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Which WiFi channel to choose? Other tips for signal quality?


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-Alex-

Hi all,

My girlfriend's having some problems with her WiFi. It's constantly dropping Skype calls and logging her out of Skype for example. I got her to run WiFi Analytics on her phone, and this is how many networks are coming up for each channel:

Ch.....Nets

1.......4

2.......3

3.......2

4.......1

5.......1

6.......3

7.......2

8.......2

9.......2

10.....3

11.....2

Due to channel overlap, can anyone tell me which channel will likely be the best to use? The router goes up to channel 13. Running the test again showed almost identical results, with the exception of channel 1 dropping from 4 networks to 1.

It was originally on channel 6. Then I got her to change to channel 11, which was giving her around 3mbps down. Channel 13 was reportedly worse. And channel 5 (that I just got her to change to) gives around 20mbps down, which we actually managed to have a decent quality Skype call on.

I also changed the power output to be higher. Can anyone else shed some light on the channel or other tips to improve WiFi quality? She's in an apartment block in Oslo, Norway using 802.11n on a D-Link DIR-635.

Any help appreciated!

Many thanks! :D

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JJ_

I think from memory that router has some decent reviews once you load it with DD-WRT. Re. Wireless channel, use inSSIDer to check what channels the networks in your GF's routers' vicinity are transmitting on and from there go for the least congested channel.

Have you also made sure 40 MHz mode is enabled if the router has such a setting?

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-Alex-

Hi JJ, thanks for your reply! Yeah, I got her to run WiFi Analytics on her phone, which is basically the same as the test you're suggesting. But the least congested channel isn't always the best, due to overlap. I'll have a look into DD-WRT, thanks! :D And yes, 40Mhz is on.

Thanks for your help! :)

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JJ_

Hmm I wouldn't rely too much on the phone for accurate speed test results but a laptop or PC should be good. Given that your GF lives in an apartment block, it could be that her connection to the ISP is overutilised thus the poor speeds. Is there a trend with calls dropping during peak times or certain times of the day? Double check the routers DHCP client list to make sure no one is piggybacking off her connection.

I would recommend running a couple of concurrent downloads using a stable connection (wired) to eliminate the connection itself being the root cause.

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-Alex-

The speed tests were taken from her laptop. The phone was just used for the channel tests. There's definitely nobody else on her network. Not too sure about the calls, but the phone seemed fine the last time I was there - but as for the WiFi, that's always been sub-par.

Good idea about doing a wired test though - I'll suggest that to her! Thanks!

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JJ_

In post #1 you mentioned Skype dropping calls and logging her out. Is there a specific time in the day when this happens e.g mornings/afternoon/evening? Tell her to make a mental record in future to see if a pattern emerges.

If you do decide to go down the DD-WRT route, make sure to take precautions and flash the firmware using a wired device. I've found a handy guide for you - http://forums.dlink.com/index.php?topic=13599.0 In the section 'Where do I get DD-WRT from?' skip the download links and go for this build but make sure you get the correct file for your routers revision - ftp://dd-wrt.com/others/eko/BrainSlayer-V24-preSP2/2011/12-09-11-r17990/

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simsie

I recommend checking with wired first just to make sure it's actually a wireless issue. After that I guess the only way to solve it is to try and get the signal power higher, perhaps high gain antennae or using the feature in DD-WRT that lets you boost signal.

I have some friends with the same problem and they still haven't solved it though. Good luck.

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+BudMan

the problem with your test is does not show strength of the signals.

I would suggest using something like the suggested inssider which will show you the strength of the signals being detected. Your channel needs to be isolated as best as possible from the stronger signals. maybe channel 1 has 4 but maybe they are much farther away then 2 on 11, even counting in the strength of the over lapping channels for 11, etc.

What does the graph on that tool look like - can you post a screenshot? I just looked at your link and it shows a graph. I have been using this app -- which you might want to to check out which shows you the overlap better on the graph.

channel-graph-land3.png

https://play.google.....analyzer&hl=en

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simsie

If you do decide to go down the DD-WRT route, make sure to take precautions and flash the firmware using a wired device. I've found a handy guide for you - http://forums.dlink....p?topic=13599.0 In the section 'Where do I get DD-WRT from?' skip the download links and go for this build but make sure you get the correct file for your routers revision - ftp://dd-wrt.com/oth...2-09-11-r17990/

Sorry to thread hijack but why have you picked that build and not the latest build? I'm being curious here, not complaining.

