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Buffalo Wireless Router, iMac, PC...and internet losing connection.

Discussion in 'Networks' started by soma, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. soma

    soma New Member

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    Hi all,

    I've had a good route through the internet, various discussions etc but cannot for the life of me work this one out (still holding fire on phoning the company for the time being...).

    Right:
    I'd purchased a wireless Buffalo WZR2-G300N Router a few days back as we've set up our daughter with a computer. As we currently run an iMac upstairs, connected (via CAT5 cable) from NTL/Virgin cable modem, an option was to install a wireless router in the house so she could recieve broadband in her bedroom.

    Set up was easy enough (installed wireless PCI card in the PC by the way) and the signal strength and average speed were very good (often 130Mps).
    The iMac works fine (using the CAT5 from the router previously directly from the cable modem) whether Airport is in use or not. The problem is with the PC (XP SP2) in as much as I can rarely connect to the internet (possible for 5 mins at a time). When it's connected, it's really fast (even when the connection/speed drops) so it's really frustrating.

    I'll admit I know little of the 'internal' bits of PC's - but with a little research can poke around somewhat.
    I've since reinstalled windows and associated drivers, just to freshen the PC up (it used to be my PC and is in fine working condition). Via DHCP it's been assigned an IP address of 192.168.11.4 (from 192.168.11.1).

    I've been (almost) constantly rebooting, resetting, powering down (and turning firewalls off) for the past couple of days and I thought I had a breakthrough earlier (downloading iTunes...up to 80%) before the internet 'vanished'. Again, whilst I cannot access the internet the connection is seemingly there and in good strength?!?!?!

    Really at the end of my tether with this one...I cannot begin to pinpoint a culprit.

    If anyone can suggest a reason where this is going wrong (and if I need to provide any further information) I would be most grateful!

    Many thanks.
     
  2. Boycie
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    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    The first thing to do when trying to pinpoint wireless problems is a)check if there are other access points nearby operating on the same channel, and b)if the encryption (you don't mention it, although assume you have set it) is causing the problem.

    You may want to make sure the wireless card is using the latest driver and the access point has the latest firmware.

    Edit; Oh, welcome to the forum by the way!
     
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  3. soma

    soma New Member

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    Thanks Boyce. and cheers for the welcome.

    You've kind of nailed it in your post: such was my frustration that I was on the verge of calling Buffalo, but held back and double checked their online support articles first. There it mentioned adjusting the channel (was set to Auto) and so I did...from 11 backwards...no luck. However, at level 5 this has remained stable for the past 6 or so hours (bearing in mind 5 mins was all I got previously). I've turned off the Airport on the mac (it was on before and 'highlighted' (usually the icon is 'shaded' if you see what I mean) but I don't think this has any bearing on anything (connected by CAT5).
    So it looks like I have a result after several days tearing my hair out.
    Plus my daughters DS also connects effortlessly to the wireless router also.


    My next question was in fact about encryption...that was turned off as I had not done any homework on that side of things (5 key, 10 key....???). Is this necessary under these circumstances?

    Cheers again.
     
  4. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    *Always* have encryption on. Otherwise others could be using your connection, and potentially get you into a lot of trouble.

    Harry.
     
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  5. soma

    soma New Member

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    hbroomhall - I've just had a scan over the Buffalo support pages re encryption: from what I can gather I'd choose a level of encryption, either WEP (weakest) or AES & TKIP, depending whether the latter are supported?
    Is it really a case of choosing your own key (dependent on the amount of characters you pick)?

    It also states that if using Buffalo products exclusively and via AOSS then the network is already secure?
    tbh - I'm not sure if the AOSS is 'being used' or not...I'd gone through the routines a few times, but I'm sure by the time I'd switched the channels (it's now been running perfectly since yesterday by the way) I'd used the AOSS function*? The connection details states 'no encryption' and 'infrastructure mode' if that gives anything away?

    Many thanks.

    *I'd run the AOSS routine again but I don't want to disrupt this stable connection!!!
     
  6. greenbrucelee
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    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    does it not support WPA2? which is best from my knowledge.
     
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  7. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    WEP is better than nothing, but easily broken. It will stop casual people trying to break in. You chose your own password.

    WPA is much better and should be offered on any recent unit.

    WPA2 is better again, but XP, out of the box, doesn't support it properly.

    Harry.
     
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  8. soma

    soma New Member

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    Sorry - yes it offers WPA (either AES or TKIP) - not sure if they're WPA2 mind.
    I think there are 4 levels of WEP then the two levels of WPA.
    For some reason the PC cannot connect to AOSS meaning that I'll have to somehow work out which encryption I should use. Perhaps because the PC in question is upstairs (and a room across) it's not quite hitting the AOSS signal (it did do once). Downstairs both a DS and WII have been connected via AOSS.
    Actually, since connecting the WII to the wireless network (although it's now off) I've again lost the PC connection, despite the connection being strong (around 130mps)...highly tempermental and frustrating.
    I guess I should change the channels for other connections once more....:cry:
     
  9. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    When the connection drops you say you cant access the tinternet but can you access the router? Try pinging 192.168.11.1 and see if you get a response.

