Author Topic: The whole wifi con  (Read 10297 times)

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Offline cdev

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2017, 04:22:00 pm »
A number of years ago I was really into making directional wifi antennas so I could hang out in the cafe a block away and surf the net using my home AP. I still have some of my creations (all are 2.4 GHz antennas) and they were easy to make. A directional antenna is all most people need to get quite good range.

One of them is really, really easy to build in just a few minutes, its just a well-measured square of copper metal mounted in front of a flat reflector. It will give one around 6-8 db gain over the typical wifi router antenna.

Its angle of radiation is around 60 degrees. Thats perfect for a lot of uses. (will cover a backyard and house without wasting signals on other houses)

No need to buy extra antennas if you make them. Also with a better antenna you can reduce wifi power.
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Offline Simon

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #26 on: October 08, 2017, 04:23:07 pm »
I never said that 5GHz was inferior, indeed it is what I am on right now and I'd turn 2.4 off and save me a packet in electric if it were not for the printer I have that is older and only does 2.4. With 5GHz you apparently can't just set it up and hope. The vast increase in bandwidth does sold it greatly as at the end of the day people will only be using so much dat and so things would eventually work out. For some reason everyone round here on 5GHz is hogging the same few bands and so was I until half and hour ago. The not being able to go through 1 wall does become a bit of a problem when it means that almost every room needs a repeater, expensive to buy all that kit and more power constantly in use.

Now with 2.4GHz I could see my neighbours network across the back garden, obviously on 5GHz I can't and can only see a few others. the fact also that there is the space for us to spread out has helped aleviate problems.
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Offline RGB255_0_0

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #27 on: October 08, 2017, 04:23:43 pm »
Channel 14 isn't to be used in the UK. So you can be subject of breaking the uses under 3.2.x https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0022/33088/audit.pdf
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Offline Simon

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2017, 04:25:41 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.

Quite, that is the problem I had and that stupid cow at the ISP said it was best to leave 5GHz to sort itself out, which it did plonking itself on top of the exact same bands as everyone else when there are literally dozens of other frequencies. I have now set both myself.
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Offline IanB

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2017, 04:25:56 pm »
It's not only about crowding, it is also about signal strength and signal to noise ratio. If you are closer to your wireless router than to everyone else crowding in, then you should still get decent speed.

Unfortunately, my experience of houses in the UK with brick interior walls is that the wireless signal doesn't penetrate very well. Put the wireless access point on one side of the house and the laptop on the other with walls and floor in the way and you are not going to get any kind of good signal.

So you either need to be in the same or next room, or you need to use a wireless extender, or use a cable. You could run a CAT5 cable from your internet box to a point in the house closer to where you work and plug that into a wireless router. Running a network cable round the house is no different than running a coax cable, which people have done all the time to get from the aerial to the TV.
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Offline IanB

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2017, 04:27:31 pm »
Now with 2.4GHz I could see my neighbours network across the back garden, obviously on 5GHz I can't and can only see a few others. the fact also that there is the space for us to spread out has helped aleviate problems.

Why don't you try 2.4 GHz? It's what I'm using and the speed is fine for me.
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Offline Simon

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2017, 04:27:49 pm »
Well apparently my 5GHz is plenty strong now and I'm alone on that band so no interference.
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Offline Simon

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2017, 04:29:04 pm »
Now with 2.4GHz I could see my neighbours network across the back garden, obviously on 5GHz I can't and can only see a few others. the fact also that there is the space for us to spread out has helped aleviate problems.

Why don't you try 2.4 GHz? It's what I'm using and the speed is fine for me.

It IS on 2.4GHz that I can see even my back neighbour because the signal carries further and everyone is on it, even my router is putting out a 2.4GHz signal but I choose to use the 5GHz for the computer and phone as the range seems to be ok and there is less crowding
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Online CJay

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2017, 04:30:30 pm »
Is it just me or is wifi one of the less robust methods of communication and one that was never designed to be so well used in what is an ever more crowded radio-wave space ?

WiFi is terrible (I am of course using it to send this), far prefer cabled connections, there's less overhead, lower latency, better range etc.

I had to fit a WiFi extender in my partner's flat, it's less than 9 Metres from one end to the other and the router isn't at the far end and of course it increases the latency.

