Recently I had been experiencing some issues with my Belkin N1 wireless router, with frequent but random disconnections, especially while using my MacBook Pro and my iPad at the same time.
I really couldn’t figure out why it was happening and whether there was a logic or not behind the problem. The only thing that seemed to be solving it, at least for some time, was a reboot of the router. I had started to think the router was faulty and needed to be replaced, but wait… no so fast!
Monitoring the networks in the area I realized that there were many of them, probably too many. I started thinking of some sort of interference causing the router to disconnect, but this couldn’t fully explain why rebooting it would make the problem disappear, at least for some time.
Then, while looking into the router configuration, I noted that the Wireless channel selection was set to Auto. While this seems to be the best option at first sight, it turned out that this was the cause of the disconnection issues.
Here is why: when set to Auto, the router will automatically, but suddenly, change channel if it detects too much noise on the current one that is being used. The noise can come from anywhere around, but very likely from other wireless networks in the area utilizing the very same channel.
The switch to the new channel will in fact disconnect all the wireless connections and is up to the connected devices to reconnect on the new channel. Usually this happens automatically and seamlessly, but somehow my MacBook Pro didn’t like it and would fail to reconnect. The router would then remain in a kind of transition state.
Rebooting the router would solve the problem because a fresh new connection was re-established with all devices… until the next channel switch. The iPad seems to be more resilient to the channel switch though.
The solution was to set the router to use a fixed wireless channel. After some tests, the best for me seemed to be channel 13 (Europe). No more wild disconnections since then!
After I solved the problem myself, I found that Belkin’s technical support site lists this as a possible issue for another one of their routers. Here is the link:
Hope this helps!