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  • Router keeps dropping the 2.4 speed but keeps 5G running

    Posted on WStnesler Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums Networking – routers, firewalls, network configuration Router keeps dropping the 2.4 speed but keeps 5G running

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      • #2265745 Reply
        WStnesler
        AskWoody Lounger

        Hello!

        I have a Netgear N750 dual band router that is around 4 years old.  Lately (last 12 months), the router is dropping connections for the slower speed but keeping the higher speed connection running.  I have some older PCs which won’t run at the 5G setting and this is getting annoying becuase I have to turn off and restart the router to fix the problem.

        When I get this problem I go to my Network List and I can see the 2.4 connector but when I try to connect it says “unable to connect.

        Is my router starting to die?  Any suggestions?

        Thanks!

        Tom Nesler

      • #2265776 Reply
        Kirsty
        Da Boss

        How much is competing for the 2.4 bandwidth in your neighborhood? it might just be overcrowded.

      • #2265825 Reply
        WStnesler
        Guest

        It  often happens early in the morning.  Because it was fine when I went to bed, I don’t know exactly when it dropped.  So I don’t think that is causing the problem.

        Tom Nesler

      • #2265901 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Check the local wifi signal when you have problems. See this post for tools to use.

        cheers, Paul

      • #2265921 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Try changing the 2.4 channel. Some neighborhood routers may interfere with yours.
        2.4GHz bandwidth has long range while the 5GHz has short range.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2266111 Reply
        WStnesler
        Guest

        Thank you both for your suggestions.  I will let you know what happens…:-)

        Tom Nesler

      • #2266137 Reply
        Michael432
        AskWoody_MVP

        Guesses:

        –Can’t hurt to power cycle the router.

        –Make sure the router is using a 20MHz channel width on the 2.4GHz band. Almost everyone does and everyone should, its just something to check when having a problem

        –Maybe create a WiFi network that is only on the 2.4GHz band. If nothing else, it simplifies things.

        –The 2.4GHz frequency band is a mess. You need a WiFi scanner to check nearby networks and avoid the channels used by those with the strongest signal. And, after doing some research set the channel manually rather than let the router pick it. And stick to channels 1, 6 or 11. If you are using Windows, I am a big fan of this free program
        https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/wifi_information_view.html
        for reporting on the wireless networks in my area. Sort the display by Average Signal Quality to see the networks that most impact you. Also, the free version of inSSIDer reports on actual bandwidth usage by WiFi channel. Its the only program I know of that does this.

        Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2266805 Reply
        WStnesler
        Guest

        Thanks for the software suggestion.  I have installed it and I see that most of the channels are on 1,6, and 11.  However some are not.  What is the concern if I choose a channel that is different than these three?

        Tom Nesler

        • #2266840 Reply
          Michael432
          AskWoody_MVP

          When everyone is on the same WiFi channel, WiFi can act like a school crossing guard and control who gets to talk and when. This is a foundational feature of WiFi. All the devices on the same channel co-ordinate not to talk at the same time.

          However, when they are not on the same channel, everyone loses. Transmissions from channel 5 (for example) interfere with channel 6 and vise-versa. Each sees the other as noise and this can cause lots of re-transmissions.

           

          Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org

        • #2276876 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          That is correct setup. Only channels 1, 6 and 11 are not overlapping, you should stick to these channels. Use some wifi mapping tool as recommended here in this topic and see whats happening “in the air around you”.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, WX 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      • #2266965 Reply
        WStnesler
        Guest

        Supposedly, I was told to set the channel manually to avoid being dropped when things get crowded.  Looking at my apartment’s list of routers I have 33 different devices running. 12 are on channel 11.  9 are on channel 6 and 7 are on channel 1.  The rest (5) are on other channels.

        My router is set to automatic and usually is on channel 6.  What should I do to minimize conflicts with other routers?

        Tom Nesler

         

      • #2267000 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        What wifi activity do you see in the morning vs at night? Is it different?

        Try moving the wifi router half a metre or so to see if it improves.

        cheers, Paul

      • #2267073 Reply
        WStnesler
        Guest

        I checked this morning and there were 21 connections (as opposed to 33 last night).  I can see my  router from here so I don’t think  the location is bad.  I did change my channel from Auto to 1 and that brought the connection back.  We will see if that fixes my problem.  I may have to experiment with different channels to see what works best.

        Tom Nesler

        • #2267143 Reply
          PaulK
          AskWoody Lounger

          The two chief criteria are: Channel number (of 1, 6, 11) that is ‘least used’ in number of users; and, of these 3, also considering the signal strengths of the users. Who is standing on the nearer soap box, and who is shouting louder.

          I am not familiar with Michael’s Nirsoft-linked program, but the old/free InSSIDer lists much useful information.

      • #2267473 Reply
        WStnesler
        Guest

        So far, changing my channel setting from Auto to “1” seems to be helping.  I will do more observation and let you know.  Thanks for the two utilities!

