Woo Hoo 2 Meg Prodigy! - but a techy problem??

Discussion in 'Living in Cancun' started by Steve, May 9, 2007.

  1. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    My modem broke on Sat evening and the guy finally came round today with a new one. Jannet was out and I couldn't find the key to the office so he went away again. :roll:

    Managed to get him back later but he'd only drop the modem off and not configure anything. It was the new style modem and for some reason we now get 2 Megs/256Kb instead of the 1Meg/128kb we used to have. Last time our modem died we just plugged the new one in entered the WEN and everything was fine. This time we plugged it in and nothing worked. Jannet spent an hour on the phone with support and got the desktop working but my wireless laptop can't use the connection despite saying it's connected.

    My normal set up is desktop in the separate office building connected to modem via ethernet and the wireless laptop used in the house connecting from maybe 50 feet away. I can connect from the laptop via ethernet and also wirelessly but only if the modem is within a couple of feet of the laptop. When the modem is more than 6 feet away I get a 5 bar strong signal, it tells me it's connected but it isn't. I never had this problem with the previous modem.

    Any ideas? Drew, Mixz?

    I've got wires trailing all over the house at the moment and am sick of crawling under desks to disconnect things to set it up elsewhere only to have to reverse everything 10 minutes later.
     
  2. mixz1

    mixz1 Guest

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    Let's try the silly and easy first. If you have a hands-free telephone hanging about (not a cell phone), try un-plugging the power from it just to make sure it's not causing channel interference. Some of these modems are more sensitive to channel interference than others.

    This same situation can occur it a neighbor has a wireless modem set to the same channel as yours. As an aside, there's something coming off the huge tower near Wal-Mart that kills my wireless and also kills my remote key for my car, which won't unlock until I hold the key against the window. Lord knows what they're frying us with.

    Next, I'm assuming this is a 802.11G modem and not a 802.11B. I'm assuming your recently purchased laptop has a G card that's B compatible. So, if we're talking about a G-G setup continue on below.

    If you can connect wirelessly at a short distance from the modem and get out to the Internet, it would seem that your configuration settings are correct, but you have a signal strength or interference problem. Since I don't know what model modem TelMonopoly is giving out these days, I can only guess that you access the modem's setup page by entering 192.168.1.254 in the browser window. Whatever the address is, you can find it in the documentation.

    Use the wired machine to open the configuration pages and then navigate to the wireless configuration. For the moment, null out any WEP or WPA passwords on the modem side AND the laptop side. Make sure you are broadcasting the SSID and that the laptop is set to that SSID. This is an XP must that some security gurus nix, but it won't work without it.

    Then try changing the channel the modem is broadcasting on. It's usually set for channel 6. You should have 11 channels. See if you get variations in signal strength and select the strongest. The re-do your WEP or WPA stuff to re-secure your setup.

    I'm going off the grid for several days to handle a family matter in Europe and won't be able to continue on this thread, so if I've completely misled you, I apologize in advance and hope someone else can rescue you.
     
  3. jenleib

    jenleib Addict Registered Member

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    Thanks to M. I have gotten a new modem, he helped me a lot, but now, he cannot. Thanks to him, I am in touch with an engeneer at Telmex (special cases), the only one who seems competent, and maybe the only one who speaks perfect English.

    I speak Spanish but my computers don't, and I don't know at all the computer terms in Spanish. Since my problems go endlessly (that's my desktop who says he is connected but is NOT), I am still in touch with him. He is very busy right now, but if nobody else can help you, I can ask him if he would help you.

    Just let me know.

    Good luck. Those things are so stubborn sometimes!
     
  4. Naoautorizada

    Naoautorizada Addict Registered Member

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    You guys keep referring to a modem in a way which makes me think you mean 'access point' or 'router' rather than 'modem'. If you're going to ever spend less time making these things work (and to be sure, they're not going away) then using the proper names of things will help.

