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Wi-fi problems, particularly with Apple phones/tablets

DaveG79
Hooked
Posts: 6
Registered: 26-07-2016

Wi-fi problems, particularly with Apple phones/tablets

Hi there, long time customer, first time poster

 

 

We've had Unlimited Fibre Extra since November 2015, using the supplied BT OpenReach modem and 2704n router, this runs into a TP Link powerline network that we run Apple TV, Now TV and Fire TV boxes from via ethernet.

 

It's always generally felt that wi-fi coverage round the house was not as good as previously with I think a Netgear router and regular Plusnet broadband service..  This does seem to particularly be the case with the 3 iPhones and 2 iPads in the house and has been very definitely more noticeable over the last couple of months - so much so that generally we run the phones off 3/4G by default and are forced to piggyback the iPads off the phones' data allowance.  We have a couple of MacBook Pros, iMac and a couple of  PC laptops that all generally work fine via wifi although this is generally only in the room above or the room next to where the router is

 

 

With the iPhones and iPad it's even got to the point where although they can 'see' the router, the password isn't remembered and on putting in the password you either get an immediate prompt for the password again (and again ad infinitum) or an incorrect password error message (when it is definitely correct).  The only exception to this is if in the same room as the router and only when within a few metres.

 

Any advice very gratefully received, any queries, just ask.  Cheers!

11 REPLIES
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 2,145
Thanks: 372
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Registered: 22-08-2015

Re: Wi-fi problems, particularly with Apple phones/tablets

Thank you for taking the time to get in touch with us via our community forums
I own Apple devices myself so I know that this is probably one of the few scenarios when you get the incorrect password message that it doesn't actually mean the password is wrong (despite the message).
It usually indicates the wireless signal is poor.
I'd possibly first suggest searching your Mac for 'wireless diagnostics' in its spotlight feature.
Open up the application and, instead of clicking on the continue button, go to 'Window' at the top of the screen then 'Scan'
What we're looking for is any other wifi networks nearby and which channel each are using, because if your router is on the same channel that's possibly causing interference.
Next is to login to your router gateway to change your channel to either 1, 6 or 11 depending on which is the most unused.
I hope this helps you
From when I joined the Plusnet Help Team in May 2017 my main Community account is @Gandalf.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Staff
DaveG79
Hooked
Posts: 6
Registered: 26-07-2016

Re: Wi-fi problems, particularly with Apple phones/tablets

Thanks for the speedy reply and particularly for pointing me towards the scan option, I had Wireless Diagnostics open but hadn't used it before so would've taken ages to find that! 

 

Of 12 networks only one other is on channel 6 with me, 4 are on 11 and only 1 on channel 1 - can I only switch between these 3 channels?  If so, does it sound like an interference issue if only one other network on 6?

 

My iPhone 6s doesn't report an incorrect password, it does the constant loop of asking and re-asking for the wi-fi password without ever connecting - the first scenario in my OP

Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 2,145
Thanks: 372
Fixes: 117
Registered: 22-08-2015

Re: Wi-fi problems, particularly with Apple phones/tablets

No problem. 🙂
The channels are essentially slight variations in frequency which all overlap each other, but 1, 6 and 11 don't overlap as much so they're better.
Any other wifi networks sharing the same channel will cause some interference even if there's just one.
It's possible that that one network is a more powerful router or a wifi booster which is overpowering your router.
I'd probably suggest trying channel 1 next.
From when I joined the Plusnet Help Team in May 2017 my main Community account is @Gandalf.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Anoush Mortazavi
 Plusnet Staff
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,770
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Wi-fi problems, particularly with Apple phones/tablets

@DaveG79 The metageek tutorial Why channel 1 6 11? provides helpful information on choosing "the best" WiFi channel. It is worth noting that avoiding channel overlap can be more important than avoiding sharing.

Does the scan option you used give any indication of relative strength of the signals detected?

David
DaveG79
Hooked
Posts: 6
Registered: 26-07-2016

Re: Wi-fi problems, particularly with Apple phones/tablets

Changing to channel 1 doesn't seem to make any appreciable difference, certainly not to the iThings

 

This is the result of a recent scan, attached

DaveG79
Hooked
Posts: 6
Registered: 26-07-2016

Re: Wi-fi problems, particularly with Apple phones/tablets

Not sure if this may be connected but our usage seems to be through the roof.  Actually I've just checked it and it's off the scale - over 9gb used today already - I do tend to stay up late so wee small hours of today and we do stream most of our TV nowadays but 9gb??  Are we being wi-frapedHuh

 

If so, what's the best course of action?  Presumably if they've hacked us once they can hack us again in the same way?

Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,770
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Wi-fi problems, particularly with Apple phones/tablets

Your scan shows both 20MHz and 40MHz bandwidth broadcasts for your SSID with your connection (presumed to be the bold one) going to the 20MHz one. Do both transmissions originate from the primary router or do you have a separate access point?

As for usage, how many hours of streaming are likely to have been clocked up across devices and is it HD? I think HD can use 2GB per hour.

David
DaveG79
Hooked
Posts: 6
Registered: 26-07-2016

Re: Wi-fi problems, particularly with Apple phones/tablets

Hi, thanks for the reply - yes the bold one and yes both from the same router though all scans since have only shown one 20MHz broadcast.

 

Re usage - it can be a fair amount and a mixture of HD and SD so I can appreciate how it could mount up.  Today however, between midday and midnight usage shows 3GB and in that time we have watched zero streamed TV and made no major downloads, only internet usage has been general browsing - would that use 3GB?

 

Re wi-fi - we get pretty good coverage at the back of the house (where the master socket & router are) on all devices inc phones/tablets and on all floors (2 up from there and 1 down).  

Could it simply be that the 2704n router can penetrate floors and ceilings ok but hasn't got enough oomph to penetrate walls that previous routers have been ok with?  It's a stone-built terrace so the walls are pretty hefty.  And the Macs and laptops are less affected than phones as better at dealing with poor wi-fi signals?  Would the Hub One router be a better bet?  

 

Apologies for the the lo-tech language!

Superuser
Superuser
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Re: Wi-fi problems, particularly with Apple phones/tablets


DaveG79 wrote:

Re usage - it can be a fair amount and a mixture of HD and SD so I can appreciate how it could mount up.  Today however, between midday and midnight usage shows 3GB and in that time we have watched zero streamed TV and made no major downloads, only internet usage has been general browsing - would that use 3GB?


It shouldn't. When doing browsing and email some years ago I used to get by on just a 2GB per month allowance. However bear in mind that VMBU usage updates are some hours behind so that changes in peak time usage after midday will include usage before that time, ie from 8am.

DaveG79 wrote:

Re wi-fi - we get pretty good coverage at the back of the house (where the master socket & router are) on all devices inc phones/tablets and on all floors (2 up from there and 1 down).

Could it simply be that the 2704n router can penetrate floors and ceilings ok but hasn't got enough oomph to penetrate walls that previous routers have been ok with? It's a stone-built terrace so the walls are pretty hefty.


Yes, in your case that is perhaps likely, and probably not just for the 2704n router. Mine is a TG582n and with normal thickness walls and floors here in the hall (one wall and door) the signal strength from my router is much closer to that from the flat above. They have an EE Brightbox in their hall. However I can still connect to my own router from their flat.


DaveG79 wrote:

Would the Hub One router be a better bet?

Sorry, relative WiFi performance of the Hub Zero and Hub One has probably been discussed in these forums, but it's not something I've studied.

David
DaveG79
Hooked
Posts: 6
Registered: 26-07-2016

Re: Wi-fi problems, particularly with Apple phones/tablets

I've managed to solve quite a lot of the wi-fi issues using some TP-Link Powerline range extenders, tweaked everything so it's on channel 1, 20MHz and so far, so good - we have a decent strength signal at the front of the house for the first time in ages.  

 

I might dig out the router I had before Plusnet sent the 2704n when we upgraded to fibre and see if that makes a difference.  Is the easiest way to do a factory reset and overwrite with the current settings would you say?

Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,770
Thanks: 1,151
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Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Wi-fi problems, particularly with Apple phones/tablets

I'm pleased to hear TP-Link Powerline range extenders are providing a good solution for you. Smiley  The walls you described are far from good for WiFi.

Is your old router a TG582n configured for ADSL? That would need a software change to configure it for fibre (Port 4 becomes a WAN port for connection to the BT Openreach modem).

Is it worth the hassle?

David