Flex 6300 loosing its connection to my Windows 8.1 computer using Wifi

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I am having a problem with my Flex 6300 loosing its connection to my Windows 8.1 computer. I am using Wifi but I am only 8 feet away from the router. I tested it and I get great speed and I have no other problems with the Wifi. I can use my Flex 6300 in my barn on a Windows 7 computer on a wired Ethernet connection and it works just fine.
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Delbert McCord

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Posted 3 years ago

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G4YDO

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i`ve the same  problem, it was fine until the latest sdr ugrade?
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Rob Fissel

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Since ethernet seems to be working fine for you,the first place I'd look is the WiFi card on that computer. This was an issue that took me some time to troubleshoot on my MacBook Air (Windows 7 Pro in Bootcamp). Are the drivers up to date? Were drivers recently updated through Windows Update that you might not have been aware about? Any know connectivity issues that you found in online searches for the specific WiFi device you're using? 

There are a number of threads here that discuss different internal WiFi card chipsets, which ones seem to cause issues, and fixes. My MBA's internal WiFi adapter used a Broadcom chipset,and manually loading in older drivers solved the issue for me.

A speedtest and basic web browsing that presents no issues isn't the best diagnostic in this case, as these are only periodically moving data over your WiFi network. With your Flex, it is a constant, non-stop stream of high bandwidth data, and any hiccups would be much more apparent compared to, say, reloading a webpage or updating your Outlook. 

You may want to start here:

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/audio-break-up-stutters-and-the-signal-display-stut...
(Edited)
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Delbert McCord

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I do not think its the laptop or its WiFi card. I think this because I have a WiFi out in my barn which is outside on one of my antenna poles. Its about 20 feet high and I use it when I am out in my woods. I took the laptop out there when I was working out there. I used it for 5 hours monitoring General Coverage and it only disconnected twice in the 5 hours. 
I have ran cat5 in my shack to where the laptop lives (my main desktop is for work) and its doing just fine using a cat5 wire. 
I think its either the fact that here in the house there are a few devices using that WiFi or that the laptop does not like such a strong WiFi signal. in the shack the WiFi is only a few feet away. 
Thank You for your very complete reply.
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Joe, KQ1Q

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Ideally you want to use a dedicated peer-to-peer network performance test for these situations, not an internet speed test. For those comfortable with the command line, there's one called iperf that comes from the UNIX world. It is available as an executable binary for Windows and Mac OS X. Unfortunately their web site has some problems right now but it's available on CNET: http://download.cnet.com/Iperf/3000-2085_4-75915792.html

There is plenty of documentation on how to run it. In UDP mode it can measure latency, jitter and % of lost packets.

There is also a Java-based GUI front end called jperf but I have not used it.

Iperf overview: 

http://networksolutionexperts.com/iperf-bandwidth-testing/
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Walt - KZ1F

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If it used to work fine, at least in Paul's case, and now it doesn't it isn't the wifi card.
Del, did it ever work fine over wifi?
One thing you can do is ensure there are no DAX feeds, on both visible slices set DAX to 'none'.
What kind of router do you have?
Do you see the green triangle at the bottom of SSDR doing anything other than being solid green. There is very little magic in the green triangle (signal strength). What it does is measure the connectivity to the radio not somewhere else on the planet but only to the radio over time. So, in other words a mere hiccup won't adversely affect it but persistent failures would. So if the green bars start dropping and/or the triangle of bars turns from green to amber or such it will not work reliably.

The other thing you can do, especially if you are using an 802.11n router is on your laptop scan for adjacent wifi nodes, as if you were going to connect to them rather than your own. If you are using 802.11g, it likely won't work reliably anyway. If the problem is not a bad wifi card on your machine, I'd consider upgrading to an 802.11ac wifi environment.

Joe, iPerf won't apply here as the only thing that counts is the reliability to the radio not some other node somewhere running iPerf -S (server).  I used iPerf a lot on Linux VM's testing inter-VM communications through the hypervisor. You need a paired set of iPerf instances, one as client the other as server. I am unfamiliar with iPerf for Windows. Persumably it would have the same constraint.
(Edited)
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Delbert McCord

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I do not remember any problems when I first received the Flex 6300 I think the problem may have began when I updated but I am not sure. Either way its ok I just ran a Cat5 cable for in the shack to the laptop and it works fine. Im just happy it works on the WiFi in my woods. I have a small shack im building out there where I want to be able to use it when I am all done. 

Thank You for your reply.
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Joe, KQ1Q

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Walt you are correct, for a perfect test you'd need to run a paired set of tests, one on the radio and one on the client. Iperf will not work for that exact situation. Of course SSDR has some network stats but it's not like a dedicated test with adjustable parameters. It would be nice if FRS would provide a more robust client/server network test.

