Using Wireless: Tips and Tricks
Getting a Better Signal
Users who already have their computing devices configured correctly and have been using AirPennNet may still occasionally encounter problems. AirPennNet operates using radio waves, which can sometimes be blocked by building infrastructure or the use of other electronic equipment. To get a better signal, try these tips first.
Reposition your wireless device
- Physically rotate your device to face different directions.
- Try moving your device to another part of the room.
Stay away from items that can impede or interfere with wireless signals
- Microwave ovens, when they are in use
- Cordless phones and other wireless electronic equipment
- Large metal objects (refrigerators, mirrors, AC/heating units, etc.)
- Unauthorized personal wireless access points
Keep in mind that interference, like the wireless signal itself, can come from other rooms, floors, or buildings nearby.
If the tips above don't work, try these troubleshooting suggestions.
- Confirm that dedicated AirPennNet service is available at your location.
Check the Coverage section of this website for details.
- Make sure your wireless is enabled (turned on).
- Make sure your computer is properly configured for wireless access.
- If you are using AirPennNet-Guest, considering using AirPennNet-Help to configure your device for AirPennNet. The AirPennNet service has considerably more security and bandwidth available to it's users.
- Make sure your operating system and wireless driver are up to date.
- If you have access to another wireless device, test to see whether it works in this area.
If the second device works, the problem may be with your device. Contact your support provider for assistance.
- Move to another location and try again.
- Disable (turn off) your wireless for at least ten seconds, and then re-enable it.
- Release, and then renew, the IP address.
Common Wireless Problems and some of their Sources
Wireless signal drops off
There will be times when users can expect some kind of interference and signal drop off for wireless service. This is because the radio band that AirPennNet uses is unlicensed (by the FCC), thus other devices can operate and share communications on the same radio frequency. Examples of such devices are cordless phones, microwaves, and devices utilizing Bluetooth. Non-AirPennNet wireless Access Points (APs) will interfere with AirPennNet service as well.Things you can do to try to alleviate this problem:
- Change the direction in which your wireless device is facing.
- Move a couple of feet in another direction.
- If you or your roommate(s) have a cordless phone or other device that may interfere with your wireless connection, experiment with moving that device to another location in your room.
- If you or your neighbor are using a privately owned wireless AP, it should be powered off.
(University wireless policy prohibits the use of private Access Points in areas where AirPennNet is in operation.)
AirPennNet Tips: Reporting a Problem
If you continue to have trouble accessing wireless after using the troubleshooting techniques in the tips section, please report the problem to your support provider. Provide as much information as possible. Simply sharing the time of day you had trouble accessing the service along with the specifics of your location and the type of wireless device you are using will allow the support staff to look at service logs that may have recorded information regarding your connectivity trouble. By sending as much detail as possible, you are helping improve this service so your access will be more readily available the next time you want to use it. The following information is particularly helpful.
- Specific date, time, and location of your issue
(for example, "Monday, January 19th at 8:24pm, SW portion of Bodek Lounge in Houston Hall, next to corner pillar.")
- A description of what steps you took to verify the problem
(including whether this device has used AirPennNet successfully in the past)
- Your device's operating system, including version number
("Windows 7, Service Pack 1," "Mac OS 10.8.3,", etc.)
- The wireless IP address assigned to your device, if known
- Your device's wireless MAC address, if known
- Your PennKey and your contact information (email, phone)
Additional InformationSupport providers will also appreciate answers to these questions:
- Does your device work in other locations? If so, where?
- Do other devices work in the area in which yours has problems?