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Wi-Fi signal dropping

  1. I just moved into an L shaped house with one side office and the other side apartment. The office owner is the landlord so we get free wifi. The problem is that periodically the wireless signal stalls out when loading a webpage or video.

    Their setup is a Motorola Surfboard (Maybe SB5100?) that goes to a Linksys 8 port switch. 6-7 of those ports are taken up by ethernet cables going to computers while one goes to the upstairs netgear wireless router.

    The wireless signal is not 100% all the time where we are in the house (ranging from 75%-100%). So I went out and bought a Western Digital N600 router to replace their older netgear router. I figured this would solve the problem but it didn't we are still getting the same range and the signal is still dropping.

    I checked the software of the linksys switch through my browser and it says its running 2006 firmware. I think this may be a choke point but I am thinking it might also have something to do with the router.

    Either way my landlord is willing to cooperate with me since I replaced the router and didn't see any improvements. Any ideas on what I should do?

    Here are the traceroute results:

    traceroute to 74.125.132.138 (74.125.132.138), 64 hops max, 40 byte packets
    1 192.168.1.1 3.991 ms 1.889 ms 1.873 ms
    2 7.44.196.1 10.992 ms 10.493 ms 10.183 ms
    3 66.185.90.193 11.352 ms 16.212 ms 14.006 ms
    4 69.63.251.229 13.688 ms 15.831 ms 12.424 ms
    5 69.63.250.181 33.962 ms 35.165 ms 35.454 ms
    6 69.63.250.97 46.692 ms 36.646 ms 30.228 ms
    7 72.14.216.14 31.436 ms 32.030 ms 59.031 ms
    8 216.239.47.114 33.223 ms 209.85.255.232 30.514 ms 32.004 ms
    9 209.85.255.235 50.003 ms 216.239.46.170 51.650 ms 54.420 ms
    10 216.239.46.219 129.556 ms 216.239.43.5 124.843 ms 216.239.46.219 151.485 ms
    11 72.14.235.171 120.744 ms 124.549 ms 126.290 ms
    12 209.85.253.20 127.127 ms 216.239.43.233 169.242 ms 209.85.253.20 271.652 ms
    13 209.85.251.231 179.707 ms 209.85.252.83 180.045 ms 72.14.236.191 319.591 ms
    14 * * *
    15 74.125.132.138 128.734 ms 127.106 ms 126.051 ms
     
  2. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 5,388   +240

    How many walls/floors are between you & the wi fi?
    I ask because I'm in a two story building & my wi fi has to go thru a floor & several walls, lotsa interference. I'm considering a cantennae http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantenna
    "A cantenna is a directional waveguide antenna for long-range Wi-Fi used to increase the range of (or discover) a wireless network, made out of an open ended metal can. The cylinder portion of the can may consist of metal-coated paperboard."
    Oddly enough, I have no problem using a laptop, just tower get low signals:) .
     
  3. andrewdoyle88

    andrewdoyle88 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19   +8

    Here is the setup.
    y=Modem with the linksys switch right beside it.
    x=wireless router on the second floor. The ethernet cable upstairs from the switch.
    2=where my desktop is. It almost has full bars signal, only missing one bar.
    1=where my tv is, appletv shows only half bars on wifi signal but my laptop shows full bars.

    I was thinking about getting a wifi range extender but im not sure if my speeds will suffer for a little more range.
    My goal is to make sure there are no bottlenecks before I go to a wifi range extender.[​IMG]
     
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,474   +329

    You might consider swapping the WiFi box for a MIMO class WiFi device.
    MIMO: Multi-In Multi-Out, uses at least two antennas, some even have dual band (2.4 & 5 ghz).

    Also get a copy of inSSIDer and you will be able to see not only the RF strength but also how many other stations are competing with your channel (hint: helps find an empty channel for you :) )
     
  5. andrewdoyle88

    andrewdoyle88 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 19   +8

    Thanks jobeard for the help.

    The western digital n600 wireless router I bought has two antennas and does support dual band which I have set up.

    The results from inSSIDer are:

    RSSI
    2.4 GHz = -56 dB
    5 GHz = -75 dB

    I made sure the 2.4 GHz was not using the same channel as any other network. The 5 GHz channel was competing with another signal near the same strength so I changed it. The funny this is the WiFi bars on my computer went up to 50-75% to 100% once I changed the 5 GHz channel; I am connected to the 2.4 GHz channel.

    I don't really understand why the 5 Ghz channel is so weak (half bars). The wifi router is maybe 40 feet away from the furthest computer. I am still not sure what causes the connection drop-out for 5-15 seconds, maybe the signal strength or the old 8 port switch not keeping up to the demand put on the system?

    Anyways my question is still the same. Do I get the landlord to get a new modem, new 8 port switch or get a wifi range extender?
     
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,474   +329

    The wave length of RF is 1/frequency, so the 5GHz is 1/2 that of 2.4ghz. Shorter waves get absorbed more easily and thus the 5GHz will not be as strong. The advantage is the next door neighbor will NEVER interfere with you on 5GHz.
    BUT you have multiple walls between :sigh:
    the switch has nothing to do with the RF/WiFi
    Drop Outs are (90%) RF related. Ensure you have the latest firmware for the western digital n600 as well as linksys switch (running 2006 firmware)
    those are good numbers.

    Is the ISP link DSL? verify every phone or device attached to the phone line has a filter.

    On the WD n600, set the MTU to 1492 which will stop / reduce tcp packet fragmentation at least on the WiFi connections.
     


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