WiFi Coverage

AVBeginner

Active Member
Hi all, after some help if possible please. Forgive me if the answer is really obvious.

I want to improve WiFi coverage around the house.

Current arrangement is:
  • Virgin Media Hub set to Modem mode
  • Netgear Nighthawk (R7000)AC1900 Router
  • CAT6 Wired Ethernet throughout the home.

Anything connected on Ethernet or in close proximity to the Router is fine, and will receive the full internet connection speed (200MBps), but the WiFi signal drops off and speeds reduce in other parts of the house.

Options as I understand them;

a) Replace the router with something better and hope that gives better coverage
b) Wireless Access Point(s)
c) Both a and b
d) replace the whole lot with a fancy mesh system?

Any thoughts please? Which option, and if possible what equipment?
 

chris1976

Active Member
Not sure why but I can’t connect to one them I can go right up to the other two and they will connect 8B401F64-CCBC-487F-9907-35697ADA88EE.png59F0D940-3032-407A-95B8-519A50C0479E.png59F0D940-3032-407A-95B8-519A50C0479E.png
 
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sep8001

Well-known Member
Hi all, after some help if possible please. Forgive me if the answer is really obvious.

I want to improve WiFi coverage around the house.

Current arrangement is:
  • Virgin Media Hub set to Modem mode
  • Netgear Nighthawk (R7000)AC1900 Router
  • CAT6 Wired Ethernet throughout the home.

Anything connected on Ethernet or in close proximity to the Router is fine, and will receive the full internet connection speed (200MBps), but the WiFi signal drops off and speeds reduce in other parts of the house.

Options as I understand them;

a) Replace the router with something better and hope that gives better coverage
b) Wireless Access Point(s)
c) Both a and b
d) replace the whole lot with a fancy mesh system?

Any thoughts please? Which option, and if possible what equipment?
It depends on how much you want to spend and the size of area you want to cover. You could always start with one or may be two unifi aps and see how it goes. As you already have ethernet connection it should make it easier to get the max speed from the ap's.
 
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chris1976

Active Member
You need to run a RF scan for each one and see what is the best

You need to run a RF scan for each one and set them to separate channel.

The 2.4g one can be 1, 6 or 11, and 5g I think between 34 and 42, could be higher but I found some devices would not connect.
Ah I see,so I use the ones which come back with the highest strength bar
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
Also do I upgrade the firmware or leave as is?

Upgrading the software/firmware/drivers almost never "fixes" anything. It's an Internet Myth that "if it's broke, upgrade it." Often it's a sign of desperation that we can't figure out what else to do, so let's do an upgrade so at least we can be "seen to be doing something" and if we're really lucky, it might make a different. Sometimes it actually makes things worse and/or introduces new problems we didn't have before which sends us on a wild goose chase. It's like booking a week in a health farm every time you sneeze.

Doctors certainly don't work this way; they analyse, diagnose, prescribe and treat - they don't just give everyone a dose of Mr McGruders Cure All Tonic whenever they cannot figure out what's wrong. And to diagnose IT issues, we proceed the same way.

Sometimes an upgrade is the right answer. If, for example, said upgrade contains a fix for the issue we presently have and we are confident that the other fixes in the upgrade package will not have detrimental effects. Which means we need to go read the fix list for each package. But "upgrade it" should not be the first recourse. It's just guessing.
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
You need to run a RF scan for each one and see what is the best

You need to run a RF scan for each one and set them to separate channel.

The 2.4g one can be 1, 6 or 11, and 5g I think between 34 and 42, could be higher but I found some devices would not connect.

There's a lot more channels available in the 5GHz waveband (Wiki has a table of them.) But there's restrictions on the use of some of them. For example, some cannot be used outdoors, some have transmit power restrictions, some are also used by RADAR for things like weather and aircraft navigations (usually called "DFS" channels) and are required to shut down and re-tune in the presence of RADAR. I used to work a site in central London which was under flight paths into Heathrow when they were landing onto the 27L/R and our AP's on the high floors would whinge like mad as the aircraft flew over (still at a couple of thousand feet altitude.)

As you've discovered, not all kit is capable of using some of these channels.
 
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oneman

Active Member
Upgrading the software/firmware/drivers almost never "fixes" anything. It's an Internet Myth that "if it's broke, upgrade it." Often it's a sign of desperation that we can't figure out what else to do, so let's do an upgrade so at least we can be "seen to be doing something" and if we're really lucky, it might make a different. Sometimes it actually makes things worse and/or introduces new problems we didn't have before which sends us on a wild goose chase. It's like booking a week in a health farm every time you sneeze.

