Dogway

Frequent Wifi Disconnections

26 posts in this topic

I have been more than 2 months trying to track an issue with wifi, it randomly disconnects, I couldn't relate it to any reason blindly, more often when CPU intense tasks, but also happen when just reading or writting on notepad for example.

I use a huawei-hg556a router and an Intel Wifi Link 5100 AGN card. Using WPA-AES.

I was getting the 1002 and 1003 ID DHCP event error on Windows.

I tried to disable firewall, disable b mode on wifi, set channel to auto...

Then I checked Intel's own logger and saw the next message before the disconneciton:

"RSN multiple first message"

I then tried to change from AES to TKIP encryption, but it didn't fix it.

After some googling I tried this solution but this morning it fell again.

I'm out of ideas and don't know what else to try. I'm on a Laptop and my router is just 3 meters away.

Resetting the router just fix it for that moment, the connection drops afterwards as well...

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I wouldn't think the encryption type is the cause of the problem. So time for some questions...

I can't find the details of this router that I am looking for... Is this a single band router? What band are you using? I see that it supports N and your NIC supports N, so I would like to think you have it set to N on both...

Are you using the stock or custom firmware?

have you done any fiddling regarding signal strength or anything like that?

Does your router have the ability to run a site-survey?

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sorry, I am quite noob at networks.

I think it's multiband, as per this link

I remember seeing the 5Ghz option, now with TKIP the dropdown arrow is disabled (maybe it never was available?)

Bandwith is 20Mhz and 40Mhz , set as Auto.

On my connection, on the Intel utility it shows g and n. I actually have it set to use a,g, and n on the card. In the router it says "Mode: 802.11b+g+n"

I'm using another version of stock firmware, official but from other country and version (which was said to work better)

For fixing this issue I tweaked this on the card.

I don't know if that's what you refer, also on my router it says Transmit Power 100%, I don't think I ever touched this.

I don't quite understand your last question, sorry

edit: It dropped again, I grabbed the log into a csv file, tell me if you need it.

Edited by Dogway
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Wireless is a tricky thing indeed. I had problems with it, learned a bunch, fixed it and ultimately forgot most of it. :rolleyes:

I'd consider myself a noob at it too! :w00t:

I was probably like everyone else when starting to use wireless, you plug it in and away you go. But then I need to look at how I am actually using it. What devices do I have and what are their capabilities? For my example, I have multiple (potential) N class devices and then a G device (PS3). So in this situation, in order for me to accomodate all of my devices. With a standard single band N router, this would mean setting it for G. This is because PS3 needs it, and the N devices can use G. But this isn't an ideal situation for me because while the G devices worked fine, there was flakiness with the N devices! So for my purposes, I chose a dual-band router. It has 2 radios set one for G and one for N. And then you end up setting 2 SSIDs for broadcast (if you want).

Now to figure out what kind of devices you have. If all your devices connect with N speed, then I would set the router to use N exclusively instead of the hybrid mode. Don't bother changing that signal strength range (20/40MHz) as going to an extra-wide band in a populated area can potentially cause headaches for you and/or your neighbors. :whistle:

Now, the site-survey is an interesting tool that *some* routers have. And some are better than others. For example, on my old router (D-Link N) with DD-WRT, the site-survey would scan the airwaves and show me a list of all other broadcasting devices in the area. This means I can see my neighbors' routers (and an amount of Nintendo Wiis) but most important I can see what wireless channel they are on! This is another important factor as you would want to use a channel (that is legal) and that is not being used by another broadcasting device to save yourself from potential interference. But if your router doesn't have this feature then it won't help you.

Which reminds me, if your router is set for "auto" channel, this would mean that the router determines somehow which channel to use. If the router decides to change the channel on you, you definately would lose your connection, but should reconnect shortly after. :unsure:

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Thanks a bunch for the help, I normally dig deep on matters I don't know so I can do it myself and then write down notes (so I don't forget), but networks are something too difficult and lacks the charm to feel too interested about.