        Tom Nesler

         

         

      • #2276444 Reply
        Ben Myers
        AskWoody Lounger

        Best thing to do is to use a free software utility to see which wifi routers in your neighborhood are using which channels.  Then either pick an unused channel for 2.4Ghz or pick a channel that has the weakest signal from other routers.

        Some of the free scanners are Acrylic, WifiInfoView from nirsoft, ViStumbler, InSSIDer, and Meraki Wifi Stumbler.

        I would also consider replacing a router that does not handle 802.11ac, even if your devices don’t.  A wifi N router is a little long in the tooth, and AC750 is very limited bandwidth, OK if you use only one device, but not so good if there are multiple devices using your wifi at the same time.

         

      • #2276662 Reply
        WStnesler
        Guest

        Thanks for the suggestions.  I have found that manually shifting the channel when I am “Locked out”, seems to fix things.  We can go for days without a problem and then, all of a sudden, the 2.4 side of the router stops and I have to go in and change the channel.  I do have a newer router, but I don’t want to replace the old one considering how many devices are connected to it…:-(

        Thanks again!

        Tom Nesler

      • #2276669 Reply
        Ben Myers
        AskWoody Lounger

        The relatively easy way to replace routers is, first, to laboriously make sure you have complete information for logging into each of the channels, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, and guest logins if any, the SSIDs used and their associated passwords, and maybe the channels used.  Make sure that the computer usually connected and hardwired via Ethernet to the router has this information somewhere in a text file, such that the info can be cut-and-pasted into the new router’s settings.  Setup of most brands of newer routers is relatively easy, as the router firmware guides you directly to the setup menu.

        Of course, you need to disconnect the old router, power-cycle the cable modem, then attach the new router to the cable modem.  When the new router appears to synched up with the cable modem, have at it.

         

         

      • #2276791 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        When the problem happens do you see new / different wifi activity on the wifi monitor app?

        Is somebody running a machine locally when the problem occurs?

        cheers, Paul

      • #2276849 Reply
        WStnesler
        Guest

        Last night it happened twice.  When I used WifiInfoView.exe to look at the connections, I saw that there were about 20 different routers online.  We live in a 16 unit apartment complex.  They were spread out over 4 different channels.

        I am not sure the problem is with the number of connections.  It seems that the router can’t jump from one to another automatically.  When I switch it to a dfferent channel, everything comes back Ok.  Which is better than having to restart the router.

         

         

      • #2276851 Reply
        WStnesler
        Guest

        Ben:  Thanks for the suggestions.  I am not sure I understand all the details you want to save.

        I was thinking the MAC address would change when we swapped routers and this would require reconnecting everything.  Are you saying if I keep the same SSID name and Password, then I can make the change without having to do this?

         

      • #2276926 Reply
        Ben Myers
        AskWoody Lounger

        A router’s MAC address is visible only to the cable modem, which explains why it is necessary to power cycle the cable modem, allowing it to capture and respond to a different MAC address.  Your computers, cell phones and tablets do not care about the router’s MAC address.

        To make the change from old to new router as transparent as possible, people accessing the router via wifi would need to see the same SSID and use the same password with the new router as with the old.  So you make a record of these elements in a text file, which you use to set up the new router, copying and pasting this info from your document that has it directly into the menus of the router setup.   Use Ctrl-V to paste.

        It seems like the 2.4GHz channel is more crowded than 5G, somewhat typical.  You best choice of 2.4GHz channel is to pick one nobody else uses or to pick one with the weakest signal from other routers.  This will eliminate or minimize any interference from other routers and computers.

        Not sure what it takes to get all your internet devices to work with 5G.  Maybe some replacements?  Maybe some add-ons like an USB 802.11ac wifi adapter?   5G offers far more channels, so there is, or should be, less bunching up of routers using the same channel.  And 5G is usually way faster within the more limited range it covers.

        • #2277147 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          You best choice of 2.4GHz channel is to pick one nobody else uses or to pick one with the weakest signal from other routers.

          Be carefull, he cant pick whatever channel he wants. He should pick channel, which has no everlap to other already existing SSIDs in his environment!

          @WSnesler wrote:

          I saw that there were about 20 different routers online

          If he pick wrong channel, he can infulence connection of other people badly. Quick 2,4GHz recap:
          MetaGeek

          Note#1: please be aware, that InSSIDer is not free to use anymore, you can try to download older free version, or use another mapping tool adviced in this topic.
          Note#2: beware or Ubiquity APs, the are made to switch channels automatically and it creates lot of mess. If some user in your house uses Ubiquity, it can be very hard to trouleshoot this.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, WX 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      • #2277094 Reply
        WSnesler
        Guest

        Our Amazon Alexa devices use 2.4G which is when I know we need to reset the router.  Until these get replaced, we are stuck with 2.4 for a while.  I can get some 5G USB nic units for my laptop and other computers.

      • #2277120 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        That router may not be very good at moving channels when it’s busy.
        Have you checked the firmware is up to date?

        cheers, Paul

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