[SOLVED] How to improve Wifi ; apparently we bought 3 defective routers in one week. Please help.

kanjigirl

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Apr 10, 2014
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Our Devices
  • Router (3rd this week): Linksys AC2200 MU-MIMO Tri-band
  • Modem (1 week old): Arris SB6190
  • Home-built PC:
  • OS: Windows 10 version 10.0.18362 Build 18362
  • PC Wifi adapter (brand new): Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (A7000), driver version 1030.25.701.2017
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte B75M-D3H
  • Power supply: Corsair CX600
ISP is Comcast. 600 mbps plan. Wireless connection to PCs and laptop.

Number of devices connected to Wifi during testing – either 1 or 2 (my PC or laptop). Typically, 4-5 (2 PCs, 2 phones, 1 tablet).

No error messages from Windows or the ISP.

Context: Router and modem are in living room, about 20-22' from my PC in my dining room home office. We've never had any Wifi signal issues with any router before using this same configuration or even with the home office upstairs. These are the first routers I've had that didn't work with only minor - if any - tweaks.

We started having Internet outages about 3 weeks ago randomly during the day and night. The 3rd day it happened I assumed it was a bad modem because it seemed like that kind of failure. While we were out buying a new one, Internet came back online but we replaced the modem anyway with the Arris SB190 just in case because the old modem was from 2016.

The next day, same random outages. I called Comcast and they came out and replaced the old cable from our house to the neighbor’s cable box and removed a splitter. The problems continued. We had upgraded that week from a 70Mbps plan to a 600Mbps plan and bought a new router (Netgear Nighthawk R6900P) to go with that upgrade. It didn’t do much – we went up from regularly testing at 84Mpbs to about 120-200Mbps on Wifi.

I called Comcast again about the slow speeds, another tech came out, replaced some very worn and dirty connections on the outside of our house and showed us what he’d done. He tested speeds wired and wireless. Wired speeds from the modem to my PC were 1.0-1.3Gbps, and wired speeds from the router to PC were 866Mbps. He told us the router was likely bad.

The first two calls to Netgear resulted in more of the same testing (wired and wireless). The first tech told us it was definitely the cable – he told us to get Cat 6, 7 or 8 cable, that the Cat 5e we were using (which came with the router) was causing the slowdown. I went out and got a Cat 6 cable that night and it made no difference.

Comcast came the next morning in response to continued slowness and random outages. They did all the same testing, got all the same speeds, and replaced the connection at the junction box in the neighbor’s yard saying that it was likely shorting out. Since then (1/30/2020) we haven’t had any more outages, so that’s one good thing.

The second told us the cable had nothing to do with the slow speeds and we should be getting 60-80% of the shown connection speed of 866Mbps (I’ve heard 55%-90%). After an hour and a half he concluded the router was bad. I purchased a second one, Netgear Nighthawk R7000 and it made no difference at all.

After more calls (6 hours on the phone with Netgear and Comcast) and speeds still maintaining anywhere between 100Mbps and 250Mbps wireless, I got a Linksys AC2200. It made no difference.

I spent an hour and a half on the phone with Linksys support doing all the same tests – this time with the router in the same room with the PC, direct line of site, no obstructions, and wireless speeds were the same. We did get up to about 350Mbps before resetting the router, but he said this was much slower than it should be. He also concluded the router was bad.

I have a really hard time believing that we actually bought 3 defective routers in one week. I really, really hope you can help me solve this problem, it’s been so frustrating and time consuming.
 
I strongly suspect you are believing the marketing hype on wifi. Those number they post are not actually a speed they represent the data encoding. They do all kinds of dishonest things like adding transmit and receive speed together. A ethernet cable would be 2gbit if you did the same. They also add the speed of all the radio together but you can only use 1 radio for each device.

Although your nic can do 3x3 mimo your router can only do 2x2. This means the maximum data encoding rate is 867. You will never even get 1/2 that, you might get 300 if you sit on top of the router.

You need to set your exceptions closer to reality. You are only going to be able to use the maximum rates on your internet connection if you run on ethernet.

Look at some of the test results from this site it should help you see what you can really expect.

https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/charts/router/bar/119-5-ghz-profile-dn/35
 
I strongly suspect you are believing the marketing hype on wifi. Those number they post are not actually a speed they represent the data encoding. They do all kinds of dishonest things like adding transmit and receive speed together. A ethernet cable would be 2gbit if you did the same. They also add the speed of all the radio together but you can only use 1 radio for each device.

Although your nic can do 3x3 mimo your router can only do 2x2. This means the maximum data encoding rate is 867. You will never even get 1/2 that, you might get 300 if you sit on top of the router.

You need to set your exceptions closer to reality. You are only going to be able to use the maximum rates on your internet connection if you run on ethernet.

Look at some of the test results from this site it should help you see what you can really expect.

https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/charts/router/bar/119-5-ghz-profile-dn/35
 

kanjigirl

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Apr 10, 2014
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Thank you. I would do ethernet if I could but it would involve drilling through the floor , something I can't do at this time.

So 120-250Mbps is what I should expect? Why does Comcast offer plans of 600Mbps, 1 and 2Gbps - are there any routers that can take advantage of those speeds over Wifi?

Of the three routers I have here, is one better than the others? They all seemed about the same. Would there be any difference if I replaced them with a Nighthawk R7800?
 

kanjigirl

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Apr 10, 2014
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For three nights in a row I've tested WiFi using speedtest.net and the same test locations that I was using before, during streaming of a n HD video. I've gotten average speeds of 569Mbps, 594Mbps and 639Mbps.

That shouldn't be possible according to what was said above. This is with the same 2x2 Linksys router and several other devices like two phones and a tablet also using WiFi at the same time.
 
Your numbers are just a exception. You are sitting very close to the router and likely getting very little interference from external sources. The results mean nothing other than you are lucky. There are people on this forum complaining they can't get 30mbps sitting on top of a router.

The marketing guy are glad the average person graduating from our school systems can barely do basic math and have no concept of statistics. They blindly believe fairy tales. Then again it seems that is true of almost all advertising.
 

kanjigirl

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Apr 10, 2014
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Actually these are the speeds in the home office, the same location as before, and not in front of the router which is in the living room. Glad I am so lucky!
 

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