    Typical Wireless LAN setup:

    [​IMG]

    That gizmo in the middle with rabbit ears - is generically referred to as an access point. If you can connect more than one device to it's output side, it's called a router, and since it has the rabbit ears, you can be sure that it's a wireless router, meaning that the connections it can make are not limited to the physical plug access points in the back.

    To be meaningful, any further discussion would require that we know we're talking about a router and not a modem.

    ------ NEXT STEPS --------

    Computer science is only a science if you approach things methodically.

    Otherwise it becomes an art - which means unless you plan on doing a lot of this sort of thing, you'll never get any good at it and you'll get very frustrated when you try.

    Any 802.11g device (like your new, faster router?) WILL BE compatible any older, slower (802.11b) devices that were there before, so there's no need to change the router and various cards and software drivers simultaneously.

    So then, to be methodical with WiFi installations, then:

    - Always keep the old equipment (if it was working) so that you can rettach if needed to be certain that you didn't inadvertently screw up something entirely unrelated. (happens ALL the time)

    - Remove any and all constraints (like access names and WEP passwords) and place them back onto the system AFTER everything works properly without them.

    If the old system no longer works (and it used to) you need to get it running again before you can hope to replace it with the new system (don't assume, do the work to find out - Murphy is alive and well, even in Cancun, and making that assumption is GUARANTEED to make certain to make you wish you wouldn't have!).

    Clearly if you put the old system back on and it works, the problem is with some part of the new system. If that's the case, there's an entire litany of methodical steps to go through to make certain that you don't have to do any of them twice, including replacing equipment 1 part at a time (and in a certain order) to assure that we always know when and where the problem shows up (so we don't have to guess).

    That litany is far too much to tailor to your specific situation without knowing a lot more about the system and how it reacts to the various changes as you go through the process, but here are a few good sites that show the general thought pattern:

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/networking/setup/wireless.mspx
    http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/wireless/2003/03/21/home_wifi.html
    http://www.faqs.org/docs/Linux-HOWTO/Wireless-HOWTO.html

    Quick final comment -
    From the minimal information you did provide, it actually sounds as if your only problem is range (or a pronounced lack thereof). Something you won't read in the manuals is that 802.11b - even though it's slower) has a far greater range (like about 4x) than 802.11g (but which is twice as fast as 802.11b) and will go through things like brick walls better than 802.11g. If you're being anything other than metaphoric in your use of the term ("works only for a few feet compared to 50 feet previously"), your solution could be as simple as getting an antenna - but then your report of having '5 bars' of reception strength wouldn't make sense, so it's still probably better to go back to being methodical than to engage in guessing.
     
  5. Steve

    Steve Administrator Owner

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    Thanks for the replies:

    The plot thickens as I've just tested my old laptop and can connect wirelessly with that with no problem and at distance.

    That would suggest that the problem lies with my newer laptop and it's configuration. However, I've never had any problem connecting to prodigy through several different modems with it before, just this new one.

    Mixz1:
    I appreciate you may not get chance to respond but the modem model is 2701HG-T Gateway if that is any help.

    Both laptop and modem are 802.11g, the old modem was also 802.11g

    We do have a cordless phone, I've tried unplugging it and no joy.

    I will try changing the channel, and nulling the passwords temporarily.


    Naoautorizada
    The 'modem' to which I'm referring is a modem and router all in one - basically a modem with 4 ethernet connecting points and usb port integral to the single unit.

    The old modem did not work (hence the new one), and in order to receive the new one you have to give back the old by way of exchange. So setting up the old system is not an option and even if it were I'd still have a non functioning system. :wink:

    The range issue - it's giving all the errors that you'd expect with being out of range, yet the signal strength shows 5 of 5 bars. To be literal, if the modem is under the desk that the laptop sits upon I can connect wirelessly, if I move the modem next to the phone point so that there are no trailing wires (some 15 feet away) then the connection drops.
     
  6. Naoautorizada

    Naoautorizada Addict Registered Member

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    Actually that tells me that we're almost done (with diagnosis, that is - repairs are never necessarily imminent)... Now all we have to do is find out what's different between the two lappys, and from those differences, prioritize and modify - one at a time if/when possible.

