Question of Using 2 Wireless Adapters

Here is a novice question. My Gateway laptop, model MT6451 from 2007, has a Broadcom 802.11g Network Adapter, driver version, dated

10-24-2006, on a broadband (Comcast) connection. I'm now using a Netgear WNDA3100 dual band USB adapter and sitting close to the router (Netgear N600) I get readings of 270.0 Mbps on the Netgear, and 54.0 Mbps on the Broadcom. For best performance should I leave both radios active or should I disable the Broadcom,or doesn't it matter? I don't know how Firefox or Internet Explorer gets fed web pages and streaming video to know if keeping the Broadcom active influences the laptop to use the slower adapter rather than using the faster Netgear. Of course the Netgear adapter is a dual band, G and N speeds. Will the laptop always choose the N speed even when both G and N speeds are available? With 3 avenues available, with the Broadcom adapter active, does the laptop just pick whichever it wants? And how does it do that?

I got the Netgear so that I could stream Netflix wirelessly but even at

270.0 Mbps the streaming is so choppy as to be unwatchable. I guess the graphics card (ATI Radeon Xpress 1150) and the CPU (AMD Turion(tm) 64 X2 TL-50 chip, 1596MHz) is a bit too slow to keep up regardless of how fast my Internet connection is, eh?


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Disable the one that you're not using, and set the router to use a channel that isn't already heavily used in your immediate area in an attempt to minimize interference. If you suspect interference, switch to a different channel and test again. Channels 1, 6, and 11 can be used since they don't overlap with each other.

Seems like a quick and easy test, before purchasing the second wireless adapter, would have been to connect the laptop to the router with an Ethernet cable and disabling the laptop's wireless connection. If the streaming is still choppy, it has nothing to do with your wireless connection and the upgrade was mostly a waste.

Reply to
Char Jackson

Then ask a novice.

One radio at a time. Since they're both connected to the same wireless router (Netgear N600), they'll both be on the same channel (if they both connect on 2.4GHz), and therefore interfering with each other.

I don't know what algorithm is used. Obviously, if the client adapter (i.e. Broadcom) can only do 2.4GHz, the router will use 2.4GHz. I vaguely recall that you can specify which band to use on the WNDA3100, but I'm not sure.

That's a setting in the N600 router. The router and client will try to negotiate the highest connection speed possible. If there's no traffic being passed, the speed will usually show as something very high, such as the 270MBits/sec that you're seeing. Once the traffic starts moving, and the errors start to appear, the router will try to slow things down. If the error rate is sufficiently high, it will drop to G speeds.

Well, if you must know, it's set by the route metric. Run: route print and look at the metric column.

Note that the automatic metric is set by connection speed.

There's no way to tell from that if the congestion is on your Comcast connection, somewhere on the internet, in your router, wiring, wireless client, TCP/IP configuration, or computah. The easiest way to troubleshoot this is by substitution. Try your laptop via the wired ethernet connection. Try dragging you laptop to some other internet connection and see how it performs.

Maybe. If you're trying to stream uncompressed HDTV at full 1080i resolution, your Comcast connection won't deliver the necessary speed. Netflix automatically adjusts the resolution depending on the available download speed. It usually shows up as a blurry picture, not a choppy picture or lost frames.

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Jeff Liebermann

I run Netflix on an Intel Atom D525 with Nvidia Ion2. It works fine most of the time. My DSL is the culprit. When it has hiccups, it runs a long time (say an hour) then has issues. I think network congestion pops up. Probably all those jerks running Netflix!

Netflix, presuming they have good network sniffing capability, probably knows more about router quality than anyone. They know what you have and they know what works. Too bad they don't leak the info.

I am getting more frustrated with my router on a daily basis. It seems there is something screwy in the firmware related to wifi. As I get more wireless devices, it is a bigger stress to the system. There was never an issue with it for wired ports. If the problem was strictly in the wifi, it wouldn't be so bad, but what happens is when I do a long wifi download, say OTA to my tablet, the whole router locks up. Wired and wireless.

If I knew for sure I could get a better router, I would. If you recall my bitching about this router, it is a linksys model where there was a GPL violation. They got sued, and basically threw their hands up in the air when it came to fixing the firmware. [We don't touch that stinkin' code!]

There should be plenty of bandwidth at 54mbps since even the best Netflix feeds are (and don't quote me) 3mbps. [I recall hearing that, but don't have it in writing.]

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Naturally, and the worst part is that the amount of stress doesn't increase linearly with the number of wireless devices fighting for access. It's more like an exponential increase, the proverbial hockey stick.

You might consider adding an access point, configured to operate on a non-overlapping channel, to relieve some of the stress on your current single channel.

I don't remember which router that is, but consider that most routers don't have the problem you described so there should be plenty of upgrade choices available.

Assuming 802.11g, there's never 54 Mbps of bandwidth available, even if that's listed as your "connection speed". Best case, there's probably a little less than half that. Add multiple wireless devices fighting for access and the available bandwidth can easily drop to the low single digits.

Reply to
Char Jackson

Oh there are plenty of choices, but there is no test data to prove who has a good router. I think the best solution is to get a model that supports hacker firmware, Tomato or similar. At least you have an out.

A friend just got a new Linksys and he had to do a boot after two days.

It would take serious work to test routers, and I'm sure some corporate IT types have flogged gear and know what is good and what isn't, but can't publish the data out of fear of a lawsuit.

I suspect I can do worse. At least this router doesn't get tangled with bit torrent.

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