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Troubleshooting home network wifi problems

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Pauluk

Occasional Visitor
Hey all

Seeing as its the Christmas holidays thought i'd investigate issues with our home network recently. Mainly on wireless phone/laptop but also Lan devices like TV with youtube slow connection. Wireless devices having to do a refresh on a website for it to load up. It comes and goes even when wifi is maxumum strength.

Network consists of.
Fritzbox 7590 AX (main router/mesh) wifi (2.4ghz) ch1 & (5ghz) 36 - located centre of house / upstairs (18 wifi connections)
FritzRepeater 2400 (mesh repeater) - ch6 & 40 - located upstairs at back of house. (18 wifi connections)
FritzRepeater 1200 - ch9 & 60 - located downstairs front of house (about 7 wifi connections)
Fritzbox 7530AX (router for VR only own SSID ) ch 11 & 44

House has 3 floors and get good coverage throughout (maximum bars on wifi, even outside)

All router/mesh devices are connected via Lan (cat6 cables) via 4 port network switch at each device (3 switches) and 2 switches centre of house (6 and 16 port) connected to 7950x which is connected to the external 900Mbps FTTP.

Running a speedtest & fast.com I'm getting 90Mbps (up&down).
Running a local network speedtest to my NAS (10Gbe) to my 10Gbe Lan PC i'm getting. 5000Mbps up&down
Wifi 5Ghz i'm getting around 700Mbps down and 450Mbps upload.

Have also been running pingplotter simultaneously for 30mins
Lan - 192.168.0.1 Router - 0.6ms average & google.com - 6ms average
Wifi - 192.168.0.1 Router - 8ms average & google.com - 18ms average

WIFI
1703602404262.png


LAN

1703602546017.png

Note that I did get a couple of 100% packet loss for router and google for 3 seconds on wifi ping plotter during that 30mins.

I did speak to my ISP about a month ago, tried the usual turning off and on and resetting devices . But no change,

Thanks in advance.
 
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Seeing as its the Christmas holidays thought i'd investigate issues with our home network recently. Mainly on wireless phone/laptop but also Lan devices like TV with youtube slow connection. Wireless devices having to do a refresh on a website for it to load up. It comes and goes even when wifi is maximum strength.

So what exactly is the question - from what I see, things are fine...

You've got a lot of access points on the LAN/WLAN - so you might consider reducing that...
 
So what exactly is the question - from what I see, things are fine...

You've got a lot of access points on the LAN/WLAN - so you might consider reducing that...
Ha first paragraph of my question, refreshing websites to make them load and YouTube dropping to low quality or pausing.
And also occasionally switching to 4g/5g instead of using wifi. Even though there is good signal.

You think removing a couple of access points from the lan will not loose coverage in the house? Reason I added them was a couple of dead spots. Thanks
 
You think removing a couple of access points from the lan will not loose coverage in the house? Reason I added them was a couple of dead spots. Thanks

I do - those extra AP's are competing for airtime - wireless is like real estate, location is everything...
 
I do - those extra AP's are competing for airtime - wireless is like real estate, location is everything...

Yeah. You have 3 APs all competing for the same 36/40/44/48 80MHz channel (let's not even think about what's happening in 2.4GHz). And I bet you have them all cranked up to maximum Tx power, which is very likely to mislead clients into connecting to further-away not closer APs. I wonder if the ping dropouts you saw corresponded to clients switching to a different AP.

You probably can make good use of this many APs if you follow reasonable principles for using them. Spread them out physically as much as you can (perhaps you're there already, but it's not clear from this, especially since you didn't say where the fourth AP is). Adjacent APs should be on different 80MHz channels (if you're successfully using the 52/56/60/64 band, use it for 2 of the APs not just one). In 2.4GHz, use channels 1, 6, 11, with only the furthest-apart APs sharing a channel (and for pete's sake don't use 40MHz channel width there). Don't reserve an AP for one client --- that's not a useful use of resources. And turn their Tx power down not up, to encourage clients to roam to the nearest one. The APs can probably be cranked up as high as 30dBm depending on local regulations, but you likely want something closer to 20dBm.

