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Wifi card RF antenna noise/feedback

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I moved my computer to a different room that is much further from the wireless router and in a location where it is difficult to run CAT6 cable. I bought the top of the line Asus PCE-AC88 wireless card after having dropouts on two other wifi cards.

Over the past week, the device seems to work reasonably well and has 100% uptime so far.

The issue is the monster 4x4 antenna and cable this device comes with generates a good amount of RF noise which is picked up by my microphone, bluetooth headphones, and other things in the room. I can tolerate this to a degree by getting the magnetic quad antenna base as far as possible from my pc but its on a short leash, the cord isn't very long.

Forgive my ignorance on this, but the main question I would like to ask is if the RF signal noise can damage stored data or PC hardware over the long term. Also is it safe to have this thing sitting near my equipment or should it be as far as possible?
 

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I moved my computer to a different room that is much further from the wireless router and in a location where it is difficult to run CAT6 cable. I bought the top of the line Asus PCE-AC88 wireless card after having dropouts on two other wifi cards.

Over the past week, the device seems to work reasonably well and has 100% uptime so far.

The issue is the monster 4x4 antenna and cable this device comes with generates a good amount of RF noise which is picked up by my microphone, bluetooth headphones, and other things in the room. I can tolerate this to a degree by getting the magnetic quad antenna base as far as possible from my pc but its on a short leash, the cord isn't very long.

Forgive my ignorance on this, but the main question I would like to ask is if the RF signal noise can damage stored data or PC hardware over the long term. Also is it safe to have this thing sitting near my equipment or should it be as far as possible?
It wont.
 
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No, it won't damage anything.

But it should not be causing this interference either.

Bluetooth operates via RF in the 2.4GHz range too so interference is possible, but it is not common. Is the microphone wired or through a wireless headset? Do you hear the interference if you use a wired headset?

What other devices in the room are affected?

Does the BT go through a USB port? If so, try moving to a different pair. Same with the wifi adapter.

Is the motherboard's rear I/O shield firmly inserted in the case's rear I/O area? It is called a "shield" because it is intended to shield EMI/RFI. If not firmly seated in the case, it may not be effectively doing its job.

Have you checked your wall outlet for proper grounding to Earth ground? Every home and every computer user should have access to a AC Outlet Tester to ensure your outlet is properly wired and grounded to Earth ground. I recommend one with a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupt) indicator as it can be used to test bathroom and kitchen outlets (outlets near water) too. These testers can be found for your type and voltage outlet, foreign or domestic, (like this one for the UK) at most home improvement stores, or even the electrical department at Wal-Mart. Use it to test all the outlets in the home and if a fault is shown, have it fixed by a qualified electrician.
 
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If you are worried about that (which is not really a big deal) I would recommend a AX200 wifi Card. They can be had on the cheap and so are PCI_E adapters as well. I had the same WIFI card as you and had the same thing happening. Once I replaced it with WIFI 6 the problem went away and I am quite pleased with the results. I paid a total of $50 for my WIFI 6 solution. People will say that you need a WIFI 6 router to get the speeds but I have it connected to a AC68 router and it is faster than the Asus card by some measure. I can watch Youtbe in 4K, Download a Steam game, Download an Epic game and watch a movie online all at the same time.
 
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No, it won't damage anything.

But it should not be causing this interference either.

Bluetooth operates via RF in the 2.4GHz range too so interference is possible, but it is not common. Is the microphone wired or through a wireless headset? Do you hear the interference if you use a wired headset?

What other devices in the room are affected?

Does the BT go through a USB port? If so, try moving to a different pair. Same with the wifi adapter.

Is the motherboard's rear I/O shield firmly inserted in the case's rear I/O area? It is called a "shield" because it is intended to shield EMI/RFI. If not firmly seated in the case, it may not be effectively doing its job.

