Ask the Wi-Fi Guru About FiOS and Slow Windows Wireless - Page 2

By Aaron Weiss

January 19, 2011

Why is Wi-Fi so slow on my Windows 7 PC?

Q:I have a problem with my wireless connection on my desktop PC. I have Windows 7 Ultimate installed and a 10/10Mbit connection. The problem is that the connection only works at about 20 percent of its capabilities (about 2Mbit). I had a Linksys internal WiFi card installed (with that connection worked at about 6Mbit) and I thought that was the problem since it didn't have Windows 7 support and I switched it with a Level 1 Wi-Fi USB adapter. Now the connection only works at 2Mbit. I tried the USB at a different computer with the same signal strength and it works perfectly at 10Mbit, so im guessing its software related or something. Anyway, it's very frustrating. Any help would be appreciated. -- Jure

A: The first that comes to mind here is whether we can be sure that your desktop PC has USB 2.0 ports? If it is very old, it may not, or it may have a mix of USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 ports. Plugging a USB Wi-Fi adapter into a USB 1.0 port would almost certainly result in reduced performance like you are experiencing.

It is also possible that for whatever reason, the USB port being used on your PC is not supply enough power to the Wi-Fi adapter. Does this PC have other USB ports you can try? Do you have a powered hub available that you can plug the Wi-Fi adapter into?

Another problem that sometimes crops up -- although more often with laptops rather than desktops -- involves power management settings. If your machine's power plan is misconfigured, it may be reducing power to the Wi-Fi adapter, causing slow performance. Microsoft has published a support page with more information about this problem.

Why is my Wi-Fi connection taking my browser to strange sites?

Q:For a few months, I've had a problem with my connection ... When I browse Web, I get redirected to some "google analytic" or "epoclick" or some business Web. All PCs and laptops in my house (using the same Wi-Fi) have the same problem. First I thought my problem is related to a malware or virus ... but when I use a different connection, my Internet is perfect. -- nerutosako

A: Reports of web browsers being redirected to "epoclick.com" when trying to surf the web are becoming increasingly common. Many users who experience this understandably assume that the problem is a virus, but further investigation yields that the same problem happens to every computer on the LAN, no matter whether they are running Windows, OS X, or even Linux. How is this possible?

Sadly, the culprit is a so-called "router hijack". Basically, malware has hacked your broadband router and changed the DNS settings away from your ISP to a hacked DNS server. The router hijack itself may have exploited a number of possible weaknesses depending on the model of router.

The good news is that recovering from a router hijack is relatively easy. If you are familiar with administering your router, you should be able to log into the administration page that controls your broadband settings. Most broadband accounts are configured to receive DNS addresses automatically, but if your router was hijacked, this setting may have been changed to specific IP addresses. You can and should change this setting back to automatic.

Alternatively, a simpler way to recover from the hijack is to reset your router to factory defaults. For most routers, there is a small reset button (often on the back) that you can depress with a pencil tip or pin and hold for 30 seconds, which should cause the lights to flash. The router will reset itself to its original state. You should then log into the router to setup any security and other settings you had configured previously.

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