Is it my modem or my Asus router causing the intermittent connection drops?

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fandi

Occasional Visitor
Hello All,
My first post here.
Short version: If the devices such as chrome-casts, tablets ALL show the message that they are connecting to the router but there's no internet. And if only the modem (not router) is unplugged, wait a minute and turned back on and there's internet again then the question is: are the internet drops caused by the modem and not the router?

Long version: Southern California Spectrum high speed cable internet connection was fine since July 2020 (first signup date), and until this March 2021. Since March, random connection drops about 7-8 times a day. It could happen any time. Especially when 2 kids have online classes. The single story wood frame house is small (about 1,200sf) and the router is the living room (middle of the house). Three times Spectrum sent technicians to replace with brand new modems (3 times), brand new cables from the pole to the point of connection box (2 times). They checked the physical condition of the cable from the box to the modem and no damage was found, Signal at the cable end right before the modem is good at the times they check. These checks do not tell if the signal is stable for the whole day, only tell how the signal is strong and stable for the period of time the technicians are at the house.
After 3 times Spectrum do the repair but the random drops still happen, I wonder if my T-mobile AC1900 (a rebrand of Asus RT-AC68U with stock firmware) is causing the problem. I have a brand new Asus single band N300 router laying around so I tried it and still the same problem. I then bought a brand new Asus RT-AC68U and before I connect it to the modem, I followed instructions on here to install the latest release RT-AC68U_386.2_6.zip from SourceForge website (main Merlin download site). The router portal now shows 'Powered by Asuswrt-Merlin' when logged in the portal. Besides the Merlin default settings, I only change a bit such as:
- Enable AiProtection: On.
- Enable QoS: Off.
- WAN IP address: Automatic IP. Enable UPnP: No.
Connect to DNS Server automatically: No. DNS Server 1: 1.1.12, DNS Server 2: 1.0.0.2. Enable Dual WAN: Off. Enable Port Forwarding: Off. SIP Passthrough: Disable. PPPoE Relay: Disable.
- IPv6: disable.
- No VPN.
- Firewall: On. Enable DoS protection: No.
- Wireless mode: Auto. WPA2-AES with tough passwords. 5GHz: Channel bandwidth: 80MHz, control channel 149. 2.4GHz: Channel bandwidth: 20MHz, control channel 11. WPS disable.

More info about the wifi network usage:
- Out of the total 14 devices, only 2 chromecasts casting the videos but never cast more than 2 hours. The rest of the devices are not actively using the internet. No gaming, porn sites, etc. No network usb hard drives connected to the router.

Since the new Merlin powered Asus router connected, the drops reduces to 2-3 times a day (it was like 7-8 times when the Tmobile router was used) when casting Youtube from two chromecasts. But unplug and plug back the modem (without turning off the router) solves the drop problems for a while until the next day. To me, casting Youtube from 2 chromecasts is not a huge task for a Asus Merlin RT-AC68U. The router should have handled the task without drops (my Tmobile router was handling the same tasks last year without problems).
My contract is about to expires in a month or so so I might switch to Frontier Internet (fiber optics instead of cables) to see if the problem still exists.
Any inputs is highly appreciated. Thank you.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

airgap

Regular Contributor
uthern California Spectrum high speed cable internet connection was fine since July 2020 (first signup date), and until this March 2021. Since March, random connection drops about 7-8 times a day.

What happened exactly on March? If you are absolutely sure that it worked fine before that time and exactly since then this problem occures - then there is the root cause of your problem.

Find out what changed then you find out the solution. Otherwise you have possibly investigate deeper like traffic sniffing.
 

Adooni

Senior Member
you can use soft like for example WinMTR (it is free to download) to check where exactly issue is example how to use it
you can use it (have on for hours/days if needed) and see where issue is - loos%, high ping etc column - you are interest is top of your list where your router and modem will be. If it will be something down on the list you need to contact your internet provider and provide WinMTR log.
 
Last edited:

fandi

Occasional Visitor
What happened exactly on March? If you are absolutely sure that it worked fine before that time and exactly since then this problem occures - then there is the root cause of your problem.

