Author Topic: The whole wifi con  (Read 10103 times)

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Offline Howardlong

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #75 on: October 10, 2017, 01:07:13 pm »
Using a more powerful AP and WiFi cards is a expensive, illegal, and not particularly effective way of extending range in a busy shared environment. The same applies to messing around with directional antennas. Avoid range extenders, they add latency, unreliability, and reduce capacity. A far more reliable, and cost- and time-effective way is to add more wired APs.

I have completely reliable 2.4GHz across my 1000sqft apartment in central London. It's in a period building, perhaps 150 years old, so thick walls. There are dozens of Wireless networks visible. I have 4 APs all wired on Gige. The fourth one I only put in recently, I've been managing with three for about six years but had a low speed in one corner of the kitchen that struggled streaming video, so I put in another one.

They are all on the same SSID, and I was careful not to overlap channels where APs could see each other.

For backing up, I only use wired GigE, but for general content consumption and productivity, the Wifi is mostly fine, and if necessary I can plug in devices on the odd occasion I need the extra bandwidth.

I use flat Cat 6 and Cat5e cabling between the APs, and that fits easily and neatly at carpet edges and doors without needing to drill millions of holes, and is acceptable to those in the household with a more aesthetic bent.

 

Online Monkeh

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #76 on: October 10, 2017, 02:58:08 pm »
By the way, have you tried setting the bands to automatic? That should have the gear pick the least contested band automatically. Obviously, when more devices in the area are set to this, you get a collective dance of infinite hopping, but that's just the way things are.

Such a setting almost never works properly. Usually they just pick one based on a single scan and sit there forever more.
Maybe in some REALLY crappy 2.4GHz implementations.

But if you’re using 5GHz, you really, really should avoid manual channel selection. Why? Because one of 5GHz’s huge advantages is having far more channels available. But — and it’s a huge “but” — the vast majority of those are channels on frequencies that are shared with other uses, most notably with weather radar. Because of this shared use (and the fact that a single rogue 5GHz Wi-Fi network can take out radar for hundreds of miles), all the channels on shared-use frequencies are available by automatic scan only, where the router makes sure that the channel is actually free before attempting to use it. (IIRC, it has to verify this periodically.) If you select the channel manually, you’re limited to just a handful.

Let it go automatic and you’re practically guaranteed to have a 5GHz channel with zero contention.

DFS support in 5GHz devices is really only just arriving (sadly), and still does not work well.

Theory: Select 'automatic', device always finds a quiet channel for you and continuously looks for the quietest option
Reality: Select 'automatic', device takes a scan, picks a channel which looks quiet, and stays there. If it's a DFS channel and it detects radar, it drops back to the lowest practical channel. And stays there.

This, sadly, is the reality of most consumer devices available, especially ISP provided or sanely priced ones.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #77 on: October 10, 2017, 03:04:05 pm »
Using a more powerful AP and WiFi cards is a expensive, illegal, and not particularly effective way of extending range in a busy shared environment. The same applies to messing around with directional antennas. Avoid range extenders, they add latency, unreliability, and reduce capacity. A far more reliable, and cost- and time-effective way is to add more wired APs.

I have completely reliable 2.4GHz across my 1000sqft apartment in central London. It's in a period building, perhaps 150 years old, so thick walls. There are dozens of Wireless networks visible. I have 4 APs all wired on Gige. The fourth one I only put in recently, I've been managing with three for about six years but had a low speed in one corner of the kitchen that struggled streaming video, so I put in another one.

They are all on the same SSID, and I was careful not to overlap channels where APs could see each other.

For backing up, I only use wired GigE, but for general content consumption and productivity, the Wifi is mostly fine, and if necessary I can plug in devices on the odd occasion I need the extra bandwidth.