Doctors certainly don't work this way; they analyse, diagnose, prescribe and treat - they don't just give everyone a dose of Mr McGruders Cure All Tonic whenever they cannot figure out what's wrong. And to diagnose IT issues, we proceed the same way.

Sometimes an upgrade is the right answer. If, for example, said upgrade contains a fix for the issue we presently have and we are confident that the other fixes in the upgrade package will not have detrimental effects. Which means we need to go read the fix list for each package. But "upgrade it" should not be the first recourse. It's just guessing.
In the past I would have agreed about not applying updates unless there was a problem but these days when a lot of patches and fixes are security related its hard to agree. Looking at my own router there have been 3 updates this year and all have security patches along with bug fixes and feature changes.
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
In the past I would have agreed about not applying updates unless there was a problem but these days when a lot of patches and fixes are security related its hard to agree. Looking at my own router there have been 3 updates this year and all have security patches along with bug fixes and feature changes.

Thanks: I am not advocating that we should not do preventative maintenance, quite the reverse. The point I'm trying to make is that "if it's not working upgrade it" is a poor decision.

The example in this very thread makes my point (I hope.) Our interlocutor had an issue with his RF channel plan. Would an software upgrade have fixed that? No. What he needed was to review and change his channel plan. All an upgrade would have done is waste a load of time and potentially introduced new issues which might have compounded the problem.

Automated upgrades are something of an emotional dilemma for old lags like me. Back in the day, we'd implement scheduled maintenance several times a year in planned outages with the upgrade package all (acceptance) tested and signed off by the relevant departments (users) ahead of time (and the change would be postponed if testing found a problem.) Nowadays with the world of automated updates, the ground is shifting under our feet constantly a such a planned maintenance regime is difficult (or more likely costly) to do so a lot of businesses live with it and firefight any unfortunate consequences of a "bad" update.
 
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mushii

Distinguished Member
I think much like any other changes to your network, system firmware upgrades should be reviewed before installing them. Some vendors may only roll out one or two a year and are often Beta Tested to death and are viewed as safe to install on release. Other vendors such as Ubiquiti issue updates on an almost weekly basis and have recently gained a reputation for flawed or buggy releases (maybe due to the speed of release) which has made users cautious about upgrading, and only do so after watching the community response. That said even the most trusted of companies (hic.. Apple) have released some shocking firmware updates that have resolved to 'brick' perfectly working devices.

It is always a judgement call on when (not if) to upgrade a devices firmware as ultimately those upgrades are designed to improve user experience / functionality / security.

Personally I NEVER have automatic upgrades turned on, unless it is out of my hands (such as my Ajax alarms).
 
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oneman

Active Member
Thanks: I am not advocating that we should not do preventative maintenance, quite the reverse. The point I'm trying to make is that "if it's not working upgrade it" is a poor decision.

The example in this very thread makes my point (I hope.) Our interlocutor had an issue with his RF channel plan. Would an software upgrade have fixed that? No. What he needed was to review and change his channel plan. All an upgrade would have done is waste a load of time and potentially introduced new issues which might have compounded the problem.
I see what you are saying, I would check change log to see if there is a specific fix but 99.99% its a configuration issue rather than firmware or broken hardware.
 
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chris1976

Active Member
i still cant connect to one of my points when i go right up to it

iv tried leaving power and channels set to auto, iv tried power on low and used the rf scan to use the best channel and iv just tried resetting it and starting from scratch, iv proved the ethernet to the AP by plugging it into the laptop, so not sure what to do next?

i guess i could try swapping it with another point to see if its the room/environment thats the problem or a faulty switch
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
Have you given them all different SSID names to test with...? If not you'll be chasing your tail for days.

Client devices do not have to associate with (or roam to) the closest AP to where you happen to be - they are not constantly "hunting the best signal" and if you've got all the SSID's the same you have no control over which one you use.

To "prove" that your AP's are all working correctly, (and the backhaul infrastructure,) you should give each AP a unique SSID and each waveband withing each AP a different SSID so you can methodically test each SSID and you can "prove" whether they are working or not. An alternate methodology that achieves the same result is to ascribe a "test" SSID to each AP/waveband in turn a work through them all.

It's a miserable task - I've had to do it on a big site that hadn't mapped which AP was where - but sometime there's no choice.

