Patchy WiFi reception around my house

Hi I've just downloaded Fing hoping it can help me diagnose some network issues and not sure if this tool will be of any help. I have very patchy WiFi reception around my house at different times of day. Generally I get an average 46Mbps Download speed on Oookla, but intermittently it crashes to below 1Mbps for hours on end. This can happen to am otherwise stable connection in the same location in the house, or can vary wildly when I move the device very slightly (like a couple of feet). How can I diagnose the cause of this? Appreciate any advice 
Roxie66

Answers

  • RobinRobin Administrator Posts: 2,828
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    admin
    Thanks for the post @Tezza
    Any advice @kltaylor @rooted @Pixelpopper @Marc




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  • ProTecKProTecK Member Posts: 53
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    edited July 8

    @Tezza you might start with Wifi Analyzer, it's an app that will show you your wifi signal strength as you move around. It will also show you other traffic around you so you can find a unused or litte used channel.

    There are tons of things that could cause problems at different times of day. The list is so long, here is a good place to get the basics.

    https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/4-things-that-might-be-slowing-down-your-home-network/

    Lee_BoTezzaRoxie66
  • Lee_BoLee_Bo Member Posts: 272
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    ProTecK said:

    @Tezza you might start with Wifi Analyzer, it's an app that will show you your wifi signal strength as you move around. It will also show you other traffic around you so you can find a unused or litte used channel.

    There are tons of things that could cause problems at different times of day. The list is so long, here is a good place to get the basics.

    https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/4-things-that-might-be-slowing-down-your-home-network/

    Using a wifi analyzer will also show you what channel your wifi is using and also what channel all your neighbors are using.  Changes are you and all your neighbors are on the same channel, which will cause serious interference.  Once you determine what a channels are being used, change your wifi channel to one that's not being used in your area.  Should help that issue.
    tmc1942Tezza
  • tmc1942tmc1942 Member Posts: 10
    First Comment
    thank you very much  for this advice which I will take and revert.  I have noticed that our DECT phones can cause the wifi to drop when the DECT phone is operating so that is one thing I can check.   

    I still have the problem to resolve that our ISP (BT) drops frequently. Can my fingbox or the fing app track, log  and report this problem. Would the Fing premium app help?
    Erica61904
  • tmc1942tmc1942 Member Posts: 10
    First Comment
    hello, Can you suggest the wifi analyser I should use? There seems to a number of apps out there but it is not clear if they are any good.  I would use an iphone or ipad app. 
  • ProTecKProTecK Member Posts: 53
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    @tmc1942 The iPhone version of anything is so limited by what apple allows apps to do especially network and wifi related, I don't know what to tell you. I just did a quick search on my iPad and nothing even looked like it did a proper wifi survey. Maybe somebody else knows of something I'm missing. You could find a used old Android phone that would give you far better info than what I'm seeing for iOS

    tmc1942
  • tmc1942tmc1942 Member Posts: 10
    First Comment
    OK, thanks for this. I think I can find a windows 10 laptop and  that hopefully
    Roxie66
  • ProTecKProTecK Member Posts: 53
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    @tmc1942 there is definitely software that will work on there, but everything I've ever used on a laptop used external antennas and the software was expensive. It was used to get heat map readings which is what you really want. It maps out exactly what it was reading all over your house.

  • BadgerbaltiBadgerbalti Member Posts: 4
    Name Dropper First Comment Photogenic

    Various things that can help idenfity the issues at play
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.farproc.wifi.analyzer&hl=en_GB
    https://www.metageek.com/products/inssider/

    https://www.fing.com/products/fingbox
    https://help.fing.com/knowledge-base/wi-fi-speed/

    Depending on the property and the outcome of any tests, also consider adding in additional WiFi access points to improve coverage.
    I would suggest newer WiFi5 & WiFi6 devices, making sure to limit the channel bandwidth on all devices in the property to 20MHz and possibly lower the output power to a stable/usable level if possible, or enabling Automatic power control if an option is available.
    Manufacturers are often in the habbit again of defaulting to the highest 40/80/160MHz channel bandwidths so that they can claim how fast their devices can operate. Most people don't need more than the basic 20MHz bandwidth.
    Having multiple devices in close enough proximity with the WiFi cranked up to the max bandwidth and power just hurts everyone as they're all shouting over each over.

    Depending how receptive your neibours might be, If you see their devices hogging the bandwidth, it can also be worth chatting to them about the issues you are facing as they may be seeing similar.

    True DECT phone's shouldn't be causing an issue as they are not on the same frequency.  In the past, some cordless phones have been known to use the 2.4GHz spectrum.  If you happen to have some of these ditch them.
    Try to focus on making sure all devices are 5GHz WiFi capable (N or ac being preffered). If so, then look to disable 2.4GHz radios in Access points/routers and see how coverage and stability look.  In most instances I find 5GHz doesn't go as far, but you get better speeds where you get reception, hence the advice to look at installing addtional Access Points to remedy coverage issues.

    Another issue to contend with is DFS and Radar (https://wifinigel.blogspot.com/2018/05/the-5ghz-problem-for-wi-fi-networks-dfs.html#:~:text=5GHz%20has%20far%20more%20channels,of%20its%20potential%20impact%3A%20DFS. )

    DFS should be enabled, but channels can also be set which avoid the issue depending on your region.  I live near some airfields and depending on conditions my AP's occasionally detect the radar and start backing off or switching channels (I have channels set to auto).
    If not set correctly or if implemented poorly in the firmware this could also be an issue.









  • Nicholas_ANicholas_A Member, Beta Tester Posts: 1
    First Comment Photogenic
    edited September 18

    I use the Fingbox to see if the intermittent drops are down to the WiFi or my ISP. I have my Fingbox hard wired into the router and can then use the Fing speed checker to verify the internet connection from the router. I also use Ookla from the laptop/iPad/iPhone and can compare the two. Of course speed from the phone will be slower than the speed measured by the Fingbox - but what I look for is whether drops in speed from the device are matched by drops in speed at the Fingbox. And I then have a rough idea of whether the problem is my network or the ISP.

  • rourmanrourman Member, Beta Tester Posts: 5
    First Anniversary Founder First Comment Photogenic
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    I've been having dodgy reception at various points in my house, and recently used the WiFi Analyzer (WiFi Scanner) to try to change the channel to one that has good quality at the locations I need it most. But I'm running into a Catch-22 chase-my-tail issue between the Fing  WiFi Scanner and my Router. Here's what happens:
    I use the WiFi Scanner to check which channels have the best quality, then use the Router settings to change channels manually to ones that (according to Fing WiFi Scanner) are good. Once the Router has adjusted the channels to my requests, the Fing WiFi Scanner identifies those channels as Bad Quality. If I change the Router again to set it to the channels with the best available quality again, the same thing happens: the moment the channels on the Router have changed the new channels I have set it to are now listed as Bad Quality and the channels I was on previously show as Average or Good Quality.
    Not sure how to fix this problem so that I get the right channels and don't chase my tail every time!
  • GervaisdeMGervaisdeM Member, Beta Tester Posts: 2
    Name Dropper First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited September 19
    rourman said:
    I've been having dodgy reception at various points in my house, and recently used the WiFi Analyzer (WiFi Scanner) to try to change the channel to one that has good quality at the locations I need it most. But I'm running into a Catch-22 chase-my-tail issue between the Fing  WiFi Scanner and my Router. Here's what happens:
    I use the WiFi Scanner to check which channels have the best quality, then use the Router settings to change channels manually to ones that (according to Fing WiFi Scanner) are good. Once the Router has adjusted the channels to my requests, the Fing WiFi Scanner identifies those channels as Bad Quality. If I change the Router again to set it to the channels with the best available quality again, the same thing happens: the moment the channels on the Router have changed the new channels I have set it to are now listed as Bad Quality and the channels I was on previously show as Average or Good Quality.
    Not sure how to fix this problem so that I get the right channels and don't chase my tail every time!
    I think it is possible that Fing shows you that the channels you change your router to are listed as "Bad Quality" because those channels are now busy, If you were not using those channels, they would not be a good channel for you to switch to... Since you know that those channels are being used by you, then you can ignore that they would not be good channels to switch TO.
    rourman
  • StevePSteveP Member Posts: 3
    First Anniversary 5 Likes First Comment Photogenic
    If you are running Windows check out Rampart from Metageek, https://my.metageek.com/rampart-home. They are the makers of some very sophisticated WiFi analysis software but Rampart is very easy to understand. It is free but requires you to create an account and there is a premium subscription available. Check out the Education link at the top of the web page to get a better understanding of WiFi.
    rourman
  • rourmanrourman Member, Beta Tester Posts: 5
    First Anniversary Founder First Comment Photogenic
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    Thank you, GervaisdeM and SteveP!
    Regarding the fact that the channels become "Bad Quality" simply because I've changed to them makes sense - though I wonder if that means I simply have too many devices soaking up the bandwidth? I wonder if there's a way to remedy that also.
    I'll have a check-out and read-through of Rampart - thank you! I am always up for learning more about my system (and how to do reasonable self-remedies to fix annoyances such as this one).
    Cheers!
  • dodo2udodo2u NetherlandsMember Posts: 1
    First Comment
    I use this device to monitor my connection to the ISP: https://www.monitor-io.com/
    I obtained it as a supporter of the Kickstarter project. It tells you when the connection slows down or fails.