(This is all assuming that your interior walls are wood or drywall. If they're stone or concrete then we need a different discussion.)

It can also help to crank up the minimum data rate (beacon rate) to discourage clients from latching onto distant APs, although if you have cheap IoT clients they may not be able to connect at high MDR.
 
... btw, why aren't you using the 149/153/157/161 channel? Do you live somewhere where that's against local regs?
 
You have 3 APs all competing for the same 36/40/44/48 80MHz channel

Good point on the 5Ghz side - all the AP's there in a home network should likely be on the same control channel, so that they can coordinate...

Going back to my point about too many AP's - range is usually a client issue, not an AP issue, so throwing more AP's generally doesn't solve the problem.

In fact, with too many AP's, one does not allow clients to choose, esp if all AP's are above -70 dBm - so one can land on a sub-optimal link...
 
Going back to my point about too many AP's - range is usually a client issue, not an AP issue, so throwing more AP's generally doesn't solve the problem.
Right, it's a client issue because the limiting factor is the client's Tx power, which is seldom more than 12-15dBm. It does no good for the client to hear the AP if the AP can't hear the client, so you want the AP's Tx power more or less in balance with that. It's OK for the AP Tx power to be a handful of dB higher, because the AP probably has better antennas than the client meaning it can pick up a weaker signal ... but its antennas aren't that much better. When you run close to 30dBm, what you risk is that far-away clients will hear that strong signal and try to associate with it, but the AP hears them poorly or not at all, leading to disconnects, retransmits, wasted airtime, and generally crappy experience for everybody.

More APs, running at suitably low power, absolutely can solve this. That's how pro installations are set up these days. (The hospital my wife was recently in appeared to have a separate AP in each patient room, and you can bet they were not running them at high power.) But yeah, lots of APs running at high power is not the place to be -- so figuring you are OK because you get 5 bars everywhere is misleading. Ideally the clients should see somewhere around -65 to -70 RSSI when midway between adjacent APs, which they will likely not show as 5 bars.
 
Thanks. I have tried disabling two of the Ap's and to be honest apart from one corner in the back of the house i havent noticed any loss of connection. I have been running pingplotter on my laptop constantly and its definitley helped with the dropouts, probably 50% less than before.

The fourth AP i just use that as a VR (Oculus Quest) wifi router and keep it turned off unless i'm using it.

I will give the extra channels a go aswell, my Fritz routers only go up to Channel 140 on the 5ghz. I did have them all at around 50% transmitter power. I will checked those RSSI numbers you gave and its around -60 to -70 RSSI as i walk around between the APs apart from one back corner bathroom of the house which goes upto -85 RSSI Thats were it can loose signal all together.

btw, i have 80% brick internal walls. Just a couple of bathrooms have drywall.

Thanks
 
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btw, i have 80% brick internal walls. Just a couple of bathrooms have drywall.

Ah. In that case the conversation changes a bit, because those walls block wifi moderately well. I've heard of people putting an AP in each room when dealing with construction like this. That's an expensive answer of course, although you can get low-power APs that are designed for that kind of service and don't cost an arm and a leg.

Anyway, it sounds like you've done the right first thing by measuring signal strength everywhere and getting the AP Tx power more or less in balance with the clients. If you're satisfied with performance now, you could stop here. Otherwise, try fine-tuning power and AP placement, or get another AP for any remaining dead spots.
 
ok thanks, yeah im now back running 3 APs and they are all at about 50% power output and am using all the frequencies that allow (upto ch140 on 5ghz) and it does seem better. Not getting websites "stuck" loading and havent had any youtube problems for a few days. Fingers Crossed! Cheers
 
Just a question, ive run ping plotter on my phone to my router, this shows the drops in the last 10mins. Should it be this bad?
 

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Just a question, ive run ping plotter on my phone to my router, this shows the drops in the last 10mins. Should it be this bad?
I'm not familiar with that program, but it looks to me like it's just reporting ping-time spikes not actual drops?

