Recipe 14.12. Stopping Hotspot "Stuttering"
When you connect to a hotspot located near other hotspots, your connection "stutters" by dropping your hotspot connection, making a connection to another hotspot, dropping that one, then connecting to the first one, and so on.
Hotspots sometimes stutter if several of them are located near one another and you're connecting to one with a weak signal. The problem is caused by the Wireless Zero Configuration service, which runs when you start XP and looks for a wireless connection every three minutes. If your current hotspot connection is weak, when it looks for a hotspot to connect to, it may connect to a nearby hotspot instead and you get the stuttering effect.
The fix is to disable WZC after you've made your connection that way, it'll stay with your one connection, even as it fades out and fades in. But you'll want to enable WZC again after you're done, so that the next time you want to connect to a hotspot or your home WiFi network, it will do its job for you.
To temporarily disable WZC:
The Wireless Zero Configuration service sits between XP and your wireless hardware, serving as a mediator. It's one of the main reasons that XP is so WiFi-friendly before XP, wireless connections were usually handled by each different manufacturer's software, leading to compatibility problems and a great deal of confusion when trying to make a connection.
You can also use the service to help solve an occasional problem that WiFi users sometimes face even though they maintain a strong connection to a WiFi router, they have no Internet connectivity. If you have ever used a WiFi network and seen the WiFi icon that shows a connection, but you can't actually connect to the Internet, you've had this problem. Sometimes, you can use the Wireless Zero Configuration service to solve the problem. Turn off the service, as described in this recipe, and then turn it back on. At times, that will jump-start your connection.
For more information about troubleshooting WiFi connections, see Recipe 14.5.