#1 Edited by UnlimitedSheep (33 posts) -

Okay, first I should mention that I'm terrible when it comes to working with electronic gadgets, so I'm really sorry if my question comes off as a little bit silly. My problem is that it seems like my laptop is causing some sort of wireless interference with other things (laptops, PS3s, etc.) that are also connected to the internet in the same room. Does anyone know of anything that could cause this?

For more detail, I've noticed it happening for several months now. At first, my friend and I said that my laptop was causing him to lag in online games as a joke, but when it kept happening, we decided to test it, on both his laptop and when he's playing online on his PS3. He would start playing with my laptop off: no unusual lag. I'd turn my laptop on and almost instantly, every time, he would start to lag to the point where the game would be unplayable. Then I'd turn my laptop off, and the lag would completely vanish, and he'd be able to play fine. We also tested this with a friend's PS3, since his internet connection tends to be stronger than ours, but we had the same results; my laptop turns on, his PS3 starts to lag.

I should also mention that we considered it was just having too many devices connected to a single wireless network. So we tested it with my laptop connected to a completely different network than the other devices (we're on a college campus, so there are several available connections to use in any one location), but even with different connections, as soon as my laptop turns on, their devices lag.

Needless to say, it's incredibly frustrating, and it means I can rarely play games at the same time as my friend. Since we live together, this is extremely limiting.

Any ideas would be a ton of help!

#2 Edited by donfonzie (206 posts) -

Are you downloading something on your laptop? That would explain some of the bandwidth being used by your laptop when its on.

#3 Edited by UnlimitedSheep (33 posts) -

Nope, no downloads. The lag starts the instant my laptop connects to the internet, even before I've opened a browser or anything. I do have skype installed, but closing it doesn't seem to help. I don't think I have anything else that would connect to the internet automatically on startup. That's why this is so puzzling...I've asked around among my friends who are way more adept with technology than me, but everyone I've asked is stumped.

#4 Edited by donfonzie (206 posts) -

Check if you have any torrent software running in the background. If not, then with your browser and any software closed that would need an internet connection i.e. Skype, go into the windows task manager, click on the networking tab. It will show a graph with info on whether any bandwidth is being used by your laptop or not. I also believe you should run an antivirus and anti malware / spyware scan on your computer just to be safe.

#5 Posted by UnlimitedSheep (33 posts) -

Okay, I did what you suggested with the task manager, closed everything I could think of that might need to connect to the internet, and the graph showed absolutely no activity. I checked the other two as well (Local Area Connection and Bluetooth Network Connection) just to be safe, and those show no activity as well.

I've also scanned my laptop for viruses several times. I try to scan it about every two weeks because I'm a little paranoid, and I scanned it last night and came up with no viruses. I'm using Malwarbytes Anti-Malware, but just the free version. I don't know if there's some sort of virus that it might not be able to catch, but it's always been great in the past when my computer's been infected.

So...I guess the mystery continues?

#6 Edited by donfonzie (206 posts) -

Its pretty intriguing.

#7 Posted by Bigandtasty (3202 posts) -

@unlimitedsheep: I'm honestly not good with networking but I think it'd be worth it to check if it's somehow the hardware.

If you know anyone with a USB dongle for receiving wi-fi connections (something like this, for example) try putting it in your notebook and using that to connect (if you're using win7, go into Network and Sharing Center, click Change adapter settings, disable your built-in wireless and enable/configure the USB adapter).

#8 Posted by UnlimitedSheep (33 posts) -

Hm, I don't know anyone who has anything like that. I'm not sure if this would have a similar effect to test what you're suggesting, but we've also tested this with my laptop connected to the router via a wired connection, with wireless turned off, while my friend's laptop remains wireless. I should also mention that both PS3s are always connected to the internet via a cable as well. The results, again, were the same. Even when I go wired, the instant my laptop turns on and connects to the internet, the other devices nearby lag.

