Wifi signal strength in condo

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I'm Here A Lot
Posts: 6

Wifi signal strength in condo

I live in an 800 sq ft condo, and have the light internet plan. I cannot get much of a wifi signal in my bedroom, which is about 20 feet from the router. My router is about 1 year old and is meant for medium - large houses. I have to wait a long time for videos to load as well everywhere (even inches from the modem). If I plug in my ethernet cable loading is a bit faster. How do I get better strength?

 I would like to stream using Chromecast but I'm concerned that I'll have a lousy experience over wifi.

 

 

 

 

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Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 6,104

Re: Wifi signal strength in condo

There are a few things to look at to determine what can be done. 

 

1. Can you log into the modem, navigate to the STATUS ... DOCSIS WAN page, copy the downstream and upstream tables and paste them into the thread.  Those are the RG-6 signal levels, which will indicate if there are any problems on the cable side of the modem.  You can copy the text data from the modem DOCSIS WAN page and paste that into the thread, so you don't have to capture and post a screen image.

 

2.  Can you indicate what the internet plan speeds are?  Is Light a 30 Mb/s down 5 Mb/s up plan?  Just want to be sure.  Please run an ethernet connected speedtest using either http://speedcheck.rogers.com/en.html or the www.speedtest.net Toronto Telus server and post the results.  That speedtest will indicate what to expect for the max wifi speeds.

 

3.  What model of router are you running?  I'm assuming router, and not modem as indicated in your post.

 

4.  Load inSSIDer on your laptop, which is a wifi monitoring application. When loaded on a dual band laptop, inSSIDer will monitor and display both 2.4 and 5 Ghz networks that can be detected by your laptop. If the 5 Ghz display portion is blank, that indicates that your laptop does not receive anything in the 5 Ghz band.  Have a look to see what you're competing with in both(?) bands.  In a suburban area, the 2.4 Ghz band is usually pretty crowded and tough to work in.  Usually the 5 Ghz band is less crowded and easier to find a clear channel.  After you have a look at the display, you might be able to determine if there is any 2.4 Ghz channel that is clear enough to improve your wifi performce, if you happen to be using a 2.4 Ghz channel.  The program link below is for the last freebie version.  A new version is out now that will handle 802.11ac networks in the 5 Ghz band, and which will work on a 802.11n laptop.  The new version will read the broadcast management frames and display the nearby 802.11ac networks that are running in the 5 Ghz band, giving you a complete picture of the 5 Ghz band and the channels that are in use.  If you are using 5 Ghz channels, its worth the $20 U.S. to buy, so that you can see all of the networks that are running nearby.

http://www.techspot.com/downloads/5936-inssider.html

What you want to see on the graphical display is that your network is the highest network shown, which indicates that it has the highest received power of all the received networks.  Generally you want somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 to 45 dBmW separation between your network and any other network that is on the same or overlapping channel.  So, while your network should be the tallest on the display, everything else should be well below yours.  When that power level separation decreases, you end up with interference and possibly with problems maintaining a wifi network.  Your only option is to change to a channel with less overlap from the competition.  By looking at that display you might conclude that the 2.4 Ghz band is hopeless and that its time to move up to the 5 Ghz band, if you can.  If you have devices already running in the 5 Ghz band, look at channels 149 and higher.  If you can switch to any of those channels, do so, as the output power for those channels is higher, resulting in better signal levels, signal to noise ratios and data rates.  

 

5.  The last part of this is the actual device itself, or, more importantly, the wifi card.  We've run into far too many examples of new, really nice laptops that are well thought out except for the cheap wifi card that was included by the manufacturer.  End result, much disappointment at the wifi performance.  The way to determine that, for a laptop, is to drill down into the Device Manager, grab the wifi adapter model name and number from the Device Manager display and run a search for the manufacturers data.  A 1x1, meaning a single antenna for transmit and receive will limit your data rates.  A 2x2 meaning 2 antenna is normal but not guaranteed.  This or better yet, 3x3 will provide better data rates.  If you run a search you will also come across posts regarding difficulties that other users might be running into with that card, so it may give you a better idea of what you can do to improve the wifi performance.   If you post the laptop and wifi adapter model data, we can look up the specs to determine its capabilities.



I'm Here A Lot
Posts: 6

Re: Wifi signal strength in condo

I'm sorry, but I'm not very techie. I ran the speed test and it said download speed of 2.67. I don't know how to log into my modem and I don't understand most of the rest of the instructions. The router is NetGear N600. My laptop is about 5 years old - Hewlett Packard. 

