Hitron with US country code

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I'm a Senior Contributor
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Hitron with US country code

I was trying to diagnose a problem with wi-fi on my wife's MacBook.  Mine works fine and the two are both 2011 MacBooks and are 2 metres apart.

 

I was running the Wi-Fi Diagnostics on my machine to see if there were any issues that might contribute to the problem. Strangely, the Diagnostics reported that there was a router in the vicinity that was identifying itself with a US country code, while all the other routers were identifying as CA and that this might cause some issues.

 

I checked each router that was reported and found an SSID that was Rogers68476.  The Mac address for the router starts with 84:94:8C which is a Hitron device. 

 

Searching for the issue, I found that it is generally not possible to set the country code manually, because it is embedded in the hardware and not changeable.  I thought that perhaps it made no difference, since Canada and US are generally the same.   However the Wikipedia article indicates that there are differences between the US and Canada in the 5G channels 118 to 128 related to DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection).

 

The documentation I read suggested that the only way to resolve the issue is to drive around the neighborhood with a wifi analyser until the signal strength on the SSID peaks, and ask the neighbour to change the router.  This seems silly, as there is no reason for Rogers to be supplying hardware that does not conform to Canadian standards.

 

Has anyone run across this issue before?  Is it so marginal that it is unlikely to cause any issues or can it be affecting multiple routers in the area?

 

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Re: Hitron with US country code

If you have something in the range of 40 dBmW or more of separation in terms of power levels between your modem / router received wifi power levels and any other modem / router in the neighborhood you should be ok.  Anything less, depending on what the numbers are, and you might run into problems with overlapping channels.  You want to run channels 149 and higher as those channels have a higher allowable power output, which will give you better signal to noise levels and better data rates as a result.

 

Heres a couple of solutions to park the modem somewhere else if you can't run more ethernet through your walls. I haven't seen plaster and lathe walls for a good number of years, but I do sympathize with what you might have to do.  The first is a post about MOCA adapters that I wrote a while ago.  If you don't have a whole home pvr setup running this might be an idea.  Even with whole home, this should still work if you went to a MOCA 2.0 adapter set. 

 

http://communityforums.rogers.com/t5/forums/forumtopicpage/board-id/Getting_connected/message-id/291...

 

The next is powerline networking.  Here's a link to an end of summer review for a new generation of powerline adapters.  These use the HomePlug AV2 MIMO standard where all three cables in the electrical system are used for data paths.  There are some pretty fast data rates shown, but as usual, you have to have them in place in order to see the real world results.

 

http://www.techhive.com/article/2868314/home-networking/the-essential-guide-to-buying-a-homeplug-eth...

 

The trick to getting the highest performance out of any powerline adapters, as far as I am concerned is to ensure that both rooms where the adapters are plugged into are located on the same side of the electrical panel so that the path is from the transmit room, to the panel, down, or up along the internal bus bars within the panel (same side), and then out to the receiving room.  That might mean that the receiver adapter isn't parked where you exactly want it, but hopefully it would be close enough to do what it needs to do.

 

Its interesting that Rogers would use modems that are set to the US for 802.11d purposes.  I wonder what Industry Canada might say about that?



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Re: Hitron with US country code

 

Hello, @roxandtreez

 

Thank you for your post. I haven't personally seen the routers broadcasting with a US country code causing any interference. To my knowledge, the hardware we receive  is per Canadian Standards. @Datalink - any insights on this topic?

 

I'm assuming you are trying to connect on 5 GHz band, so what exactly happens? Have you tried different channels outside the channels you have identified (118-128)? I'm wondering how one of the MacBook can connect on the same channel/frequency and other fails. Please update the Community if you were able to fix the issue. 

 

Cheers,

RogersMoin

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Re: Hitron with US country code

You shouldn't have to drive around the neighboured.. really only houses in the vicinity (next door each side likely) would be the only ones who might potentially interfear.

 

You can use a program like inSSIDer to analyze the signal right where you are.

Pretty much, you just want to avoid overlaping.  So if say your neighbour is in the same frequency channel range that yours is.. move/change yours, so it in a clear (or clearer) area.



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Re: Hitron with US country code

@RogersMoin@Gdkitty

 

I have done some additional reading today and I think I understand the country code a little better.  The country code is used to identify the "regulatory domain" which tells the router what channels and transmit power are allowed by the regulator for the geographic area as specified in the 802.11d and 802.11h standards.  When your router powers up, it searches for beacons from other routers in the area and sets the channels and power based on the country code found in the beacon.

 

I assume that there is harmonization between US and Canada on the regulations, but I have not been able to verify that Canada exactly matches the US.  For example, the US has made 802.11d illegal within the US, but I don't know what the Canadian regulation is.  The differences are probably minor, as opposed to situations where the countries are very different in their standards.  For example, if the first router encountered had a country code for Taiwan, your router would disable a series of channels which are not valid in Taiwan, even though they are valid in US/Canada.

 

Since there is only one Hitron router showing up in my vicinity, I thought it was an anomaly, but apparently all Hitron's from Rogers use the US country code.  There are at least 12 routers in my immediate vicinity, and all the others use CA, whether they are Bell routers or D-link, TP-Link, Netgear, etc.  If there are other Hitrons in the area, they must be running in bridge mode.

