Home network advice please

Discussion in 'Network Routers' started by M-M, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. M-M

    M-M Guest

    I have a metal box in a closet that contains all my cable, ethernet and
    security wiring.

    Comcast has placed an Arris 822 phone modem/wireless router to which I
    have 4 ethernet plugs going to different rooms.

    I cannot use the wireless capability of this modem since it is in a
    poor location to broadcast throughout the house, so I connected an
    Apple Airport Extreme wireless router (in bridge mode) in another room
    that is connected to one of the LAN ports of the Arris modem.

    The problem is the devices I have connected to the Apple router
    wirelessly will lose connection several times/day. I have DropCams
    connected and the feed has many gaps.

    I tried turning off the wireless capability of the Comcast modem but
    that did nothing.

    Would it help to put the Comcast modem into bridge mode and connect a
    separate wired router to it and then connect the other rooms to this
    wired router?

    M-M, Dec 4, 2014
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  2. M-M

    Char Jackson Guest

    It's quite difficult to troubleshoot from the perspective of a camera, so
    perhaps you can put a PC in that area and connect it wirelessly to the Apple
    router. Run continuous pings to multiple endpoints, for example to the
    management address of the Apple router, to the management address of the
    Comcast gateway, and maybe even to a third address farther upstream toward
    the Internet. You might want to direct each ping output to its respective
    file, as in "ping -t >c:\google-ping.txt" and "ping -t
    The idea is to determine where the connection is breaking. If it breaks at
    the Apple router, all of the pings will die simultaneously. If the
    connection is breaking down at the Comcast gateway, that ping will die but
    the ping to the Apple router will continue, and so on. If it's really your
    entire Internet connection that's going down, then the third ping will die
    but the first two (Apple router and Comcast gateway) will continue.

    If you determine that the Apple router is the culprit, consider replacing it
    or moving it if you think its location can be improved.
    Right, it should have nothing to do with that as long as you're sure that
    your wireless devices are connected to the Apple router and not to the
    Comcast gateway. You're using unique SSID's, right? And non-overlapping
    wireless channels?
    I wouldn't recommend doing that just to solve this problem. You need to
    determine where it's breaking down before you can adequately come up with a
    Char Jackson, Dec 4, 2014
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  3. M-M

    M-M Guest

    I have a Nest Thermostat connected to the Apple wireless network and
    that seems to stay connected for the most part. Maybe it's the cameras
    although they used to work before I got the phone modem from comcast.
    Previously I was using a regular cable modem with a wired router to
    send out IP addresses to the different rooms.
    I understand what you are saying but I'm afraid implementing that is
    beyond my expertise. Maybe you can point me to a way to do that on a
    Mac Laptop using Terminal?
    Does it matter if the Apple router is in bridge mode? I have a hard
    drive that is connected to one of the ethernet ports and it can be
    accessed remotely.

    Yes, unique SSID's but I hadn't thought about non-overlapping channels.
    M-M, Dec 4, 2014
  4. M-M

    M-M Guest

    Doesn't putting the Apple router into bridge mode prevent that?

    I am not at the location now. I am hoping to solve this problem when I
    get there in a few weeks. I can log onto the 3 cameras sporadically,
    and a hard drive and thermostat consistently.

    Another strange occurrence: The camera that is farthest from the router
    and has the weakest Wifi connection will connect all night but only for
    a few seconds at a time during the day. It is consistently working from
    7pm to 7am but not from 7am to 7pm.
    M-M, Dec 4, 2014
  5. Per M-M:
    Speaking as somebody who does not know much, that would be my immediate

    Reason: Carrier's modem/router/switch's seem to be infamous for arcane
    interfaces and buggy performance. Bridge mode lets me put in a
    name-brand router whose behavior I am familiar with and for which there
    is a large amount of online advice/expertise/documentation.

    Right now, I've got a Cisco E3000 router hooked into my ISP and
    everything, including a few switches, attached to that.

    One of the things attached to it is an Ubiquiti WAP located in the

    These two access points give me decent coverage throughout the house -
    and the Ubiquity does ac, so I can watch high-def movies on my tablet
    over WiFi in the living room.
    (PeteCresswell), Dec 4, 2014
  6. M-M

    ping Guest

    Not that there aren't still other causes, but have you looked into the
    possibility that the camera wifi NICs are being crowded out during the
    day by other WiFi users? If they (the cameras) are wireless-G and other
    active-by-day devices are wireless-N (Router's WiFi set to G&N of course)
    that could definitely be the situation, especially if the router's WiFi
    is set to a fixed frequency. If possible, you could set the 2nd hotspot
    to the slower wireless-G and the other to only N; might help with radio
    ping, Dec 4, 2014
  7. M-M

    Char Jackson Guest

    I was thinking along those same lines. Congestion or maybe even straight up
    interference. Introduce enough RF noise into the environment and the WiFi
    clients will give up.
    Char Jackson, Dec 4, 2014
  8. M-M

    M-M Guest

    The houses on either side of me have been unoccupied. They have Wifi on
    24/7 but no one is home to use it. Any other house is too far away for
    a signal to reach. It's not a populated area.

