For as long as anyone can remember there have been connection problems with all wifi routers, whether running the original firmware, Tomato, or any other 3rd party alternatives.
I run several very large apartment blocks with a combined no. of residents with internet access in the region of 3000. The turnover rate is quite high, so I've had probably had at least 10,000 users on these systems over the last few years. I've seen a great many people who complain about connectivity problems, even when an AP is right outside their room. I've had hundreds of USB sticks and PC's to look at while attempting to rectify the problem, and these are my observations:
The biggest problem is simply that many of the wireless devices do not connect to the strongest AP, even if there is a choice available. Some of them seem to take great delight in connection to the absolute worst, weakest AP they can find. Even if connected to a strong AP, for no particular reason they will disconnect and start hunting around for an AP. Wow, they find the one they just disconnected from. Bingo!
There are those who blame Windows for this, but it happens on any OS. And if changing the wirless to a different one cures the problem, I do not see how they can blame Windows. The wireless card is supposed to be designed for use with Windows, not the other way round.
There are so many wireless devices around, and so many chipsets in Notebooks, Laptops, and whatever … that I am not going to make a list. Usually changing driver versions to the latest, or reverting to earlier ones, makes no difference. A lemon is still a lemon. IMHO, the performance of the wireless in many of today's laptops, notebooks, and now tablets - is getting worse, not better, and the drivers are a mess, with too many bells and whistles and features which are fundamentally broken. I find USB adapters are rather better. This is unacceptable and the laptop manufacturers need to wake up.
[B]The solution is very simple.[/B]
In EVERY case of a client having problems, substitution of his wireless (be it USB or the laptop's built-in wireless) with a known reliable USB adapter immediately cured the problem. Any client that has co-operated and tried it, has had service restored. Those that refused to try it - well - they've got really bad tempers now, still fighting the world and losing. Life can be tough …
You don't need the most expensive adapter. Wireless G is adequate for most people. "N" on 2.4GHz gives more problems than it's worth, and is completely useless for large buildings.
The very cheap USB adapters from Tenda have been extremely reliable. The W541U "G" and W311U "N" adapters have never given a problem with any of my sample routers. TP-Link seems to be about the same, one of them (TL-WN422G v2) has an external antenna and runs higher power, good for weak spots. In that situation ncreasing the router's power to 150mW and using one of these 400mW USB sticks can also make a dramatic improvement in connectivity.
Tenda W541U V2.0 Wireless USB Adapter ( Ralink RT2070L Chipset)
Tenda W311U Wireless USB Adapter ( Ralink RT3070 Chipset)
ID 0cf3:1006 Atheros Communications, Inc. TP-Link TL-WN422G v2 802.11g [Atheros AR9271]
You'll notice these are Chinese … credit where credit is due!
Clients whose laptops didn't work reliably at their university, hotspots, coffee shops, report that the situation was mostly resolved.
[B]Other problems[/B] - anyone's wireless card that has auto power enabled, those which can go into "sleep" mode, all best disabled. Power is ALWAYS best set to maximum. Many cards don't have any configuration setup, so nothing you can do.
XP is not so good at wireless connection. Vista is … well I won't mention Vista. But Windows 7 is extremely stable and runs on most hardware - even most older hardware.
I do hope this information is useful to someone. Too often the router is taking the flak for this, and it's unnecessary.
Download site http://www.4shared.com/dir/v1BuINP3/Toastman_Builds.html (inc. torrent downloads)
Make a Paypal Donation http://toastmanfirmware.yolasite.com/donations.php