Question Recommendations on "supposed" wi-fi weakness

testertony

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Jan 6, 2018
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The main problem is that Apple HomeKit gives me "not responding" messages a lot on various devices. These devices respond always if I go to the vendor app. In researching this problem everyone keeps pointing to my wi-fi which doesn't seem to make sense to me.
I have cable Spectrum 200meg, with a Netgear C7000 modem routerwith 20 wi-fi devices connected, 4 hard wired, and one 4 port switch. I have no problems with Ring security, iPhones, iPads, Surface tablet, Dish dvr, Ecobee, my Subaru, August door lock. ONLY problems with hue lights (the hue hub is hard wired) and Chamberlain MyQ and ONLY in the Apple HomeKit app and intermittently. My house is wood framed 2000 square feet with modem router about dead center in my home office. I have been searching through this forum for solutions and do not want to add something that will incur disconnects as I do not have those now. As far as hard wiring my attic has blown in insulation making working up there pretty difficult. I do have cat 5e that goes out to the garage to a computer there. Thanks in advance for any advice or insights.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
The main problem is that Apple HomeKit gives me "not responding" messages a lot on various devices. These devices respond always if I go to the vendor app. In researching this problem everyone keeps pointing to my wi-fi which doesn't seem to make sense to me.
I have cable Spectrum 200meg, with a Netgear C7000 modem routerwith 20 wi-fi devices connected, 4 hard wired, and one 4 port switch. I have no problems with Ring security, iPhones, iPads, Surface tablet, Dish dvr, Ecobee, my Subaru, August door lock. ONLY problems with hue lights (the hue hub is hard wired) and Chamberlain MyQ and ONLY in the Apple HomeKit app and intermittently. My house is wood framed 2000 square feet with modem router about dead center in my home office. I have been searching through this forum for solutions and do not want to add something that will incur disconnects as I do not have those now. As far as hard wiring my attic has blown in insulation making working up there pretty difficult. I do have cat 5e that goes out to the garage to a computer there. Thanks in advance for any advice or insights.
Your devices, especially small IOT devices have much lower transmit power than the router. So your device may get an OK signal from the router, but the router can't receive back from the device.
Getting a second WIFI source, by using the cable to the garage, might improve things. WIFI is very difficult to predict. Your neighbor's WIFI interferes with yours, for example. There is no way to predict that interaction.
 

DeauteratedDog

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Dec 11, 2013
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I know almost nothing about HomeKit, but it looks like it uses multicast for discovery. Unlike unicast, multicast frames are not acknowledged at layer 2 in wi-fi and are therefore usually a bit less reliable. I suspect that your problem might be related to this. Unfortunately, I don't know of any way to confirm this without doing some packet captures and digging in to them.

You might start by checking unicast connectivity. Start a continuous ping (ping -t <ip address>) from one of your wired PCs to one of the devices that isn't responding, let it run for a while, and watch for missed responses. If you don't have many then you can tentatively conclude that the device is reliably connected to the wi-fi network.
 

testertony

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Jan 6, 2018
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Thank you for that reply. Elsewhere there was mention on the Bonjour part of Apple devices that is more picky. I'll start some diagnostics and see where that leads.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Thank you. Do you have a recommendation for such a device that will use the same SSID?
You can set the SSIDs the same on most devices. An Asus router, running in access point mode is one of the best choices. You can put that in the garage, use the switch ports to keep the PC connected, and have an additional WIFI source. There are lots of used Asus RT-AC68U routers on E-Bay for around $50. I had one of those in my garage in TX for a couple years. I did end up adding a USB fan to help counteract that 100F degree temps in my garage.
 

testertony

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Jan 6, 2018
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Thank you for that reply. Elsewhere there was mention on the Bonjour part of Apple devices that is more picky. I'll start some diagnostics and see where that leads.
I know almost nothing about HomeKit, but it looks like it uses multicast for discovery. Unlike unicast, multicast frames are not acknowledged at layer 2 in wi-fi and are therefore usually a bit less reliable. I suspect that your problem might be related to this. Unfortunately, I don't know of any way to confirm this without doing some packet captures and digging in to them.