I have a wii but I don't use it very often, it's turned off (red light). Other than that my laptop only. This morning it fell again and checked the log, I noticed an event I missed before:

"security mismatch with 11n, 11n is not in operation"

I made a search on it and found some info on my card, I could try to turn it off. That would make the wifi to use only G, and check if it stays steady. I could then look for the reason with the N mode if that fixes it.

I don't remember seeing a site-survey option in the router, instead Ive using an app called inSSIDer, before I was using custom channels so I could circumvent the interferences, but the wifi list here has grown stupidly. For example right now there are 10 signals, and I have seen over 15 at the same time, so I decided to set to auto. Now you tell me that changing the channel makes the signal drop, so... I have no options? Is 10 or 15 signals so rare that a wifi can't handle? If it were a drop caused by interference shouldn't the event log indicate exactly that (or something related)?

I know I could go wired but, it just p***es me off to lose against those 10~15 wifi lol, well and it's uncomfortable too.

Below you can see screengrab on the moment it fell, as you see the "speed" dropped from 130mb to 65mb and then went offline, despite using a free channel as it's shown.

th_wifi2.png

edit: btw it seems that the new event log for N mode was caused when I switched to TKIP as per this note

http://www.intel.com/support/wireless/wlan/4965agn/sb/CS-025643.htm

Symptom(s):

Client device's WiFi data rate will not exceed 54 Mbps when Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) or Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) encryption is configured.

Cause:

The IEEE* 802.11n Draft prohibits using High Throughput with WEP or TKIP as the unicast cipher. If you use these encryption methods (e.g. WEP, WPA-TKIP), your data rate will drop to 54 Mbps. The Intel® WiMAX/WiFi Link 5350, Intel® WiMAX/WiFi Link 5150, Intel® WiFi Link 5300, Intel® WiFi Link 5100 and Intel® Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN client drivers connect using a legacy IEEE 802.11g connection rather than failing to connect altogether, which complies with the IEEE 802.11n draft.

Solution:

1. Contact your WiFi access point (AP) or router manufacturer to download the latest firmware version, or to obtain information on particular models supporting High Throughput.

2. Disable 'packet bursting' or similar feature that may be enabled on the AP or router.

3. Configure the WiFi client device's profile to use Wi-Fi Protected Access* (WPA2-AES or WPA2-TKIP). You may also choose to configure an unsecured profile, but this option is NOT recommended.

4. Configure the AP or router to match the client profile.

That leaves me with WPA-AES (which originally had troubles) or WPA2, which I don't want to switch to in case so much security is counterproductive.

Im reading now about dd-wrt or openwrt, if the problem persists I might try them to get the best out of my router. Another thing that had me wondering now, N mode pushes the connection to 300mbps? Since I have been always at 130mbps that means I was always on G? ...

Edited by Dogway
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Using DD-WRT firmware (if available) may help in your case, but your limiting factor is really the quality of your hardware. As I mentioned before I have a D-Link N router, which was my first wireless router. Using stock firmware, it was crap for G and N. After applying DD-WRT, G was a rock and N increased connectivity dramatically. Say before the update, N was dropping out every 5 minutes, but after it would stay up for at least 2 hours. But it still wasn't good enough on N. Whether this is because of the environment or the fact it was operating in mixed mode, I'm not sure. Another issue is that if you are in mixed (I think, don't take my word on it) that N wireless will run same speed as G if a G device is connected. If no G device, N runs at normal speed. This might be what you are seeing.

Alas, while I still have that D-Link, I opted to switch to a dual-band Linksys/Cisco router with the dedicated radios for both G and N and that works like a champ with stock firmware.

Either way, DD-WRT has a wiki that explains a lot of the different settings you could possibly have, even if you don't use their custom firmware.

