Skip to main content

How To: When Wireless LANs Collide!

Introduction

Wireless networks are wonderful things - when they work! But an increasing number of consumers are finding that even if they manage to get their WLAN (wireless LAN) working, keeping it up and running reliably with good performance is often a frustrating and unsuccessful struggle. Though flaky equipment and improper setup can sometimes be the cause, all too often the growing popularity of WLAN equipment is itself the cause of wireless woes.

In this ProblemSolver, I'll explain the causes of problems in closely-spaced wireless LANs (and dispel some myths). I'll then give you fixes for common problems, and even tell you what not to waste your time trying.

So, how do you know that you have a problem from neighboring WLANs and not just something wrong with your own equipment? Take this little test:

If any of these sound familiar, then you probably should read on. If, on the other hand, you live out in the boonies where your cell phone doesn't even work and you have to drive over to see your neighbor, then this article probably isn't going to be much help!

NOTE: Please read references to access points (AP) or wireless routers as applicable to both kinds of products unless otherwise noted.