Thence once you've established that that are all working properly, then give them all the same SSID again. After that, if it still won't roam then I'm afraid Wi-Fi is "just like that" - we cannot "fix" it because it isn't "broken."

But one step at a time - test each AP with a unique SSID first to establish that they are fundamentally OK and backhauling properly.

Swapping them around might be worthwhile if they are easy to get at, but it may just simply move the problem somewhere else - an SSID test will yield better evidence.
 
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chris1976

Active Member
thought the ssid wasnt to be messed with? they are all called my wifi network but each one has its own area name 2 of them appear to be fine- in that i can move next to it and it shows as a connected client but for some reason the 3rd has never connected
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
You can "mess" with SSID's as much a you like - it's just a name the AP's advertise. It's just that if you change them it has consequences for anyone using the network.

If SSID's are the same, then client devices regard them as "the same" network and may roam between AP/wavebands automatically without user intervention.

If SSID's differ, then clients regard then as "different" networks and will never roam between them until they completely loose connection and "start again" looking for a Wi-Fi link as if you had just turned the client on.

Thusly, on sites with multiple AP's we typically make all the SSID's the same as most users would not like the hassle of having to pick and choose which AP they are talking to and prefer to have the automation attempt to roam between them as they move around.

But there are use cases where people want to explicitly choose which AP to connect to and only roam between them manually. Typically this is in SOHO use cases with a relatively sophisticated (or trained) user base.

There's no real "right" or "wrong" way to do this, it's a matter of personal preference as to which you find most convenient.

For testing purposes, we can take advantage of this and use different SSID's to test out particular kit as I described previously if we're unsure that some particular AP is working correctly: We temporarily give a "bandit" AP a different and unique SSID so we can be sure we are talking to it, go Associate with it to prove it's usable and it's backhaul is working. Thence once such as test has proved the hardware is all OK, give it back it's "normal" SSID.

Also, by changing just the SSID and not the RF channel number we are also proving that the particular client---AP pairing used to run the test can communicate on the deployed radio channel.

Thence when we return the bandit AP to it's normal SSID's, if a client still won't roam to it, we know it's not an issue with the radio channel, the kit, the backhaul and a bunch of other stuff.
 
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chris1976

Active Member
so when you refer to ssid i have them down as "my wifi network" but each has its own name as to where it is in the house, so should i be able to roam freely between them?

Im going to have to set my own thread up i think as this is driving me nuts.
So the point i said i couldnt connect to i have tried swapping with one which was definately working then turned the others off and i couldnt connect to it even though it shows up on my phone,i tried reseting it but, no joy so im returning it to amazon

iv just fitted the outdoor one and when im in the house it shows up on the network, but when i walk outside towards it i drop to 4g and and the app wont find it.
so i go back inside and try a restore from my phone but now i cant log into that particular point because it doesnt recognise my details

so in short i have 2 out 4 working ok, is there any way i can just reset the lot and start from scratch
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
You only get automatic roaming between SSID's if the are the same (and have the same passphrase.) You never get roaming if they are different.

It's a safeguard: Imagine I'm sat in a company office attached to their SSID. I wouldn't want my client to roam to the Costa coffee shop next door, just because it happened to be louder. Or in the block of flats I live in, I wouldn't want my clients to start using next doors Wi-Fi.

You might try taking the space characters out of the SSID names. (Replace them with underscores or something,) It shouldn't matter, but lots of "computer" type things get a but wierd about handling space characters.
 
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chris1976

Active Member
Ok I think I’m past that point, is there any way I can just reset the lot?
Iv tried doing it in the power pack and the unit itself but It doesn’t work
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
Much IT kit has some kind of "reset to factory defaults" capability. I don't know your equipment, others here may do.

Beware of falling into the trap of thinking all Wi-Fi ills are due to "the system." It's equally likely there is a problem in your client devices or the RF environment in your locale (such as an interference source you haven't detected.) Wi-Fi is a very complicated set of protocols and everything needs to play nice together for it to work. I could describe wired ethernet in a pamphlet; my reference texts on Wi-Fi runs to three volumes and getting on for a 1000 pages.
 
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neilball

Well-known Member
If the reset button on the AP does not work then you may have broken the microswitch off the circuit board - it’s something that a small number of users have reported before.

Otherwise I’ve rarely had an issue using the onboard button to reset Unifi products, and you will need to “forget” the device from the controller too (if you use a Cloud Key, Dream Machine, or software controller), before re-adopting.
 
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