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Wifi regularly drops, while Ethernet stays rock solid

davefaulkner
Grafter
Posts: 31
Registered: 07-07-2008

Wifi regularly drops, while Ethernet stays rock solid

I have seen posts similar to this here, but am posting this in the hope that someone can come up with some other suggestions, please. 

PROBLEM: there is no issue with the Ethernet connection from our Technicolor router to the desktop PC, but the wifi has become unreliable. It drops without warning. As well as the router, I have a HomePlug system (using Devolo plugs) around the house to deal with wifi weak spots anyway, but when the main wifi goes down, so do they. 

 

ATTEMPTED SOLUTIONS AND INVESTIGATIONS: 1. I change the router's channel selection from Automatic to Manual, and use the Android app Wifi Analyzer to determine the strongest channel. This works sometimes but not always, and in any case Wifi Analyzer will a few minutes later show completely different signal strengths on the various channels. 

2. I have set Wifi Analyzer to switch on the wifi automatically every time I open it. Again, this works sometimes, not every time. 

3. We have not installed any new devices of any kind in recent months, so I do not think it is an issue of interference. 

4. It would be difficult to move the router from its current location in my study, which is where the broadband comes into the house. 

Thoughts, anyone? Could it be the router? We've had ours ever since upgrading to fibre in 2011.

 

Thank you.

11 REPLIES
quickbrew
Rising Star
Posts: 92
Thanks: 38
Registered: 30-01-2017

Re: Wifi regularly drops, while Ethernet stays rock solid

@davefaulkner

Sounds like you have a good grasp of what is going on. 

Just a thought, have any new SSIDs appeared when you log on to your WiFi? 

I have seen similar situations to what you describe when a close neighbour suddenly goes live and creates strong interference. My next door neighbours often knocks my WiFi out and seems to have multiple access points too like you and I change my channels and some time later they change theirs. 

 

If ethernet is solid then I suppose there could be a problem on the WiFi side of your router. 

How strong are your signals on the WiFi meter app? 

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity.
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Gel
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 1,588
Thanks: 163
Fixes: 14
Registered: 02-08-2007

Re: Wifi regularly drops, while Ethernet stays rock solid

Does the app inSSIDer indicate any channels, with a channel each that's unused too.?
Are you using 2 + 4ghz bands?
Assuming your router has dual bands, you'll normally find the 4ghz band less occupied.
davefaulkner
Grafter
Posts: 31
Registered: 07-07-2008

Re: Wifi regularly drops, while Ethernet stays rock solid

@quickbrew Thanks for the speedy response. I can't say I've seen any new SSIDs. Our neighbours either side are elderly widows who are unlikely (from my knowledge of them) to have a complex set-up. 

 

Channel signals according to Wifi Analyzer vary. Currently, the wifi is working, and when I checked, the router had automatically picked Channel 1. However, at that point Channel 5 was the strongest, with about 6.5/10, so I went manual and switched. A couple of minutes later, Channel 5 had gone down to 0, and the app was recommending channels 12, 13, or 14 (although the router only appears to go up to 13).

davefaulkner
Grafter
Posts: 31
Registered: 07-07-2008

Re: Wifi regularly drops, while Ethernet stays rock solid

@Gel Thanks for your message. I tried downloading InSSIDer Free, but it won't pick up anything on my PC - perhaps because it's connected by Ethernet. That's how I ended up using Wifi Analyzer on my Android phone. I'm still finding my way around the app, and I'm not sure how I would tell about unused channels, sorry. 

I am using the 2.4 GHz band. I haven't found any way (at least so far) in the configuration options in the router to change to another frequency. 

quickbrew
Rising Star
Posts: 92
Thanks: 38
Registered: 30-01-2017

Re: Wifi regularly drops, while Ethernet stays rock solid

@davefaulkner

 

Sounds like interference with signal strengths dancing up and down the channels the way you describe things. 

Two things cross my mind, 

  • Can you borrow another router to get a comparison with signal strengths
  • If you can borrow a WiFi USB dongle to get your laptop on WiFi, or temporarily tether it to your Android data account. Re Inssider. 

