Poor WiFi 2.4 GHZ Performanve

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  • Updated 9 months ago
Have been using local remote with my laptop for some time. It is a older Dell Inspiron I5 computer. I was getting some dropped packets. Just thought it’s WiFi and that’s what you get.

The signal strength was often in the yellow, sometimes red on the Flex indicator. I would loose packets but was still functional. I had similar behavior with my desktop that is new. I started planning on trying to improve my remote. Using some of Tim’s articles on WiFi tuning and other internet articles I started trying recommendations. My 2 computers did not want to pick up 5 Ghz, so got model info from task manager. DAH, single channel receivers, even the new computer had single channel. So I tried an external USB receiver, also single 2.4 Ghz channel. BUT I was shocked to find the signal strength was pegged off the scale. WOW. No dropped packets, 1 to 3 ms latency. That bottom line is that internal WiFi receivers are suspect because of all the adjacent metal, in my opinion. Get an external WiFi receiver and make sure it is dual band.

Per Tim’s advice I have shut off all but the 811.g, ac and n modes. Reduced 2.4 GHz bandwidth to 20 GB. Made sure 5 GHz was setup in the modem/ router. I remember as a young engineer we worked at solving problems by pealing the onion one layer at a time. This has been a good reminder of that.

Not related to to WiFi Tim suggested that onthe ethernet side I add an network switch after the Comcast router to allow direct access between my Flex and my desktop computer. It now runs with 30 million packets and zero dropped.

I still have a lot to learn but don’t feel like a driver that doesn’t know how to change a flat tire.
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Posted 9 months ago

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Photo of bahillen


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PS. Typo, look at Device Manager not Task Manager. May want to make sure you have latest WiFi adapter driver.

Bill W9JJB
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Tom Worthington

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If you can, change the preamble to SHORT rather than the likely default LONG on you wifi/router.

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Michael Walker, Employee

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The Network Health Indicator  meter is not a RF indicator but a packet loss indicator.   This is related to the network path (aka Wifi).   It is documented in section 15.6.1 on the Maestro V2 manual.  You can find it in the downloads area.

One thing that is lost on WiFi is that it is a shared network, just like a phone party line.   No matter how close you are to your AP, if your AP can hear other data from other devices, including your neighbours across the street, you will be dealing with a shared network.   This is the most common issue since 2.4Ghz only has 3 channels (1,6, 11) since the channels overlap.  As an example, channel 6 uses 4,5,6,7 and 8 for a 20Mhz wide signal.  

If you have all other modes shut off and you are only running 802.11b, then that will actually also limit your total bandwidth.  Personally, I don't run any 802.11b any more since all of my devices support the much faster G and above (including my Maestro).  You might want to test with only running G mode on 802.11.  

If you could get to 5Ghz, then you can deal with less channel sharing with your neighbour since the range is much shorter.   As RF people, we know that WiFi RF signals are subject to the same noise floor issues we see on other radio bands and this can impact your Signal to Noise radio (SNR).  

Good luck on your tests.