Question Laptop WiFi massive latency spikes when pinging router

bunceiboy

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Sep 3, 2014
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Trying to revive an older laptop (5 years or so) of mine for some light office work. Nothing too fancy just needs to run office suite and emails etc. Laptop only has 2.4ghz wifi onboard.

I'm able to connect it to the network, but randomly it will seemingly lose all internet for 10-20 seconds or longer at a time, especially when moving the device around. To try and diagnose further I tested pinging the router and its relatively stable at 2-3ms but will start timing out when the drop out occurs. I've tested it on Ubuntu to see if it was a driver issue and same issue, in fact it didn't show connections timing out, it showed them returning after 7-10 seconds.

Laptop is only a few metres away from the router with not much in between, and the network works well on all other devices, including on 2.4ghz devices much further away. I've had a look at the antenna cabling and card and all seems fine and theres been no damage or abuse of the device. I suppose I could look to replace the antennas and network card, but at that point given the age of the device I assume it might just be easier / more economical to upgrade.

Anyone have any ideas on a fix? Thanks!
 
You generally can't easily replace the antenna on a laptop. They are behind the screen on most and travel though the hinge area. It requires lots of disassembly. Most times the only problem with antenna is going to be is the wire gets damaged, normally in the hinge area.

Most times you will see very low signal levels if it has antenna problems.

Since you have been looking at it your laptop must be somewhat simple to access the wifi card. The are fairly inexpensive and if your current device only supports 2.4g a dual band card would be a fairly substantial upgrade. You can get 802.11ac cards for about $15 and 802.11n dual band cards for about $5 on places like ebay.
 

bunceiboy

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Sep 3, 2014
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You generally can't easily replace the antenna on a laptop. They are behind the screen on most and travel though the hinge area. It requires lots of disassembly. Most times the only problem with antenna is going to be is the wire gets damaged, normally in the hinge area.

Most times you will see very low signal levels if it has antenna problems.

Since you have been looking at it your laptop must be somewhat simple to access the wifi card. The are fairly inexpensive and if your current device only supports 2.4g a dual band card would be a fairly substantial upgrade. You can get 802.11ac cards for about $15 and 802.11n dual band cards for about $5 on places like ebay.
I had a look at replacing the card but as it only has a single antenna the options are quite limited. I currently have the RTL8723BE, which from looking online appears can be upgraded to the RTL8821CE. I'll see if I can find one online for a decent price and report back.
 
Not sure about the 8821 most the pictures I see show M.2 connections. Your laptop being rather old likely is using half pcie cards but the 8723 does come in m.2.

In any case just be sure the card looks physically the same.

I suspect you could run a card with 2 antenna connections with only 1. It should be smart enough to figure out that it is getting poor signal levels on the unused connection and use just 1x1 mimo.
 

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