Author Topic: wifi woes  (Read 1340 times)

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
wifi woes
« on: August 22, 2019, 10:27:50 am »
Where does the panel stand on recommended access points – at the moment, I have a BT Home Hub 5 under the stairs which is useless for wifi (admittedly it's sub-optimal positioning, but that's where the telephone line lives) and nothing connects to it? But it pipes the internet through a powerline ethernet adapter to an old BT Home Hub 3 in the bedroom repurposed as an access point. I have that set up now and pretty much everything connects to it, such as all the Sonos devices (which will only connect to a single ssid network).

That said, while the BT Home Hub 3 appears to do well at putting wiffle rays out to devices on the ground floor (I assume the floors and joists don't put up much resistance), the signal upstairs is crap. The Asbestos Palace has solid brick and breezeblock walls and embedded in those walls are wardrobes which my wife has spent the last five years filling with her clothes and shoes, cramming more and more in, and promising that yes, one day, she'll have a clear out. That day, I doubt will ever come and she's not about to stop buying shoes, so assume a growing hyperdense mass of radio frequency-absorbing feminine footwear and clothes that 'don't fit' even though she bought them yesterday and she doesn't appear to have worn them.

Anyway, wiffle-waffle aside, there's nowhere to plug aerials or anything to boost the Home Hub 3 and I think it's officially a bit shit at putting out a wifi signal. My understanding is that range extenders piggyback the current signal so need a decent signal to start with and can result in congestion etc. so I think I need a more powerful a/p with enough aerials to look like a Russian military base.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: wifi woes
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2019, 11:18:24 am »
Despite the potential problems with range extenders, I had good results with this one in my previous abode:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B013SYHHI2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I don't use it now and I'd be happy to post it to you if you want to give it a try.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2019, 08:05:57 pm »
OK, that would be nice, a better idea of doing my usual and buying something that works no better and then shoving it in a drawer until it deprecates into an unusable standard. I shall send you a note forthwith.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: wifi woes
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2019, 08:51:07 pm »
We're pretty hungry WiFi users.

We're not rich enough for Google Mesh so we use the BT equivalent which works just fine for our fairly cubic 4 bed detatched.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2019, 08:52:49 pm »
A more powerful access point doesn't really help. Yes, it can transmit further, but your devices won't be powerful enough to transmit the other way.
But still, a newer, better quality access point could be an improvement.

The Ubiquiti UAP-AC-LITE is rather good. Maybe a bit complicated to setup, but works reliably. It doesn't actually have any sticky-out aerials, but seems to give pretty decent coverage.
Or if necessary, you could get several of them, they can be setup to work together as a single network.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2019, 09:05:18 pm »
I was carefully not mentioning Unifi kit.  It's in the class of stuff that's rock solid and Just Works™ iff you've got  a) enough structured cabling that probably means you don't care about the reliability of the WiFi quite as much in the first place  and  b) a unisex spaceadmin on hand to configure / maintain it.


But yes, once you've got multiple APs you can do the clever stuff like turn the power *down* to ensure that clients always associate with the AP that they've got the best line-of-sight to, rather than clinging to the echos of the one on the far side of the house, and roam properly (for WiFi values of 'roam properly') between them.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2019, 09:11:01 pm »
I'll try the Sergeant Pluck method – the mesh thing looks interesting as an alternative. I think the BT HH 3 is just crap to be honest. At the moment to listen to tunes in the bathroom (which is surprisingly important to me) requires placing the Sonos speaker in the doorway, which is inconvenient and perplexes the cats even more so that why humans subject themselves to baths. And my wife complained so much about her Window's laptop dropping wifi signal (despite being the next room to the Hub) that I gave up and bought a powerline adapter. Though that might just be her work laptop, her iMac works fine. The Asbestos Palace is a rather modest detached house and not an actual palace. Dickering with settings and channels makes no difference.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: wifi woes
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2019, 09:14:35 pm »
We had to go Mesh when we installed two trainers using Zwift in a backwater of the house.