While my story probably doesn't help your particular situation, I'm glad you brought to light that different encryption methods can definately cause problems with a wireless connection. That was something I never considered before. :thumbup

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For my router I think dd-wrt is not supported, open-wrt instead.

Doing such things actually bothers a bit, since I don't know much it has a risky component for me for getting offline if I don't dedicate deep reading and understanding.

If N would run at same speed when mixed mode, I wouldn't see a reason to use N at all, specially when as you state it's prone to fall or inconsistencies. The logic behaviour would be to drop to G speed. But I will run some tests (eg disabling N altogether) and stuff and see what comes out.

Don't bother changing that signal strength range (20/40MHz) as going to an extra-wide band in a populated area can potentially cause headaches for you and/or your neighbors.

Im a bit concerned about this. I have set it to auto, but as inSSIDer shows it seems to be using 40mhz, do you recommend me to set to 20mhz?

EDIT:

I changed the wifi back to AES, and surprisingly I got again the:

"security mismatch with 11n, 11n is not in operation" message.

I now have disabled N mode on the card, although it still shows the N logo on the Intel utility. Speed changed to 54mbps.

Still get the message, since it's only a warning I must assume that it's only telling me that N is turned off and shouldn't care, for now this is OK while I debug on G only mode.

BTW I found the dual band checkbox in my card advanced options, it's set to dual, I think I should set it to 2.4Ghz in case the router is single band. I looked for it and didn't see any commentary so I think I can assume it's single banded moreover when the dropdown arrow is disabled on the interface.

I found a thread practically stating that my router wifi is POS (piece of s***?). Well that makes sense.

http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/108214

Finally got this sorted I think...it turns out the Huawei router loses its DNS marbles after awhile, and stops serving the DHCP clients. The solution is to either manually specify DNS on every client, or to manually edit the config file for the router, and manually specify DNS numbers which are served to the DHCP clients. I took the latter route, replacing the default 192.168.1.1 number with the OpenDNS digits, and everything appears to be working flawlessly - and quite a bit faster, too!

I don't understand exactly what it says, I actually have enabled DHCP in the range -.1 -.5

This was for my laptop, wii, 360 until lan card broke, and guests. Maybe if I disable DHCP and do what the dude says can fix some problems. I will also check if the drops are due to channel changes.

If all this fails then I can have a look at OpenWRT.

Obviously the better solution would be to buy a new good quality multiband router, but that's not an option now.

Edited by Dogway
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Im a bit concerned about this. I have set it to auto, but as inSSIDer shows it seems to be using 40mhz, do you recommend me to set to 20mhz?

40MHz doesn't hurt. I wouldn't be concerned if it is set for auto. But only N speed can use the 40MHz, so if you have that disabled and only using G, set it to 20MHz.

BTW I found the dual band checkbox in my card advanced options, it's set to dual, I think I should set it to 2.4Ghz in case the router is single band.

I do not know what this setting is. It isn't the same what I was talking about (dual band router)... I can't find specific if running in N at 2.4GHz is the same speed as G at the same frequency. But presumably running N at 5GHz is the optimal configuration but it is known to interfere with other devices, such as bluetooth.

And yes, I found many similar pages referring to the quality of the huawei routers were less than desired, but that there is a difference between the regular models and the Vodafone ones. :unsure:

Oh thinking again about your 11n error. You first were getting this while you had N enabled on both the NIC and the Router. This would make me think that something was configured wrong or that you definately were connecting at G or something... :wacko:

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40MHz doesn't hurt. I wouldn't be concerned if it is set for auto. But only N speed can use the 40MHz, so if you have that disabled and only using G, set it to 20MHz.

Yes I read that 20mhz is just there for N when other G signals fly around in the same channel, so it doesn't overtake other people G frequencies.

I do not know what this setting is. It isn't the same what I was talking about (dual band router)... I can't find specific if running in N at 2.4GHz is the same speed as G at the same frequency. But presumably running N at 5GHz is the optimal configuration but it is known to interfere with other devices, such as bluetooth.