Have you checked your wall outlet for proper grounding to Earth ground? Every home and every computer user should have access to a AC Outlet Tester to ensure your outlet is properly wired and grounded to Earth ground. I recommend one with a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupt) indicator as it can be used to test bathroom and kitchen outlets (outlets near water) too. These testers can be found for your type and voltage outlet, foreign or domestic, (like this one for the UK) at most home improvement stores, or even the electrical department at Wal-Mart. Use it to test all the outlets in the home and if a fault is shown, have it fixed by a qualified electrician.
1) wired microphone and wired headset. Moving microphone (antlion) close to antenna leads doesn't cause noise until data transmission occurs, then it will hum quite a bit. It unmistakably from the antenna cable. Set microphone to "listen to this device" and then set it right next to the antenna, stream or start a bunch of downloads and/or uploads, and bam instant noise.
2) wifi adapter is a pci-e port, bt adapter is onboard to motherboard, the other wifi adapter I have is an onboard to motherboard (AC-3168)
3) yes
4) yes.

Its a known issue with the PCE-AC88.

But I am more curious if it can cause damage to my equipment. I already had a flaky usb 2.0 header to PCI slot issue start to occur immediately after I installed this. It may have been because I had to unplug and replug the header adapter and maybe the thin lead on it got screwed up, visually it looks fine, or it might be because of RF/EMI.

As it seems to not find my 2.4 GHz connection (the more stable of the two options, 2.4 or 5) this morning, while my simple Intel AC-3168 has no issue finding it with a full 5 bars, I am really leaning towards returning this Asus AC88 for a refund and running the 100 ft cable because it does not seem worth the continuing hassle.
 
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If you are worried about that (which is not really a big deal)
It is a big deal if others listening to what is said through the microphone are hearing that distortion too. It is not a safety issue, but in terms of audio production and reproduction, it is a big deal for sure.

1) wired microphone and wired headset.
That's definitely a problem then. Are you sure all the cable connections for the wifi adapter, mic and headset are tight and secure? Are any of the wires or connectors damaged? Are all the components connected by cable to your computer (computer PSU, monitor, speakers, external devices, etc.) powered through the same wall outlet?

This is all pointing to poor shielding and/or poor grounding. And it is important to note effective shielding is not just about "blocking" the RFI. Effective shielding occurs when the shielding is properly grounded so any absorbed RFI is quickly "shunted" to Earth ground.

But back to your concerns, the energy levels are just too low to cause any damage. RF energy for these devices is typically measured in microvolts and milliwatts - or less.

Unfortunately, the voltage levels in microphones are way down there too. And the audio for headsets (and speakers) run through amplifiers. So any noise from interference ends up being near or even more than the actual desired audio levels. :(

In terms of 2.4GHz or 5GHz, 5GHz is the better option but it is greatly limited by distance. And that distance is even further limited by barriers (walls, floors and ceilings), the construction of those barriers (wallboard or concrete blocks as examples) and the contents of those barriers (wires and metal pipes). So 5GHz would be best for wireless devices located in the same room as the WAP (wireless access point) and then reception would rapidly go downhill from there.

The 2.4GHz band does not offer the same speeds, but has much better range. But it too is affected by those barriers.
 
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It is a big deal if others listening to what is said through the microphone are hearing that distortion too. It is not a safety issue, but in terms of audio production and reproduction, it is a big deal for sure.

That's definitely a problem then. Are you sure all the cable connections for the wifi adapter, mic and headset are tight and secure? Are any of the wires or connectors damaged? Are all the components connected by cable to your computer (computer PSU, monitor, speakers, external devices, etc.) powered through the same wall outlet?

This is all pointing to poor shielding and/or poor grounding. And it is important to note effective shielding is not just about "blocking" the RFI. Effective shielding occurs when the shielding is properly grounded so any absorbed RFI is quickly "shunted" to Earth ground.

But back to your concerns, the energy levels are just too low to cause any damage. RF energy for these devices is typically measured in microvolts and milliwatts - or less.

Unfortunately, the voltage levels in microphones are way down there too. And the audio for headsets (and speakers) run through amplifiers. So any noise from interference ends up being near or even more than the actual desired audio levels. :(

In terms of 2.4GHz or 5GHz, 5GHz is the better option but it is greatly limited by distance. And that distance is even further limited by barriers (walls, floors and ceilings), the construction of those barriers (wallboard or concrete blocks as examples) and the contents of those barriers (wires and metal pipes). So 5GHz would be best for wireless devices located in the same room as the WAP (wireless access point) and then reception would rapidly go downhill from there.

The 2.4GHz band does not offer the same speeds, but has much better range. But it too is affected by those barriers.
The router is on a shelf in the room below, it is probably about 20 feet but it passes through a floor. Its a poor candidate as it is an older Asus RT-N65U. I am likely to just run this cable up here because I can get 900 down/900 up with wired, that is what I was getting when I was on wired ethernet before I moved my office.