When training meets gaming - pings matter, and NONE of this shit is wired.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2019, 09:20:54 pm »
The other problem with WiFi is that often you find a setup that works fine, until you bring along a new device and discover that, say, the Mega-Global We-Are-Not-Intel corporation of Schaumburg, USAnia has a broken implementation that means it won't stay connected in a way that sounds almost but not quite entirely different to the symptoms of one of the Mega-Global Fruit Corporation of Cupertino, USAnia's broken implementations of a several of years previously.

The only way to win at The Devil's Radio is to use a fucking cable.  And none of that wideband-noise-superimposed-on-your-power-cabling nonsense, either.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: wifi woes
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2019, 09:35:09 pm »
I'll try the Sergeant Pluck method – the mesh thing looks interesting as an alternative.

If it doesn’t help, as Kim says, cable closer to where you need it might be the way to go.

You mention Sonos. I had no issues as my Sonos connects via a Bridge, not my router, but I’m aware that Sonos doesn’t always behave well with some extenders and may require faffage:
https://en.community.sonos.com/troubleshooting-228999/home-network-stability-and-a-few-tips-to-help-resolve-many-issues-6811285

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2019, 09:36:25 pm »
I was carefully not mentioning Unifi kit.  It's in the class of stuff that's rock solid and Just Works™ iff you've got  a) enough structured cabling that probably means you don't care about the reliability of the WiFi quite as much in the first place  and  b) a unisex spaceadmin on hand to configure / maintain it.
They now have an app, which seems to be a lot simpler for setting it all up. If you just want use it as a simple access point, no need to setup the controller software etc.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2019, 09:41:05 pm »
I was carefully not mentioning Unifi kit.  It's in the class of stuff that's rock solid and Just Works™ iff you've got  a) enough structured cabling that probably means you don't care about the reliability of the WiFi quite as much in the first place  and  b) a unisex spaceadmin on hand to configure / maintain it.
They now have an app, which seems to be a lot simpler for setting it all up. If you just want use it as a simple access point, no need to setup the controller software etc.

Ah, I haven't really played with the app, but that would make it a lot more practical for a simple domestic installation.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
  • Custard Wallah
    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2019, 10:11:54 am »
The only way to win at The Devil's Radio is to use a fucking cable.  And none of that wideband-noise-superimposed-on-your-power-cabling nonsense, either.

This ^^^^.
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Re: wifi woes
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2019, 10:46:13 am »
The only way to win at The Devil's Radio is to use a fucking cable.  And none of that wideband-noise-superimposed-on-your-power-cabling nonsense, either.

This ^^^^.

How many houses have structured cabling installed though? Our current place was brand new when we moved in three years ago, so it's new. There's a couple of Virgin Media ports (one in the lounge, the other in the bedroom - presumably for pr0n) which look like they're RJ45.

I'm betting most housebuilders think WiFi is good enough.

ETA: Also - isn't it a PITA to install because it can't run beside power cables, it has to be perpendicular, to avoid interference?

Re: wifi woes
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2019, 11:00:21 am »
I'm betting most housebuilders think WiFi is good enough.

My FiL's newbuild has Ethernet ports in most rooms all going up to a patch panel in the attic. Completely unused though, his broadband router isn't even patched in and everything (a couple of computers, phone, iPad) all connect through the wireless.

The only thing using one of the runs for was for HDMI+IR over Cat 5 adapters to connect the Sky+ box (in the attic next to the patch panel) to the TV in the lounge.

On a previous previous visit they'd tried to get the Sky+ box to talk to the wireless (opposite corners of the house) to be able to watch catchup TV but the Sky wireless adapter couldn't quite connect reliably. So next time I was down there I took a couple of patch cables (and the trusty network tester) and the plan was to put the Sky+ wireless adapter downstairs somewhere (near the broadband router) and patch it in to the sky box, but someone had obviously tried the wireless adapter again and got it to connect.

A full rewire of the flat is on the big long list of things to do and I'll be getting networking cable put in and a 1-wire bus. In the mean time a Home Hub 6 in one corner of the flat and a single extra disk in the other corner has everything covered nicely. If I watch the logs I can even spot when friends/family are arriving outside as their phones pick up an IP address from the DHCP server.

