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Another possible cause of 5ghz pauses and disconnects

Discussion in 'ASUS AC Routers & Adapters' started by FloridaMatt, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. FloridaMatt

    FloridaMatt New Around Here

    Jul 1, 2016
    For those of you fighting the issue of 5ghz problems -- particularly pauses and disconnects -- here's another thing to look for: Do you have a Fire TV that's connected via wifi? I did (and still do, but after applying a workaround).

    Fire TV uses a function called WiFi Direct to communicate with its remote. That by itself isn't particularly a problem, but Fire TV, like a number of other devices using WiFi Direct, periodically broadcasts its SSID, either with or without a visible name. Since it comes and goes you may not see it in a list of available networks. Install a wifi analyzer app on your phone, and you will see it.

    The problem isn't even so much the fact that these broadcasts are being done, but that Fire TV developers made an, uh, let's say questionable choice in implementation. Fire TV chooses to do its SSID broadcasts on the same channel as the wifi network your router is using. In other words, quite a few times a minute it's interfering with your network. You can reconfig the router to change channels, and the Fire TV will change channels along with it.

    In the "oh, THAT's cute" category, if the router is set to auto channel selection, and the Fire TV is close enough to the router, the router can really disrupt things by constantly changing channels in response to seeing the interference.

    This does not happen on an ethernet-wired Fire TV. Oh, the SSID broadcasts are still there, but they don't move around so the router (or you) can pick a non-conflicting channel.

    My quick and dirty workaround on my RT-AC86U relied on the case that all but one of my devices could use 5ghz. So I turned off smart connect, and gave my 2.4ghz channel a different SSID. This allowed me to force the Fire TV to the 2.4ghz band. And for good measure I set the bandwidth to 40 so the Fire TV's broadcasts matched less bandwidth.

    I've grumbled to amazon about all this, of course, but if anyone else finds the Fire TV to be their 5ghz problem, I'll encourage you to complain to them as well. You may need to use the words "WiFi Direct" until they recognize what you are talking about.

    Anyway, hope this helps someone.
    royarcher and a5m like this.
  2. Kal-EL

    Kal-EL Very Senior Member

    Aug 15, 2013
    Motor City, Michigan-USA
    Yep Roku does the same thing from Roku 3 to the latest. I don't notice any issues but problems have been reported by others for years. Not sure why anyone would think this is a good idea.
  3. ColinTaylor

    ColinTaylor Part of the Furniture

    Mar 31, 2014
    That's true for every WiFi Direct device I've ever seen; printers, Blu-Ray players, TVs, remotes, etc. To have the device connect to the AP on one channel and run WiFi Direct on another would require it to have two separate radios. It's much simpler (and cheaper) to do it all in software with one radio, similar to how the router runs multiple guest networks all on the same channel.
  4. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

    Oct 7, 2010
    I have a Firestick II which my daughter gave me for Christmas last year. I set it up to use my Cisco wireless SSID on my guest network on 5Ghz. It runs fine. I have no pauses. I also have an AppleTV which is wired and I flip flop back and forth. I kind of like the AppleTV but the Firestick II runs with Alexa and you can use voice commands which is real nice and fast for searching.

    What is Wi-Fi direct and why is it better than using your existing wireless?

    I only use 5GHz as my 2.4Ghz is turned off. I have 3 Cisco wireless WAP371 APs in a single point setup. My guest SSID is just a SSID across all 3 wireless APs so it can support roaming.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
  5. AndreiV

    AndreiV Very Senior Member

    Aug 25, 2015
    Which is just as likely to be the cause of your disconnects rather than the Firestick itself.
  6. Klueless

    Klueless Very Senior Member

    Jan 1, 2016
    Rochester, NY
    Wow, a most lucid commentary!
    So if I understand correctly the most serious consequence is the router flapping channels. It would seem the easiest "fix" is to just take the router out of "auto" and manually select channels?

    Another possible issue is aggregation. One additional SSID isn't a biggie nor is one additional AP (Fire TV/Stick) but add several (and who doesn't have several TVs?) and it can quickly become a thing of consequence.

    Again, thanks for an interesting post ...
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
  7. OzarkEdge

    OzarkEdge Very Senior Member

    Feb 14, 2018
    FWIW, my Roku Ultra is wired about 20 feet from my router and its WiFi Direct AP for its Remote Control 'clicker' fixed automatically on 5 GHz Channel 36 with visible SSID and has never changed no matter what I've put the router configuration through. When using Smart Connect and Auto channels, the router would sometimes setup initially on the same channel 36 before moving to the high channels.

    I've never noticed any related issues and I like being able to use the Roku remote without having to point it or an IR signal toward the Roku Ultra.