 

There are a few technical issues in my home that are complicating the issue.  I have already optimized the channels used based on the surrounding routers.  Within the house, the walls are all plaster lathe, which is plaster trowelled over a wire mesh.  That means every room in the house is almost a complete Faraday cage, so it is very difficult to get the 5G signal to punch through the walls and ceilings so 2.4G is a more solid signal, even though it is slower overall.

 

Added to that, my wife's Macbook is still running Snow Leopard, as she needs features that Apple eliminated with the Lion release.  There were some problems with Snow Leopard maintaining a channel, so that might explain why my Yosemite MacBook is connecting better.

 

At the moment, I am going to assume that the country code is a red herring and not affecting connectivity.  The Hitron has a fairly weak signal (-84 dB) so I assume the beacons from the closer routers would be picked up first and set the country code to CA.  I'll  mess around with moving the laptop around.  Possibly there is also interference from the 2.4G cordless phone, so maybe moving it slightly might improve the wifi signal.  The best solution would be to move the router closer, but that involves stringing more CAT6 cable or running a fresh RG6 cable for the Rogers feed through finished walls, something I really don't want to mess with.

 

Thanks for your suggestions.  I'll let you know if I can find a way to improve the signal. 

 

 

 

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Posts: 6,985

Re: Hitron with US country code

If you have something in the range of 40 dBmW or more of separation in terms of power levels between your modem / router received wifi power levels and any other modem / router in the neighborhood you should be ok.  Anything less, depending on what the numbers are, and you might run into problems with overlapping channels.  You want to run channels 149 and higher as those channels have a higher allowable power output, which will give you better signal to noise levels and better data rates as a result.

 

Heres a couple of solutions to park the modem somewhere else if you can't run more ethernet through your walls. I haven't seen plaster and lathe walls for a good number of years, but I do sympathize with what you might have to do.  The first is a post about MOCA adapters that I wrote a while ago.  If you don't have a whole home pvr setup running this might be an idea.  Even with whole home, this should still work if you went to a MOCA 2.0 adapter set. 

 

http://communityforums.rogers.com/t5/forums/forumtopicpage/board-id/Getting_connected/message-id/291...

 

The next is powerline networking.  Here's a link to an end of summer review for a new generation of powerline adapters.  These use the HomePlug AV2 MIMO standard where all three cables in the electrical system are used for data paths.  There are some pretty fast data rates shown, but as usual, you have to have them in place in order to see the real world results.

 

http://www.techhive.com/article/2868314/home-networking/the-essential-guide-to-buying-a-homeplug-eth...

 

The trick to getting the highest performance out of any powerline adapters, as far as I am concerned is to ensure that both rooms where the adapters are plugged into are located on the same side of the electrical panel so that the path is from the transmit room, to the panel, down, or up along the internal bus bars within the panel (same side), and then out to the receiving room.  That might mean that the receiver adapter isn't parked where you exactly want it, but hopefully it would be close enough to do what it needs to do.

 

Its interesting that Rogers would use modems that are set to the US for 802.11d purposes.  I wonder what Industry Canada might say about that?



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I'm a Senior Contributor
Posts: 152

Re: Hitron with US country code

@Datalink

 

I got hold of my wife's MacBook while she was decorating the tree and I seem to have found her problem.  It turns out that apart from other things, she is also a hoarder of browser tabs.  When I checked her machine, she had 14 MB of free memory on her machine.  I ran a speedtest and she was getting 27/10 on an Ignite 100U connection.

 

After I quit Chrome, she went back up to 2.5GB of free memory and her speedtest results were 104/11.  Speed test on a wired PC is giving me 130/11.

 

I'm still looking into the Moca solution using an Actiontec Wireless extender and Moca to ethernet bridge.  The wiring still needs some thought.  I no longer have Rogers TV, so there is no conflict with PVR's.  The current wiring from Rogers has a splitter outside the house which takes one feed up to the second floor where the Hitron is running in bridge mode and the second feed enters in the basement where there are RG6 feeds to the main floor family room and the second floor master bedroom. 

 

If I leave the Rogers wiring alone, then I would need to join the two RG6 cables together which would allow RG6 from the current Hitron location to the family room.  I could then have the Actiontec wireless extender in the family room which would give better coverage on the main floor.  I don't know what the effect of a high-frequency join and that length of cable would have on signal strength, but it is worth a try.

 

The other possibility is to have a Rogers tech change the wiring outside the house to remove the splitter and feed the internet into the basement.  Then I could make use of the separate RG6 feeds if I put the Hitron back into Gateway mode to get the extra ports but turned off WiFi because the basement corner is the worst possible location for a wifi router.   It is fairly simple to run CAT6 cables into the basement corner to feed the Hitron to the existing Asus router - the basement is finished but we have run the coax along the baseboard behind shelves after dropping them beside the air return.

 

As an aside, I almost freaked out when looking for a Moca to ethernet bridge on Amazon and came across a ChannelMaster version that cost over $6800.  Fortunately the Actiontec solution is much, much more affordable.

 

Thanks for your suggestions.