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JJ_

A lot of folks were having problems with newer builds in the guide I linked so I recommended build 17990 as it's been rock stable on my non-dlink router. My routers current uptime is 32 days, prior to this and a power failure, it was up for almost 60 days without being restarted.

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+Byt

Does she have any wireless landline phones?

I was at a client recently and the wireless phone was causing havok with the wifi signal

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primexx

I'd switch to 5ghz if you have the funds for a new router. apartment complexes are horribly crowded on the 2.4ghz range.

I think from memory that router has some decent reviews once you load it with DD-WRT. Re. Wireless channel, use inSSIDer to check what channels the networks in your GF's routers' vicinity are transmitting on and from there go for the least congested channel.

Have you also made sure 40 MHz mode is enabled if the router has such a setting?

40mhz bands on 2.4ghz will only make the problem worse for everyone overall.

A lot of folks were having problems with newer builds in the guide I linked so I recommended build 17990 as it's been rock stable on my non-dlink router. My routers current uptime is 32 days, prior to this and a power failure, it was up for almost 60 days without being restarted.

has 17990 replaced 15962? or are you just jumping one more step ahead?

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JJ_

Why limit himself to N150 speeds on 20 MHz when he can get more thoroughput from 40 MHz with a compatible card? Sure it might make matters worse but there's no harm in trying right? Hell, OP doesn't know if his line is overulitised yet, talk about jumping the gun with 5 GHz.

RTFG

Note: The [most_recent_date] is at this time 12-24-10-r15962, so the folder you should be looking in is ftp://dd-wrt.com/oth...-24-10-r15962/. However, new builds are constantly released so check the most recent date folder in ftp://dd-wrt.com/oth...yer-V24-preSP2/ regularly.

DD-WRT are notorious for buggy builds, as I pointed out already with reference to the guniea pigs @ Dlink forums who tried and failed with some newer builds.

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-Alex-

Thanks for all your replies guys! With regards to DD-WRT, I think I'm gonna leave this one. She's living at her parents at the moment, and none of them in the house are very technically-inclined, so I think this could only create problems rather than fix them. The next time I'm in Oslo, I'll consider doing this though.

I got her to install inSSIDer - here are the results (FIFTY networks found!! :o)

32256843.png

48815771.png

Her network is the biggest one (GET86792PRIVAT).

Attached the results of the logging (.gpx file zipped cos .gpx isn't on the whitelist of allowed filetypes here).

Also, there are ZERO networks on the 5GHz band, so is it worth them getting a 5Ghz router? Specifically she's struggling at the moment with getting wireless signal in her bedroom and has to go into the living room to make a Skype call. According to this, 5GHz doesn't penetrate walls as well as 2.4GHz, so I can only see this making that specific situation worse.

Finally, a wired connection consistently delivers 20mbps down and 25ms ping (spot on). Interestingly, channel 5 was working great yesterday and is now abysmally slow (seems to happen a lot that a channel works great, then suddenly doesn't). I now got her to change to channel 7, and that's delivering about 19.5mbps down / 45ms ping... but I don't know how long that will last. Also, that's in the living room (near the router). When she goes to her bedroom, it drops to around 7.5mbps down. There are no steel beams that I know of in the apartment.

For now though, what channel would be best to use? Or what other advice could you give me?

Thanks a lot for all your help guys! :D

inSSIDer Log.zip

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+BudMan

Man 50 -- thats nuts! Yeah your prob going to have nothing but issues with that kind of mess.

If you saying there is NOTHING on 5ghz, I would really suggest you give it a go. If signal is an issue on 5ghz in different rooms, then setup AP in those rooms, etc.

That is some serious crowding in that location - other option move ;)

Or would it be possible for the apt complex to setup a wireless network that the tenets could use vs setting up their own all stepping on each other?

Other than that you might want to look into setting up a wifi club at the complex to setup what channels people in different locations should run on so they don't step all over each other. That would be a major undertaking -- if your saying 5ghz is clear, jump on it!!