I haven't tested whether or not my laptop causes the lag when I totally disconnect from any internet connection though. Could the issue be unrelated to the state of my laptop's internet connection? Is there some sort of weird...mechanical thing in my laptop that's interfering with the ability of other devices to access internet connections?

Oh man...that just sounds crazy, doesn't it?

#9 Edited by believer258 (11642 posts) -

Have you tried it with his laptop off and yours on?

Have you tried connecting your laptop directly into the wall, or is there only one ethernet port?

How many devices use this wireless router?

I doubt it's hardware. Have you gone into MSCONFIG and made sure that nothing is starting up that you don't want to?

You said you have MalwareBytes. That's a fine program for virus scanning, but I also suggest trying Super AntiSpyware.

#10 Edited by UnlimitedSheep (33 posts) -

Okay, let me answer all of your questions in order:

---I have no issues (well, no unusual issues) with lag on my computer, even when his laptop is on at the same time. When we've got several devices all connected to the same network, I'll get some lag, but it's always worse for him than me. Same with the PS3; the lag on it is way worse than anything my laptop gets.

---Like I said, I've tried a wired connection, and the results are the same. We can't both have a wired connection though; each dorm room only has one outlet.

---As for how many devices, it depends on the network. If I'm using our school-provided internet, it's available to everyone in the building and everyone in range of the building, so I can't tell how many people are actually using it. If I'm using a private connection, it's generally limited to about 4-5 people with about 1-2 devices each, though they aren't all always connected.

---I'll try using the MSCONFIG to see if anything is starting up, but I don't think so since when I close everything that might require the internet, the connection graphs show 0 activity, just like what @donfonzie suggested above. So if something is starting up that I don't know about, they should show a bit of activity right? ...of course, I have no idea what I'm doing, so I'll give everything a try, heh.

---I'll see about trying a different anti-malware software.

I hope I answered everything well enough! Thank you all for your help so far, I'd really like to figure out what's going on. Since I'm a new user, I think I'm limited to 5 posts a day? So this is it from me until tomorrow, but please continue giving me advice! I'll be on here reading and trying everything you all suggest, even if I won't be able to reply right away!

Thanks again!

#11 Edited by Tennmuerti (8005 posts) -

If you have tried a wired connection with the same results, then it's not wireless interference. Something in your laptop is either quietly hogging all the bandwidth to the max, pushing out other connections and thus causing packed delays and loss, or that something is directly interfering with the network on a tcp/ip level. Either way it could be caused by a faulty legit program as much as by a virus or malware. But that's still speculation.

Other couple of things to do to narrow down the problem. Find out exactly what the problem itself is for other machines, for example run a continuous ping in command prompt to something reliable like google.com then observe what happens when you connect the laptop to the network, are the packets on the affected machine getting delayed, dropping completely, or not. Run something that can max out your download bandwidth and that can observe it, any download splitter would do or even a torrent of a file that you know is well seeded, anything as long as you know it's maxing out your entire allotted bandwidth, then again observe what happens when the laptop is connected, does it go down, by how much, or not at all?

Anyway it's all busywork, that might or might not bear fruit (same with trying a different anti virus software). Playing IT detective when you aren't good at computers in the first place is not something i recommend. The simplest (and often least time consuming) thing to do is just clean house. Depending on your laptops age, usage and your own pc savvy-ness it could well be a cesspool at this point, even without any viruses or malware. By clean house I mean format that bitch entirely and do a fresh OS install. (hope you kept the install/backup discs)

#12 Edited by UnlimitedSheep (33 posts) -

@tennmuerti Thanks for the input! To be honest, I only understood about half of the things you're talking about, so I had a friend read what you said. He understood exactly what you meant, so we'll probably give it a try in the next few days. I'll also try cleaning house!

You're probably right that I shouldn't be poking around when I have no clue what I'm doing, hahaha! I suppose I could always get it looked at professionally.