WRT54GL problems now...

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by Chappy316, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. Chappy316

    Chappy316 LI Guru Member

    so after all this fighting and router switching and setting changing i got my wireless up and running...

    now i am having problems getting speeds in places that i didnt have problems before... my speed settings are at full, and i can sit next to my router (am right now) with excellent signal strength and full bars and only pull 1.0mbps connection to it...? for some reason it will bounce back and forth sometime up to 24mbps and if im lucky i get the full 54mbps but not for long i seems like... i used to get atleast half speed or better no matter where i was in the house when i was running my WRT54G but with all the problems with that i have since switched to the WRT54GL and now i get low signal... this is really starting to get to me because i was down for 2 weeks with no wireless and now i get minimal signal and random drops on the new router...

    searched for ideas or other topics on this and didnt see anything super helpful since im still running stock firmware (and plan to keep it that way) so i dont know what to do... i have considered swapping over to higher gain antennas for better coverage anyways (basement, upstairs, backyard) but if i can sit next to it and not get full speed, then whats the point of the new antennas?

    any help would be appreciated... i know i have been posting alot on here but im just starting to get heavier into this stuff so please dont hate me... :biggrin:

    tried changing the channels on the wireless since we have a 2.4ghz cordless phone set in our house and connectivity doesnt get much better... was on channel 1 and i tried 6, 9, 10, and 11 with very similar results out of all of them, all similar to channel 1... goes from 11.0mbps to 5.5mbps and back down to 1.0mbps and everything gets really slow again... the most confusing part to me is that i keep a constant 35+dbm signal which is good to excellent on my card and it still doesnt change... even upstairs i get 30 or so and my speeds suck... dunno what to do...

    anyone? any ideas?
  2. HennieM

    HennieM Network Guru Member

    Chappy, now that you are on a GL, a few things:

    1) I forget the exact numbers, but the V5+ G/GS defaults to something like 84mW Tx power, while all other routers default to something like 21mW, i.e. 1/4 the Tx power of the V5+. We don't know why that is so, but all these routers use the same radio, and all the radios can go to a max of 251mW. You say your signal as seen by your card is good, so maybe the Tx power of your GL has nothing to do with it.

    2) Stock firmware does not allow you to adjust the Tx power. However..

    3) To upgrade/downgrade/crossgrade firmware on a GL is pretty easy, as you just load the firmware that you now want through the html interface. So, if you don't like firware X, you can go back to stock firmware without problem (most of the time...). Be sure to reset to defaults before/after up/down/crossgrading.

    4) Most, if not all, 3rd party firmware allows you to fine tune not only your Tx power, but also which antenna to use for Tx and which for Rx, and many other goodies. To the best of my knowledge, Hyperwrt 2.1b1 + Thibor15c is closest to stock firmware, just with added functionality.

    5) On stock (and other firmware), make sure FrameBurst is ON, and also on your PC card's driver.

    6) I forget if you have a GS (SpeedBooster/Afterburner) card, but I think you have. The GL does not come with Speedbooster enabled as Linksys sells this as a G, not a GS. However, Speedbooster is a software functionality, so if you go to 3rd party firmware, you can turn Speedbooster on. In the mean time, while on stock firmware, turn Speedbooster OFF on your card.

    7) I have found the fastest security setting to be WPA_PSK and AES encryption. WEP or other security, and TKIP encryption, seems slower.

