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Internal wireless adapter problems?


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#1
mo713

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I just finished (fingers crossed) resolving a very puzzling issue with wi-fi speed. On one particular machine (windows xp acer netbook), if I connected with a cable, I would get posted speeds over 6mbps for internet access (6-9mbps at times). With the same machine over wi-fi, the speed would drop to just about 1mbps for downloads, it was always like 850k to 1.3mbps or so. It would vary though, for example if I would close everything and reboot the machine, sometimes the first few speed tests after fresh reboot would be normal speed. Sometimes after running 2-4 speed test trials, it would throw one in that was normal. Sometimes it got to the point that it was only normal 1 out of 25 tries, or indefinite.

Then, by accident, I found a weird quirk. When I moved my TV remote control to a certain spot, the speed jumped from 1mbps to 5-6mbps. If I moved the remote, it would drift slowly back down. The next time, the remote had to be in a slightly different spot. The sweet spot kept changing. But it was a noticeable difference.

I started here in the win xp forum and then the malware forum before discovering the cause. The last experiment tried was to use a different EXTERNAL wireless adapter with all different drivers, and that worked normally, which indicated that the internal wireless adapter was bad. With all of the previous data I decided to replace the internal wireless card, which appears to have done the trick and corrected the issue.

Now, here is my question (or questions):

1. Can I assume that the problem is REALLY fixed? I mean, it seems like it's no longer doing the bad things, and all the evidence supports it, but am I REALLY done? ;)

2. Can someone give me a non-techie explanation of why playing with the signal path with my hands or a remote object would improve the signal and speed of a bad adapter card? The card is near the keyboard and the antenna wires run up to the top of the lcd display screen, so why would a bad card not stay bad? Once it's bad, it's bad, right?

3. Is it certain, given the above, that the original hardware wifi card was hosed?

4. The malware forum member told me to completely remove the old wireless from my installation. When I try to uninstall in device mgr, it won't let me, saying device is needed for boot. But the old device is gone? The new, identical wifi card has been assigned "wireless adapter #2" by windows. The old one should not be active? How do I perform this?
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#2
ouiallo

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I am not a techie so I hope I can answer all of the above correctly.

1- Who knows, if it works don't touch it is my advice.

2- probably because you have a very magnetic personality. Is it bad? I dunno, I guess if you have changed the card and it is fixed, then it doesn't matter, does it?

3- probably true

4- maybe (???) device manager cannot find the adaptor and because of that, it cannot delete it from it's list (because it has been physically removed)... If your new adaptor is working fine, I would suggests not bothering with that. I mean, you wouldn't want to put the old one back in simply to erase it from the system?

I am amazed by the TV remote thing, it shouldn't be acting that way, definitely sounds like a chip problem or a bad wire connection.
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#3
mo713

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I appreciate your comments, but I am still looking for some detailed info from someone who may have a very specific knowledge or experience with networking hardware and these kinds of issues.

Regarding #4, normally I wouldn't worry about loose ends left in my system, but another member in the malware or XP forum strongly advised me to clean up the old setup so this will not pop up again down the road. It's better to avoid any conflicts than to live with them and pray. ;)
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#4
mo713

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Still waiting for an answer. This is an update comment to bump the thread... ; )
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#5
AdvHomeServer

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Since you waited so impatiently, here's an answer.

Nobody has absolute knowledge of all the weird things that computers can do in the hands of consumers. Mostly, they work OK and often a problem can be fixed easily by someone who has seen it before.

Since you're using XP, I will jump to the conclusion your PC is older than some. Perhaps the wireless card is going bad? I'm replacing one in an old Wireless G laptop and bringing it to dual band and the modern(ish) 802.11n era for $10. I had to be careful in the card selection because some only work with certain chipsets and I think I found one that will work with my old AMD M300 processor. We'll see after it arrives.

Wireless drivers aren't usually needed to boot so I'd be careful there in the driver removal department.
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