Find out what changed then you find out the solution. Otherwise you have possibly investigate deeper like traffic sniffing.
Nothing happened in March. There's no sniffing because I keep changing SSID and passwords.
 

fandi

Occasional Visitor
you can use soft like for example WinMTR (it is free to download) to check where exactly issue is example how to use it
you can use it (have on for hours/days if needed) and see where issue is - loos%, high ping etc column - you are interest is top of your list where your router and modem will be. If it will be something down on the list you need to contact your internet provider and provide WinMTR log.
Thanks. I'll check it out.
 

fandi

Occasional Visitor
Hi @L&LD ,
After resetting the router, it works pretty well with about one or two drops a week when there's some video casting in the rooms from the far end of the house. I just got a new TP-Link EAP225 as I have lots of devices such as 9 Chromecasts, Ring cameras, 9 phones, etc.. This is not a mesh system.
It's a single story house about 1,500 sf and the router is closer to (3) bedrooms so the new AP will be placed near the other (2) bedrooms.
Should I name the SSIDs differently or the same? For example one SSID for 2.4GHz for both Asus router and the AP, one SSID for 5GHz for both Asus router and the AP.
I heard that they both have pros and cons.
1) If same SSIDs, the devices still see as two wireless sources, and one device tends to connect to one source even when the signal is weak until it's completely out of the range. That defeats the purpose of having the AP.
Also, let's say one Chromecast from the far end originally connects to the router, now it still connects to the router even I now put the AP near that far bedroom, unless I reset that chromecast and do the set up again.
2) If the SSIDs are different, now there are two 2.4GHz and two 5GHz networks in the house. I don't know that would create conflicts in terms of 2.4 GHz/5 GHz bandwidths, packet losses, etc.
Thank you so much for your advice.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Hi @L&LD ,
After resetting the router, it works pretty well with about one or two drops a week when there's some video casting in the rooms from the far end of the house. I just got a new TP-Link EAP225 as I have lots of devices such as 9 Chromecasts, Ring cameras, 9 phones, etc.. This is not a mesh system.
It's a single story house about 1,500 sf and the router is closer to (3) bedrooms so the new AP will be placed near the other (2) bedrooms.
Should I name the SSIDs differently or the same? For example one SSID for 2.4GHz for both Asus router and the AP, one SSID for 5GHz for both Asus router and the AP.
I heard that they both have pros and cons.
1) If same SSIDs, the devices still see as two wireless sources, and one device tends to connect to one source even when the signal is weak until it's completely out of the range. That defeats the purpose of having the AP.
Also, let's say one Chromecast from the far end originally connects to the router, now it still connects to the router even I now put the AP near that far bedroom, unless I reset that chromecast and do the set up again.
2) If the SSIDs are different, now there are two 2.4GHz and two 5GHz networks in the house. I don't know that would create conflicts in terms of 2.4 GHz/5 GHz bandwidths, packet losses, etc.
Thank you so much for your advice.

1) Prepare to try it both ways... same SSID for all WLANs or different SSID for each WLAN such as ssid24, ssid50, ssid60. (Some clients like Chromecast that require using an app and convoluted setup to change a singular connection/SSID are a pain, thanks to Google's usual obfuscation by design... I would not want to admin 9 of them.) Using different SSIDs will allow you to restrict a client to one band and perhaps even one AP, which may improve its connectivity, allow you to segregate client traffic to a specific band, and can simplify troubleshooting the roaming experience since you remove the band variable from the client connection process.

2) Using the same SSID across all WLANs does not reduce the number of WLANs being broadcast. A dual-band AP will broadcast two WLANs regardless of what you name them (it's the client that lists two WLANs having the same SSID as just one WLAN connection).

I prefer using different SSIDs with AiMesh-in-progress, but frequently retry using same SSIDs. With different SSIDs, a client roams from AP1 ssid50 to AP2 ssid50 instead of roaming from AP1 ssid (50) to AP2 ssid (24) and/or/then AP2 ssid (50), depending on the client decision.

OE
 

TomR_IL

New Around Here
Switch to Frontier fiber and see how their network operates. Just don't sign a long term contract until you confirm no issues.
 

fandi

Occasional Visitor
Switch to Frontier fiber and see how their network operates. Just don't sign a long term contract until you confirm no issues.
After resetting the router, it works fine so I think I will stay with Spectrum for now. The problem now that I have more casting devices plus Ring cameras. I'm trying to adding the AP to work together with the existing router.
 

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