You might start by checking unicast connectivity. Start a continuous ping (ping -t <ip address>) from one of your wired PCs to one of the devices that isn't responding, let it run for a while, and watch for missed responses. If you don't have many then you can tentatively conclude that the device is reliably connected to the wi-fi network.
So in my diagnosing I thought maybe there's a program to do that until I saw the PRICE!
 

DeauteratedDog

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Dec 11, 2013
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So in my diagnosing I thought maybe there's a program to do that until I saw the PRICE!
Yeah, there is some nice enterprise software out there. If you look around you can probably find something free to ping and then record/display the results. Just be a little careful, those are the kinds of things various malware loves to ride in on.

On the wi-fi side, there are sensors that monitor every detail (hundreds of measurements) of a wi-fi network (https://7signal.com/products/sapphire-eye-wlan-sensors/), but as you said, PRICE!
 

testertony

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Jan 6, 2018
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So after some deliberating, pinging, and thinking (I disconnected the smoke alarm) I have arrived at these new questions. Is my modem router sufficient? (it is Netgear C7000 v1 at least 4 years old). Should I up my speed and get a new wi-fi 6 modem router? Would a mesh type extended hard wired in the garage help enough? And (duh) the 2 HomeKit devices I have the most trouble with are the furthest from the router. There is a ring flood light cam further with no issues whatsoever but it doesn't go through picky HomeKit.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
So after some deliberating, pinging, and thinking (I disconnected the smoke alarm) I have arrived at these new questions. Is my modem router sufficient? (it is Netgear C7000 v1 at least 4 years old). Should I up my speed and get a new wi-fi 6 modem router? Would a mesh type extended hard wired in the garage help enough? And (duh) the 2 HomeKit devices I have the most trouble with are the furthest from the router. There is a ring flood light cam further with no issues whatsoever but it doesn't go through picky HomeKit.
I am never a fan of combo units. If you choose to upgrade get separate modem and router.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
So (for example) Netgear Nighthawk CM2000 and Nighthawk mesh MK62?
Choose your modem based on a list provided by your ISP for the level of service you have (or want to have). Then you can choose any router.
WIFI6 is still in the infancy to early adoption. You won't get much benefit without WIFI6 devices.
The base unit for the MK62 only has one ethernet LAN port. That means you need a switch if you want to connect anything except the satellite.
I can't tell from the manual if the satellite can be ethernet connected back to the main unit or not. I don't see a picture in the manual with that configuration.
 

testertony

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Jan 6, 2018
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One thing I do not like is that modem firmware has to be updated by Spectrum. I would like control of that, but that could be a two edged sword.
 
The ISP controlling the firmware is another reason to have separate modem and router.

The ISP needs their network to be stable. They could care less if you patch your router and now you get constantly disconnected on wifi in your house. If you would take a patch to the modem and it messed up your neighbors connection the ISP would get yelled at even though it was you that caused it.

Like most business stability and little to no downtime is much more important than new features. Many times you will even see people complain that they loaded custom software into the modem/router devices that remove a bunch of the features. They don't want to have to train their staff on say how to setup QoS so they just remove the tabs even though the factory version of the firmware supports it.