I'd love to get rid of my wideband-noise-superimposed-on-your-power-cabling nonsense.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
  • Custard Wallah
    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2019, 11:12:39 am »
The cabling in Larrington Towers is as unstructured as you can possibly imagine, with the link between the Great Hall (where the router lives) and the Estate Office upstairs being a length of Cat 6 nailed* to the skirting board.

* well, disciplined by cable-clips-with-nails
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2019, 12:11:50 pm »
The cabling in Larrington Towers is as unstructured as you can possibly imagine, with the link between the Great Hall (where the router lives) and the Estate Office upstairs being a length of Cat 6 nailed* to the skirting board.

* well, disciplined by cable-clips-with-nails

Kimbarakta HQ has a similar arrangement, on account of Generation Rent not-altering-the-fabric-of-the-landlord's-crappy-house compliance issues.  It's amazing quite how many cables you can wedge under a door if you do a bit of crafty filing.  Thankfully, there are enough crumbling hundred year old floorboards to provide opportunistic cable-running gaps to link the upstairs server rack[1] to the downstairs comms cabinet[2].  I have a knee-kicker and I'm not afraid to use it.

A single UAP-AC-Pro at the centre of the house just about does the job for the (portable, battery powered) wireless stuff, while broadcasting anti-brexit propaganda in the SSID of spare VLANs.  The 2.4GHz band is a bit of a lost cause during term time, though.


[1] Actually a server rack.
[2] A switch and POE injector balanced precariously on a shelf between the hoover and some woodworking supplies in the Cupboard Of Doom.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2019, 08:51:26 pm »
We actually did have ethernet (and telephone cabling) in our last place (though we had to pay extra, as it was bought off-plan, so it was all you want a door, sir? Well that'll cost...). As it turned out, like most newbuilds, it was mostly constructed of compacted tissue paper and thin air, so wifi was more than efficacious enough without the need to faff with wires (more so given the internet was initially less-than-breathless ADSL speeds). I think I asked about this place when we had it refurbished and rewired and the quote wasn't insubstantial (certainly more the most-superduperist mesh that hadn't yet been invented).
!nataS pihsroW

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2019, 09:00:52 pm »
When I've had ceilings/walls down, I've shoved lengths of Cat5 in. That's to beat the stone walls.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: wifi woes
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2019, 09:08:29 pm »
I have a bt home hub 5 and sit about as far away as possible within the house with my iPad. On the 2.4ghz frequency the wifi is useless but since fixing the iPad on the 5ghz frequency it works just fine. I presume you've tried this?

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2019, 09:41:34 am »
If I recall the Home Hub 3 that I repurposed as a access point (after a better Belkin went *pop*) doesn't support 5 GHz.

One of the things about wifi as a 'consumer technology' is that it's far too complicated to be a consumer technology.
!nataS pihsroW

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2019, 10:00:48 am »
2.4GHz is usually better range, and better at going through walls etc than 5GHz.
Main advantage of 5GHz is more channels, without overlapping. So less likely to get interference from your neighbours.

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #22 on: August 28, 2019, 11:13:34 am »
As usual, I agree with Kim!  Powerline networks are somewhat arse, but as an extender from the house to the garage over 100ft away which has power but no cat5/6
it works for me

We've also used it in the house when the wifi signal isn't great

At one point I liked to work in the garden and I set up a wifi AP with a high gain directional antenna aimed at the garden
Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2019, 12:12:44 pm »
2.4GHz is usually better range, and better at going through walls etc than 5GHz.
Main advantage of 5GHz is more channels, without overlapping. So less likely to get interference from your neighbours.

That's what I thought. The HH5 imprisoned under the stairs runs dual band but hardly anything picks up the 5GHz, but then hardly any device willingly connects to it as the signal has to go through at least one solid wall to get anywhere. Ironically, it probably does get a signal into the bathroom, but the rest of the network (including Sonos) is on the AP upstairs and thus a different SSID.
!nataS pihsroW

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: wifi woes
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2019, 12:18:48 pm »
I've found that turning down the AP's transmit power on the 2.4GHz band helps persuade dual-band devices to stay on 5GHz (moreso than band steering alone).  Increased penetration (which isn't really a problem in this house anyway) doesn't make up for the interference on 2.4GHz - here a slightly weaker 5GHz signal makes for a more robust connection.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...