    Strange that the camera works at night but only for a few seconds at a
    time during the day.
    M-M, Dec 4, 2014
  9. M-M

    Char Jackson Guest

    I'm not familiar with Mac stuff, but I'm fairly sure the ping command is
    available there, as well. There will be some minor differences in how you
    redirect the output to a file so that you can review it later rather than
    simply having it scroll off of your screen.
    I would expect the Apple router to be in bridged mode. Doing otherwise would
    result in a second LAN hanging off of your primary LAN, and that's probably
    not what you want.
    If everything is on the 2.4GHz band, then the non-overlapping channels are
    1, 6, and 11.
    Char Jackson, Dec 4, 2014
  10. M-M

    Char Jackson Guest

    Interference doesn't necessarily have to be from other WiFi devices. Some
    cordless phone, and especially microwave ovens, have been known to cause
    problems. There are other sources, as well.

    Any chance of converting the wireless cams to wired? No, I suppose not.
    Char Jackson, Dec 4, 2014
  11. M-M

    M-M Guest

    Can a cordless phone cause interference if it is not being used?

    And no, I cannot convert the cams to wired. But I can put a separate
    wireless (bridged) router in the far room. That room has an ethernet
    jack connected to the Comcast router.

    Would an additional wireless network be better than a Wifi extender?
    M-M, Dec 5, 2014
  12. M-M

    M-M Guest

    M-M, Dec 5, 2014
  13. M-M

    Char Jackson Guest

    Yes, exactly.
    Auto uses an algorithm, usually consisting of a quick snapshot in time, to
    make a channel selection and then it sticks on that channel no matter how
    bad things get. If it were me, I'd go manual. My experience with auto is not
    Char Jackson, Dec 5, 2014
  14. M-M

    Char Jackson Guest

    Technically, I would suppose so, since the phone has to check in with the
    base at least periodically, but in practice I really wouldn't expect a lot
    of interference that way.
    Yes, an additional access point would be better than an extender. Extenders
    are essentially repeaters, listening on a particular channel and
    rebroadcasting everything they hear. They add latency (delay), and they
    contribute greatly to the overall RF noise levels in the area, all while
    cutting throughput in half or worse since they have to divide their time
    between listening and transmitting. An access point (can be a wireless
    router in bridged mode) has none of those issues, especially if you run it
    on a different non-overlapping channel.
    Char Jackson, Dec 5, 2014
  15. M-M

    M-M Guest

    OK then. It seems the best way is to have each of the three routers
    (one comcast wired and two wireless in bridge mode) on channels 1, 6,
    and 11 and if that doesn't work put the comcast router into bridge mode
    and use a name brand router to distribute the IP addresses.

    Thank you
    M-M, Dec 5, 2014
  16. M-M

    Char Jackson Guest

    And spread the cameras somewhat evenly across at least two of those access
    points. You could sort of check for multi-camera interference by disabling
    all but one camera. Enable one at a time to check for stability of the
    connection. If each works fine by itself, but they disconnect in the
    presence of the others, that would be a good sign that adding another access
    point on a non-overlapping channel should help.
    I don't see how that would be part of the issue or the solution, but it
    brings certain other benefits.
    Sure. Good luck!
    Char Jackson, Dec 5, 2014
  17. M-M

    Nil Guest

    Is that much different than setting it manually? Presumably it chooses
    the least-busy channel at that moment, which is what you would do
    manually. You could monitor the WAN and manually change the channel to
    suit the prevailing conditions, but wouldn't the Auto setting do that
    occasionally, too?
    I changed my router from Channel 1 to Auto a couple of weeks ago. It
    chose Channel 1 for a while, and I notice it's now on Channel 11, which
    is, indeed, less busy. I'm going to keep it at Auto until I notice a
    Nil, Dec 5, 2014
  18. M-M

    Char Jackson Guest

    In my limited testing with some routers using the Auto setting, they tended
    to land on some weird channels, like 2, 5, 8, 9, etc. Those aren't channels
    that I would have picked, and when I checked over a period of a few days,
    they had stayed on the channels that they initially picked.

    To my way of thinking, there are really only 3 valid choices: 1, 6, and 11.
    In unusual cases where I've had to set up 4 access points for a customer in
    a relatively small area, I've used 1, 4, 7, 11 (or something like that),
    trying to get as much separation as possible while minimizing overlap.

    The thing that throws a wrench into all of this 'least busy' channel
    selection stuff is that you can see how many WiFi devices are on a given
    channel (because you can see their broadcast frames), but you can't easily
    see how busy they are, as in how much traffic each device is generating. A
    channel with a lot of quiet devices on it is usually a better choice than a
    channel with fewer devices when those devices are chatty. In the OP's case,
    what could be more chatty than a camera? It virtually never takes a break to
    let other devices talk. Cameras are the worst, causing massive collisions
    and retransmissions with their constant data streams.

    Cool. It's good to hear that it's reevaluating its choice periodically.
    Char Jackson, Dec 5, 2014
  19. M-M

    dav3nator Guest


    I don't have all day to read every post so sorry if its been said already.

    You can download a wireless network analyzer program called Acrylic WiFi Free.

    I would have posted the link but I don't have 10 posts :(
    Just Google it the name and should be the top search result.

    This program will allow you to see if any other devices are using the same channel you are on. In my neighborhood some channels have 5+ devices. I had a issue with my signal randomly dropping and cutting in and out a second at a time. My internet download speed is 28.5Mbps and the wireless would give me 5Mbps at times. It was due to my neighbors stepping on me. I have since bought a WAP-371 which is 802.11ac and I have not had a problem since ac uses higher channels and ac is not as common yet. Let me know what you find out.

    *You will need a supported wireless network adapter. I believe most wireless cards should work with acrylic.
    dav3nator, Jan 3, 2015
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