If you're seeing actual drops then that's not something to put up with, but response time spikes can be harder to get rid of. There's an old but still accurate discussion here.
 
Just a question, ive run ping plotter on my phone to my router, this shows the drops in the last 10mins. Should it be this bad?

PingPlotter is not really a good tool to use - as ICMP can be dropped due to congestion at any point between the source and destination.

Go back to what I mentioned about having "too much" wifi - you'll get better performance there...
 
thanks, well spent about 4 hours today playing around with it. Discovered a couple of things. my main router speed was being throttled some how, I factory reset and it went from 400Mbs to 900Mbs. I also took two AP and factory reset them too. Even on auto settings ie auto channel everything feels much faster now and responsive when using wifi.
 
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Good point on the 5Ghz side - all the AP's there in a home network should likely be on the same control channel, so that they can coordinate...
Are you saying this because you are thinking about small homes?

My thinking is you use 1 AP 5GHz per 700 sq ft. Yes, you can have interference with the signal with concrete, tile, steel, and such which can block some signals and you may have to adjust. My home is 3300 sq ft single story so I feel like I can run several APs. I prefer running them on different channels to gain bandwidth. I am no radio expert just small installs.

I have noticed my Wi-Fi6 does not roam as well as my old AC APs. I don't know if it is Wi-Fi 6 because it is new or something else. I plan at some point to try radius to see if it helps with Wi-Fi 6 for me.
 
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Perhaps you've simply got too much overlapping coverage and need to drop power levels a notch.

On somewhat of a tangent to that, a while back I was reading an article which discussed control channel allocation. If the same channels were bonded on two neighboring broadcasters but they were using different /control/ channels then the two broadcasters couldn't coordinate their transmissions and performance would tank. Charts and such were presented to illustrate gross degradation. Concern was expressed about such issues especially in the (upcoming) 6 GHz band.

I wanted to "see for myself" so undertook some testing. I was unable to duplicate the bottom falling out the way it showed in the charts / graphs. Performance did degrade, but only marginally so. Then I looked at the date and some of the specifics of the article and saw it was written back in the AC era.

Either I'd done something insufficiently wrong, or this issue is /somehow/ addressed in WiFi6, which is what I was using. It did not occur to me at the time to limit things to AC and repeat the tests. And I'm not quite motivated / curious enough to do so at this time.

All this to say that I've seen mention of the importance of synchronized control channels here and abroad, and can definitely see the logic, but wonder if perhaps it's somehow dated information. I'd still opt for the same control channels in such a situation, but feel the better way is to use separate channel groupings as opposed to the all-in-one method of, say, AiMesh.
 
Are you saying this because you are thinking about small homes?

All depends - 2.4 can easily cover 2000 sq ft - and setting it to G/N on 20MHz, can get decent coverage across a 3,000 square ft house on a single floor with 2 AP's...

Decent being able to stream 4K media with A1 codecs without a problem...

5Ghz - I tend to agree - 750 sq ft is a good rule of thumb- so focus coverage there where people congregate... kitchen, family room, etc - not just for speed, but for capacity...

There is still the community "wisdom" based on old 802.11b/g - things are very different with 11n/ac/ax - interference is not as much of a problem as it was with legacy - I have no issues with suggesting that 2.4 (20Mhz) and 5 (40/80 MHz) - all AP's on the SSID can run in the same channels - key thing here is to keep the WPA2 settings the same across the bands, and the same SSID across the bands for 2.4 and 5GHz - 6GHz is a bit different because of greenfield issues - but that's another post perhaps.

@coxhaus - you didn't mention if your Cisco AP's are running with a WLC or standalone - if standalone, consider disabling 802.11r/k/v as this is dependent on the backend to support it - works better with a WLC as devices move around the network...
 
My wireless APs run as one big virtual AP. They do not run standalone. But I run them on separate channels. The 2.4 GHz I don't really care about as I try not to use it as it is kind of slow when scrolling pictures even on my iPhone.
 

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