WiFi networks appears be far away in spite of the router being close by


Answer: 1

32 hours ago

I recently installed Ubuntu 14.04 and I'm facing a little inconvenience. The WiFi networks appears as if it is very far, when, in reality, the router is near the laptop.

In case of Windows (on the same laptop), it works good. Also works fine in case of a tablet.

For the time being, I am using a USB WiFi adapter to get access to the web.

My card is a Broadcom BCM43142

Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM43142 802.11b/g/n (rev 01)

I hope somebody can give me a viable solution.

Added by: Kylie Kuhlman

Answer: 2

9 hours ago

OK, now we're getting somewhere.

1). Since the wifi equipment in/attached to your laptop doesn't change, the performance should not either.

SO the next thing we need to do is confirm performance, when on Windows. If you are using Ubuntu only, that now presents a nearly insurmountable problem.

If you are dual boot, I would recommend testing the wifi in Windows, and see if performance is roughly the same. Ignore the meter strength. The important thing is, does the wifi work about the same?

2). If the actual performance is about the same, then nothing is wrong. As you suggest, router performance varies from unit to unit. And the position of the router in the house has a direct effect on how well it covers the ground.

Remember, you are dealing with microwave frequencies, this means that while the companies that make routers say they thing will work for several hundred yards; everything changes that performance. In microwave frequencies; metal, wood, and drywall stop radio waves. This means that the more stuff between your laptop and your router, the less signal you will get. We are talking about significant signal drop in many cases.

A lot has to do with how large your house is. Multiple floors make things complicated, because this changes the antenna dynamics. Some people have 3,000 sq.ft. homes. This is a very big house, for a router to reach everywhere. In larger homes, one router is sometimes not enough.

Centrally locating the router in the house will tend to feed the surrounding rooms more evenly. Sometimes a better router can expand the range. If you need to, don't be afraid to expand the wifi in your house with a 'range extender'. Many companies sell these and they're not drastically expensive.

And lastly, it is obvious that the built-in wifi is very poorly constructed. Most USB plug-in wifi units don't work as well as built-in units because the built-in unit can make use of the space to include a big internal antenna (some even place the antenna in the screen, which presents a very large loop to the router, and most of it is vertically polarized, the same as the antennas in most routers). The USB types only have the length of the unit as space for the antenna (a couple of inches).

Your situation means that either there is a problem with the wifi in the laptop or its internal antenna. You should not need a plug-in wifi unit. If your laptop is still in warranty, I'd insist on getting the wifi card and antenna replaced.

3). In general, my take on this is that it is not a Ubuntu Linux problem. I think we are dealing with a general wifi problem, and because the metering reads differently, the problem seems more pronounced than it is. But it does require attention, since you lose signal at points in the house. Since it does work, and the equipment is the same, you'll need to work on the wifi network as a whole (deal with the poor wifi in the laptop, and/or expand the wifi system in the house, with either a stronger router, or more routers [extenders]).

I hope you get this solved, wifi is the way to go with a laptop ! Have fun and good luck!

Added by: Ryder Heaney

Answer: 3

31 hours ago

Here's a test. Take you laptop to a farther away location and see if the problem remains, say to the living room (if you're in your own room, for example), and see if you still show a weak signal. Weak metering in this case, does not always translate to weak signal.

If wifi performance remains good, then it may be just a meter scaling problem (my laptop rarely shows full-strength ever). Windows does not perform the metering, this is one of those proprietary driver issues that is solved by the manufacturer, they write the driver to please the customer, even when it reports loud and isn't . I always get 4 instead of the 5 bar reading, on my laptop.

If the wifi is working well, then the metering is just reading low, and there may be nothing wrong with it. I have found Ubuntu quirky that way. This is because they do very little in custom software for a given manufacturer. They tend to standardize. This is a good reason for some wifi to show loud, while others might show weak, or a little low (like on my laptop).

Hope that helps, have fun and good luck!

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