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T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

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ginahoy
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T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#1 Post by ginahoy » Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:06 pm

I've replaced my wife's T42P NIC twice, each time with PC-Link's 300Mbps N-class mini-pci card. I'm not sure if these cards go bad or if something else is at play but over time, network performance degrades to the point that it no longer maintains a reliable connection in her home office, which is on the other end of the house from the router. Oddly, XP's network connections popup usually shows good signal strength at that location. I haven't ruled out an intermittent interference source but I'd like to try an external network adapter, either USB or PCMCIA. Given the distance, I imagine it should have an external antenna. For reference, the router is N-class, dual band 450Mbps.

I would be grateful for any recommendations :D

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Re: T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#2 Post by dr_st » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:28 am

The usual recommendations is to try to narrow it down. Is the problem only with this one laptop, or other devices as well? Does the problem typically 'peak' during certain hours, or does it strictly depend on how long the laptop has been on? Of course, trying an external adapter, as you think of doing, is a good test, and rather easy.
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ginahoy
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Re: T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#3 Post by ginahoy » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:48 am

dr_st wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:28 am
...trying an external adapter, as you think of doing, is a good test, and rather easy.
Thanks for your reply. I'm pretty sure it's the adapter because the last two times I replaced, the problem went away for maybe a year or two. This time I thought I'd try something different, and with lack of N-class cards that will fit and are compatible, an external adapter seems like the best option at this point. The problem is, I have no clue which ones may or may not work with legacy hardware running XP. Thus my ask for recommendations.

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Re: T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#4 Post by Screamer » Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:09 am

I could recommend you several 802.11abgn or 802.11bgn MiniPCI cards that works with Windows XP:

[1] Atheros AR9220
[2] Atheros AR9223
[3] Atheros AR9227
[2] Atheros AR9160 (may be identified as an AR9001)
[3] Atheros AR5008X (may be identified as an AR5416)

The AR9160 and the AR5008X may be found with 3 antenna connectors, though I wouldn't recommend buying those variants, unless you have 3 antennas in your wife's T42p.

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Re: T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:43 am

T4x was notorious for Southbridge problems.
That's the big Intel chip under the wifi-card, that comes loose due to the stupid European idea of leadfree solder (RoHS).
It's very awkward to try and put pressure on that chip with the wifi-card installed, but try it anyway.
Wifi might work again.
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ginahoy
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Re: T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#6 Post by ginahoy » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:34 pm

Screamer wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:09 am
I could recommend you several 802.11abgn or 802.11bgn MiniPCI cards
I prefer to go with an external adapter this time, for two reasons: I can get newer technology and I can have an external antenna.

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:43 am
T4x was notorious for Southbridge problems.
That seems unlikely to be the culprit. As I said, wifi performance improves for a while after replacing the card. Also, we haven't had any other I/O issues with this particular laptop. In any case, thanks for pointing that out as I wasn't aware of the southbridge problem. If an external adapter doesn't resolve the wifi problem, I'll open the case and try pressing on the sb chip.

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Re: T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#7 Post by tom lightbody » Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:11 pm

> office...other end of the house

a supplementary idea, not very expensive, is to get
another router, put it in "bridge mode" in your wife's
office, and use that to amplify the signal.

my setup has 3 linksys wrt54g's taking the signal from one
to another (the house is l.o.n.g:-) Firmware is DD-WRT.
the way up and the way down are the same (heraclitus)

ginahoy
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Re: T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#8 Post by ginahoy » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:26 pm

tom lightbody wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:11 pm
a supplementary idea...another router... in "bridge mode" in your wife's office
That's plan B. We're building a new house which is two levels, more compact, so I'm hoping one router will suffice. Also, I plan to buy her a new laptop once we move in. So I want to minimize cost to fix current issue.

Since no one has offered any suggestions for an external adapter, I'll throw this one out. The question is, will it work on a T42P?

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Re: T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#9 Post by dr_st » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:17 am

tom lightbody wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:11 pm
a supplementary idea, not very expensive, is to get
another router, put it in "bridge mode" in your wife's
office, and use that to amplify the signal.
Unless the second router is connected to the first one via cable, this solution will amplify the local signal, but is likely to make the overall connection quality worse.
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Re: T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#10 Post by GomJabbar » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:30 am

You might consider a network extender. I use a Netgear AC1200 | EX6150 v2 network extender in my home. I see that it is not the top-rated network extender, but it works well for me. These do not require a wire, only an electrical outlet to plug into.

Here is some ratings of network extenders: https://www.toptenreviews.com/computers ... -boosters/
DKB

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Re: T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#11 Post by dr_st » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:10 am

GomJabbar wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:30 am
You might consider a network extender.
That's essentially the same thing as a router in bridge mode, isn't it?
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Re: T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#12 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:29 am

For what it's worth: I have an ASUS RT-AC68U router and a TP-Link RE450 extender and use them with great success, even in the garden (weather permitting).
Our house is a fairly big (~3,500 sqft.) ranch.

Alternative for T42: PCMCIA wifi card

Screamer
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Re: T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#13 Post by Screamer » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:42 pm

ginahoy wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:26 pm
Since no one has offered any suggestions for an external adapter, I'll throw this one out. The question is, will it work on a T42P?
It should, and it looks like it is using Realtek's RTL8811AU chip (XP-compatible). Just be aware that the stated 600MBit/s or 75MB/s theoretical maximum transfer rate, will be bottlenecked by USB 2.0's theoretical maximum transfer rate of 480MBit/s or 60MB/s. This wouldn't affect you that much though, considering that most devices never hit their theoretical maximum speed.

ginahoy
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Re: T42 wifi problems, can I use an external network adapter?

#14 Post by ginahoy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:37 am

Screamer wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:42 pm
It should, and it looks like it is using Realtek's RTL8811AU chip (XP-compatible). Just be aware that the stated 600MBit/s or 75MB/s theoretical maximum transfer rate, will be bottlenecked by USB 2.0's theoretical maximum transfer rate of 480MBit/s or 60MB/s. This wouldn't affect you that much though, considering that most devices never hit their theoretical maximum speed.
Thank you so much for the feedback. Exactly what I was hoping. I'm aware of USB limitation, but as you said, that shouldn't be an issue for web browsing. My internet service is only 1/10th of that (6Mbs). I'll report back the results 8)

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