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-Alex-

Bumping this thread after a month with some news. In the end my girlfriend decided just to 'grin and bear it' in respect of getting a 5GHz router, since she'll be moving out of her parents' in a month... but she keeps telling me it's when the TV is on that the wifi becomes unusable. I've just got to the bottom of this once and for all.

When the cable box is on (not TV), the wifi becomes unusable. She's been trying (and failing) to get online for the last few hours... apparently the moment her dad switched the cable box off a few minutes ago, her laptop immediately connected to the network.

The cable TV service and internet are both provided by Get.no, but there is no ethernet cable going into the box. I find this really strange, and Get have been round a couple of times and been unable to fix it.

Has anyone had a similar problem to this before? BudMan, do you have any advice?

Thanks guys!

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Carbon Fiber

I had such issue: when the TV is turned on, the wifi gets really really slow (<1mbit dl, upload stays normal, 5mbit).

It was a wireless headphone that was constantly turned on, even when docked. Moved the docking station of the headphone a few meter and .. solved :-)

You have no idea how many technicians have been searching for the problem at my house, and at the end I solved it myself ;-)

Gl!

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primexx

why not buy a 5ghz router and take it wit hher when she moves? not like it's a fixture.

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remixedcat

50 NETWORKS!!!!! HOLY COW THAT'S LIKE 42 MORE THEN I GOT AROUND MY HOUSE!!!

(and the song that's playing is fitting this well LOL)

yey you used the AMPED WIRELESS!!! tool... good job.

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Ambroos

Before you conclude there are 'no' 5Ghz-networks, be sure the computer you are scanning with actually supports 5Ghz. My Sony laptop for example has support for 5Ghz (and it's great, especially at school where nobody gets decent speeds but me), but it was turned off by default! InSSIDer doesn't give you any warnings if your 5Ghz is off, for the record.

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Detection

Maybe a directional antenna would better suit ?

Or a cantenna (If those things work as well as youtube claims they do)

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remixedcat

DDWRT,Duct Tape and Pringles cans!!

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-Alex-

I had such issue: when the TV is turned on, the wifi gets really really slow (<1mbit dl, upload stays normal, 5mbit).

It was a wireless headphone that was constantly turned on, even when docked. Moved the docking station of the headphone a few meter and .. solved :-)

You have no idea how many technicians have been searching for the problem at my house, and at the end I solved it myself ;-)

Gl!

This is the same issue. When the TV (actually cable box) is on, the wifi becomes unusable... just don't know how to fix that/why it's doing it?

why not buy a 5ghz router and take it wit hher when she moves? not like it's a fixture.

I would do, but the point is to solve the problem in her parent's apartment. The apartment we will be moving in to next month has it's own router and internet connection, so we don't need a router there.

Before you conclude there are 'no' 5Ghz-networks, be sure the computer you are scanning with actually supports 5Ghz. My Sony laptop for example has support for 5Ghz (and it's great, especially at school where nobody gets decent speeds but me), but it was turned off by default! InSSIDer doesn't give you any warnings if your 5Ghz is off, for the record.

This thought crossed my mind...

But back to the problem... it's definitely when the cable box is on... can anyone explain why or how to fix it?

Thanks!! :)

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remixedcat

get a new cable box!!!

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remixedcat

Before you conclude there are 'no' 5Ghz-networks, be sure the computer you are scanning with actually supports 5Ghz. My Sony laptop for example has support for 5Ghz (and it's great, especially at school where nobody gets decent speeds but me), but it was turned off by default! InSSIDer doesn't give you any warnings if your 5Ghz is off, for the record.

does Xirrus Wifi Inspector?? Please install it and give it a try!

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Ambroos

does Xirrus Wifi Inspector?? Please install it and give it a try!

It doesn't do anything different at all when I disable 5Ghz, so no.

The only ways to be sure is to either test with a 5Ghz network, or look up the type of your WiFi card. Mine for example is an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200. But I have to set the mode in which it runs (2.4 only/simultaneous/5 only) in this Vaio Smart Network tray app. On most computers you can change it in device manager too, especially with Intel cards.

40Mhz channels are usually disabled by default too. I had to enable channel bonding in Device Manager manually before I could reach 300Mbps on my network. Ofc I don't get that, but I do get 200Mbps LAN-to-LAN now.

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