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Standard User zyborg47
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Fri 06-Jan-17 20:24:03
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Wi-fi extender powerline


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My mate have awful wi-fi in his house, come to think of it any wireless signal seems to have a problem in his house, anyway we got some Tp-link Powerline wi-fi extenders today and i am confused.

The SSId can be cloned and i did that, but the funny thing is, if the network connection on the computer or phone is left alone, the signal is no better unless we are standing next to the router, to get a better signal from the extender, we have to delete the network connection from the phone/computer and redo it close to the extender and then it will work, but the signal will go weak again once we move to where the router is.
Being the same SSID and password, I thought the device would pick up the signal from what ever is stronger, but it do not seem to.

Adrian

Desktop machine now powered by windows 8.1 pro 64bit, no dreaded metro, laptop by Linux

Plusnet FTTC
Standard User WWWombat
(knowledge is power) Sat 07-Jan-17 02:35:46
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: zyborg47] [link to this post]
 
I think the client device tries to keep the connection to the existing WiFi AP, exactly as you've seen.

If the device is to be shifted onto the other AP, it needs some help on the network side to achieve roaming, that can see the different signal strengths, and force the client to disconnect from the old AP. The client would then attach itself to what it sees to be the strongest... which would be the new AP.

Through trial-and-error, I have found that the best thing to do is to have separate SSID names, and to manually choose.

However, I have used an (android) app that deliberately switches to 5GHz if it sees the chance to do so.

The "home mesh wifi" thread gives the obvious alternative, but priced for early adopters right now. Those probably do indeed have the "forced-roaming" monitor functionality.
Standard User eckiedoo
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 07-Jan-17 07:40:58
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: zyborg47] [link to this post]
 
In "Network Settings", have you got both/all WiFi circuits to "Automatic Connect"?

Apart from that, the (automatic) switching to the nearer source, generally the stronger in that location, is what would be expected.

Also, I suggest slight differences in the SSID name, so that you are certain of which specific SSID/circuit is actually being used.

I have three WiFi circuits/SSIDs operating in that manner.

--------------------

If your mate's house is built of concrete generally (non-standard construction).possibly with "rebar" (reinforcing metal bars/rods), or of stone, that could be the source of the problem, apart from other unlicensed devices such as microwave cookers etc.

The WiFi Tx/Rx devices are extremely low power, it is like trying to illuminate a house with a single, small LED such as used in power adaptors.

Apart from other considerations, this is to minimise power consumption in Laptops etc; and also to minimise the coverage, thus reducing interference.

Edited by eckiedoo (Sat 07-Jan-17 07:42:13)


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Standard User zyborg47
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 07-Jan-17 08:57:10
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: eckiedoo] [link to this post]
 
Cheers peeps. i did think about the two separate SSID, I thought that may be better. when I first set it up using the SSID cloning I did not think it worked, it was only when i got into the UI and looked that I noticed it did work and I changed the SSID just to check things out.

While his router is dual band, the extender is not, but going by experience with dual band over the last couple of years, it may not be a bad thing. The older 2.4ghz seems to penetrate more than 5Ghz anyway. He also do not have any devices that support 5Ghz anyway, i just had a check to see if his phone does, but it don't.

The house is brick, but it is an old Victorian house, i can not even get a decent phone signal there, on any network.
I doubt i will see him for a while as he is busy with his music and other stuff and i go back to work on Monday, but I will try and get up there on my next few days off work, got another week off at the end of this month.

Thanks for the replies, i will try them out when i am next there.

