Author Topic: wifi channels  (Read 2285 times)

Keenite

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wifi channels
« on: 03:24:51 | 27 November, 2016 »
I gave a Roku XD to a friend of mine and it worked fine until at some point it could no longer 'find' the wifi signal. Since it could 'see' other channels, I came to the conclusion that the German router had (presumably after a FW update) elected to broadcast on wifi channels 12 or 13, which I have been told do not work on certain devices made for the US market. To be sure I brought it to my place and it did work on my setup.
While in theory it is possible to choose which channel a router broadcasts on, my friend does not want to fiddle with his setup. From what I've read in the internet defining a single broadcast channel may have other adverse effects, so probably will disregard that solution for the time-being.
Here is my idea: I just happen to have one of these that I can spare:
https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-Wireless-300Mbps-Repeater-TL-WA801ND/dp/B004UBU8IE/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1480245456&sr=8-5&keywords=tp+link+repeater
It is not a modem, and in theory would only have to be connected to my friend's modem via one of its outputs. On the repeater I would then switch off the "select broadcast channel automatically" feature and select a specific channel to broadcast via. If all works as I imagine, he would then have a second wifi connection that would broadcast only on the selected channel.
Does this sound plausible? As my friend is very wary of anyone fiddling with his setup, I'd like to have a functioning solution before installing it.
On a related note, is it possible to define a specific broadcast channel on a device such as this one:
https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-Wi-Fi-Range-Extender-TL-WA850RE/dp/B00E98O7GC/ref=sr_1_5?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1480245728&sr=1-5&keywords=wifi+repeater
This would involve fewer cables, requiring an electric socket only.
TIA for your input.
« Last Edit: 03:30:01 | 27 November, 2016 by Keenite »

KlaasV

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Re: wifi channels
« Reply #1 on: 04:47:03 | 27 November, 2016 »
It would be helpful if you could post the make and model of your friend's router, the type of home (single family house or block of flats) he's living in and if there are many WiFi networks in his area.

Depending on the type of neighbourhood setting up a second WiFi network might not be the best of ideas.

If you connect the TP-Link Wireless N300 2T2R to your friend's router with an ethernet cable it will not work as a repeater but as an access point. In this case it is mandatory to use a different channel, otherwise the whole WiFi network might become unusable. Such a setup will only make sense if your friend is living in a home with two or more floors separated by massive concrete ceilings and ethernet cables already in place between the floors.

A repeater like the WA820RE always uses the same channel as the router and can't be configured to use a different one.

On the other hand changing (and fixing) the channel on the router does not mean "fiddling with the settings". You change it and that's it - all clients will automatically adapt to the new channel.

castalla

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Re: wifi channels
« Reply #2 on: 07:01:29 | 27 November, 2016 »
I agree - changing the channel is trivial.
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Keenite

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Re: wifi channels
« Reply #3 on: 07:16:29 | 27 November, 2016 »
It would be helpful if you could post the make and model of your friend's router, the type of home (single family house or block of flats) he's living in and if there are many WiFi networks in his area.

Depending on the type of neighbourhood setting up a second WiFi network might not be the best of ideas.

If you connect the TP-Link Wireless N300 2T2R to your friend's router with an ethernet cable it will not work as a repeater but as an access point. In this case it is mandatory to use a different channel, otherwise the whole WiFi network might become unusable. Such a setup will only make sense if your friend is living in a home with two or more floors separated by massive concrete ceilings and ethernet cables already in place between the floors.

A repeater like the WA820RE always uses the same channel as the router and can't be configured to use a different one.

On the other hand changing (and fixing) the channel on the router does not mean "fiddling with the settings". You change it and that's it - all clients will automatically adapt to the new channel.

The router is in an apartment in an apartment house:
Deutsche Telekom Speedport W724V
Type A
FW7.2.0
Build 4100
Sorry for the confusion, in my configuration only the access point would be used for the Roku, my question about the repeater was a separate one, and the answer you gave rules it out for this purpose, as it uses the same channel as the router.
In the setup I'm describing, the Roku would be the only device to connect via the encrypted access point and presumably solely via the single, predefined channel. I've tried this setup with the access point connected to my router via a LAN cable and it worked fine (absolutely no changes made to my router settings, only to the access point as regards the channel number).
Also, if a  single channel is specified on his router, would not then all devices use that one channel to connect and cause possible conflicts? As far as I can tell, his router randomly desginates the  channelss.
As you can see I don't know much about this, so thanks for your input.
« Last Edit: 07:20:52 | 27 November, 2016 by Keenite »

KlaasV

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Re: wifi channels
« Reply #4 on: 08:12:21 | 27 November, 2016 »
The router is in an apartment in an apartment house:

In this case we can assume that there are lots of WiFi networks in the area so adding another one will add more interference.
 
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Deutsche Telekom Speedport W724V Type A FW7.2.0 Build 4100

That's a dual-band router which should be capable of serving the whole apartment with 2.4 and 5 GHz WiFi.

Quote
In the setup I'm describing, the Roku would be the only device to connect via the encrypted access point and presumably solely via the single, predefined channel. I've tried this setup with the access point connected to my router via a LAN cable and it worked fine (absolutely no changes made to my router settings, only to the access point as regards the channel number).

