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Rodf

Wondering what could be causing Wi-Fi devices to drop off network?

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Rodf

I've got a NETGEAR Nighthawk router. It's probably 3 to 4 years old by now. It's been giving me good service, until recently. Anything that's connected to it via wire, is OK. But we've noticed that devices that connect to it via Wi-Fi are being dropped occasionally. I've been trying to think of what could cause this. Networking and troubleshooting networking issues isn't really my thing, so I thought I'd come here to post some questions about it. Here are the possible causing I can think of.

 

  1. Because of Christmas I had to relocate the router for other Christmas decorations, etc. Perhaps its new location isn't conducive to good reception by devices that connect to it via Wi-Fi.
  2. I'm in the habit of shutting down my network and connected desktops every other week, to blow out the dirt that's accumulated in it. We did so two days ago. Maybe something isn't quite right after that.
  3. As I previously mentioned my NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000 router is at least 3 years old. Perhaps as much as 5 years ago. And we've added at least two new Wi-Fi devices from Christmas. Maybe we're now reaching a practical limit to the Nighthawk router for devices connected by Wi-Fi.

 

My wife wonders if it could be the snow storm that we're now enduring. I doubt that, as I don't see how inclement weather could adversely effect Wi-Fi devices. But I thought I'd throw that out there as a fourth possibility.

 

I got onto my router, before coming here to post this message, to say that I've enabled QoS, which I've never done before. I don't get QoS, but I thought what the heck, give it a try. I checked the router before applying QoS, which required a reboot. There were 6 devices connected to it. After applying QoS and rebooting the router I now have 11 devices.

 

Let me say that I doubt #1 is the issue, because we reconfigured things for the Christmas holidays over 2 weeks ago and it's had no problems, at least not initially. In fact, I'd have to say everything was going fine until about Christmas day.

 

So, you networking gurus, could one of those that I've listed be the cause? Or could it be something entirely different?

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oj88
Posted (edited)

You can first try putting back the router to where it was before Christmas and confirm if the problem still exists. If that fixed the problem, we know it's a reception issue and unlikely caused by the router hardware.

 

Next, use an app such as WiFi Analyzer (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.farproc.wifi.analyzer&hl). The app can show you relative signal strength of your WiFi as you walk around your home. This gives you visual cues if blind spots are present and where. Equally important, it also lets you see if there are competing WiFi signals around you that are on the same channel as yours. In the WiFi Analyzer app, you should see a graph of your WiFi network with your SSID name on it indicating which channel(s) it is occupying and its strength. There shouldn't be anyone else's SSID overlapping on your network. If there is, access your router and use a channel that is away from the interfering network. The non-overlapping channels are typically 1, 6, and 11 (2.4GHz). However, most modern wireless routers would employ bandwidth-enhancing algorithms that makes them occupy more adjacent channels. That said, configure your router accordingly to use any of the three channels above that has the least amount of interference.

 

Since you have a dual-band router (2.4GHz and 5GHz), be sure to tap on the upper right portion of the WiFi Analyzer app to switch between 2.4 and 5GHz band (your phone or tablet running the app should also be dual-band capable). As above, configure your router to use a channel on 5GHz  that has little to no interference.

 

Good luck!

Edited by oj88

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