Question How to Identify Tricky Wireless Interference?

Jul 10, 2019
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I have a very strange issue going on where my WiFi is showing very high latency - but ONLY every 10 seconds.
If I run a ping test to my router I see:
2ms
1ms
1ms
2ms
3ms
3ms
2ms
2ms
1ms
567ms
5ms
...

I have never seen anything like this before and some people have suggested that it's wireless interference. However, I have no new electronics in the house and after checking on multiple networking applications, my wifi appears to be nearly alone on the bands it's running on. I have an Eero router & extender and I have verified that the issue persists even when the extender is offline. I have a case open with Eero as well but we are still in the midst of trying to figure it out.
My main question is, is there any way I can identify the source of this mysterious 10 second interference? All of the wireless band scanners I have used only update once every 10 seconds or so and are not accurate enough to see small pings like this, only entire stable networks.

I appreciate any input you guys have and I'll let you know if I clear anything up with Eero.
 
If you think nobody else is using the radio channels you are the luckiest person in the world. Used to be people would drive around searching for wifi signal, now you would drive around trying to find some area that does not have wifi.

The channel numbers you see used on routers and other equipment do not actually represent what is being used it only represents where the router is sending its announcement but the actual channels used are many of these so called channels. On 2.4g they represent 5mhz but 802.11n can use 20 or 40mhz so blocks of 4 or 8. On 5g they are 20mhz but 802.11ac uses 80mhz and in some cases 160mhz. It is extremely unlikely there is not a massive number of people using the same radio bandwidth as you.

Unfortunately the scanners only see the routers they do not actually see the end devices and there is no way to tell if what you are seeing is a idle router just sending broadcasts or if it is actually sending data to end clients. It is the actual data transfer that causes most problems.

In addition you can not see things like microwave ovens, baby monitor, security cameras. On the 5g band there is even stuff like weather radar......even though your router is suppose to not use the channels used by weather radar if it detects it.

What you need is called a spectrum analyzer. This is what is used by security companies looking for electronic bugs and monitor equipment. They are very expensive. BUT you can get one that just does wifi indirectly. Ubiquiti wifi outdoor bridge products have a feature called "airview" that graphically displays radio energy. Using a directional bridge with this feature should let you see the direction the interference is coming from. You will need to buy 2.4 or 5g models since I don't think they can do both.

Still it likely does not help. What can you do if the problem is the local tv station weather radar sweeps though your house every 10 seconds.


This also could be firmware related. I know microsoft screwed up something related to wifi autoconfig. I forget but people were talking about disabling this solved ping spikes.

It general this likely will have no effect on even games. It really depends if the ping represents a single packet or if there was a short period of time that all packets were delayed but only 1 ping happened to be running during that time. You can see this if you do large file transfers and watch the times with wireshark.
 
Jul 10, 2019
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Thanks for the response bill, I appreciate the explanation as well.
I definitely don't mean to say I'm alone on those channels, but the range of channels my Eeros are broadcasting over are some of the least crowded on the spectrum, especially above the 5GHz mark, so I feel like that's not a serious issue.

Eero is sending me a new base for RMA, so I'm really hoping it's a firmware issue. I tried an old router I had laying around in the meantime, but quickly remembered why I replaced it - dropping packets left and right.

Unfortunately, the whole reason I noticed this in the first place was playing Rainbow 6 Siege, which in the current situation is completely unplayable. All multiplayer games I've tried (big pastime of mine) exhibit massive lag spikes every 10 seconds in sync with the ping. It's getting lonely here :cautious: but hopefully the new Eero solves it.
 

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