Why am I getting limited connectivity at my local open wifi hotspot?


Leo, sometimes when I attempt to connect to my local coffeehouse’s Wi-Fi, I can connect to a strong signal that has limited or no connectivity but others in the house are connected with no problem at the same time. The shop owner’s not willing to reset the router because it might take down his credit card machine or other patrons – all perfectly logical. Anyway, is there a setting in my laptop that might improve this situation? Rebooting does not help. Disabling wireless and restart does not help. I’m using Windows XP Pro, Service Pack 3 with all updates.

Wireless N internal, and external N via USB. Both have failed (I’m not trying to connect them at the same time.) As did wireless G on another of my laptops also fail even though several other patrons are connected okay under the same wireless. I seem to be the only one having this problem but the problem is intermittent. Sometimes I can connect okay. Why would some be able to connect while others not, all at the same time?

Unfortunately, there’s not a setting on your computer that’s in your control, that I’m aware of, that would fix this problem. I do have some ideas, but the bottom line is that you really have to try and try again until it works, since you are able to reach full connectivity some of the time.

I just don’t really have any magical answers that are just going to make this problem go away for you.

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Is there an ISP that I can use in two different places?

I’m a snowbird. We live in Des Moines, Iowa in the summer and in Arizona in the winter. I have CenturyLink. I have more trouble with it than it’s worth. I’d like to know of an internet service that I can take back and forth and it doesn’t cost too much. I currently pay about $20. They never get the order right; I lose them all the time and I’m getting tired of it.

Traditional ISPs are almost always location-centric. The company that connects through the telephone or cable connections that come into your home is the one that provides the internet.

Two different locations will almost always require two different traditional ISPs. Even if the ISP happens to be the same company in both locations, then you’re still typically looking at two separate accounts in those two locations: one for each.

There are few solutions.

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Why doesn’t my internet speed match what I’m paying for?


Through my ISP, I’ve contracted for 100 megabits per second of internet speed. The maximum speed that I can get, however, is about 30 megabits per second through WiFi. When I connect to the router via a LAN cable or I have the laptop right next to the router, I get 80 megabits per second, which is close enough for me. I’ve read that unless the WiFi signal is very strong, you never really get the advertised internet speed.

But my question is about the following: my ISP recommends one measure the speed using one specific link and their web page. And that speed is measured downloading a large file from a server that is some 100 km from where I live. I find that when I use one of the many speed-testing sites, I get about the same results if I specify the same server my ISP uses; when I choose servers which are much further away (like another continent), the speed sometimes slows to a crawl. So it would seem that there is a somewhat inverse relationship between the effective internet speed and distance. So my question is, what’s the point of getting ultra fast internet when it hardly ever gets anywhere near the speed promised by the ISP?

Let me start by saying that I’m jealous. I wish I could get 100 megabits per second here. It’s only recently that I’ve managed to get up to 10 to 15 megabits and to be honest, it’s been wonderful.

Second, there are several interesting issues here that I want to cover. Internet speed is one of those topics that I think confuses a lot people and it’s because there are actually many different issues that combine under that same heading.

So, let’s talk about your 100 megabits.

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Why Does My Internet Slow to a Crawl When My Desktop Is Turned On?

I have a very specific problem. I have a router which connects to both my desktop PC (which is wired) and several wireless devices: a tablet, a laptop, and so forth. Whenever I turn on the desktop, my laptops, and my tablets, the internet almost stops working. It takes three to four refreshes to open up a page ( which is irritating) and the internet, if it’s working at all, is very slow. Usually, when the laptop and the tablet are on, the internet runs fine. How do I fix this?

This sounds like your desktop computer is simply hogging all of your internet bandwidth.

There are several reasons why this could be happening.

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How can I share a single WiFi connection across multiple devices?

My wife and I travel with two iPhones and two laptops – both Macs. Many hotels have started to charge for internet service per device. Is there some sort of WiFi-to-WiFi hotspot device or some other way to be able to sign on to WiFi so that it looks like it’s all one device?

I’ve seen this in hotels and I really don’t like it at all.

In my opinion, hotels should provide internet to the room and not necessarily care how many devices you connect and for how long. Free WiFi is a wonderful perk. The hotel will recover the cost in your room rate or other charges, but in today’s connected society, it really annoys me when hotels start charging big fees for you to stay connected.

I don’t have a specific one-size-fits-all solution, but I do have a couple of things to try.

Read moreHow can I share a single WiFi connection across multiple devices?

Can I combine two internet connections to get a faster connection?

Can I merge two internet connections so that I have doubled bandwidth? I have a DSL connection as well as a separate EVDO connection. I want to know if it is possible to merge the internet connections so that the bandwidth speed would be added to each other, resulting in increased bandwidth.
Because this article was originally written a few years ago, the answer has actually changed from “mostly no” to “mostly yes, with a caveat”. There’s hardware now available – not even all that expensive – that will allow you to connect two internet connections to your local area network. But … there might be a catch. Depending on what it is you’re hoping to accomplish, you may be disappointed.

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What is “Limited Connectivity” and how do I fix it?


I have recently started receiving “limited connectivity” messages at our vacation condo. Looking on the web I’ve found a jillion ways to fix this problem and can’t believe all the advertising. I’ve found that cycling the repeater that is in our condo will usually clear this problem. What causes it and what do I do when cycling the repeater doesn’t work?

“Limited connectivity” happens when your computer can connect to the network … but it can’t.

I know, that wasn’t very helpful. But it’s actually accurate. Your computer was able to connect the network in one way, but was unable to complete the next step.

Read moreWhat is “Limited Connectivity” and how do I fix it?

Why Does My Network Connection Drop Every so Often?


Why does my network connection drop every so often?

There are many possible reasons so I’ll focus a common one: confused network auto-speed detection. Most contemporary network cards, hubs, and routers attempt to automatically determine the speed of each network connection. Sometimes they get it wrong.

Most home and office networks run at either 10 or 100 megabits per second (mbs). Just how the network devices tell the difference varies from one device to the next. Most will also monitor the speed continuously just in case it changes. That means that if the device is going to make a mistake it could happen at any time. And that can look like anything from really poor network performance to a previously working network connection suddenly dropping.

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