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Router reaching EOL?


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+jnelsoninjax

My wife is reporting that her router (approx 5 years old) has started in the last few days randomly dropping the wireless connection from the cell phone and laptop (to the point she has had to re-input the password), and is wondering if the router might be failing. She also checked and said there is around 30+ other WiFi connections showing up in the area (she lives in an apartment). I am wondering if she just happens to be on a crowded channel, or could the router be reaching it's end of life? What are some steps I can have her do to determine where the problem might lie?

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+virtorio

I'll presume she's tried turning it off and on again (by far the most common thing that fixes router issues) . Other than that, make sure the antennas are property attached (if it has ones external ones that screw on), try changing the channel to a less crowded one in the router admin page and making sure it has appropriate ventilation. 

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+LostCat
Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, jnelsoninjax said:

My wife is reporting that her router (approx 5 years old) has started in the last few days randomly dropping the wireless connection from the cell phone and laptop (to the point she has had to re-input the password), and is wondering if the router might be failing. She also checked and said there is around 30+ other WiFi connections showing up in the area (she lives in an apartment). I am wondering if she just happens to be on a crowded channel, or could the router be reaching it's end of life? What are some steps I can have her do to determine where the problem might lie?

Is she using N or AC?  N has very few channels and can be saturated easily.

 

Moving to AX would get you a newer router and some of them are great (see smallnetbuilder, the early ones aren't all that) but might not be helpful (especially given most equipment doesn't support it yet.)

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+jnelsoninjax
21 minutes ago, LostCat said:

Is she using N or AC?  N has very few channels and can be saturated easily.

 

Moving to AX would get you a newer router and some of them are great (see smallnetbuilder, the early ones aren't all that) but might not be helpful (especially given most equipment doesn't support it yet.)

I believe it is an N, it is about 5 years old.

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+LostCat
Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, jnelsoninjax said:

I believe it is an N, it is about 5 years old.

If I recall correctly N has three channels, which is why it's so easy to saturate and have problems with in a crowded environment.  She might have to use ethernet or upgrade the equipment.

 

Laptops can go ethernet or USB wifi cards if you don't want to work on the internals for AC, phone might need replacing for it.

 

It's also very possible the router is going bad one way or another if it's as old as you say.  They tend to have a security shelf life of about three years max from what I've noticed.

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+BudMan
9 hours ago, LostCat said:

If I recall correctly N has three channels

Not quite 2.4 GHZ has 3 channels (1,6 and 11 that do not overlap).. In much of the world - depending were your at 14 is also possible.  But 2.4 ghz could be B,G or N..

 

N also runs on 5 ghz.. which has more channels.  AC only runs on 5 ghz..  While AX uses both 2.4 and 5, and most likely 6 ghz at some point in the near future..

 

Its possible that the space has just become more crowded which is why she is having trouble.  And nothing wrong with the router.. Even though 5 years and only N.. Which could be using only 2.4 and not the better 5 ghz..

 

It could be time for a new wifi router that supports at least AC.. As to AX... Does she have any clients that support it, or plans to get something in the next year?  What is her internet speed?  Does she do any transfer of data locally, etc.. While AX is the new standard, not sure its time to jump on that band wagon yet, unless you have specific use/need of its features this early in the game..  You will be paying a premium for that equipment currently being an early adopter..

 

But some actual details of she is 2.4 or 5ghz (or dual band)  And her setup.. If she is trying to run 40 VHT on 2.4 then yeah that not good idea..  And say a screenshot of the signal strength of the wifi in the area.. Not just that there are lots of them.. There are plenty of free tools depending on what device and OS she is using to list out the signal strengths of these other devices and what channels they are on, etc.  If IOS device there are some limits there..  But if say laptop running windows.. Something like

 

https://www.acrylicwifi.com/en/wlan-wifi-wireless-network-software-tools/wlan-scanner-acrylic-wifi-free/

 

But there plenty to choose from..

 

5ghz is much better for such an environment (apartments)... Because it doesn't travel as far, so while it can provide you with good coverage in you space.. The units next to yours shouldn't interfere too much... Especially if they have their power setup correctly..  HIGH TX power is normally not the best setup, especially in crowded setup..

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+jnelsoninjax

Thanks for the insite @BudMan, I am going to look for a new router for her, anything new now would be better then what she has at the moment (to her opinion...) so I am going to have her do some more troubleshooting, and see if it is what I am suspecting (crowded channel) what would be a good app to use to see the channel coverage?

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+BudMan

On what device - already linked to what I would run on windows to look at wifi around you.

 

If your an android user - just search for "WiFi Analyzer" in the store sure there are hundreds to pick from..

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goretsky

Hello,

 

It could be a combination of more crowded frequency spectrum and the device beginning to fail.  It has been my experience that consumer routers are sensitive to heat (combination of small size and reliance on passive cooling) and will fail more quickly if left exposed to a heat source, such as near a heat vent, window, and so forth.

I have replaced two routers with 802.11ac ("AC1750") in the past few years with news with the same specs, not because they failed, but because the manufacturers stopped updating their firmware, and support for alternative firmware like DD-WRT or Tomato by Shibby was limited.  Of the two replacements, one has already stopped receiving vendor updates, but has a fast enough processor and enough storage to run DD-WRT, and the other is still receiving firmware updates from the vendor.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

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