    If you cant ping it then obviously the wireless connection is dropping. Is there anything around the access point that may be causing a problem such as a cordless phone?

    Also how far away are you from the access point?
     
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  10. soma

    soma New Member

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    Sparky - the connection has been really stable since yesterday (previously I was lucky if I manged 2/3 mins connection). I'm putting that down to changing the channel. It averages 130mps, although it can drop to around 30mps (is it possible it loses 11n connection to 11g??).
    I connected a WII via AOSS earlier (successful) but then lost the wireless on the PC - again I've changed the channel (9 in this case) and again it's been stable for the past few hours.

    I guess as the crow flies (if it could fly through walls?) the router is approx 3-4 metres max from the PCI antennae and given this is a 11n router & card all should be ok (the strength of the signal suggests it is).
    Shame I can't quite grasp the connection to the card via AOSS and not have to worry about setting up encryption. It's not really practical to move either the router or PC any closer together.
    I initially thought that the PC connection was lost when the mac was being used (internet) in the other room, but now both have been in use for some time.

    I remember pinging a couple of days ago and receiving the 4 packets sent 4 packets recieved message (or thereabouts...this really is new territory for me!) - this was when the internet was lost but signal still very strong.
     
  11. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Weird, so it looks like the wireless connection is ok but your internet connection is flakey. If this is the case then changing the channel on your wireless connection is not going to help.

    Just to confirm this, when the connection drops can you browse the internet on the iMac (I believe this is patched directly into the router).
     
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  12. soma

    soma New Member

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    Yes - the iMac is connected via CAT5 (aiport off) and is always fine (unless I reset the router or fiddle with the AOSS for other devices).
    Interesting re the channel (it was previously set to Auto)...although I should add that since the major downtime on the wireless I've installed quite a few updates (I hadn't used the PC for nigh on 18 months since setting it up again over the weekend) - might this be a possible cause? The wireless internet connection (despite the break when the Wii was set up first thing this morning) has been running fine all day.
    Is it possible that the router can switches from 11n to 11g/b? I see differences between 130mps right down to 30mps...

    If it isn't the channel then perhaps it is the XP updates?



    btw - once I've set this all up can I still log into the router and make up my own WPA key?

    Many thanks
     
  13. Sparky
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    The router will connect at the rate the wireless adaptor supports. So if your card supports .11g the router will connect using that speed unless you specify in the settings of the wireless card to use .11b or whatever.

    I would fully patch the PC and make sure it is running Service Pack 2.

    Wireless connections are always flakey hence why you are seeing differences in speed.

    Once you set up WPA on the router you will have to reconfigure all the clients to use WPA. Worth doing to secure the network. 8)
     
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  14. soma

    soma New Member

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    Pretty sure I'm all patched up SP2 wise now Sparky - does seem to have been much more stable since the upgrades mind!
    The PCI card is Wireless n also, and I do see the higher aforementioned speeds but I guess it's down to the wireless connection then. Pre planned I would've routed cat5 into all the rooms...that's for another day however :)

    Had a small lost connection a short while ago and pinging 192.168.11.1 I recieved:

    4 packets sent 0 recieved 4 lost...

    but then I was back up and running i no time.

    Re the WPA -
    a: do I set my own key?
    b: I guess the iMac will be included even though wired...and will I have to set up the DS and Wii with the encryption also?

    Thanks for you comments and help..
    Cheers.
     
  15. Sparky
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    You have to put in a pre shared key (PSK) and that will get WPA up and running. When you scan for wireless networks on the laptop you will be prompted for the pre shared key and then you can connect, its basically a password. Any wireless clients will need to use the WPA settings.

    Don’t worry about the iMac, that will keep working without any additional config. Always handy to have a wired connection if the wireless is playing up as well. 8)
     
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  16. soma

    soma New Member

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    Ahh - that's what a PSK is...I'd heard it referred to before. I was thinking this key/password would come within the box the router/card came in.
    There's an option within the router config to set the WEP/WPA security - I presume setting this up will 'donate' a key I can then set for encryption?

    I'll give it a whirl over the next day or two and let you know how I get on. I guess it's good I've the higher end of encryption (WPA2 by the looks of it) on this router!

    Aye, the mac just gets on with doing what it does, preferring to be left alone :)

    Cheers once again.
     
  17. Sparky
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    Not sure what the web interface is like on your router but once you select WPA you should then be able to type a key as needed, happy days! :biggrin
     
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  18. HMSPresident

    HMSPresident Bit Poster

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    Try setting the router / wireless card to .11g - it's highly unlikely you're getting more than 8 or 10 Mbps from your internet connection, so you're not going to notice any difference if that's all your accessing. Most people leave their Channel at default, so it'll be 1, 6 or 11 - try 3 or 9.

    Also, check what encryption the DS and Wii can support before setting that - they probably won't support as strong an encryption as your PC.

    Do you use a Mighty Mouse with your iMac? These use Bluetooth, which will cause havoc with any 802.11 wireless nearby.

    And if you're not running any encryption yet, make sure to change the password to administer your router!
     
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