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Increasing 5Ghz Range

Discussion in 'ASUSWRT - Official' started by Kevin Cabral, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. Kevin Cabral

    Kevin Cabral Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2019
    Messages:
    20
    I got the RT-AC68U with stock antennas. Is there a way to increase the 5ghz range? 2.4ghz is not bad but in my house it's a little slow. 5ghz I can get 30mbps easy. 2.4ghz I goes up and down from 18-20mbps.
     
  2. wouterv

    wouterv Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Messages:
    953
    Increasing range is an endless discussed topic.
    Here are some basics to start with, for you most important is item 9:

    1. Set 2.4 GHz to a channel bandwidth of 20 MHz.
    2. For 2.4 GHz disable b/g protection (use of old 802.11b or 802.11g devices combined with 802.11n is anyway not recommended).
    3. Set a different SSID for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, e.g. "myhome" and "myhome5", this makes it easier to connect a client device to the right frequency band.
    4. Use alphanumeric characters only for the SSID's (Aa to Zz and 0 to 9, no spaces and no odd characters).
    5. Use InSSIDer or a similar program to determine the usage of wireless channels in your neighborhood, do the check at various locations in your house. Do this check at least every month (new neighbor devices may have arrived or neighbors may have changed their settings).
    6. Set 2.4 GHz to the least used channel out of 1, 6 or 11 (only valid for a channel bandwidth of 20 MHz).
    7. Leave 5 GHz to Auto channel (if possible exclude DFS channels).
    8. The coverage of 5 GHz is practical about half of 2.4 GHz: use 5 GHz for a faster nearby connection and 2.4 GHz for a longer distance.
    9. Relative position of the router to the client devices is important, a free line of sight is ideal.
      • Keep as much as free space around the router as possible, do NOT place the router in a cabinet, do not place it on top of another electronic device.
      • Keep the router on distance from your modem, your TV, wireless telephones, microwaves and bluetooth devices.
      • Keep the router on distance from materials that absorb or disturb radio signals e.g. metal objects, concrete walls or floors and waterfilled objects.
      • Keep an eye on router temperature, place the router on a hard surface to allow natural ventilation through the router box.
      • Experiment with the location of the router and antenna orientation.
    10. After a major firmware upgrade (or when recommended in the release notes): do a hard reset of the router and manual configure the router again (do NOT load an old configuration backup file).
    11. In case of doubts, forgotten settings and weird issues: do a hard reset of the router and manual configure the router again.
    12. Write down the setting changes you make from the defaults.
    13. Due to upgraded wireless drivers in the router it may be required to delete the wireless connection profiles on your computers and connect again.
    14. Keep an eye on new firmware releases: it is strongly adviced to keep pace with firmware releases that contain security fixes.
     
  3. Klueless

    Klueless Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    568
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    WoW! Very useful collection of tips!
    A little slow? How about a lot slow : -) I see (same router) about 75 Mbps @ 2.4 and 175 @ 5 (close proximity). What Internet speeds are you paying for? Anxious to hear how @wouterv 's tips work out for you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  4. maxbraketorque

    maxbraketorque Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2015
    Messages:
    461
    For the 5 GHz band, some channels have higher TX power than others. In particular, for both my AC68U and AC86U, the UNI-3 range (149-165) has better range than UNI-1 (36-48), and within UNI-3, some channels are better than others. I've documented this for my AC86U, and I lock down 5 GHz to that particular channel.
     
  5. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Messages:
    13,824
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Not really - it comes down to physics... might have to relocate the router to get better 5GHz coverage.

    5GHz is about twice the loss over range than 2.4GHz...

    Older devices, try using the higher channels - 149 and up, as these are higher power - FCC did make some rule changes a couple of years back regarding available Tx power, but the 68U predates that ruling...
     
  6. JohnD5000

    JohnD5000 Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2016
    Messages:
    68
    Just curious, what does this have to do with range? I have a space in my SSID. Should I rename my SSID? I run a AIMesh with an AC86U and 2 AC68Us. So I would need to reset my AC68Us after I made the change and then update all my devices logons (have about 30 around house) so its not a quick change.

    Is this something that is worth changing?

    Thanks
     
  7. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,457
    If your network is working as you like, don't change this now. But when the next major update requires a full reset to factory defaults and then a minimal and manual installation, make a note to implement it then.

    Adhering to as many 'best practices' as possible is always a good thing (particularly when chasing bugs or other network glitches).

    When a device decides it can't connect to a network... the range is negatively affected. ;)
     
    wouterv and Klueless like this.
  8. DummyPLUG

    DummyPLUG Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2017
    Messages:
    130
    install a wifi analysis app on your phone and find the clearest channel near your router and the place you are using wifi, the "AUTO" setting usually not work well.
    these app also help you to find which channel have the best SNR
     
  9. Kevin Cabral

    Kevin Cabral Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2019
    Messages:
    20
    Just got home so I'll have to test these tips out tomorrow. Been away for the weekend. What I'm paying for is 200mbps. However, there are 4 other people in the house :p With many devices hooked up wirelessly
     
  10. Kevin Cabral

    Kevin Cabral Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2019
    Messages:
    20
    I forgot to mention, I still got the stock antennas for the router. Is it worth upgrading them to improve range if the settings above don't work?
     
  11. Klueless

    Klueless Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    568
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    We're assuming a wireless problem but we might take a step back and calibrate. Also, many of us keep it simple and just use an Internet Speed Test to test speed. That's not a bad thing but it assumes our Internet is working per spec and it means we can't test at speeds greater than what our ISP provides.

    Myself, I also assumed that you were testing, or at least bench marked, over a quiescent network, like when no one else is using the network. You can verify by looking at the traffic monitor on your Asus router (or by simply testing at, say, three in the morning : -)

    Start with your best laptop connected directly to your router with an Ethernet cable. You should see pretty close to your 200 Mbps. (If not try connecting directly to your provider's modem, etc., etc.)

    Now take the same laptop, and staying nearby your router, connect at 5 GHz and see what you get (again making sure no one else is on). You should see, let's call it, about 150 Mbps. If you're still getting crappy speeds (but great speeds over Ethernet) then by all means follow @wouterv 's suggestions.

    But if you get good speeds during your quiet time testing then you might begin thinking about traffic and/or contention by friends and family.

    Try the same @ 2.4 GHz. You should see about, let's call it, 75 Mbps. Crappy speeds mean check out @wouterv 's tips and, again, good speeds suggest you need new room mates.

    At work we were running a dozen users and a couple dozen devices over a 15 Mbps connection. If I got in at 6AM things ran great. By 10AM not so great.

    Some of it was WiFi. Reread wouterv. We also found a wireless device that was on the edge (barely in range), removing it helped.

    Some of it was Internet. (Turned out the ISP had a bad router a couple hops down.)

    And some of it was traffic. We implemented QoS (e.g., set "porn" to low priority : -) and things got even better.

    Oh, and BTW, if you can, move a few devices over to "wired".
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019