Of course such a setup will work, but it will presumably interfere with neighbouring WiFi networks.

Quote
Also, if a  single channel is specified on his router, would not then all devices use that one channel to connect and cause possible conflicts? As far as I can tell, his router randomly desginates the  channels.

A WiFi network always uses one single channel and all clients have to use that channel. Automatic channel setting means that the router scans for neighbouring networks and then decides which channel it will use.

If I were in your shoes, I'd do the following:

1) if it's a first-generation Roku XD (N2050) use an ethernet (wired) connection to the router (if necessary by adding an inexpensive switch to the network).

2) if 1) is not possible or it's a second-generation XD (N3050):

a) install Wifi Analyzer on an android phone and check which WiFi networks are broadcasting in the neighbourhood, which channels they use and how strong they are;

b) for the 2.4 GHz WiFi set the router to use a channel which promises a minimum of interference (keep in mind that only channels 1, 6 and 11 should be used as all other channels overlap with others);

c) set the 2.4 GHz WiFi to support 802.11 b, g and n networks;

d) set the 5 GHz WiFi to automatic channel or choose a channel which according to the analysis promises a minimum of interference;

e) set the 5 GHz WiFi to support 802.11 n and ac networks;

e) have all devices which support 5 GHz networks use the 5 GHz WiFi.
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Keenite

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Re: wifi channels
« Reply #5 on: 11:14:28 | 27 November, 2016 »
@Klaas.
Thanks for the detailed explanation. So if I understand you correctly the router automatically selects a channel that does not interfere with neighboring signals? So I suppose at some point my friend's router must have switched to channel 12 or 13 in order to avoid this conflict, thereby resulting in Roku's problem?
Unfortunately the Roku does not have a LAN jack, which was the first solution I thought of.
So what would have made his router change channels in the first place? Does it do this automatically whenever it identifies conflicts with other routers within receiving distance?  My own router is well over 10 years old and appears to be set on channel 6 permanently, as there is no mention of automatic channel selection.
The tip about using a WiFi analyzer is very helpful. If I do use the access point I suppose I could also turn down the signal to 50% to help avoid interfering with others.
Based on what you say there must be lots of cross-channel interference in cities, as in many places here there are 20-30 WiFi signals broadcasting in many locations at any one time.
BTW, how does this interference manifest itself?
« Last Edit: 11:19:30 | 27 November, 2016 by Keenite »

KlaasV

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Re: wifi channels
« Reply #6 on: 12:42:27 | 27 November, 2016 »
So if I understand you correctly the router automatically selects a channel that does not interfere with neighboring signals?

Not quite. It automatically selects a channel which interferes less than others (at least that's the theory - how good this works is another story).

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So I suppose at some point my friend's router must have switched to channel 12 or 13 in order to avoid this conflict, thereby resulting in Roku's problem?

That's possible, although I doubt that the Speedport router would choose channels 12 or 13 (but with Deutsche Telekom and Huawei you never know).

Quote
So what would have made his router change channels in the first place? Does it do this automatically whenever it identifies conflicts with other routers within receiving distance?

Unfortunately only the manufacturer - in this case Huawei - knows how this feature is implemented.

Quote
My own router is well over 10 years old and appears to be set on channel 6 permanently, as there is no mention of automatic channel selection.

Ten year old routers indeed tend to not have automatic channel selection.

Quote
The tip about using a WiFi analyzer is very helpful. If I do use the access point I suppose I could also turn down the signal to 50% to help avoid interfering with others.

That might or might not help.

Quote
Based on what you say there must be lots of cross-channel interference in cities, as in many places here there are 20-30 WiFi signals broadcasting in many locations at any one time.

There is a lot of interference, indeed. 20 to 30 WiFi signals is not even much. I live in an area with single family homes only and WiFi Analyzer shows me some 15 to 20 networks (that depends on how many WiFi equipped cars are parking in the neighbourhood). In cities you might find 30 to 50 WiFi networks around you.

Quote
BTW, how does this interference manifest itself?

The network performance will be bad and stability might be poor.
« Last Edit: 12:47:48 | 27 November, 2016 by KlaasV »
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Keenite

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Re: wifi channels
« Reply #7 on: 02:49:46 | 28 November, 2016 »
Thanks again, Klaas.
Still, the only reason the Roku cannot identify the router must be because of the channel the router has designated (presumably 12-13) - or do you see any other explanation here?
I know my friend also uses a matching Telekom internet TV tuner, so perhaps that too may may have some effect in terms of which channels are used for what purpose.
Am also assuming that if I set the access point to channel 1, 6 or 11, his router would automatically change channels if serious conflicts were to arise. In addition, their apartment is located on the corner of a 2-storey building, i.e. one neighbor beneath them and one directly next to them with brick/concrete walls/floors in-between.
Have since played with the wifi analyzer and will determine which of those 3 channels seems least congested and set the access point to that one.
Will report back as soon as I can get over there and try things out.
TIA for all your help.
« Last Edit: 02:59:09 | 28 November, 2016 by Keenite »

Keenite

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Re: wifi channels
« Reply #8 on: 01:52:29 | 21 December, 2016 »
I have since connected the access point to my friends router and all is functiong as it should.
Thanks for your help. This item can now be closed.