You can purchase Inssider for Android but it is expensive - I paid over £6.00 from the app store and the mobile interface is nowhere as comprehensive as the PC version. 

 

If you can borrow a router at least you can compare things to get an idea if your WiFi transmitter is failing. 

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity.
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
davefaulkner
Grafter
Posts: 31
Registered: 07-07-2008

Re: Wifi regularly drops, while Ethernet stays rock solid

@quickbrew I've borrowed my son's laptop and installed InSSIDer Free on it. Much of the time, only SSIDs that I would expect from my network appear in my list. Sometimes, an open BT Wi-Fi with FON and a BTHub appear, but they haven't occasioned a dropping of our wifi.

 

I may have an old router hanging around, but it isn't a fibre one, it's simply an old broadband router for a BT line, so it is combined with the modem. 

davefaulkner
Grafter
Posts: 31
Registered: 07-07-2008

Re: Wifi regularly drops, while Ethernet stays rock solid

Just to add, as I'm still finding my way around InSSIDer. I've just manually changed to Channel 1. It lists a Co-Channel of 2 and Overlapping 0. Signal hovers around -40 to -43 dBm, and a Max Rate of 130.

quickbrew
Rising Star
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Registered: 30-01-2017

Re: Wifi regularly drops, while Ethernet stays rock solid


davefaulkner wrote:

Just to add, as I'm still finding my way around InSSIDer. I've just manually changed to Channel 1. It lists a Co-Channel of 2 and Overlapping 0. Signal hovers around -40 to -43 dBm, and a Max Rate of 130.


@davefaulkner

Curiouser and Curiouser, with those signal strengths your WiFi should be excellent only causing errors at around - 70 to 80 dBm

I am afraid I am running short on  ideas.

What WiFi enabled devices are you using and are they connecting directly to the router or your Power line Adaptors access points? 

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity.
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
davefaulkner
Grafter
Posts: 31
Registered: 07-07-2008

Re: Wifi regularly drops, while Ethernet stays rock solid

@quickbrew Thanks for your perseverance.

Wifi connection has remained pretty solid for a while on those figures. 

As a family of four, we have numerous devices around: four smartphones, two laptops, two iPads, and an XBox. The XBox is connected by Ethernet cable to a Powerline adapter. The other devices vary on whether they connect directly to the router wifi or the Powerline, depending on where they are in the house at the time. 

quickbrew
Rising Star
Posts: 92
Thanks: 38
Registered: 30-01-2017

Re: Wifi regularly drops, while Ethernet stays rock solid

@davefaulkner

 

I think from what you are reporting with stability (expected at your currently good signal strength) that whatever the problem was/is that it is no longer present. Whether this is a temporary situation or not, time will tell. 

 

Are you aware that particularly on the 2.4 Ghz band that cordless phones can cause bad interference. 

I am going to throw a wildcard in here which probably has no bearing at all but recently I experienced intermittent failure of my remote controlled stair lift and had to call out the engineer. It turned out the cause was a failing energy saving light bulb. 

 

Yes, I know, it sounds crazy doesn't it, but the engineer was right, I discovered the chair could be stopped dead by turning on the failing light.  In my case the problem was caused by infrared jamming but I do believe some types of energy saving lamps can also cause radio interference. 

 

Any one reading this who has an intermittently faulty TV remote which you keep changing the batteries in to overcome problems.  Failing energy saving lamps can completely swamp your TV remote signals causing it to appear faulty. 

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity.
An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
davefaulkner
Grafter
Posts: 31
Registered: 07-07-2008

Re: Wifi regularly drops, while Ethernet stays rock solid

@quickbrew Yes, we have cordless phones. The master phone is also in my study, because the phone line comes in there, just as the broadband does, so it's not possible to move it. Checking the phone manual, they operate between 1.92 and 1.93 GHz. If only I could change the PlusNet Technicolor router off 2.4 GHz!

I hadn't heard what you say about energy saving light bulbs. That's all we use throughout the house, although none of them is failing right now.