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Wireless Problems Help With Kenilworth Computer Repairs



With the mad dash and panic for the latest wireless network transmission speed, Kenilworth Computer Repairs decided to put some context to the flashy advertising and highlight some of the problems that might be encountered, when connecting different devices to a wireless network.

Wireless standards in common use are currently classified as follows.

802.11B 11Mb/s 2000
802.11G / G+ 54 - 108 Mb/s 2003
802.11N / NLite 150 - 600 Mb/s 2009

These are often just referred to as B, G or N wireless transmissions and they relate to the speed at which the data is sent from your router to your PC, laptop or tablet.

All of these classifications use either the 2.4GHz or the lesser used 5GHz radio frequency band. The current standard or "N standard" is of the fastest and caters for up to 600Mb/s.



Many other wireless devices also use these frequencies, since it is an unlicenced frequency band. Wireless Keyboards, Bluetooth devices and Microwave Ovens also use these frequencies, and in some cases this can cause interference.

"Wireless N" is useful for streaming videos and playing games online. However depending upon each individual installation, the maxiumum quoted speed will almost never be achieved. Maximum speeds are usually quoted as being obtained under ideal test conditions, usually involving additional antennas and expensive laboratory standard test equipment.

All routers now cater for at least some form of "N" wireless transmission, although it might not be the full 802.11N specification and might be called "N-Lite" or similar. All of these classifications are also supposed to be backwardly compatible, but this is not necessarily the case. It does depend entirely on the individual situation.



Last week we were called to a large house in Napton, Warwickshire. The customer was an afficinado of Apple Computers, who did not own a PC. Everyone in the house either used a Macbook, IPad, IPod or PS3 Games System. The ISP was BT and they were connected to the latest high speed BT Infinity digital telephone line. The customer told us that whenever she took these devices to work, they all seemed to work pefectly..

The network connection problems ONLY occurred at home. Thinking that not all the Apple devices could ALL be faulty at the same time, our attention turned to the router.

We found that the router was at it's default setting, in the case of a BT Homehub this is labelled as "B/G/N (Recommended)". This implies backward compatibility and indeed we were able to connect an extremely old laptop PC to the system. We were even able to print from the wireless printer.

However when an Apple device such as an iPad or iPod tried to connect to the same wireless network it simply refused to work. In some cases these devices could not even be seen.

Now given that Wireless N has been in existence since 2009 and the iPad since 2010, you would expect them to work with the latest network standard. We found this not to be the case and changing the router setting back to "Wireless G" transmissions fixed the Apple wireless connection problems. All of the devices can now connect and peace has returned to the household.

The moral of this tale is that just because it says it's fast on the box, it does not necessarily mean that it will work as advertised. If you have problems connecting an iPad / iPod to a wireless network, it is worth changing the wireless type. Your router manual will tell you exactly how to go about this.


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