I think it's the same setting. In the router 5Ghz isn't selecteable, and on my wifi it was set to dual. Just to play it safe I set it as in my router to 2.4Ghz. This doesn't change when I decide to test back with N because the router doesn't seem to support 5Ghz.

And yes, I found many similar pages referring to the quality of the huawei routers were less than desired, but that there is a difference between the regular models and the Vodafone ones. :unsure:

The difference you mention is to worse on the Vodafone ones?

Oh thinking again about your 11n error. You first were getting this while you had N enabled on both the NIC and the Router. This would make me think that something was configured wrong or that you definately were connecting at G or something... :wacko:

My first errors with that 11n message if I remember correct were when using with TKIP which as I noted had some bugs with N mode on my card, actually just if I disabled N mode at all.

Now I'm at debug mode (using AES) until this thing crashes again, today or tomorrow, if that doesn't happen then I can be pretty sure it's an N mode bug. I'll keep an eye to channel conflicts as well so I'm not fooled by a channel change.

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And yes, I found many similar pages referring to the quality of the huawei routers were less than desired, but that there is a difference between the regular models and the Vodafone ones. :unsure:

The difference you mention is to worse on the Vodafone ones?

Well my 5 minutes of googling led to some things like that. But you can't ever be sure regarding what people say online, as you can probably find someone say that *anything* is the worst product ever. But if there is a difference between the Vodafone and the regular version, it would probably only be firmware related.

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OK! It crashed again! It begged for it, almost 2 days without problems on G only mode.

It was a good chance to gather info and event logs:

My rekeying authentification is upon 10 minutes, always at minute 3, so at minutes 03, 13, 23, 33, and so on. But the crash was at minute 37 so that wasn't the cause.

The channel didn't change it was channel 1 before, and still is channel 1. And there around 13 signals detected which isn't too horrible to cause serious interference.

The first WriteFile logs related to the wifi crash in autoruns:

...
18:37:16,2775066 S24EvMon.exe 1656 WriteFile C:\Documents and Settings\Administrador\Datos de programa\Intel\Wireless\Settings\AlertHistory.bin SUCCESS Offset: 3.991, Length: 1.321
18:37:16,2777736 S24EvMon.exe 1656 WriteFile C:\Documents and Settings\Administrador\Datos de programa\Intel\Wireless\Settings\AlertHistory.bin SUCCESS Offset: 5.312, Length: 4
18:37:16,2780373 S24EvMon.exe 1656 WriteFile C:\Documents and Settings\Administrador\Datos de programa\Intel\Wireless\Settings\AlertHistory.bin SUCCESS Offset: 5.316, Length: 1.321
18:37:16,2783528 S24EvMon.exe 1656 WriteFile C:\Documents and Settings\Administrador\Datos de programa\Intel\Wireless\Settings\AlertHistory.bin SUCCESS Offset: 6.637, Length: 4
18:37:16,2786123 S24EvMon.exe 1656 WriteFile C:\Documents and Settings\Administrador\Datos de programa\Intel\Wireless\Settings\AlertHistory.bin SUCCESS Offset: 6.641, Length: 1.321
18:37:16,6176448 svchost.exe 1536 WriteFile C:\WINDOWS\Prefetch\IWRAP.EXE-0278EE49.pf SUCCESS Offset: 0, Length: 22.318
18:37:16,9497115 services.exe 1056 WriteFile C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\SysEvent.Evt SUCCESS Offset: 264.504, Length: 248
18:37:16,9503563 services.exe 1056 WriteFile C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\SysEvent.Evt SUCCESS Offset: 264.752, Length: 40
18:37:17,0371732 EvtEng.exe 744 WriteFile C:\Archivos de programa\Intel\WiFi\bin\4ade9854-8f7a-411c-9607-04e0721ec6e3 SUCCESS Offset: 0, Length: 4
18:37:17,0376297 EvtEng.exe 744 WriteFile C:\Archivos de programa\Intel\WiFi\bin\4ade9854-8f7a-411c-9607-04e0721ec6e3 SUCCESS Offset: 4, Length: 4
18:37:17,0378926 EvtEng.exe 744 WriteFile C:\Archivos de programa\Intel\WiFi\bin\4ade9854-8f7a-411c-9607-04e0721ec6e3 SUCCESS Offset: 8, Length: 1.385
18:37:17,0382063 EvtEng.exe 744 WriteFile C:\Archivos de programa\Intel\WiFi\bin\4ade9854-8f7a-411c-9607-04e0721ec6e3 SUCCESS Offset: 1.393, Length: 4
...