 

My modem (rented from Rogers) is about 5 years old. Maybe I should get a new one. 

 

I have the most issues on my iPad mini. It makes it almost useless.

 

 

Retired Moderator RogersShakir
Retired Moderator
Posts: 146

Re: Wifi signal strength in condo

Hey @RuruTO

 

Just to add to Datalink's post. You mentioned you have Lite Internet, which is a grandfathered Internet package.

It came with 6mbps download speed at the maximum. Movie or Video streaming will definitely give you buffering. As that package isn't aimed at video streaming, more so casual surfing and checking emails.

 

I do recommend changing modem, newer modems have router built into them so this will take care of latency issues as well as your range. You won't need your router at that time, unless you chose to, at which point you can set up bridge mode.

 

Also, I am not familiar with NetGear N600, so I can't say if that is also hindering you and causing an issue.

 

Personally an upgrade to a newer version would most likely be beneficial for you. If you would like to discuss it do tell, I can have @CommunityHelps speak with you privately.

 

Cheers,

RogersShakir

I'm Here A Lot
Posts: 6

Re: Wifi signal strength in condo

Hi RogersShakir

 

Thanks for the reply. Rogers might want to consider, from a customer service standpoint, that this is frustrating for the customer, because when a customer calls technical support, they give you a ton of things to check but in the end, maybe what they should have said is that I'm on too light a plan to handle what I want to do while I'm on wifi.

 

Are you sure that if I got a new modem + router, that would help? If so, then why wasn't I offered this by anyone I have spoken to as of this point. I recently got a 'newer' cable box after I complained about pixelations on my cable and asked for someone to come to my home.

 

It's ironic, because I got an email from Rogers that proudly proclaimed that customer complaints were down.  I have found it to be worse. Really not customer - focused and respectful of our time and level of technical knowledge.

 

Please let me know how I can get a new modem.

 

Thanks

Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 6,104

Re: Wifi signal strength in condo

6mbps download doesn't give you much wiggle room when things go wrong and you lose download rates due to any cable or wifi issues.  I think netflix recommends at least 5 mb/s.  Someone can correct me on that.  It might be an idea to explore the current offerings to see what if anything might be better suited to your needs.  One of the moderators can certainly help and @Gdkitty and @VivienM could probably offer a few words of advice in that area as well.  

 

For now, what I would suggest is to contact one of the mods or call tech support to run a signal check on your modem and to ensure that the modem itself is running in bridge mode.  The signal check will ensure that the cable signal levels are within their normal ranges so that the modem will operate at its assigned data rate.  The Bridge mode question you might already have the answer to.  With the Netgear router in place, the modem should be operating in Bridge mode, otherwise you end up with both the modem and router providing Network Address Translation instead of just the router.  That results in reduced data rates.  If the CSR or moderator has to flip the modem into Bridge mode for you, the router should be restarted right after that so that it picks up the correct IP address.  I'm making an assumption here that you use the router for everything, wired and wireless and that all the modem does is run as a modem only.  

 

The router itself?  I would prefer anyone with a third party router to run one with external antenna in order to provide better wifi performance.  But, it is what it is.  If you do move up to the newer modems, I don't think that you will find much difference in wifi performance between those or your Netgear router.  

 

I'll look around for the Ipad specs to see what I can dig up.



Retired Moderator RogersHassam
Retired Moderator
Posts: 571

Re: Wifi signal strength in condo

Hi @RuruTO,

 

I can run a diagnostic test on your lines to make sure your signals are in spec if you haven't already called into tech support. If tech support notices an issue with signal strength, they usually book a service call. Please let me know. 

 

Thanks, 

RogersHassam 

I'm Here A Lot
Posts: 6

Re: Wifi signal strength in condo

I haven't called tech support on this for a while. I did have a technician at my home a few weeks ago and he felt that the signal was fine as he plugged in his laptop using Ethernet and played a soccer game.

Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 6,104

Re: Wifi signal strength in condo

Understand, but, given your speedtest results, it would probably be worth a phone call to check the signal levels.  If there is an issue, the tech visit won't cost anything but time. 



Retired Moderator RogersHassam
Retired Moderator
Posts: 571

Re: Wifi signal strength in condo

@RuruTO, I sent you a private message via @CommunityHelps. Please check your inbox. You can also access your inbox by clicking here

 

RogersHassam