    8) Not sure if you can do with stock firmware, but make sure your WRT is set for "g only", not "g and b", or perhaps just "b" (assuming of course you have only G cards).
  3. ifican

    ifican Network Guru Member

    As a simple test unplug the power from your cordless phone and see if it helps stabilize the wireless. I had to change out all the 2.4 phones in my home for a reason very similiar to this one.
  4. Chappy316

    Chappy316 LI Guru Member

    phones dont seem to have any effect on it...

    yea signal seems ok... not always full on my Dell Utility but very high and nowhere near zero... could still be worth turning it up just to see though...

    where and how can i go about a firmware swap? everything i have looked at on here doesnt seem to cover the whole process very well (unless im just not reading the right threads) i wouldnt mind trying a 3rd party firmware if i have a chance at fixing this...

    whats the difference between Tx and Rx? i have also considered higher gain antennas but im not gonna spend the money on those till i can figure out if the router is acting up or not...

    i have a built in card in my Dell laptop so there is no speedbooster...

    im running no encryption and dont plan to... i may consider it later but once again that will depend on if i can get my speed and connectivity up or not... no reason to run encryption on a wireless network that only reaches 2 rooms in the house right?

    and i have 3 machines that are trying to connect... i have my Dell Inspiron E1405, my dad has an HP laptop from his work with either a built in B or G card (not sure which) that connects fine but i havent played with its signal strength yet, and he also has a Gateway laptop with an internal Orinoco card that doesnt get signal very well... so i have it set to mixed mode (B and G) because i want full speed when i can get it and if it has to drop to B then thats fine...

    my main problem is, i cant even keep the 11.0 consistently... and it will randomly drop connection and reconnect when it feels like it and then come back up at like 5.5 or 1.0 instead...

    just trying to get everything squared away, i know im not the only one that hates when they buy something and then it doesnt want to work as it should... like i said, before with my WRT54G i had AWESOME speed everywhere in the house and now i get barely any speed unless im near the router and then its still 11.0 at best...

    thanks for the help though!


    screen capture to show that im getting AWESOME signal but ****ty speed.....
  5. HennieM

    HennieM Network Guru Member

    Where to find firmware: On the left of the home page of this site, go to downloads. I'd suggest you go for HyperWRT -> Thibor15c for starters. I think you download the firmware in a zip file. Unzip it, and you get a .bin file. Go to Upgrade firmware on your router, and specify this freshly unzipped .bin file. Reset the router to factory defaults, and re-specify all your settings.

    Tx/Rx = Transmit/Receive. The router Txs a signal at a certain strength, and your card Rxs that signal - that's the signal you see in your screen shot. Your card in turn, must Tx a signal back to the router, and the router then Rxs that signal at a certain strength. That's how the 2 devices talk, just like people...;-)

    With 3rd party firmware, you will be able to see how strong a signal your WRT receives from your laptop.
  6. Chappy316

    Chappy316 LI Guru Member

    is there any tutorials on the firmware or is it just like a linksys version (aka flash it and go)?

    flashed and running... back on with my wireless but the connection is still slow, should i unplug and reset the router and the computer?

    still showing between 39 and 42 on the laptops wireless side...

    where can i check the routers stats?
    (showing between 29 and 32 in the Device List on the router)
  7. kop48

    kop48 Network Guru Member

    Have you tried relocating your router?

    Also, make sure the antennas are screwed in properly and that the router isn't anywhere close to wires it doesn't need to be.
  8. Toxic

    Toxic Administrator Staff Member

    enabling frame burst can help with speed problems
  9. HennieM

    HennieM Network Guru Member

    That Dell utility of yours looks like it can provide a lot of info. Check around on it (I'm thinking maybe the Statistics or Diagnostics page) and see if you get an idea of errors on the wireless link, or anything that looks out of sorts.

    Maybe the dell utility is creating the problem? Assuming that you can go back to the Dell utility, you can use Windows Zero Configuration (WZC) as an alternative. Go to your network card's properties > Wireless Networks, and check "Use Windows to configure my wireless network settings". You may have to restart your PC.

