Friday, October 05, 2007

It's all a bit slow and annoying

No, I'm not talking about the transit system, Canada Post or even me. I'm talking about the wretched wireless internetworky thing in Chateau Ricardipus, which is giving me grief. And impairing my blogging.

clockwork mechanism 1
Figure 1. Wireless router (detail).

Usually blasting along at a laser-fast* 54 Mbits/second (say what?) and using some arcane security protocol called WPA, the thing has decided over the last few days to tick over at rates down to 1 Mbit/second (still don't know, but it seems slower, doesn't it?). My lovely laptop now seems to notify me about once every two minutes that the wireless is connected, which I interpret as meaning it's probably falling off and on with some regularity. Of course, these problems are never consistently repeated on the even lovelier Mrs. Ricardipus' laptop (which is newer and spiffier, if running Windows Vista which is indeed the work of the devil).

The old chugger of a desktop downstairs is perfectly happy, being tacked into said wireless router with an honest-to-goodness "cable". And plugging this laptop beastie into said "cable" seems to work fine as well.


1) the wireless router is intermittently knackered (seems likely); or

2) the wireless card in this laptop is crap (also seems likely); or

3) the internet coming into the house via the devil's minions known as Rogers Cable is crud (more than likely to be sure, but I think not the root of today's evil); or

4) some spyware has hijacked one or more of our computers (unlikely, since I manically scan for the stuff more frequently than is probably necessary, and this computer has all kinds of pre-loaded junk that looks for it too).

Of course, the router manual is completely arcane, and for various reasons I have to log off and back on as an Administrator in order to get a look at all the configuration and setup of the wireless card in the laptop. Don't ask, I'm not telling. But it is terribly, terribly inconvenient and I rather doubt I would know what to look for anyway.

Nevertheless, it's resulted in a passable imitation of a rant for today's blog post, but has been really, really frustrating. Somehow, I managed to get the grant application I've been working on done on time (uploading the final file exactly six minutes before today's deadline), but looking up background information in the evenings at slow-to-no-speed-at-all has been a bit trying.

Just another chapter, you know, in my own little private War With Technology™.



In other news, the lovely Mrs. Ricardipus knocked my socks off by not only identifying a Maserati Quattroporte as she dueled its Ferrari-sourced 4.2-litre V8 with our Mazda-rrific 105 horse powerplant on her way to university one day, but actually bothering (and remembering) to tell me about it. She even liked the look of the car. There's hope for her yet.

She wasn't nearly as excited as I was to see a (admittedly ugly in that colour) silver-gray Ferrari 550 (or 575M? I can't tell the difference without getting a good look at the headlights) Maranello steaming by us on Saturday. Ah well, little steps, little steps.


Mosher said...

I'd say it's more likely the wireless card in your machine or something with the machine itself - or perhaps something completely unrelated like some furniture you'vemoved that's now blocking the signal randomly? Sounds daft, but...

The fact that the other wireless laptop is working fine says it's not the router. Have you tried sitting right next to the router with your laptop? That'll rule out interference and pinpoint it as hardware/Windows on the laptop.

Ricardipus said...

Ah - thanks. I'll go try that...

I also thought maybe the cordless phone was messing things up, but it's an old (<900 MHz) version and it's been here all along... it's a bit flaky these days too though.

Or maybe someone's poaching my bandwidth...

The Wrath of Dawn said...

You need a trampoline next door. No worries re reception then.

uomugcmm - the sound of all the trampoline springs letting go at once.

Ricardipus said...

Mosher wins the "most useful comment in recent memory" award.

Dawn, however... hm...

*goes and sets up trampoline next door, just in case

Rik said...

I suspect the aerial in the laptop. The recent spate of crap laptops being manufactured, and I have seen more then my fair share of wireless faults on them. Buy a wireless pcmcia adapter and see if it gets better.

WV: kctix - a make of wireless lan card

Ricardipus said...

Rik - thanks. I've always suspected the onboard wireless in this thing (Sony Vaio VGN-FJ290P, whatever that means) is a bit flaky. The laptop's about a year and a half old now.

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