I experienced some wifi issues last time on my Dell Studio XPS 16 (and my wife’s one), using both Intel Wifi Link 5300 AGN and Intel Centrino 6200-N.
I googled around and I was really sure the problem was coming from the 6200-N card, which was known on some posts to be very “roaming” sensitive, that said, subject to frequent disconnections. Some people resolved their issues by downgrading the wireless adapter driver from 13.2.1.x (the latest revision as today).
Intel also suggest in this troubleshooting page to disable power saving on the adapter, and to double check some device parameters, like the “roaming aggressivity” (set to medium).
The funniest thing about this is that I started having the same kind of troubles, which I never had before, on my own laptop, shipped several months ago with the 5300 AGN.
So I think I resolved my issues and here is how.
First, for the 6200-N card, I worked around the problem by applying intel’s recommendations, disabling the power saving and upgrading to the latest driver. Guess what, it worked. So I think the latest drivers from Intel must fix any roaming issue there was before and that we can safely use it now.
My problems were (I think):
- My Netgear Router was overheating
- My Bluetooth adapter was permanently enabled
For the first point, I was suspecting my wifi access point to be kinda like “breathing”, giving from bad to strong signal regularly and causing disconnections for sensitive devices like the 6200N.
Today, it looked like it was totally disconnecting every 10 seconds, causing troubles on my 5300 AGN. To check it, I installed the pretty cool android application “Wifi Analyzer“.
Using this app, I could really test the wifi signal in my living room like in the screenshot, and I was able to see that a signal lost was really dropping by every ten seconds. So, first solution: a fan :) Until I can get a better place than under the roof to install my router :) (By the way, Wifi Analyzer also helped me finding out a better wifi channel for my access point).
This didn’t totally solved my problem though, and I had to disable my bluetooth adapter as well (I don’t remember why it was switched on permanently). I think this had a bad influence on my wifi adapter as well, either because of interferences, or just because of overheat.
I hope this can help anyone having sudden wifi troubles, particularly with the Dell Studio XPS 16 laptop. At least, I wrote this entire blog entry without having a single network disconnection :)
Oh, and by the way, to take screen shots on my android, I followed this post.