Throughput slowdown with WPA security?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Stephen Orr, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 1999
    Messages:
    1,099
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm still kind of new to the whole wireless thing. I set up a wireless router in our house so we could use my son's old dell laptop anywhere in the house. I set it up with WPA security, and have a pretty strong signal all over.

    I spent this evening installing a wireless desktop card into our minister's computer to take advantage of the wireless router that is used in the administration offices. I set that router up for WPA, but the signal screeched into low, even though the minister's computer is barely 15 feet from the router. Without the security activiated, the signal is very strong.

    What's going on? It's making me nervous about installing wireless cards in my personal desktops so I can move one downstairs to use as a media center.
     
  2. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 1999
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Enabling or disabling WPA security should have absolutely nothing to do with the strength of the radio signal. (Other than to note that if there are security problems, WPA on the access point and/or the laptop should disassociate you from the WLAN.)

    It is possible that enabling WPA might slow down the data throughput of an access point, especially on one that is cheap, one that is old, or (less likely) one that's using one of the AES encryption ciphers as opposed to TKIP. As I recall, the original point of WPA was to provide a solution for existing hardware (much of which could not support AES) until 802.11i (WPA-2?) and AES-ready equipment was ready. So TKIP was mandatory and AES was a (theoretical) option.
     
  3. Thomas Newton

    Thomas Newton Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 1999
    Messages:
    1,567
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    If there are multiple access points in the area, is it possible that the minister's computer is getting bounced off the one you're using ("can't authenticate"), and is then seeing some other access point (possibly in another building)?

    Have you checked to make sure that the SSID (the network name) is NOT whatever the vendor supplies as a default?
     
  4. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 1999
    Messages:
    1,099
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The SSID is definitely the church's network. We are also in an area where there are only one a couple of other residential wireless nets. The router, a Belkin, is pretty new, less than 6 months old, and in the room above the minister's office, we have a booster installed to send the signal across the parking lot to the A/V room of the church building.

    Like I said, if I disable security, the signal strength is 5x5, very strong. When I enable security, it drops to low....
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 1998
    Messages:
    12,722
    Likes Received:
    1,328
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Michigan
    Check to make sure you are running the latest firmware on the wireless router and the latest drivers on your wireless adapter. It sounds more like a bug in the implementation of WPA on one of those devices, since WPA itself should not affect signal strength, as Thomas stated above.
     
  6. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 1999
    Messages:
    1,099
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The church offices are moving shortly, so I took the opportunity to purchase an upgraded router, and install wireless cards on the other two church computers. Once everything was configured, all the cards began receiving their signals at full strength.

    Thanks for the assist! Now to install wireless cards on my own A/V desktops!
     

Share This Page