    Let me explain how I got there and where exactly we need to go from here:

    The old lappy gets along with old modems and and the new modem (so modems are both OK),

    Both lappys get along OK with old modems (so lappys are OK)

    The new modem has a hard time getting the new lappy to respond properly to it's requests, even though we know from independent sources that it's screaming at the top of it's lungs and even the new laptop can recognize that there's some sort of commotion going on.

    Hmmmm, Since we know the lappy is OK and that the modem is OK, the new modem is simply saying things in a way which cant' be understood (or won't be acted on) by the new laptop.

    And when that happens, it's the listener's fault (don't forget that the new modem does perfectly well with the old laptop, so the fault doesn't lie there). Computers are bone stupid - a computer's understanding and sensitivity to commands are 100% conveyed by software.

    The other thing we know is that the source of the problem will be in a difference between the old lappy and the new lappy - and we know that the hardware of each is OK.

    So then, let's start with the big dogs (cause they're usually guilty anyway) -- how do the operating system and/or browser editions compare. Vista and IE v.6 are new, so if you've got either in the new machine and not in the old, you can start there.

    My #1 suspect right now - OS and/or browser is different between the two laptops. Now if that's the case, you could test the theory by retrograding the new machine to the old OS and/or browser, but that would be an act of desparation more than intelligence, so we'll leave that for another time.

    So then, the eaiser test....
    Do you know of anyone else with the new modem.
    Take your lappy over there and see if they'll talk to each other.
    If they won't (and you did say that the new lappy will talk to most other modems), then the operating system and/or browser specific drivers that would normally match the new modem to the newer OS or browser haven't been properly aligned yet.

    Essentially until the software guys get their act straightened out then, you're left with either switching to a modem that you know from experience will work, retrograding your OS and/or browser to a previous version that will work, or using the instructions found at
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/870702
    to try and override the Windows autoconfig and do it yourself but to do that right, you'd need to know just what your laptop is hearing (and from whom) and that would be the subject of another long note.

    That's it... you can leave the $100 bill on the counter top on your way out thank you,
    Next victim.
     
  7. jenleib

    jenleib Addict Registered Member

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    Nao, I LOVE the way you express things, and the clarity of your answers. Wouldn't you be a teacher?

    $100 (pesos? :lol: ) is really cheap. I think you might have other clients soon. :wink:
     
  8. Naoautorizada

    Naoautorizada Addict Registered Member

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    Jen,

    Except for the rather drastic devaluation of my fee, you are too kind.

    Thank you for your kind words and don't hesitate to let me know when I can help.

    Best Regards & Wishes to You and Yours,

    nao
     
  9. Drewbert

    Drewbert Guest

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    Steve,

    I just logged into the HTTP interface on my Modem here and it says I'm connected at 2048kbps/384kbps

    So it looks like they've given everyone a free upgrade.

    Whether there's any actual speed increase, I doubt it :)
     
  10. Life_N_Cancun

    Life_N_Cancun Guest

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    Nope not everyone....my TelMex still says 512 ( It should be 1mb, and we have bi#ched multiple times and they keep making up excuses for why they havent given us the 1mb line that we are paying for. (and the kicker is, we cant just disconnect telmex, wait a week and sign back up, they flat out told us we would have to wait a YEAR before they would connect a new internet at the same address...in SM25) So hearing that you guys have been given a further increase just pisses me off more with TelMex! :evil:

    Futhermore, my Cablemas internet which used to be much faster than I paid for (I had the "basic" 128 internet forever, and would really get 2-3-4mbs download at night) suddenly was crippled last month forcing me to "upgrade" to the fastest service they offer "1.3mbs" for more money. & it TOPS at 1.3 on the dot. So I am just generally pissed off with the internet services around here as of late. If anyone can hook me up with an alternative I'd be interested!

    Now I need to go find some off duty TelMex or Cablemas employee to murder!!! So I can relieve some of the irritation. :D
     
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