Wireless network problem

I have at home a laptop I use that has a Linksys PCMCIA network card, and a desktop system for VunderWife that has a Linksys PCI wireless card with an antenna.

This set up has had problems for quite a while with directionality, which I assumed to be because of the orientation of the desktop masking the radiated signal. I had to use my notebook in the dining room in order to get a reliable signal, instead of the desk in the bedroom where I want to be.

About 2 weeks ago, a lightning strike fried my cable modem, so while I was out getting a replacement, I found a wireless router for $50, and got it, too. I figured that with 2 antennae and high placement in the other bedroom where the desktop system resides this would solve my directional sensitivity.

Didn’t work out that way. Now, in order to connect to the router signal, I have to be REAL close, on the order of 3 - 5 feet. The desk I want to use is about 30’ away, and the dining room table is about 25’. There are no walls to go bedroom to bedroom, but 3 walls between bedroom #2 and the dining room table. I have no problems if I use a wire connection to the router.

I have separate SSIDs defined between the router and the desktop, different channels, and different adresses for allowed connections, so I can tell them apart. The router is a Belkin, with up-to-date firmware.

Does anyone have any ideas about the setup, and how I can get it to work?

Wow. That’s really unusual. The norm is that the signal is way too strong for a normal residential area and your wireless signal is broadcasted around the neighborhood. For example, at home I can plug in my wireless PCMCIA card and find at least 4 different routers, 2 of them totally open to the world.

Also… why do you have seperate SSIDS and Channels? You only have 1 wireless access point (the router) and two clients. You set the SSID,Channel #, and WEP key on the router, and then use those exact same settings on the clients.

The reason for the separate SSIDs is for migration. Once I’m sure I can get a reliable connection to the router with the notebook, then I turn off ICS on the desktop and reconfigure it to connect through the wireless, too. In the meantime, I want to know how the notebook is connecting so I can figure stuff out.

Do you have a cordless phone in your office? I’ve heard (but never confirmed) that they can cause some problems with wireless networks.

Other than that, I don’t have a clue. I assume you removed and reattached the antennas, just in case there’s a bad internal connection?

If I were troubleshooting I would disable ICS and the wireless card in the PC just to eliminate some possible issues, and work with the router and the wireless laptop card only. You don’t need the cable modem plugged in to troubleshoot, so you can even try moving the router around the house to see if there’s something in your office that’s cause the problem.

I do have a cordless phone, but it’s a 900 MHz model, not 2.4GHz. Should not be a problem.

I can shut off ICS while working on the problem, because the desktop has a wired connection to the router in the interim. I might try that…

Have you tried turning the transmission rate down? Most systems default to auto-detect. I’d start with 1mbps and work my way up until it becomes unreliable.