Dell mini-pci - only sees 4 AP's vs 18

We have a couple of Dell C610 laptops with the Dell internal mini-pci 1300 b/g wifi cards.

The WAP is upstairs, and our son noticed that coverage downstairs was lower in the family room.

He tried it with my wife's laptop - a Fujitsu tablet with the Atheros AR5006esx internal wifi card and it worked much better...

Last night I grabbed the Fujitsu and installed NetStumbler, and setup both laptops next to each other running NS.

Amazingly, the Fujitsu with the internal Atheros card saw 18 APs !!! and the Dell only saw about 4 ? It was a mix of B and G, and channels 1,6,11 -

I sorted the NS list by signal strength and both laptops pretty much reported our own AP with the same numbers, but the Fujitsu clearly was seeing more of the wifi world.

SO....not sure if I should consider trying a different internal mini-pci wifi card for our Dell laptop or ???

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I would try installing "wifi hopper" on the dell to see how many AP's it can see. One of my laptops running XP has suffered a deterioration in Netstumbler performance with all the XP updates it has had and "wifi hopper" always reports more AP's.

If you have net2.0 installed you could also try "inssider" as this now works on XP.

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Any chance the "missing" AP's are using WPA2 and therefore can't be seen by the 1300 which is capable of only WPA?

Could be the card in the Fujitsu is newer and capable.

Purely a guess.

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I haven't looked deeply into WEP, WPA, and the variants, but I would guess that ANY wifi WAP would have to beacon in a universal format just to be seen, regardless of what encryption is used later for data exchange.

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Never had much luck with PCI wireless on my C610. Have tried several different cards with intermittant results. Especially when travelling and trying to connect to various networks. I finally went USB and installed a WN

121T adapter. Works great with my secure network at home as well as other connections on the road
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Ugh, good luck maintaining any sort of decent throughput. With that many networks there's bound to be slow downs.

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Bill Kearney

My bet is that the Atheros AR5006esx, being more modern, has a better signal than the card in the C610. Design of the internal antenna may also be a factor. The Latitude C-series all have the internal antenna terminate on either side of the lower half of the chassis. Newer models run the pair of antenna leads into the LCD screen. This is more of a pain in the ass to repair, but positions the antenna better to send and receive signals.

Some of the laptops I repair here pick up the signal from a router across the street. Others do not. Luckily, there are not a lot of routers around here to cause channel conflict and confusion.

I hope your router has a somewhat unique SSID, not something like "linksys". With NetStumbler in action, you can at least change the channel on your router to keep channel conflict down, if you have not already done so... Ben Myers

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