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Anonymous asked in Computers & InternetComputer Networking · 1 decade ago

Sunspot activity and 802.11?

Last week, I experienced really bad connectivity to 802.11g wireless networks. It appears to be good this week. I found no justification that I could detect. Nothing on the same channel, no phones, nada.

The ISP's involved were Charter Communications(cable), Verizon (dsl), and AT&T (dsl).

The routers were belkin and linksys. NIC's were linksys.

This was in diverse areas of Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, USA.

The connection would flucuate between poor and excellent in a matter of seconds - constantly in flux. The speed would bounce between 6 and 54, also constantly in flux. At times it would stabilize for a few minutes - then bonkers again.

I have heard we were experiencing sun spot activity, but would it affect 802.11?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Great details and description of the problem, the answer is yes, sunspots can affect 802.11, and for your specific problem, the best answer is "maybe"...

    You mentioned "nothing on the same channel" but is there something on an adjacent channel? I imagine you're using a tool like NetStumbler to detect any other WLANs in your area, as well as look at your signal levels. If you're on channel 6 and someone else is on channel 5 or 7 for example, you're both going to suffer badly when there's a lot of activity on either network due to cochannel interference. Because only channels 1, 6 and 11 are non-overlapping. It would actually be better to have two WLANs on the SAME channel than to have them only 1 channel apart.

    As for sunspots, when the sunspot cycle is at peak, the earth gets bombarded with lots of radiation. This activity is known to cause disruptions in various kinds of RF equipment including 802.11, cell phones and 2-way radios. The sunspot cycle is not peaking right now, but that doesn't mean it's impossible for it to cause interference with RF systems. Our sun goes through an 11 year cycle of sunspot activity, and if you look back over the past half-century, we are currently at minimum levels in 2006-2007. It will peak again in 2010-2011. Check the links below for references on this.

    Also, one other thought, we are not currently in a spring or fall equinox, so it wouldn't be a seasonal "solar outage" that's affecting you. This typically happens with satellite gear, because most satellites are in geostationary orbit (always above the same spot on earth) in the plane of the equator. Each spring and fall when the sun is at the right angle (both pointing towards the earth station) the radiation from the sun drowns out the satellite signal. It's as if someone it pointing a flashlight directly at you, but right behind them is the sun... all you're going to see is the light from the sun.

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  • JohnS
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I haven't personally seen it on wireless but I did see it on my dish over the summer months and during periods of high sun activity...

    Since the sun is releasing so much energy in numerous forms, I am sure it could intefere with the wireless spectrum....

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  • 1 decade ago

    Absolutely, sun spots/flares are huge causes for radio interference. The spots and flares interference hit in the entire radio spectrum including microwave.

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