That said iperf could be used to test the laptop end of that by testing between the laptop and a PC on the same LAN as the 6300. While it's not perfect it's a lot more revealing than an internet speed test or casual use of the laptop. If there is an intermittent WiFi deficiency on the laptop, that has a better chance of showing it. 
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Walt - KZ1F

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In that use case though, I wouldn't think it would work any better than a speedof.me or other browser based point to point test. speedof.me is very nice, no extra software required.

Most everything of importance in SSDR<->radio is UDP. So a dropped packet is just that, dropped. They have some pretty nice instrumentation but you'd need to run SSDR under a debugger. I am sure they've done this at some point but I wonder what the difference would be if it were TCP instead. Going forward people will be using their radios more and more remotely and to say, if it doesn't work buy different hardware (not that FRS has said that) that doesn't scale well. I am perplexed by what Paul said though, it worked better before 1.4.11. Or, for $1,000 buy a Maestro and bag poor wifi.

The other thing Del can do is run ping from the laptop to some desktop in continuous mode, that would show a variance in  transmission path.  As I recall, on Windows ping defaults to 4 times, I think it is -n and specify 100 and see what the rtts diverge by and for how long the divergence is,
(Edited)
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Joe, KQ1Q

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Walt, thanks for mentioning speedof.me, which is a great internet speed test. However I don't think it does peer-to-peer or UDP testing, which is what's needed for Flex 6000 connectivity issues.

Re TCP, that insulates you from packet loss and the application layer having to manage retries, but can introduce delay that's ill-suited for real-time live voice and video traffic. Hence those typically are transmitted using UDP.

There is a pretty good free GUI peer-to-peer tool called NetStress which selectively can test TCP or UDP: http://nutsaboutnets.com/netstress/

OTOH it doesn't show latency, packet loss or jitter like iperf does.

TamoSoft Throughput Test is another free GUI peer-to-peer network test. This one does UDP and will show packet loss %: http://www.tamos.com/products/throughput-test/ but it doesn't show latency.

Of course even iperf does not perfectly replicate the UDP traffic between Flex 6000 and client, but it is much closer than doing TCP tests out to the internet. The downside is it's a command line tool so many people aren't comfortable with that. 

However iperf is what I used when working with Parallels development to isolate the network performance problem on Parallels Desktop which initially showed up in SmartSDR. That particular problem would sort of show up using internet tests but it was harder to see and not as compelling as iperf to motivate developers to actively pursue the problem.
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Delbert McCord

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I want to say Thank You for all the good information. I was playing with my laptop out in the woods where I was doing some work. I decided to take my laptop out and see if I could control the Flex in the shack in the house. I have a wired connection to my Barn and a Router in AP mode up in a waterproof box 20 feet in the air so I have great coverage around my property. So Im out in the woods at least 500 feet from the wifi source and my laptop sat out there for 5 hours and I was listening to talk radio on the Flex 6300 General Coverage and I only lost connection 2 times.

When I sit in the shack I can loose connection every 3 to 5 min. I am wondering if the laptop was updating when I was using it in the shack or If there is a problem with my WiFi in my shack?

I can and am going to run a Cat5 cable over to where the laptop sits here in the shack. I normally don't use the laptop in the shack so I set it up for the Flex and I use the desktop for my work and just everything else. I can run the Flex 6300 on the Desktop and it works just fine.

Where I want to use it on WIFI is outside so a wired connection is fine for the shack but I do not understand why its like this.

Again Thank You to everyone that took the time to reply to me.

Delbert McCord
KA8OCN
  
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Joe, KQ1Q

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WiFi can be very unpredictable. If you have any Apple mobile devices, there's an app called Network Multimeter that lets you walk around and map the WiFi strength: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/network-multimeter/id518835474?mt=8

There is also a huge difference in router performance and reliability. I personally have had good experience with the Asus RT-AC66R, RT-AC68R, and RT-AC87R.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Using wifi for a FLEX-6000 is not about bandwidth. Bandwidth values for Wifi really mean nothing tangible as the number on the box is a theoretical maximum and the real world band width plumets from there.  See this HelpDesk article for an explanation (https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/203469425-Reasons-for-Wireless-Network-Performance-...).

Also, bandwidth is not the metric that is critical, it is streaming throughput and a lot of consumer wifi routers stream data poorly regardless of bandwidth and signal strength.  If the router is dropping or queuing packets, then you will experience pauses, dropouts and possibly radio disconnects if the streaming quality degrades sufficiently.

Commercial grade wifi access points do a much better job in this regard, but that performance comes at a price.