    An "educational note": Signal strength is shown in dBm or dBi, and the values you see, such as in your screen shot, are MINUS 37 for the signal strength, and MINUS 94 for noise. Thus, -37 is better than -40 for signal, and -99 is better than -94 for noise. (Noise is what the radio cannot recognize as "signal").
    Further, the bigger the margin between signal and noise, the better/clearer you signal, and that is known as the signal to noise ratio (SNR), i.e. SNR = signal - noise. In your screenshot that equtes to SNR = -37 - -94 = 57. The greater the SNR value, the better your signal. (The reason why it's called signal to noise RATIO, is because it's actually a reflection of [power received] divided by [noise power], i.e., a ratio, but I guess that's a discussion for another time....)
  10. Chappy316

    Chappy316 LI Guru Member

    yes, i put it on top of the computer desk by itself and it hasnt gotten any better... i also havent messed with the antennas, simply took it out of the box and pointed them both straight up in the air...

    frame burst is enabled by default since i switched firmware...

    im sitting one room away right now and getting about a -41 signal and a -96 noise reading on my Dell utility... but for some reason its still dropping between 5.5mbps and 11.0mbps and internet speed seems kinda slow (5mbps cable connection) so...

    i turned my power up on the antennas from the 84mw as 100% to 150mw on Manual setting in HyperWRT2.1b1 and Thibor15c just to see if that helped any and it didnt seem to... i also took my laptops wireless out of power save and put it back to full power to no avail... would i have to reboot the router and/or the computer for those settings to fully take? this is honestly getting kinda ridiculous i think and its making me want to just run some Cat5e up to my bedroom and plug in at 100mbps so i can actually move files and surf the web without having to sit close to the router and wait forever...

    sadly, my speeds and my connectivity were 10x better when i had my WRT54G v6 before it started acting funny... was really hoping that switching to the WRT54GL (and now swapping firmware) was gonna help me when it really hasnt... not sure what im gonna do now but i will try almost anything to get it going at this point but im growing tired of fighting it pretty fast...
  11. HennieM

    HennieM Network Guru Member

    I'm pretty sure now that you don't have signal problems, but rather network and/or protocol problems with the card/driver, not the router. Did/does the Dell utility show any excessive retries/errors?

    I would suggest that you get another wireless card, in fact another wireless computer will be better (not a Dell with built-in card), and see what you get with that.

    Have you tried the WZC?

    Switch off/on both your PC and the router periodically, and make sure, when you test, you are the only device connected to the router (no other wireless or wired connections on the network). I forget if we covered this before, but traffic on the network - traffic that has nothing to do with the wireless - can saturate your wireless network, resulting in slow speeds.
  12. frenchy2k1

    frenchy2k1 LI Guru Member

    it is also possible that one of your neighbour just invested in a pre-N router.
    Those cover the same frequencies and take precedence over any 802.11b/g network in the area (ie: they behave as bad neighbours).
  13. Chappy316

    Chappy316 LI Guru Member

    thats what im starting to think because i already had one problem with my driver so... ill have to check the dell site and see if there is an update or a fix on there... i will get someone over today with a machine and see if they have the same problems or not...


    and i could try disconnecting my wired desktop but would that still effect my connection speed to the router?

    doubtful, none of my neighbors are very tech savy... and the wireless networks in range and view of the computer/router have been around since early last summer as i found out from friends computers at the time...
  14. Chappy316

    Chappy316 LI Guru Member

    so i tried updating my driver with the newest release off of Dell's website which i dont think actually changed anything... my computer was purchased late in December as it was a Christmas gift from my parents and the driver was last updated on the 11th of November so mine should of been fully up to date...

    here are two more pictures to show the confusing-ness that im going through...

    less signal then the last picture i took, yet better speeds... confused yet?

    and here is 0% packet loss after my update as ive only been connected for 10 minutes... (when i checked this before the update i had been connected for 1 day and 10 hours with 0 sent lost and 0 received lost)
  15. Chappy316

    Chappy316 LI Guru Member


    still not seeing improvements...

    and now my router randomly drops the Internet but i can retain connectivity (on both wired and wireless interfaces) and my internet provider is claiming that its my router 'going to sleep' but it just started...

    any ideas guys?
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