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Dodgy Wifi-- halp!

owijadowijad Registered User regular
edited April 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So the wireless in my building is perplexingly inconsistent, and I was wondering if the eminent H/A brain might know a thing or two about boosting my macbook's connection speed and/or reliability.

Usually, my internet is a little too slow to stream video, and sometimes my connection to the router drops entirely. When my connection drops, it takes between four seconds and fifteen minutes to come back. It's considerably more reliable but not noticeably faster from the dining room, which is about twenty feet and a wall away from my room. Pinging Google, I generally get a stream of 50 ms response times, and then a 1.5k spike followed by a few 500 ms responses and then back to 50 for another 30 seconds or so. Torrenting, I usually get around 15kb/s, sometimes going up to 30 or down to 5.
Sometimes, though, I can stream video perfectly well (catch up on my daily show!), and web pages load and everything is magical. Yesterday, I was downloading at 300kb/s for about an hour, out of the blue.

There are a LOT of wireless networks in the area (15 or 20 that I can see), and a lot of microwaves and phones and the like, it being an apartment building. I suspect these may have to do with some of the loss of connection.

But that performance swings this widely, it makes me wonder if there might be something I can do to make it a little more reliable. Things that make it unlikely that there is something I can do: I have nearly no budget for performance enhancing gadgetry, and essentially no access to the router— maybe I could hassle the landlord into doing something with it if there were an obvious and free fix, but it's not likely.

What do you think? Can I install a utility that makes everything wonderful? Can I build an antenna out of scrapped car parts and fresh produce that simulates the effect of being huddled right next to the router? Would prayer help?

I would superduper appreciate any advice, even if it comes in the form of thinly veiled insults. Any ideas?

(Ugh, posting this was an absolute chore, lost my connection and had to log back in twice.)
(Okay make that three. I think it's afraid...)

owijad on
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