Signal strength?

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nitrotrike
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Signal strength?

Post by nitrotrike »

Just installed an external RP-SMA connector on an old Toshiba P25-S477 notebook, using the original Toshiba wifi (wireless b) card. I connected the new pigtail to the "main" connector on the card. Now, when I run vistumbler, it tells me I am at 0 - 2% signal, yet the taskbar shows full bars.

I am running Windows 7

Running Metageek inSSIDer, it also shows no or low signal.

Should I have connected it to the "aux" connector instead?

Is there a way to "calibrate" the signal strength on Vistumbler or something, or is the card not fully supported?

Any idea what card DOES work correctly with Vistumbler and a single pigtail connector?
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ACalcutt
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Re: Signal strength?

Post by ACalcutt »

It sounds to me like there is something wrong with your pigtail. like a bad connection to the wireless card, or a break in the wire.

Vistumbler and InSSIDer get information in different ways. Vistumbler uses netsh, InSSIDer uses the native API. Both rely on information from windows, but it seems everything is working properly except for the signal strength. There should be no need to calibrate anything.

What kind of antenna are you connection to this?
nitrotrike
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Re: Signal strength?

Post by nitrotrike »

I tried several antennas. One is a $10 car magnet mount from ebay with the 5' wire, one is a 4" rubber ducky from a dlink pci card, and the other is about the size of a linksys 54g router antenna with the pivot, but has the RP-SMA connector on it - unsure what it's from.

Like I said, the windows signal bar is working fine.

I'm just wondering if I should be unplugging the second internal antenna from the card and just keep the pigtail on the "main" stub?

I also forgot to mention that I am right in the same room, and about 6' away from the router when it reads 0-2% - but yet it detects and stays connected a 1/2 acre away and is still fast.

Just seems odd that both programs read low...

I was reading that netstumbler doesn't work with Vista, but being a test pig, I installed it on Windows 7 - it works fine, but also registers low on power, but not nearly as low (65 - 72% in the same room as the router)

I do have a second pigtail, I might just pop it on and see what it does without running it through the machine. Maybe it's getting interference or something..

**UPDATE**, just tried the second brand new pigtail, just leaving it hanging out of the machine - same thing. I get "8% (-91dB)" under signal :scratches head:

Perhaps the card is just old (the laptop is probably from 2005 at the latest)?
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Re: Signal strength?

Post by ACalcutt »

Are you sure netstumbler wasn't reporting negative values? Netstumbler reports in dB(in negative values). -72dB isn't a very good signal.

I'm not sure why vistumbler reports differently than windows (since it uses windows to get the information)

Have you tried hooking to AUX instead of MAIN yet. I would think you would want main....but its always worth a shot
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Re: Signal strength?

Post by mysticvirgo67 »

Try attaching to the 'main' connector on your card... gently check that the connector is firmly attached. If that does not work, then reattatch your original leads and try again..

A good signal is any signal lower than a -60 dB. dB is a ration between signal and noise. The weaker the signal or the stronger the noise , the larger the dB value. If the wifi radio can not make out a sginal becasue of noise, then it will say -100dB. a really good signal is between -30dB to -50dB.

Ummm.. you might also want to dig through the postings in the Troubleshooting Forums at http://www.wirelessforums.org/ You should be able to get better advice on this issure there.
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Re: Signal strength?

Post by ACalcutt »

@mysticvirgo67

I believe you mean a good signal is any signal HIGHER than -60dB (since we are in the negatives, -30 and -50 are higher than -60).
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Re: Signal strength?

Post by mysticvirgo67 »

But of course , Andrew, but not everyone has immediate grasp of smaller negative numbers actually having larger value. Took my wife a little extra tutoring to grasp it for her college algebra LOL.
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nitrotrike
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Re: Signal strength?

Post by nitrotrike »

Mystery solved!

I ordered a single antenna card, with a Broadcom 4306 chip (had to have G) for $6 on yes, ebay for the Toshiba.

NOW, Vistumbler and inSIDDer both show 90-93% throughout the house with a 6" rubber ducky. It's raining right now, or I would go for a walk =]

Netstumbler won't work at all (says something about parameters being incorrect).

I'm guessing the old card (toshiba model K00006600 with an Agere chip) wasn't quite compatible with these two programs, yet Netstumbler is. If someone wants to try it on something with a miniPci slot, they can have it lol

BTW - if anyone with an older Toshiba can't get any card to work other than the one that came installed (i couldn't and was about to complain to the seller until I found this), here's how, the only downfall if the wifi switch on the side of the laptop will no longer function and the LED doesn't light - whoopie. Small price to pay for the card actually working. Scroll down to post #10 for instructions:

http://www.notebookforums.com/thread110010.html
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