Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wellington NZ
    Posts
    32
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Monitoring wireless problems, what are my options?

    Here's the situation, I'm in a home office environment with a significant number of network connections. Most of these are ethernet but a growing number are wifi. The internet connection is fast fiber, and it comes into the house at one corner, which is where my main modem sits, broadcasts wifi, and feeds into four ethernet hubs which connect to the rest of the house via underfloor network cables. At the opposite corner of the house I have a Netgear WN802Tv2 plugged into an ethernet port which broadcasts the same SSID for the equipment at that end of the house. This setup has been well-behaved for a couple of years, but lately I am experiencing a number of wifi dropouts. The most recent changes to the network have involved the addition of an extra laptop and two IP security cameras, all connected wirelessly. The network was fine for the first couple of weeks since the last change but has just started to show problems.

    Before I added the cameras the main wireless modem broadcast on both 2.4G and 5G, while the Netgear repeater only broadcast on 2.4G. I found that the camera at my end of the house wouldn't connect until I disabled the 5G signal. (It is supposed to operate in a mixed channel network but evidently did not.)

    After several days in which one of the two cameras and the new laptop have repeatedly dropped off the network, I would like to test two possibilities: (1) has the wireless repeater developed a fault (it's the camera with a direct line of sight to the repeater that keeps dropping out)? or (2) is there so much activity on the network that it can't cope?

    I have no idea how to go about this systematically, networking is not one of my specialities. I have found references to a tool called Xirrus WiFi Inspector but it doesn't seem to have been updated since 2011 and according to the documentation can only show 8 minutes of data. The time between failures here is more like 1-2 hours.

    Can anyone offer me any better advice?

    Cheers
    Trevor

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Delaware, US
    Posts
    1,161
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 99 Times in 88 Posts
    It's possible that something in the house is creating interference or there's a failure of some equipment.

    First thing I would suggest is to disconnect the new stuff and see if the problem remains. If it goes away, then add back in one thing at a time.

    Also, is there anything else in the house that has been changed recently? Any new electrical equipment? Any changes to the ethernet cabling?
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  3. #3
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wellington NZ
    Posts
    32
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Well I'm sitting in my study right now with my wirelessly connected laptop and iphone in front of me. The modem is 18 inches away and there is nothing in the way. The wireless icon on the laptop shows only one bar (of four) and the phone shows one bar (of three), and when I try to update my email it times out. There's no error on the modem log. No new devices, electronic or electrical, are anywhere near this part of the house.

    Despite the fact that the WN802T is a cheap piece of hardware compared to the main modem, its logging options are far better :-) and it's interesting to me to note that it has logged both my phone and laptop connecting to it despite being positioned fifty feet away and less than two feet from the other broadcast station. That suggests that there is something not right with the main modem's wireless even though the log indicates nothing amiss. Time for a reboot of the modem, perhaps.

    Both the modem and the repeater are broadcasting the wireless on the same channel (9, as it happens). Is that advisable?

  4. #4
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wellington NZ
    Posts
    32
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    At least this explains why the main modem's logs aren't showing any errors: every single wifi device in the house is associated with the repeater!

  5. #5
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Delaware, US
    Posts
    1,161
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 99 Times in 88 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by aquatarkus View Post
    Both the modem and the repeater are broadcasting the wireless on the same channel (9, as it happens). Is that advisable?
    I believe that's the way it supposed to be setup.

    I also think that a repeater decreases the efficiency of your system when compared to adding a second access point. It's been ages since I looked at this issue.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  6. #6
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    8,176
    Thanks
    47
    Thanked 982 Times in 912 Posts
    It's possible that a new device has been installed next door and it's also on channel 9.
    Try Acrylic WiFi Free to see if you have interference.

    You may also find that having the repeater on a different channel (ch1) will improve matters - if a device can't connect on ch9 it will change to the repeater.

    cheers, Paul

  7. #7
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,396
    Thanks
    445
    Thanked 404 Times in 376 Posts
    Here's a diagram which shows clearly how channels can interfere with each other, and how 1, 6, and 11 don't interfere with each other.

  8. #8
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wellington NZ
    Posts
    32
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    An update.

    Removing devices didn't help.

    I found a helpful software product (WirelessMon from www.passmark.com) with a free trial period which has allowed me to monitor wireless strength around the home (and identify other wireless sources in the neighbourhood, which are many!); this showed that the base station wireless signal was extremely erratic. The unit isn't privately owned, it was supplied by my ISP, and when I showed this evidence to them they suggested I try switching it from channel 9 to channel 13 to reduce interference before considering whether to replace or upgrade it. The repeater doesn't have channel 13 so I switched that to channel 6.

    So far so good.

  9. #9
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Delaware, US
    Posts
    1,161
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 99 Times in 88 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by aquatarkus View Post
    The unit isn't privately owned, it was supplied by my ISP, and when I showed this evidence to them they suggested I try switching it from channel 9 to channel 13 to reduce interference before considering whether to replace or upgrade it.
    Well, one possibility in that case is to connect your own router (via ethernet) with different credentials and use that instead of the one from the ISP. Also, connect the repeater to the new router. Then you can just ignore the erratic router.

    Perhaps not the best solution since you are likely paying the ISP for the use of their faulty router.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  10. #10
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wellington NZ
    Posts
    32
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I'm negotiating with the ISP so I feel obligated to at least try their suggestions before ignoring them :-)

  11. #11
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,396
    Thanks
    445
    Thanked 404 Times in 376 Posts
    You might consider moving your router to a more central location, or to a location which yields good signal strength to a wider coverage area. You could then put your repeater in an area which gets good signal strength, so that it can broadcast to a weak area.

    My church had a similar problem - here's how I solved it. In the back of the building there was very little signal; same with the conference room. It was not possible to move the router, because a lot of devices were plugged into it with Ethernet cables, so I had to try a different approach. The conference room is on the 2nd floor, so I put one repeater directly under the conference room, which put good signal strength into the conference room. I put the other repeater in the back end of the church, in the location which was closest to the router. This put good signal strength all over the back end of the building. End result: the entire building now has good signal strength.

  12. #12
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Wellington NZ
    Posts
    32
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    The base station and the repeater are at opposite corners of the building but the repeater is on an ethernet connection and doesn't have to pick up the base station's wireless. The base station can't really move (a) because it's located where the fibre net comes into the house (b) because it's in my office/laboratory which has a ton of gear in it. I have a panel on my wall immediately behind the modem which feeds ethernet cables under the house to every room (this was set up before wifi became prevalent, but it's been useful because it lets us connect the TV and all the other media systems to the wired network).
    Since I put the base station on channel 13 the wifi at the front of the house has been excellent. The camera in the back room (which is connected to the repeater using channel 6) has dropped out a couple of times.

  13. #13
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,396
    Thanks
    445
    Thanked 404 Times in 376 Posts
    One issue which caused one of my repeaters to keep losing the connection was that the router auto-searched for the best channel, and it would then change to that channel. Whenever it changed channels, the repeater would lose the connection. When I set my router to stay on the same channel all the time, the repeater quit losing the connection.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •