Wifi problems

I installed a wifi system in my home. It consists of a Tp-link router TL-WDR3500 plus a Tp-link AC 750 range extender. My two desktops connect with cables to the router. The wifi is supposed to cover the rest of the 3300 sqft single-story house.
Without the range extender, there were several dead spots in the wifi coverage inside the house. After I installed the range extender, the connections improved greatly.
However, the system fluctuates in coverage. In the same spot, one moment the signal is "poor", the next moment it is "good" or "excellent". I measured signal strength both with my smart phone and with my tablet. What can possibly account for the fluctuations in signal strength, though I am not making any changes to the system??
Customer support comes directly from China and is troubled by the fact that they hardly speak any English.
Thanks for any input.
Walter
www.rationality.net
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On 02/25/2016 02:40 PM, Walter E. wrote:

First you need to track down which device is giving you the problem.
Without the extender, and standing near the router does the signal fluctuate? If not, move further away and see if there is any particular place where the signal fluctuates.
If it checks out OK then attach the extender and repeat the process.
OTOH:
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Here is one of many online reviews I found on your router:
Pros: Looks pretty.
Cons: The range on this router is awful! I live in a ranch house and have the router in a central location. The signal in any other room in the house besides the one it is located in is terrible. We frequently lose the signal all together on our laptop, Ipad and cell phones.
I contacted TP-Link and they suggested I buy better antennas?!?!?! Why would I or should I have to do that?
Based on their service or lack there of I would not purchase on of their products again!
Manufacturer Response:
Hello Customer,
Thank you for taking the time to check out our Router.
We are sorry to see that you've had some issues with this device.
One thing we would suggest is to upgrade the firmware of the device from our website.
You can find the firmware on our site at: http://www.tp-link.us/support/download/?model=TL-WDR3500&version=V1#tbl_j
There are many things that can cause a Router to have a poor signal like obstruction from walls or interference from other Routers and devices.
One thing to try is going into the wireless settings of your router and chaning the channel width to 20 MHz and changing the channel from auto to a static number you see in the list.
Here is a guide to help you get into the wireless settings: http://www.tp-link.us/article/?faqidx
If you are still having issues then please feel free to contact me directly at snipped-for-privacy@tp-link.com.
Best Regards!
TP-LINK Support Team snipped-for-privacy@tp-link.com (866) 225-8139 http://www.tp-link.com/us/support
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On Friday, February 26, 2016 at 7:51:40 AM UTC-5, Steve Stone wrote:

I was going to say something about buying those products from a well known, US based company known for good products, instead of a Chinese company.....
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<stuff snipped>

First, get yourself a free app called WiFi Analyzer. You can't really figure this stuff out without it. It shows a graph of all the WiFi signals in your house, their strength and the channels they are using. Invaluable.
The 2.4GHz spectrum is vastly oversubscribed with nanny cams, cordless phones and dozens of other items that transmit on that band. If your neighbor's router (or yours) resets, it often goes into a mode where it hunts for the best channel.
My analyzer showed me that when I started up my system, I was using the same channels as my neighbor. After I got WiFi, so did my neighbor and transmissions were clearly affected. After about a week, all three routers ended up camped out in different ranges and transmission improved. It also improved when I disabled the wireless videocam I had in the attic that was monitoring the rotation of the attic TV antenna (cheap rotator!). I believe in some areas power companies use WiFi to transmit usage data. My connection always slows down in the morning. Alleged 150Mbs service drops to 2 and while directly connected computers slow down, it never approaches the problem I have with WiFi. How close to your neighbors are you? What do you see? How many other SSIDs show up on the "connect to other routers" list?
Orientation and position are important, too. I looked at my house (plaster/lathe walls) with the analyzer and an eye to where I would be using WiFi. Don't locate your router near a window (unless you're going to use a tablet outside) because most of its RF power will be radiated into space and lost. Place it as centrally within the house as you can. Keep in mind that location should provide as close to "line of sight" access to all your receiving devices as possible.
The one thing missing from the analyzer is the ability to see what other kinds of 2.4GHz devices are operating in the area. Jeez, just turned on the analyzer to see if it had the noise option but I missed it and now I see that there's another user in the neighborhood!!!!
With the analyzer I can go for a stroll and figure out who this "Kroppenheim" character is and where so I can account for the interference in case I have to move my router (still have some dead spots - used the TP-Link AC repeater and all it seemed to do was double my problems - it's disconnected for now).
--
Bobby G.




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Walter,

A lot of things can affect your WiFi coverage, but location is one of the biggest. Remember the signal has to pass through walls, floors, appliances, plumbing, furniture, etc. Ideally your WiFi router should be located in the center of your home, up high near the ceiling. Of course, this usually isn't the most convenient spot for the rest of the system.
I had problems similar to you, so I ran a network cable to my attic and installed a D-Link Access point in the attic, as close to the center of the house as I could get. I now get a full strength signal everywhere in the house.
Anthony Watson www.watsondiy.com www.mountainsoftware.com
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HerHusband wrote:

more than one AP throughout the house. 5GHz band is less crowded and can use wider band width for -AC mode. Need to spend some time trying this and that to have good working network. In my case ~2600 sq. ft. 2 story is covered with one router(Linksys EA8500) from basement to upstairs loft where router is located. Wife streams live video every night onto HT system. No issues at all.
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Hi Anthony,
On 2/26/2016 9:52 AM, HerHusband wrote:

What you're really interested in is the "RF proximity" (bogus term?) of the AP to THE PLACES YOU EXPECT TO USE IT! E.g., if you plan on using it to connect wirelessly from places in the backyard, then you want it "RF accessible" from the back yard (not necessarily from the bedrooms, garage, etc.).
But, you also have to consider the *nature* of any obstacles in the flight path. AC/heating ductwork? Large appliances? Metal lath in walls? etc.
And, any other "intentional radiators" that might be crowding the available spectrum: baby monitors, microwave ovens, cordless phones, etc. -- along with all of these in your NEIGHBORS' homes! (depending on proximity)

I installed two AP's on different sides of the house. Each can cover the entire house so the point of having two is that I can make wireless services available to "guests" without compromising the rest of the infrastructure (i.e., by denying them access to the rest of my network).
Each is located on the ceiling of a closet. As such, they aren't eyesores. Yet, are easily accessed (no attic/basement, here). Everything is PoE powered so no need to find a nearby outlet for a cosmetically unappealing wall wart!
But, I *rely* on WIRED connections throughout the house. Wireless is just too iffy...
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+1
microwave ovens are a biggie...
your 100mW router can compete with other 100 mW routers that tranmit packets on and off but is no match for a 1000 Watt microwave that runs in CW mode.
Unfortunatly, those WiFi anlyzers don't show all this other stuff that is in the 2.4 GHz band. you need a real spectrum analyzer.
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On 2/26/2016 1:26 PM, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

But a microwave oven is only limited "usage cycle". Chances are, it will turn off in another minute or so. (assuming the maggie isn't being duty-cycle modulated for a reduced "power level")
The problem comes when your neighbor isn't just transmitting packets intermittently but is, instead, using his WiFi in lieu of a wired connection and is streaming movies, skyping, etc.

Yup. Or, a way to move your wireless stuff to different bands (e.g., 5GHz). I use a 900MHz cordless phone as it avoids problems with other "interferers".
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On 02/26/2016 12:42 PM, Don Y wrote:
[snip]

WiFi is less reliable, and less secure. It should never be your first choice for a fixed location.
I have a lot of things on my home network. Only two (a laptop and a camera) use WiFi. Both of these are things I move around a lot.
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.us/
  Click to see the full signature.
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Hi Mark,
On 2/27/2016 11:43 AM, Mark Lloyd wrote:

The problem lies with folks who don't have (or don't want to install) the infrastructure for *wired* connectivity. And, their neighbors!
"Oh, I can just put this little box where my telephone/CATV line comes into the house and not have to worry about where my computers are -- or if I have "too many" of them!

I have drops *everywhere* (at least two in each room -- as many as four, in some cases). I keep a 10 ft network cable in each laptop bag. When I pull out the charger, I also pull out the network cable and connect both.
[I don't carry my laptop around with me like a "man purse" but, rather, sit it in whatever location I feel like working, at the time.]
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I have noticed that when checking the speed of the internet I get a lot less reported on my wireless connected netbook and a Win 10 desktop than I do on 2 computers that are hard wired into the router. The router and wireless connections are suspose to be 100 meg or beter and the internet is only suspose to be 50 meg or less. Even with all the hard wired computers off the wireless has a lot less speed reported.
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On Sat, 27 Feb 2016 15:03:49 -0500, "Ralph Mowery"

I had a choice between wireless and a 100' cat-6 cable, and using the same computer, the wireless was definitely slower.
It's not surprising. The radio waves and electrons get up and out of the router and are in the middle of the room, and it's hard to keep track of landmarks and direction when they're flying to the computer. Worse yet, they come of a wall and have no idea where they are.
It's impressive that they ever get there.
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On 2/27/2016 1:03 PM, Ralph Mowery wrote:

That could be a consequence of the hardware/firmware in the router.
E.g., there's usually a FIVE port switch built in that can do some routing functions "in silicon".
Even if all traffic is processed by the firmware, there may be added overhead in the particular way packets are sourced/sunk via the wireless "port".
E.g., I could possibly redesign the router so the opposite case was true.
[There's an "urban legend" (actually, science!) regarding the direction that water "swirls" -- clockwise vs. counterclockwise -- as it runs down a drain. One infamous demo showed BOTH directions (different times) using the same "bathtub". It's a hack as science states that this IS the case (one direction north of the equator, the other direction south of it -- coriolis effect). The demo was carefully constructed to force the water to "misbehave", when the tub was initially filled; then, if left to sit for a while, it would "behave" as expected.]
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On Sat, 27 Feb 2016 19:52:19 -0700, Don Y

If you could speed up the rotation of the earth by a factor of 10, at least for a little while, the demonstation might work better.
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On Fri, 26 Feb 2016 16:52:22 -0000 (UTC), HerHusband

2 story house, including the garage (far end) front porch, and rear deck. Not a big house though.
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My router is located under my desk in my home office. I couldn't get a "reliable" signal in the living room, just 20 feet away. Of course, there are three walls, a heater, steel bathtub, plumbing, and wiring in between the two rooms.
Adding the access point in my attic solved all of my WiFi issues. I now get a strong signal anywhere in the house. Ironically, the signal from the access point is a bit weak in the office, but my normal router takes over in that case.
Anthony Watson www.watsondiy.com www.mountainsoftware.com
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