My home's network is pretty typical:
Computer A is hardwired, connected to the modem and the router, a Linksys BEFW11S4.
Computer B is in my room, connected wirelessly with a Linksys WMP11B PCI Adapter Card.
I have never had any trouble with my signal. Sure, there's the occasional normal problem of disconnects as all wireless connections have, but my signal strength has always been just fine.
Recently, I got a laptop, which i'm using now in my room in place of my PC (I will be taking this laptop to college soon). It uses an Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG network card.
From the first time I booted up the laptop, it instantly found our network and connected and i've had Internet.
When everything is fine, my signal strength on the laptop is "Very Good" or "Excellent" and has a speed of 11.0mbps. Periodically though (fairly frequently) my signal strength will drop all the way down to "Low" or "Very Low," and my speed shoots up to 54.0mbps. This drop often will disconnect things like instant messengers, causing a lot of frustration for me and my friends. After a few minutes (maybe seconds, depending on the instance) the signal strength and speed will return to the way they were. On some occasions, i've noticed a complete disconnection from the network, and when I mouse over the icon in my taskbar, it'll say it's connecting or acquiring the address. This problem of low signal seems to become increasingly serious at the later hours of the night. Earlier this evening for instance, it wasn't so much of a problem, but right now (it's after 2AM) i've been at a "Low" signal strength for about 45 minutes straight.
The distance between this laptop, which is sitting on the very desk I use for the PC which has no problems, to the router is no more than 20 feet, and there's only one wall in the path. Like I said, my PC has had no problem with signal strength.
I picked up the laptop and carried it to the room with the router, and sat a few feet from it and waited to see if this improved my signal any. After a few minutes, I still experienced a drop from "Excellent" to "Very Low." so I know the problem is not distance or interferance. I'm convinced the problem has to do with the router and the network itself.
Even though I will only be using this connection for about a week until I move, at which point i'll have ethernet connection in my dorm room, it's still a vexing problem for me as I simply don't understand what the deal is, and it's extremely frustrating trying to chat with friends under these circumstances. Also, i'll be back home periodically from school with the laptop anyway, so i'll have to deal with it then, as well. Granted, I could just boot up the PC and use it, but it's been wiped of my IMs and other things in preparation for my leaving.
Does anybody have any ideas as to what the problem is or what I can do to fix it?
If you need anymore specs, just lemme know.