  • mpickardmpickard Member Posts: 3
    Photogenic First Comment
    tmc1942 said:
    hello, Can you suggest the wifi analyser I should use? There seems to a number of apps out there but it is not clear if they are any good.  I would use an iphone or ipad app. 

    For Apple devices, the only option is Apple's Airport Utility.  Once installed, you will need to go into the Settings app, Airport Utility, and enable the Wi-Fi Scanner feature.  Then back in the App, at the top right corner will be Wi-Fi Scanner - click on that to scan the network.  https://iphone-tricks.com/tutorial/6941-using-airport-as-wi-fi-scanner-on-iphone gives a good overview of the steps with screenshots - otherwise Google is your friend to learn more about it as well.

  • GervaisdeMGervaisdeM Member, Beta Tester Posts: 2
    Name Dropper First Comment First Anniversary Photogenic
    @rourman
    The channel analyzers don't really care about bandwidth use. They are really looking for which channels have the least congestion.
    How many wifi devices do you have? How many you can support would depend on how good your router is. I currently have 60 devices showing on my home network.

    Most IOT devices should not be using a lot of bandwidth.  Analyzing bandwidth would be a whole different can of worms...  :smile:
  • Lee_BoLee_Bo Member Posts: 272
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    mpickard said:
    For Apple devices, the only option is Apple's Airport Utility.  Once installed, you will need to go into the Settings app, Airport Utility, and enable the Wi-Fi Scanner feature.  Then back in the App, at the top right corner will be Wi-Fi Scanner - click on that to scan the network.  https://iphone-tricks.com/tutorial/6941-using-airport-as-wi-fi-scanner-on-iphone gives a good overview of the steps with screenshots - otherwise Google is your friend to learn more about it as well.

    There's actually quite a few wifi analysers out there for Apple devices:
    https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk02p1TAm8tuKZqCa5bOmS43a1wasCA:1601045421028&ei=rQNuX6yOAeKj_QaMsZOADw&q=wifi+analyzer+for+iphone&oq=wifi+analyzer+for+iphone&gs_lcp=CgZwc3ktYWIQAzICCAAyAggAMgIIADIECAAQHjIECAAQHjIGCAAQBRAeMgYIABAFEB4yBggAEAUQHjIGCAAQBRAeMgYIABAIEB46BAgAEEc6BAgAEA06BggAEA0QHjoICAAQDRAFEB46CwgAEA0QBRAeEIsDUN9bWKZiYOhnaABwAngAgAFbiAGWAZIBATKYAQCgAQGqAQdnd3Mtd2l6yAEIuAECwAEB&sclient=psy-ab&ved=0ahUKEwjsmNv8xoTsAhXiUd8KHYzYBPAQ4dUDCA0&uact=5
  • RainCasterRainCaster My deskMember, Beta Tester Posts: 47
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    You can put your Fing box in a mode where it will monitor your network and give you a traffic check for every device. That will tell you more about possible congestion.

  • jotlaptopjotlaptop Member Posts: 3
    First Comment Photogenic
    Channel contention and channel width are two items that are plausible factors affecting performance -- I am experiencing similar occasional (apparently random) reductions in wi-fi strength, sometimes so radical as to trigger a Fing warning.  I wonder also about the Properties of my computer's Intel Dual-Band Wireless AC8260 configuration.  It offers a dozen settings, among them channel width restriction .  The default setting disables 802.11n/ac;  I have enabled it, and set PreferredBand=5gHz, and hope that will improve my performance and reliability?  Any other obvious settings to check?  My laptop is in my house 95% of the time.
  • mpickardmpickard Member Posts: 3
    Photogenic First Comment
    Lee_Bo said:
    mpickard said:
    For Apple devices, the only option is Apple's Airport Utility.  Once installed, you will need to go into the Settings app, Airport Utility, and enable the Wi-Fi Scanner feature.  Then back in the App, at the top right corner will be Wi-Fi Scanner - click on that to scan the network.  https://iphone-tricks.com/tutorial/6941-using-airport-as-wi-fi-scanner-on-iphone gives a good overview of the steps with screenshots - otherwise Google is your friend to learn more about it as well.

    There's actually quite a few wifi analysers out there for Apple devices:
    https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALeKk02p1TAm8tuKZqCa5bOmS43a1wasCA:1601045421028&ei=rQNuX6yOAeKj_QaMsZOADw&q=wifi+analyzer+for+iphone&oq=wifi+analyzer+for+iphone&gs_lcp=CgZwc3ktYWIQAzICCAAyAggAMgIIADIECAAQHjIECAAQHjIGCAAQBRAeMgYIABAFEB4yBggAEAUQHjIGCAAQBRAeMgYIABAIEB46BAgAEEc6BAgAEA06BggAEA0QHjoICAAQDRAFEB46CwgAEA0QBRAeEIsDUN9bWKZiYOhnaABwAngAgAFbiAGWAZIBATKYAQCgAQGqAQdnd3Mtd2l6yAEIuAECwAEB&sclient=psy-ab&ved=0ahUKEwjsmNv8xoTsAhXiUd8KHYzYBPAQ4dUDCA0&uact=5
    Lee Bo - have you done your homework and actually checked them out? 

    Unfortunately, they are limited to only being able to scan the Wi-Fi that you have an active connection with.   The marketing hype is a lie when compared to actual "Wi-Fi Analyzers" that show you all the available Wi-Fi networks in an area without having to be associated to the one you are trying to scan.  Exception being WiPry which requires an external dongle to actually scan all available Wi-Fi networks.  (Actually, appears NetSpot is using the WiPry dongle as well).

  • mpickardmpickard Member Posts: 3
    Photogenic First Comment
    tmc1942 said:
    hello, Can you suggest the wifi analyser I should use? There seems to a number of apps out there but it is not clear if they are any good.  I would use an iphone or ipad app. 

    For Apple devices, the only option is Apple's Airport Utility.  Once installed, you will need to go into the Settings app, Airport Utility, and enable the Wi-Fi Scanner feature.  Then back in the App, at the top right corner will be Wi-Fi Scanner - click on that to scan the network.  https://iphone-tricks.com/tutorial/6941-using-airport-as-wi-fi-scanner-on-iphone gives a good overview of the steps with screenshots - otherwise Google is your friend to learn more about it as well.

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