On the last day I used this unit I had to power cycle it probably every 15 minutes. After about 5 times I decided to replace it. I got a Belkin F5D8231-4 IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n (draft) N1 Wireless Router. Setup was quick now that Insight does not require the MAC address registration procedure. I did have an issue. For one, when in semi-close to close proximity to the router I lost data transmission. I had a wireless connection, with 5 bars. I had an IP address, gateway, and dns. I could ping address by name. But I could not connect to anything or send any data. I couldn't even connect to the router's interface (wirelessly). I tried changing channels. That did not help. Finally I changed the frequency setting from 20Mhz to 20-40Mhz auto and now wireless works in close proximity.

Insight claims to have 10Mbps up and 1Mbps down. With the Netgear I averaged 5Mbps down and 1Mbps up. I always thought I must have noise or a weak signal on my incoming connection to the cable company. Surprisingly, once I setup the Belkin I started getting 10Mbps down and 1Mbps up. At times when downloading of the net, I will get as high as 1.3MBps.

Recently I have helped two households with Xbox360 live and Halo 3. In one case two friends could join online games and play, but could not host or join with each other. Both were using Linksys WRT54G routers. I made sure that uPnP was enabled, that did not help. I tried setting the Xbox's IP as the DMZ, that did not help. Bungie said that when running Xbox networking test, the NAT should report Open NAT. It did. Then I updated the firmware (these were both brand new devices so not sure why the firmware was old), and that fixed the problem. They could both host and join each other.

The other was again a Netgear WPN824 router with an Xbox 360 connected through wireless. The network test was reporting Strict NAT. This person has been gaming on Xbox live for a while with no problems. With Halo 3 they were frequently losing connections, having lots of lag, and not being able to join games. Because of the previous experience I checked that uPnP was enabled (it was already) and updated the firmware. Once the firmware was updated Xbox reported Open NAT and the individual could get on and play Halo 3. Now they are having a different problem. The Xbox is frequently losing connectivity. We changed the channel from 6 to 11. I have yet to hear back if that helped. These individuals did report a increase in the number of access points showing up for them so it is possible they are getting interference.

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