Adrian

Desktop machine now powered by windows 8.1 pro 64bit, no dreaded metro, laptop by Linux

Plusnet FTTC
Standard User BatBoy
(sensei) Sat 07-Jan-17 09:33:46
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: zyborg47] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by zyborg47:
Cheers peeps. i did think about the two separate SSID, I thought that may be better. when I first set it up using the SSID cloning I did not think it worked, it was only when i got into the UI and looked that I noticed it did work and I changed the SSID just to check things out.
It's often recommended to split 2.4GHz and 5GHz across 2 SSIDs to improve performance anyway

While his router is dual band, the extender is not, but going by experience with dual band over the last couple of years, it may not be a bad thing. The older 2.4ghz seems to penetrate more than 5Ghz anyway. He also do not have any devices that support 5Ghz anyway, i just had a check to see if his phone does, but it don't.
Hang on, you don't need 5GHz anyway so turn it off

The house is brick, but it is an old Victorian house, i can not even get a decent phone signal there, on any network.
Thanks goodness for wifi calling then. I use that all the time on Vodafone smile

I find roaming across access points with the same SSID works well on my iPhone and PC. The iPhone tries desperately to hang on to a wifi signal in a residential setting but roams when the signal reaches -64db. Note it acts differently on a business connection. On my PC the advanced wifi settings can be changed to increase roaming aggression which makes it more keen to roam across access points.

Even if the devices won't roam, it's easy to disable/enable wifi on the device which forces it to go for the stronger signal.
Standard User eckiedoo
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 07-Jan-17 09:54:16
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: zyborg47] [link to this post]
 
The higher the frequency, the more that radio waves move towards behaving as light waves, so the 5 GHz WiFi is nearer light waves than the 2.4 GHz.

Hence the much greater attenuation of the 5 GHz signals.

I have plotted the field strengths of both bands in and around my house.

5 GHz is typically 10 db lower/worse than the 2.4 GHz Band.

As well as the EE Router, one laptop is the only item with 5 GHz on it, so all three SSIDs plus those of other remoter members of the family, plus airports, hotels etc, all with Automatic Connect implemented.

So I can take that laptop to any of these locations and automatically log in to the appropriate WiFi, without any problems.

-------------

My only experience of Victorian Brick is that the bricks are much more solid/dense clay, plus they rarely have the holes etc of later bricks to aid heat distribution and firing in the kiln.

So effectively nearer to stone, thus attenuating the WiFi and other signals to a much greater extent.

Edited by eckiedoo (Sat 07-Jan-17 10:00:08)

Standard User WWWombat
(knowledge is power) Sat 07-Jan-17 10:40:36
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: eckiedoo] [link to this post]
 
Conversely, 5GHz scatters and reflects better, so can bounce through doorways and down corridors better.

Solwise thinks 5GHz is better suited for indoor use:
http://www.solwise.co.uk/downloads/files/intheuk5ghz...

Another problem is that 5GHz has strange power limitations. The lower frequencies are more limited than the higher frequencies - and the higher frequencies are sometimes not available on domestic equipment. The higher frequencies also require the AP to monitor for interference with local radar.
http://wifinigel.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/wifi-channel...
http://www.digitalairwireless.com/wireless-blog/rece...
http://www.digitalairwireless.com/wireless-blog/t-ei...

Even worse, some manufacturers end up with a single world-wide product, with transmission limitations biased toward the US ... which used to be lower than ours. The hardware just could not transmit at full UK power.

The conclusion is that not all 5GHz routers are the same.

I deliberately chose semi-commercial AP with access to the higher frequencies.
Standard User WWWombat
(knowledge is power) Sat 07-Jan-17 10:42:26
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: eckiedoo] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by eckiedoo:
Apart from that, the (automatic) switching to the nearer source, generally the stronger in that location, is what would be expected.


I found this to be very much *not* the case. Devices will cling on to the original connection, despite a nearer, stronger, source with either a different SSID or the same SSID.
Standard User eckiedoo
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 07-Jan-17 10:52:16
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: WWWombat] [link to this post]
 
Very interesting. Did not realise the variety of power limitations.

But my house survey, even with multiple reflections 5 GHz, showed a general -10 db both in the house, basically an empty shell with only typical timber and plasterboard inside; and of course the "open spaces" of outside in the garden.