I use flat Cat 6 and Cat5e cabling between the APs, and that fits easily and neatly at carpet edges and doors without needing to drill millions of holes, and is acceptable to those in the household with a more aesthetic bent.
I like to joke that my estate is so big that I need two access points, one each for the east and west wings! :p

In actuality it’s a 1 bedroom apartment, but because of how the rooms are staggered (it really is like the bedroom is a separate wing), and the heavy masonry construction, 2.4GHz really can’t reach the whole apartment reliably, so I use two APs with a wired backbone. I tried  giving that power line networking bullshit a chance as a backbone, but it sucked.  (it was more reliable than the WiFi, but managed 30Mbps on a good day — a significant issue when the internet connection is 100Mbps.) So then I took the existing conduit with the phone wiring, ripped out the phone wire and ran Cat 7 through it as a backbone, replaced the cat-less jacks with Cat6 jacks, and ran flat Cat6 run inside the baseboards to get from the cable modem to the wall jack. This gigabit backbone works marvelously, and of course scaled well when I got upgraded to 250Mbs and then 500Mbps. My desktop computer is connected via wired Ethernet of course and actually benefits from it. The portable gadgets get real-world 250Mbps via the 802.11n Airport Extremes used as APs. (I guess I’ll need to upgrade to 802.11ac eventually.)
 

Offline G7PSK

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Offline cdev

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #79 on: October 10, 2017, 04:03:38 pm »
Has anybody ever considered using a short length of coaxial cable with (2.4 GHz, 5.8 GHz, or broadband, whatever) antennas on both ends, or, merely locating at least one of a diversity capable AP's several antennas farther apart..

instead of a second access point or repeater to extend signals?  It works great!

Edit: This is the term I was looking for..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_repeater

You probably already have all the parts you would need to do it. A piece of coax long enough, and two antennas.
...
.. RG6 is ideal. You could use an easy to make broadband antenna like a bowtie or planar disc antenna at both ends, cut so that the coverage extends below the lower band (2.4 GHz) - That should also cover 5.8 GHz.

The beauty of a passive repeater is it will quite possibly work with your automatically selected channel, it may well work on both 2.4 and 5 GHz.

« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 02:29:07 am by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #80 on: October 10, 2017, 05:19:04 pm »
Has anybody ever considered using a short length of coaxial cable with (2.4 GHz, 5.8 GHz, or broadband, whatever) antennas on both ends, or, merely locating at least one of a diversity capable AP's several antennas farther apart..

instead of a second access point or repeater to extend signals?  It works great!

You likely could also get away with simply using a coaxial "tee" connector and splitting the antenna signal. At long distances this will create a lumpy pattern but inside of a home the coverage is likely to be more complete the larger the antennas aperture is electrically. But the coax cable with two antennas on the ends trick is almost guaranteed to work and its easy and requires no specialized knowledge really. You can use any kind of antenna too. No need to use coax connectors, even. Just use the thickest coax you have, RG6 is ideal. You could use an easy to make broadband antenna like a bowtie or planar disc antenna at both ends, cut so that the coverage extends below the lower band (2.4 GHz) - That should also cover 5.8 GHz.

Difficult to know where to start. Lots of “almost guaranteed”, ”easy”, “no specialized knowledge”, “get away with”, “just use”. Sounds like an awful lot of wishful thinking to me, and a lot of wasted coax and effort. I should’ve given up reading at “tee connector”.
 

Offline bd139

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #81 on: October 10, 2017, 05:27:30 pm »
MacGuyver could make it work.
 
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Offline CJay

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #82 on: October 10, 2017, 05:42:17 pm »
Pfft, McGyver...

I spent a happy half hour messing about with a metal rubbish bin in a hotel room so I could access the free WiFi in the masonic lodge downstairs on one memorable week's training...
M0UAW
 
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Offline Jeroen3

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #83 on: October 10, 2017, 05:59:30 pm »
All the wrong answers. The worst things to do are blindly getting repeaters and more power.
Also most ISP actually sell reasonly expensive stuff*, a bold statement like "ISP stuff sucks!" isn't very helpful in most cases.

How to fix wifi problems?