I am a Luddite when it comes to 'new sparkly' technology, I like solutions that work and have been proven reliable.

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Offline IanB

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2017, 04:31:02 pm »
It IS on 2.4GHz that I can see even my back neighbour because the signal carries further and everyone is on it, even my router is putting out a 2.4GHz signal but I choose to use the 5GHz for the computer and phone as the range seems to be ok and there is less crowding

Same with me, when I run a scan I can see everyone in the street, but it doesn't block me because I have a good signal path from by router to my laptop.

That said, I do use a physical connection to my main desktop computer.
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Offline Simon

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2017, 04:31:06 pm »
Channel 14 isn't to be used in the UK. So you can be subject of breaking the uses under 3.2.x https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0022/33088/audit.pdf

so what about a router that set to band 13 has it's upper side band touching band 14 ? you not on it, just using what it would use as a lower sideband.
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Offline rollatorwieltje

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2017, 04:33:41 pm »
Why would you call your ISP for wifi problems anyway? They can't fix anything about that. What are they supposed to do, send a roll of aluminium foil to stick on the walls to block out other signals?

I'm using an Ubiquiti AP AC Pro for about a year now, mounted on a wall. It's a directional unit, which is nice, since the antenna pattern actually matches only my house instead of half of it covering my neighbors house. It's so much better than pretty much anything consumer grade.

BTW, "Long range" APs are nonsense when you use them with consumer devices. Your device might be able to see your AP from the other side of town, but it has no hope of ever communicating back. You need a better antenna, not more power.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #37 on: October 08, 2017, 04:37:16 pm »
Why would you call your ISP for wifi problems anyway? They can't fix anything about that. What are they supposed to do, send a roll of aluminium foil to stick on the walls to block out other signals?

I'm using an Ubiquiti AP AC Pro for about a year now, mounted on a wall. It's a directional unit, which is nice, since the antenna pattern actually matches only my house instead of half of it covering my neighbors house. It's so much better than pretty much anything consumer grade.

BTW, "Long range" APs are nonsense when you use them with consumer devices. Your device might be able to see your AP from the other side of town, but it has no hope of ever communicating back. You need a better antenna, not more power.

I had numerous problems so I let my ISP upgrade me to a fibre to the box connection, they supplied the router and as far as I am concerned they can at least have some input on resolving any problems. I didn't waste £150 on a good quality router only to have to resell it for £40 so that they could install their crap for me to them have to fix their problems with it. Their router, I go to them first.
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Offline Syntax_Error

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #38 on: October 08, 2017, 04:37:28 pm »
I understand if this seems tongue-in-cheeck/sarcastic, but it's not intended to be: if at all possible, get off the airwaves and use wired connections, at least for important and for static, non-mobile connections. You will have so much less issues it will only deepen your hatred of WiFi performance.

I tried for over a year to "engineer" a home WiFi setup that wasn't worthless. Several upgraded wireless routers, changing locations inside the house, installing a repeater upstairs, etc. Things that seemed to work initially, like installing a new "better" wireless router, would eventually, sometimes quickly deteriorate back to initial poor performance. Sometimes I swear my laptop sees various neighbors' WiFi signals at higher strength than the router in the adjacent room.

Eventually I got sick of it and just laid Ethernet cable across the floor from the router to my main machine, very ugly, and all the problems were gone (duh, right). But the performance difference was so staggering that I instantly no longer cared about "ugly" wires, because one solution worked and the other obviously did not. Since then I have used various trim products to hide the wires without routing through the walls (I don't own the home so I have to get creative), and now the only wireless devices are tablets and phones and if someone insists on not being near one of the many Ethernet ports in the house, a laptop.

So, I  know this is borderline off topic because it is not a wireless solution, but I sympathize with the problem and say, "Good luck." I couldn't solve it satisfactorily, and eventually turned back to cabling.
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #39 on: October 08, 2017, 04:38:48 pm »
Such a setting almost never works properly. Usually they just pick one based on a single scan and sit there forever more.
I might be used to after market firmware, but it seems to do a decent job, disregarding whether it actually helps.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2017, 04:40:58 pm by Mr. Scram »
 

Offline Simon

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #40 on: October 08, 2017, 04:41:40 pm »
I understand if this seems tongue-in-cheeck/sarcastic, but it's not intended to be: if at all possible, get off the airwaves and use wired connections, at least for important and for static, non-mobile connections. You will have so much less issues it will only deepen your hatred of WiFi performance.