It was surprisingly consistent.
Standard User ukhardy07
(knowledge is power) Sat 07-Jan-17 10:55:49
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: zyborg47] [link to this post]
 
It sounds to me like there might be a slight mismatch of the settings... e.g. One AP might be set to WPA2 and another set to WPA/WPA2 mixed mode or something similar. Little differences like this can cause the behaviour you're seeing.
Standard User eckiedoo
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 07-Jan-17 10:58:47
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: WWWombat] [link to this post]
 
Surprisingly, I tend to agree with that aspect, there does seem to be a tendency to "cling"; but eventually and given the described circumstances by the OP, that having logged in to the extender presumably located in what had been a very poor signal area, then as he moved back to the strong area around the router, the extender signal must have been reduced considerably.

"Theory of Recipricocity"

Another aspect is that occasionally if having been using particularly the WAP (extender) with a portable PC, if I closed down fully, then later restarted that PC near/beside the main router, the PC would tend to log-on through the WAP although a significantly weaker signal.

Edited by eckiedoo (Sat 07-Jan-17 12:04:27)

Standard User ukhardy07
(knowledge is power) Sat 07-Jan-17 13:22:01
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: zyborg47] [link to this post]
 
Another likely culprit:

One AP is dual band and another AP is not.

Here you will not roam seamlessly, as your device will likely connect to the 5Ghz signal when close to the dual band router. It is unlikely to switch down to 2.4Ghz whilst it is still connected to the 5Ghz signal, so the repeater might be effectively ignored entirely unless the 5Ghz signal is so low it's about to drop out.
Standard User ggremlin
(experienced) Sat 07-Jan-17 13:25:26
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: zyborg47] [link to this post]
 
what 2.4ghz wifi channels are the router and access points using?

Edited by ggremlin (Sat 07-Jan-17 13:27:22)

Standard User JHo1
(member) Sat 07-Jan-17 15:44:40
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: zyborg47] [link to this post]
 
What you are seeing is perfectly normal for most domestic kit. The phone/laptop/whatever will cling on like grim death to whatever signal it has despite the availability of a better signal.

For your laptop there is a setting in Windows that (allegedly) manages the laptop's willingness to abandon what it has in favour of something better. I haven't found it to make a blind bit of difference.

Your best bet is to have different SSIDs and nudge your hardware to switch from one to another manually.

If you want automated "roaming" then you need something like the Ubiquiti access points with the controller, which pushes responsibility for switching onto the access point, or one of the mesh systems, eero etc (see recent discussion.
Standard User eckiedoo
(fountain of knowledge) Sat 07-Jan-17 19:58:21
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: WWWombat] [link to this post]
 
Interesting Link, thanks.
Standard User ukhardy07
(knowledge is power) Sat 07-Jan-17 21:09:17
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Re: Wi-fi extender powerline


[re: zyborg47] [link to this post]
 
Overall steps to take:

1. Have separate 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz SSIDs always

2. Ensure the exact same encryption is used on both devices, a lot of these boosters only have WPA/WPA2 Mixed mode, whereas most ISP supplied routers are WPA2 only out of the box. They need to be exactly the same.

3. Use different channels on the booster and the main router. Use either 1, 6 or 11, do not use the others. E.g. set the main AP to channel 1, the booster to channel 11.

4. On a windows device, if you have an Intel Card in device manager find your wireless card, go into properties, find "roaming aggressiveness" and turn this to the maximum value (this fixes most windows issues).
http://www.intel.co.uk/content/www/uk/en/support/net...

5. On 2.4Ghz ensure the booster is set to 20Mhz only and likewise ensure the main AP is set to 20Mhz only, there is not enough frequency if both are on 40Mhz at 2.4Ghz. Ensure one is not on 40Mhz and the other on 20Mhz as this will cause issues.

6. Ensure the same technology is used by the AP and the repeater. E.g. if the main AP is wireless N, do not have a wireless G repeater.

Edited by ukhardy07 (Sat 07-Jan-17 21:10:05)

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