1. Location.
People often hide the ISP router (access point) in a corner of a room, in a cabinet behind stuff or even on the floor, near an exterior wall.
Exterior walls are horror to WiFi, as well as anything else nearby basically. Live in a tent and enjoy perfect wifi!
Move the damn thing to a better location and don't put it behind stuff. For example, mount it on an interior wall central in your house at half the room height or higher, but not to close to the ceiling.
Find out on which side of the device they're put the antennas, and don't block that side with any metals.
This all is half the work to getting decent wifi, and it often requires only 1 cable. (considering a POE accesspoint)

If you have a big house you can consider more access points. Try to get them wired. If not, get a mesh compatible system.
802.11r is basically non-existent in the prosumer market right now, so don't expect perfect roaming with anything you can afford.

2. Configuration
If you're in a crowded area, chances are WiFi isn't the only thing using the 2.4GHz band. Most quality access points can do a band scan so you can detect the lowest energy channel. This means you're not fighting with someone's security camera. Because you will lose that.
If you can't find a free channel, or don't live at the countryside, join the least disturbed channel. (eg: the channel with the least side lobes)

3. Equipment
If all above show no improvement, get decent equipment. Then I don't mean spend more money, spend wisely. The popular *huge* TP-Link routers made for a low price point, you will know this by the number of unpatched cve's, yet they ask ridiculous prices for the services they offer. Remember that networking gear also requires security patches.
There is also this massive size Asus router that seems to get much love from the enthusiasts. It doesn't need to be so big, and those antennas are for show.
Buy Ubiquity, Cisco or Mikrotik. Get 5 GHz. Notice how none of the professional indoor access points have big visible antennes.

Solutions like, get more powah, get repeater or get powerline all won't significantly increase your internet experience. The best way to enhance your internet experience is to use good old twisted pair.
But that doesn't fit in your iPad.

*the units often feature remote management, multiple pppoe with vlan routing and voip.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2017, 06:04:30 pm by Jeroen3 »
 

Offline CJay

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #84 on: October 10, 2017, 06:28:39 pm »
Yeah, absolutely, no professional WiFi access point has visible antennae.

Oh...

http://transparent-uk.com/cisco-aironet-3700e-1300mbit-s-power-over-ethernet-poe-white-wlan-access-point.html?mkwid=s_dc|pcrid|201436624720|pkw||pmt|&mh_keyword=&bnine=true&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5Yydrtbm1gIVxbftCh2C2A-HEAQYAiABEgL29_D_BwE

https://www.hpe.com/uk/en/product-catalog/networking/networking-wireless.hits-12.html

M0UAW
 

Offline Jeroen3

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #85 on: October 10, 2017, 08:05:02 pm »
Yeah, absolutely, no professional WiFi access point has visible antennae.
Those are conference hall access points...  :palm: Completely out of the described use case of this topic. Outdoor access points also have antennas, for improved waterproofing and directional options.
 

Offline CJay

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #86 on: October 10, 2017, 08:22:24 pm »
Yeah, absolutely, no professional WiFi access point has visible antennae.
Those are conference hall access points...  :palm: Completely out of the described use case of this topic. Outdoor access points also have antennas, for improved waterproofing and directional options.

'Professional indoor access points'

I'll get the popcorn while you wriggle and squirm your way out of that but if you want to define 'professional' I can find a WAP that has external antennae or the option for them.
.

M0UAW
 

Online Red Squirrel

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #87 on: October 11, 2017, 12:29:08 am »
Part of the issue is people expect too much out of wifi and just put everything on it.  Make everything wired, except for mobile stuff, that means less items fighting for bandwidth.  Wifi can be seen as a hub, only 2 devices can talk to each other at once. It's the nature of the beast. So the more stuff that is wireless the more congestion you might get.

Commercial APs will often be better than consumer stuff as well.  Unifi is fairly affordable.
 

