diagnosing WiFi problems over the phone !

I like a challenge. It’s a bit of a character flaw but it’s just how I’m wired.

Setting up a wireless router when you have a PDF of the manual in front of you but the actual hardware is in another state – and of course at this point not set up so remote admin access is via phone using a human as an interface – is an interesting way to work. Luckily sometimes the remote interface is smart !

Cat very bravely decided she needed to cut the cord and put her iMac the other end of the building to the cable connection. WiFi is an excellent technology… I wonder how many fatal Cat5 related falls have been avoided since adoption became widespread….

At first everything seemed to be going swimmingly. The iMac could connect to the Linksys WRT54G via a wired or unwired connection… however moving it more than a few feet caused a very rapid drop-off in signal strength….

We tried all sorts of things… different placements of the iMac and the router, changing channel for the WiFi link, adjusting WiFi settings to try and improve the connection, turning off microwaves, cordless phones and tearing out hair…. all without any luck. The router even went back to the nice folks at HT for them to test – and all was fine.

Luckily there was a solution to hand. Sometimes thinking inside the box helps more than outside it…

In this case the problem was one of snugness of fit. When installing an Airport card inside an iMac you have to make sure that the card is firmly in place and, even more importantly, the antenna flylead is firmly pushed home.

Alls well that ends well. And if you’re planning on rummaging around inside an iMac here are some very handy documents.

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