The WiFi Event Log:

th_wifi-ev.png

Windows System Event Log is:

DHCP Error ID 1003

but the first sign of something going wrong is the Tcpip message at 18:37:16

th_XP-ev.png

Ok, I admit this time I was with youtube, emule, and bittorrent at the same time. It's probably not fair to blame wifi in this condition but this is a warning, I will keep an eye open when this happens again on low traffic/connections conditions.

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So funny, I'm still in G only mode but this thing crashed again without reason.

I was just working a bit previewing videos with VirtualDub and then DROP.

Only Emule open without any current downloading, and Palemoon (only one tab open and idle), nothing else.

There were less than 10 wifi signals around, channel has't changed either, still channel 1.

Look Intel Diagnostics log:

th_clip.png

The funny thing is this time in my XP system event log I got a 8033 information event just after the drop.

"Event Id: 8033 Source: Browser -- The browser has forced an election on network \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_{DA3D5ECC-4A91-4F67-917B-F5273074D0E5} because a master browser was stopped. (Event-type: Informational)"

lol this is a bad joke!! anyone with a degree on networks can lend a hand?

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The funny thing is this time in my XP system event log I got a 8033 information event just after the drop.

"Event Id: 8033 Source: Browser -- The browser has forced an election on network \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_{DA3D5ECC-4A91-4F67-917B-F5273074D0E5} because a master browser was stopped. (Event-type: Informational)"

I don't think the master browser would have anything to do with it. But looking at your log file (I noticed this before) You can see the "rekeying" process, then it just says Link Up. Do you always lose your connection after the rekeying? If you can go back and find one rekeying to see if there is a LinkUp ~5 minutes later...

Other ideas that may not be related, but is uPnP enabled on the router?

I am wondering how your computer would work using a different router... even at a different location (house/business/school)... But I expect that just getting a better router might be easier. :(

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...If you can go back and find one rekeying to see if there is a LinkUp ~5 minutes later...

No, as you could read in my 2 previous posts the rekeying is a normal security system that happens on all wifi connections, I have set mine to 10 minutes, they always start at 3, so minute 13, 23, 33. As you see the rekeying has nothing to do with the connection drops.

Other ideas that may not be related, but is uPnP enabled on the router?

Yes I had it enabled, after reading I think I don't need, I will test with this turned off.

I am wondering how your computer would work using a different router... even at a different location (house/business/school)... But I expect that just getting a better router might be easier. :(

I thought the router was good enough at the beginning, maybe it is a router as a whole, but not wifi specifically. I'm gonna try uPnP off, and probably turne DHCP off too, check that for a few days and report back. I thought more people would come here to help me since this is a specialized forum, I don't know any other for networks...

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I turned uPnP off and it dropped, then today I disabled DHCP but I became unabled to connect to internet. I had to specify IP, gateway, DNS, etc

It works now in expect of a new drop but the problem is I don't know what DNS to use. For the moment I'm using a DNS I used to use from Comodo Firewall, but if I turn DHCP off what should I normally use?

Another strange thing is that the wifi logger seems to be disabled now.

Edited by Dogway
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