Offline alanb

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #88 on: October 16, 2017, 04:38:31 pm »
Have you tried remote WiFi access points connected through the mains such as the Devolo units?
https://www.devolo.co.uk/dlan-wifi-adapter/

They are not perfect but they have been the best thing other than Ethernet cable that I have tried in my home.
 

Online Halcyon

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #89 on: October 17, 2017, 11:39:27 pm »
Notice how none of the professional indoor access points have big visible antennes.

As others have pointed out, that's complete bull crap. I used to install Cisco, Motorola and Aruba access points in enterprise environments and most of them absolutely had external antenna connectors, especially the Cisco gear.

The size, shape and whether the antenna is internal or external is largely irrelevant when we're talking about internal access points. You really only need to be concerned about the gain and radiation pattern for the area you're installing them in. My Ubiquiti AP performs a crap load better than those consumer access points disguised as a hedge hog.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 11:42:05 pm by Halcyon »
 

Offline Jeroen3

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #90 on: October 18, 2017, 06:15:45 am »
Notice how none of the professional indoor access points have big visible antennes.

As others have pointed out, that's complete bull crap. I used to install Cisco, Motorola and Aruba access points in enterprise environments and most of them absolutely had external antenna connectors, especially the Cisco gear.
I just checked again. The most popular 9 accesspoint at consumer shop have 7/9 have big antenna's while the first 9 at business shop scores 0/9. You get the point, right?
 

Offline helius

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #91 on: October 18, 2017, 06:40:50 am »
I just checked again. The most popular 9 accesspoint at consumer shop have 7/9 have big antenna's while the first 9 at business shop scores 0/9. You get the point, right?
Why do you blindly assume that is driven by performance?
It's much more likely that equipment in a business setting requires greater resistance to vandalism.

My experience with industrial grade APs is that they are more likely to have antenna connectors, whereas most consumer junk has done away with that and have captive, rotatable antenna pods. They do look different but it isn't because internal patch antennas are magic.

My APs have panel mounted N connectors. You know, on a steel chassis.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 06:50:06 am by helius »
 

Offline borjam

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #92 on: October 18, 2017, 07:02:07 am »
Not sure if it's been mentioned, but the 'channels' on 2.4GHz are a bit of joke since the sidebands of just one extend  over about half the entire band. Thus it's a bit like AM radio at night.
The 2.4 GHz channels were defined before WiFi existed. The channels have a width of just 5 MHz, while a WiFi transmission on 2.4 GHz has a bandwidth of 20 MHz. Some stupid manuafcturers even suggest using 40 MHz channels on 2.4 GHz, which is even worse. In that case the whole band can only carry two simultaneous transmissions.

These graphics on Wikipedia display it pretty well.



Most of the WiFi problems come from poor configurations. And of course the 2.4 GHz spectrum is saturated just because of the number of users.

5 GHz is better for several reasons:

- Its suffers more attenuation due to walls. I would say "benefits" because your neighbor's 5 GHz network will rarely be a problem. But
of course you may need several access points at home depending on the number of rooms, its structure and even the kind of walls you
have.

- There is much more bandwidth available, which leads to higher speeds.

- There are plenty of crappy devices on 2.4 GHz like audio/video transmitters, etc. Some microwave motion detectors operate on 2.4 GHz. Bluetooth operates on 2.4 GHz. Microwave ovens radiate on 2.4 GHz. The 5 GHz band is cleaner. Anyway, at least your neighbor crappy
devices will be less of a problem on 5 GHz thanks to attenuation.

And there are some misconceptions around power. More power on the access point makes it visible at a larger distance but it doesn't
mean you will achieve a larger range. Using a 1 W ERP accesss point doesn't make your phone, tablet or computer radiate 1 W. Actually,
in places covered by several access points it's usually a good idea to decrease AP power so that devices associato to the nearest
AP.

Apart from interference, the worst WiFi performance killer is devices associated with a poor signal level. Those devices need to transmit
at a lower speed (otherwise they wouldn't work) and that drags down the rest of the associated clients because it takes up more
radio time. If you have several devices at home check the list of associated clients.