A modem is a pretty stupid device so it really has few setting you even care about. They let you see the status and signal level they just do not let you set for example data encoding is used.
 

testertony

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So actually I could get that mesh system now, disable the combo, and see how that reacts to my dilemma. I have a couple of high speed switches as long as putting the satellite through a switch doesn't cause a bottleneck.
 

testertony

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Jan 6, 2018
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Choose your modem based on a list provided by your ISP for the level of service you have (or want to have). Then you can choose any router.
WIFI6 is still in the infancy to early adoption. You won't get much benefit without WIFI6 devices.
The base unit for the MK62 only has one ethernet LAN port. That means you need a switch if you want to connect anything except the satellite.
I can't tell from the manual if the satellite can be ethernet connected back to the main unit or not. I don't see a picture in the manual with that configuration.
It is not hard wired back to the base. I think they think that the new standard is as good. I am going to hunt for one that's wired even though that means I will run another cable. Access easy for that.
 

testertony

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Jan 6, 2018
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Since nothing has acted up since I started this post, I may leave "well enough alone" I am still checking to see if I may bump my internet speed which will require a new modem and then I can screw things up more from there.
 

testertony

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As a result of checking for a speed bump I discovered that I am "grandfathered" into an old Time Warner plan which is costing $20 more a month than the equivalent Spectrum plan which is where the money goes anyway. And last night many devices went off wi-fi causing a bunch of resetting. Now I am thinking of bumping my 200meg internet to 1gig. And using all Netgear CM2000 modem, RBK852 wi-fi, and S8000 switch. Talk about overkill but then when I remember 56k modem, ISDN, and 3 meg DSL I get kinda crazy. Please let me know any thoughts on the Netgear planned equipment. Also isn't ORBI and mesh the same thing?
 
Again key here is the modem on the ISP supported list. This can vary even withing the city.....your example of time warner network being purchased is one example. The ISP can have different equipment requirements based on what equipment happens to run a particular house.

For a very long time spectrum did not allow you to hook the 3.1 devices to the network. They had not trained their staff in how to support them. They now allow it and I think require 3.1 to get gigabit in some areas. I do not know if the netgear is on their list they finally approved the arris.

You want to avoid any form of mesh unless you have no other option. ORBI purely is good marketing it is not some technology fix to the wifi problem. Most orbi units and most mesh in general is just another name for a wifi repeater. They suffer from all the problems of trying to tranmit a second wifi signal.

To get better wifi converage you really want ethernet cable with AP attached. If that is not possible you use Moca or powerline to do the function of the ethernet cables and place remote AP. Then very far down the list where you consider any wifi connection better than no wifi connection at all you look at putting in repeaters. Mesh is mostly just a slightly easier to setup version of repeater....in fancy decorator box to match your room. The only mesh is slightly better than a simple repeater are ones that have a dedicate 3rd radio chip just to talk between the units. That is very very rare because it increases the price.
 

testertony

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Jan 6, 2018
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The CM2000 is supported and is why I chose it. The switch may not be needed if I go with the Orbi setup. Besides expense why do you say "avoid any type of mesh?" I have the capability of going wired access points in the 2 locations.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
The CM2000 is supported and is why I chose it. The switch may not be needed if I go with the Orbi setup. Besides expense why do you say "avoid any type of mesh?" I have the capability of going wired access points in the 2 locations.
Because "mesh" is another name for extender. It uses wireless connectivity to the base. "Mesh" and "seamless roaming" are very different things that people get confused about. What most people want is seamless roaming. That is the capability for a device to move between WIFI sources. Many people think that mesh is required for that. It isn't.
 

testertony

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Jan 6, 2018
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So then maybe a single AP would be much better than the combo C7000 I have now. Maybe I don't even need to add a second since my home is 2000 feet. And then I can always add a second, and/or change it out when wi-fi 6 get more prevalent.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
So then maybe a single AP would be much better than the combo C7000 I have now. Maybe I don't even need to add a second since my home is 2000 feet. And then I can always add a second, and/or change it out when wi-fi 6 get more prevalent.
You can test that theory by buying an access point, sitting it near your current router and turning OFF the WIFI on the current router.
 

testertony

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Jan 6, 2018
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Waiting to receive the access point, since the router and modem live in the office (center of the house) I wanted to raise the location from 26 inches desk height to 55 inches (added a shelf). Since the shelf is metal will I have created a new interference?
 

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