I tried for over a year to "engineer" a home WiFi setup that wasn't worthless. Several upgraded wireless routers, changing locations inside the house, installing a repeater upstairs, etc. Things that seemed to work initially, like installing a new "better" wireless router, would eventually, sometimes quickly deteriorate back to initial poor performance. Sometimes I swear my laptop sees various neighbors' WiFi signals at higher strength than the router in the adjacent room.

Eventually I got sick of it and just laid Ethernet cable across the floor from the router to my main machine, very ugly, and all the problems were gone (duh, right). But the performance difference was so staggering that I instantly no longer cared about "ugly" wires, because one solution worked and the other obviously did not. Since then I have used various trim products to hide the wires without routing through the walls (I don't own the home so I have to get creative), and now the only wireless devices are tablets and phones and if someone insists on not being near one of the many Ethernet ports in the house, a laptop.

So, I  know this is borderline off topic because it is not a wireless solution, but I sympathize with the problem and say, "Good luck." I couldn't solve it satisfactorily, and eventually turned back to cabling.

Well my needs are not tremendous, just a reliable connection to get onto the internet so going for the full cat5 speed is overkill and would be a lot of work as it literally has to cross the whole house. So long as i maintain my current 5GHz performance I'll be happy but like you every new effort seems to bring reward for a short time only to slip back.
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #41 on: October 08, 2017, 04:47:45 pm »
I understand if this seems tongue-in-cheeck/sarcastic, but it's not intended to be: if at all possible, get off the airwaves and use wired connections, at least for important and for static, non-mobile connections. You will have so much less issues it will only deepen your hatred of WiFi performance.

I tried for over a year to "engineer" a home WiFi setup that wasn't worthless. Several upgraded wireless routers, changing locations inside the house, installing a repeater upstairs, etc. Things that seemed to work initially, like installing a new "better" wireless router, would eventually, sometimes quickly deteriorate back to initial poor performance. Sometimes I swear my laptop sees various neighbors' WiFi signals at higher strength than the router in the adjacent room.

Eventually I got sick of it and just laid Ethernet cable across the floor from the router to my main machine, very ugly, and all the problems were gone (duh, right). But the performance difference was so staggering that I instantly no longer cared about "ugly" wires, because one solution worked and the other obviously did not. Since then I have used various trim products to hide the wires without routing through the walls (I don't own the home so I have to get creative), and now the only wireless devices are tablets and phones and if someone insists on not being near one of the many Ethernet ports in the house, a laptop.

So, I  know this is borderline off topic because it is not a wireless solution, but I sympathize with the problem and say, "Good luck." I couldn't solve it satisfactorily, and eventually turned back to cabling.
Agreed. Going to wires, unless you don't have another choice, will save you a lot of trouble. It surely doesn't help that everyone seems to think wifi is a sure-fire solution. I've even overheard someone being utterly surprised that the office network still uses wires. We were in the 21st century and all, no need for those old fashioned wires. The fact that people apparently default to wifi should be a hint where the problems come from.

The fact that solutions seem to work temporarily supports the notion that there is a consumer arms race going, with everyone trying to one-up the neighbours solution as soon as their own solution has been outclassed.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #42 on: October 08, 2017, 04:49:56 pm »
For some reason everyone round here on 5GHz is hogging the same few bands

Because they're all running the garbage given to them by their ISP, none of which supports DFS or TPC, leaving it stuck with the lower frequency ranges.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #43 on: October 08, 2017, 04:53:39 pm »
Well my needs are not tremendous, just a reliable connection to get onto the internet so going for the full cat5 speed is overkill and would be a lot of work as it literally has to cross the whole house. So long as i maintain my current 5GHz performance I'll be happy but like you every new effort seems to bring reward for a short time only to slip back.
Don't think of it in terms of speed, think of it in terms of reliability. A decently made cable with proper shielding is almost impossible to perturb. As you've discovered, wifi signals are much less robust.

You could always resort to a hybrid, with an AP near your laptop at the end of your cable. If you must, you could look into transmitting your data over power lines to avoid infrastructure work, but that has a number of potentially problematic variables that a regular cable doesn't have.
 