Antennas: even built in antennas can be very different. Enterprise access points designed to be attached to the ceiling are intended to
be unobtrusive, so you will rarely see connectors for external anntennas. Some el cheapo residential APs have external antennas
because they are very cheap and visible atennas are probably perceived as "more powerful" by most users. But some enterprise
APs have quite sophisticated internal atennas.

The main benefit of a proper antenna is not just radiated power, but rejecting interference. An example: An AP with a good antenna radiation diagram attached to the ceiling will be much less sensitive to transmissions from the next floor, which means it will be
more immune to interference from your neighbor and, in case you own both floors, it will make it less likely for a device on a floor
to associate to an AP on a different floor, which is good.

 

Online Brumby

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #93 on: October 18, 2017, 08:05:46 am »
"The whole wifi con"

From the very beginning, I looked at WiFi as an "alternative" option - not as a basic service.  In fact I have set up two home networks without enabling WiFi.  One was taken over by the kids in the household who shuffled things around and enabled the WiFi.  The other was controlled by me - and had been running for 15 years without opening up that floodgate.  I've only recently relented for some mobile device connections.  :(

Security, speed, reliability and consistency are things that run naturally with a wired network.  Still not a great fan of WiFi ... but it can be convenient.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #94 on: October 19, 2017, 07:40:05 am »
I just checked again. The most popular 9 accesspoint at consumer shop have 7/9 have big antenna's while the first 9 at business shop scores 0/9. You get the point, right?
Why do you blindly assume that is driven by performance?
It's much more likely that equipment in a business setting requires greater resistance to vandalism.

My experience with industrial grade APs is that they are more likely to have antenna connectors, whereas most consumer junk has done away with that and have captive, rotatable antenna pods. They do look different but it isn't because internal patch antennas are magic.

My APs have panel mounted N connectors. You know, on a steel chassis.
Business routers are also likely to service a high density population in a mesh wifi network. Having a limited range might even be preferred, although transmission power should also be settable or even dynamically adjusted.
 

Offline cdev

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #95 on: November 18, 2017, 08:31:54 pm »
Has anybody ever tried the following to get a signal around some indoor obstacle without having to buy another AP? Get a length of top quality coax that will allow both ends to be illuminated by the desired endpoints. Get or make a directional antenna for the end nearest the AP and point it at the AP. Then put an omnidirectional antenna on the other end. Then see if the range is extended adequately. It may be.
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Online Brumby

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #96 on: November 19, 2017, 05:29:08 am »
A passive repeater.

Worth a try - and it may be all you need.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #97 on: November 21, 2017, 06:15:58 pm »
Has anybody ever tried the following to get a signal around some indoor obstacle without having to buy another AP? Get a length of top quality coax that will allow both ends to be illuminated by the desired endpoints. Get or make a directional antenna for the end nearest the AP and point it at the AP. Then put an omnidirectional antenna on the other end. Then see if the range is extended adequately. It may be.
I don’t see why that wouldn’t work. But whether that’s less work than running another AP is another matter. (E.g. in my home, running Cat 7 through existing conduit and terminating it with Cat7 8P8C jacks was a much more pragmatic solution.)
 

Online wraper

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #98 on: November 21, 2017, 06:38:58 pm »
I was last told to set my router to band 6 because this is the most popular. I thought the opposite would be the case but i did it anyway as I've just lost hope.
LOL, band 6 is what I would avoid. Most routers left on auto will stay at band 6 as well. So likely you'll get the most of interference possible in your area. I'd set band 1 or max band possible, as there is overlap with a few nearby channels as well.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 06:53:58 pm by wraper »
 

Offline Ice-Tea

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #99 on: November 22, 2017, 09:41:18 am »
If no other devices are using the WiFi spectrum, channel 6 is the most likely to give the best performance but if the air is not empty, 6 will probably suck  ;D
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