Strangely the AC88 works better with connecting to 5GHz than with the 2.4GHz, it cannot connect properly to the 2.4. I had it on 2.4 for a few days and it worked great but it didn't initially want to work on that when I first installed it, and it isn't working on it now. The onboard can do either with full 5 bars, but it dies out and loses connection on both 2.4 and 5 if I subject it to a lot of bandwidth. The AC88 when I was able to get it on 2.4 was able to stay up even with high bandwidth, and it worked fine until today besides generating a lot of audio noise for people in discord to complain about. However, with the AC88 on 5GHz the router cannot keep up and drops. I don't care too much about the speed as long as it stays up and that is the issue.

Initially I had the antenna sitting on my desk and the 4 cords for it ran past the usb soundcard and the mic and stereo cables, generating the hum, now I have the antenna as far as possible from the machine with the wires as physically distant from the audio as I can manage. I have the usb soundcard at the bottom of the case in a usb port on the motherboard and I have the wifi card at the top of the case in the furthest pci-e slot, the third x16 slot. Keep in mind this case is inverted so the pci slots are on top.
 
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Strangely the AC88 works better with connecting to 5GHz than with the 2.4GHz
Not sure why you think that is strange. As noted, 5GHz does provide better bandwidth. If you get better signal strength, then the performance should be better than with 2.4GHz.

2.4GHz suffers from the fact it is a very crowded frequency band. Bluetooth and other RF devices (like remote controls) work in that range. If you live in a crowded neighborhood - especially in or near a large apartment complex), there likely are several other 2.4GHz networks nearby. As far as difference devices working better than the other - it could be something as simple as antenna orientation, the number of antennas and how they are designed to work together, or not.
 
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Not sure why you think that is strange. As noted, 5GHz does provide better bandwidth. If you get better signal strength, then the performance should be better than with 2.4GHz.

2.4GHz suffers from the fact it is a very crowded frequency band. Bluetooth and other RF devices (like remote controls) work in that range. If you live in a crowded neighborhood - especially in or near a large apartment complex), there likely are several other 2.4GHz networks nearby. As far as difference devices working better than the other - it could be something as simple as antenna orientation, the number of antennas and how they are designed to work together, or not.
Why I say strangely is it doesn't seem to work at all on 2.4, it connects to it right now but doesn't transmit, while the tiny onboard wifi card has no problems at all on these. I don't care so much about the bandwidth but the fact that it doesn't work on 2.4 even though it can connect to it.

Now, I am trying it with all four antennas directly into the PCE-AC88 card rather than use the quad antenna base with the long ~4 foot leads, I get 5 bars for both the 2.4 and 5 but I cannot get any data to transmit on either. So I am leaning towards maybe its a piece of junk.
 
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Why I say strangely is it doesn't seem to work at all on 2.4, it connects to it right now but doesn't transmit, while the tiny onboard wifi card has no problems at all on these. I don't care so much about the bandwidth but the fact that it doesn't work on 2.4 even though it can connect to it.

Now, I am trying it with all four antennas directly into the PCE-AC88 card rather than use the quad antenna base with the long ~4 foot leads, I get 5 bars for both the 2.4 and 5 but I cannot get any data to transmit on either. So I am leaning towards maybe its a piece of junk.
Just get one of these and return that one. You will save yourself $100 and not look back.

 
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Remember, as far as the AP is concerned, the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands are basically two different networks. So you have to log in, with the correct passphrase, separately.
 
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Remember, as far as the AP is concerned, the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands are basically two different networks. So you have to log in, with the correct passphrase, separately.
Of course, I am able to do this as I am able to get the other two wifi cards I have to work, the Intel AC-3168 and a TPLink N300 TL-WDN3800.

Also in my testing, I am removing the 2.4 to add the 5 and vice versa, entering the WPA2 AES password each time.

With the PCE-AC88 on both the 2.4 and 5, though more often with the 2.4, it has a tendency of connecting, often showing 5 bars, and stating its status as connected, but not actually being able to access internet. I am going to give up on this and return it.
 
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Of course
Okay, good. You never know if the obvious is really so obvious to everyone! ;)
 
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