WiFi Adapter Software Settings Explained

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If your packet error rate is high (over 10%), you are probably experiencing interference. A signal strength indicator may report the signal as "good" with interference. Signal quality may even acceptable, since interference may be intermittent. It is possible for interference to be so bad that you don't see high packet error rates because you don't even recognize incoming packets - this can be verified by comparing the number of packets sent by the AP to the number of packets received by wireless client.

  • 1(B) or 6(G) Mbps Provides the greatest range but the lowest throughput.
  • 11(B) or 54(G) Mbps Provides the greatest throughput but the lowest range.

RTS Threshold

RTS stands for "Request to Send". This parameter controls what size data packet the low level RF protocol issues to an RTS packet. Using a small value causes RTS packets to be sent more often, consuming more of the available bandwidth, therefore reducing the apparent throughput of the network packet. However, the more RTS packets that are sent, the quicker the system can recover from interference or collisions. Small values help the system recover from interference or collisions, which can occur in environments with obstructions or metallic surfaces that create complex multi-path signals.

Fragment Threshold

Defines the largest RF packet that the client adapter sends without splitting the packet into two or more smaller fragments. If a single fragment experiences interference during transmission, only that fragment must be resent. Fragmentation generally reduces throughput because the packet overhead for each fragment consumes a higher portion of the RF bandwidth.

If you experience a high packet error rate try to slightly increase your Fragmentation Threshold. Setting the Fragmentation Threshold too low may result in very poor performance. The Fragment Threshold value must be larger than the RTS Threshold value.

Preamble Mode

Default is Long. Long Preamble allows extra time for the Digital Decoder to process the packets. Many adapters only operate in Preamble Mode. This may only impact the initial connection. Always use a long preamble length to connect to an access point. Auto Tx Preamble allows automatic preamble detection. If supported, short preamble should be used. If not, use long preamble (Long Tx Preamble).

IBSS / Ad Hoc

Independent Basic Service Set, also known as an ad hoc network. This is a direct connection between one PC and another, with no AP (Access Point) involved.

Infrastructure Mode

This is a setup with an AP (Access Point) and one or more clients connected to the AP. From the client side this is what you select if you wish to connect to an AP. This is the most common wireless configuration.

Open System

No encryption is being used in the wireless connection. This means that no WEP or WAP is in use. An open system allows any unsecured wireless connection.


WEP Encryption - 64 and 128 bit. Easy to hack and impossible to secure. WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy. WEP is easily broken, and has been replaced by WPA on newer Wi-Fi products.