Offline radar_macgyver

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #44 on: October 08, 2017, 04:55:47 pm »
I'm using an Ubiquiti AP AC Pro for about a year now, mounted on a wall. It's a directional unit, which is nice, since the antenna pattern actually matches only my house instead of half of it covering my neighbors house. It's so much better than pretty much anything consumer grade.

These are nice, and one can get multiple units that go in different rooms; the controller software makes them appear as one contiguous access point (vaguely like cellular).

Ars Technica did a reviews of this AP, along with Ubiquiti's Amplifi router-range extender combo.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #45 on: October 08, 2017, 04:55:54 pm »

Agreed. Going to wires, unless you don't have another choice, will save you a lot of trouble. It surely doesn't help that everyone seems to think wifi is a sure-fire solution. I've even overheard someone being utterly surprised that the office network still uses wires. We were in the 21st century and all, no need for those old fashioned wires. The fact that people apparently default to wifi should be a hint where the problems come from.

The fact that solutions seem to work temporarily supports the notion that there is a consumer arms race going, with everyone trying to one-up the neighbours solution as soon as their own solution has been outclassed.

Haha, we would not swap our wires at work, they give us direct reasonably fast access to our server with a total bandwidth well over that that a single poxy wifi channel would provide, even if the wired network is crap, for some time I was the only source of wifi in our office as I setup my laptop as a hotspot. When the IT people found out they had a wifi spot set up in the office. If i was going to have another NAS box I'd consider wired but now that I use almost exclusively my laptop the centralised storage is less of an issue and with dropbox the small every day stuff even goes with me.

I think the arms race is not necessarily intentional. It's just a case that every time you switch provider they send you new equipment. I have just found 5GHz channels that I didn't know existed, 5.6GHz channels in fact, but then I have never nosed around my router. Someone round me has a repeater as I see the same SSID twice, but one of them covers more bands than the other (5GHz) so clearly they bought a repeater and by that time using more sidebands had become a thing
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Offline Monkeh

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #46 on: October 08, 2017, 04:56:26 pm »
If you must, you could look into transmitting your data over power lines to avoid infrastructure work, but that has a number of potentially problematic variables that a regular cable doesn't have.

Not least of which most likely actually being illegal to sell and use..
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #47 on: October 08, 2017, 05:03:17 pm »
Haha, we would not swap our wires at work, they give us direct reasonably fast access to our server with a total bandwidth well over that that a single poxy wifi channel would provide, even if the wired network is crap, for some time I was the only source of wifi in our office as I setup my laptop as a hotspot. When the IT people found out they had a wifi spot set up in the office. If i was going to have another NAS box I'd consider wired but now that I use almost exclusively my laptop the centralised storage is less of an issue and with dropbox the small every day stuff even goes with me.

I think the arms race is not necessarily intentional. It's just a case that every time you switch provider they send you new equipment. I have just found 5GHz channels that I didn't know existed, 5.6GHz channels in fact, but then I have never nosed around my router. Someone round me has a repeater as I see the same SSID twice, but one of them covers more bands than the other (5GHz) so clearly they bought a repeater and by that time using more sidebands had become a thing
I don't think its very intentional in most cases, but that just adds to the mess. People go to the computer store to ask for a solution and get sold something like a repeater. This works for a while, until the neighbour does the same thing. People don't have a clue what they're doing, but it quickly devolves into a huge mess. As you say, even upgrades from your ISP can contribute to the problem, especially when those aren't configured optimally. The ISP probably doesn't care, because radio congestion both naturally throttles network usage and allows them to sell higher bandwidth packages to people who think that actually is their problem.
 

Offline Simon

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #48 on: October 08, 2017, 05:05:08 pm »
Yes I'd love to be able to turn my power down like my old exspensive router could (only had 25%, 50% and 100% settings) I'd get almost the same range on 50% the power.
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: The whole wifi con
« Reply #49 on: October 08, 2017, 05:08:57 pm »
Not least of which most likely actually being illegal to sell and use..
That fully depends on the gear in question, but I'm not aware of them being illegal anywhere outright. Considering the amount of reputable computer shops selling them across various nations, selling them doesn't seem to be an issue either.

That being said, I would always recommend going for actual network cables. Horses for courses. Do it right and do it once.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2017, 05:14:10 pm by Mr. Scram »
 


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