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My wireless connection seems to be very inconsistent, what is wrong?

Question: Unfortunately, wireless signals are far from fool-proof. There are a number of things that can cause the loss of a wireless connection. The most common issues are signal degradation and interference. Signal degradation takes place when solid objects come between the transmitting antenna and the receiver. Too many walls, floors, or too much distance will cause a weak signal which can in turn result in the loss of a connection. The other main problem with wireless is interference from other electronic devices. Wireless network connections are most commonly carried over the 2.4 GHz frequency. Many other technologies use this same band: microwave ovens, wireless phones, Bluetooth, wireless mouse or keyboards and other devices. Other nearby wireless networks can also cause interference. If you notice that you are getting dropped on a regular basis, look to see if you have any devices nearby that can cause such interference. Another thing to try is to change the channel that your wireless network uses. There are three wireless channels that will not cause interference with each other. They are 1, 6 and 11. If you are having problems using one of these channels, switching to another may alleviate them.

Answer: These are signs of an unstable system. Shut downs can be attributed to either hardware or software. Unresponsive programs indicate either corrupted data or an unstable operating environment. Unfortunately, problems of this nature can be very difficult to diagnose. In worst case scenarios, hardware may need replacing or the operating system reinstalled. Spy-ware or a virus might also be the culprit. A certain program may be corrupt and need to be reinstalled. In any case, it is highly recommended to backup any data that you value. Problems such as this usually require a hardware diagnosis to make sure that the hard drive and the memory aren’t having problems. There are many software utilities that can assess whether or not there is a hardware failure. After any hardware problems are either confirmed or eliminated, troubleshooting the software comes next. However, troubleshooting software can often be more time consuming and costly than simply formatting the hard drive and starting fresh. If that isn’t an option though, virus and spy-ware sweeps should be done, removal of suspect programs, and possibly using a system restore. Trouble of this nature with computers can be frustrating and difficult to nail down, so seeking professional help may be the best option.

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