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G wifi channel in congested building

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#1
Let me preface this by saying I am a firm believer in the "If it can be wired it should be wired" mantra. I kind of despise wifi these days - I even have extra outlets in the places I use my laptop so I can use gigabit. I moved into an apartment a couple months ago, and I was allowed to cable the entire place. But I have a 1st gen Fire stick in my bedroom with unrootable FW, and because of that I can't use an OTG ethernet adapter. I'm holding off buying a new one right now because I want the one with the embedded Echo that's supposedly coming out. Its Plex streaming performance on N 2.4GHz has always kind of sucked (always get the "Connection to server is not fast enough" error and have to switch to low bitrate transcode), and I have never been able to get it to connect to the 5GHz band on my router - but that router has now crapped out so its moot. I dug out my old trusty 54GL with DD-WRT and in setting it up I analyzed the channel usage in the building... And now I know why it's giving me guff.. There's 16 units in my building, and I can see all of their APs (plus ad-hoc devices which creates even more interference) because I'm right in the middle. They do seem to be pretty evenly spread between channels 1, 6, and 11.. I was originally going to use channel 14 (yeah, I know, illegal, blah), since DD-WRT unlocks it, but the fire stick doesn't see it. So my question is, in practice, is it better to stick with one of the congested main channels, or should one of the "inbetweens" like 3 or 8, work better or worse, given they overlap the main channels?

 
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#2
I sure would try 3. What's the harm in trying? If it is worse, change it to something else.
 
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#3
2.4Ghz general cover wider area than 5Ghz but slower, with that said the channel 1,6,11 has least overlapping
5 Ghz on the other hand has far more superior bandwidth than the 2.4 G but its range is pretty weak
so, if you planning to put multiple AP in same area/bulding close to each other I suggest to try use 5 Ghz as their area coverage is small thus cause less interference.
 

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#4
Yep, I'd definitely try a different channel. I'm using channel 2 right now because of this:
Screenshot_2018-02-10-21-24-37.png


And I live in my own house! That is just how saturated 2.4GHz is getting. 5GHz isn't far behind thanks to pretty much every ISP installing a wifi router with both channels now...

Personally, if you only have the one device that needs Wi-Fi, and it is attached to a TV and never moves, I'd run a cable to the Firestick, and put an access point right next to. So the Wi-Fi only has to travel like a foot.
 
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#5
I sure would try 3. What's the harm in trying? If it is worse, change it to something else.
Yeah I set it to 3, and it seems to be working OK. I can raise the streaming limit to 8Mbps/1080p without it buffering (I had to have it at 2Mbps/720p before), but I still can't let it do direct play at the original bitrate (most of my rips are 10-12 Mbps but some that I use as reference material like Avatar and Pixar movies are up to 25Mbps) because it still chokes. Oh well, like I said it's really just a stopgap until I get the new Fire TV and a new AP. I was just sorta curious because I came across a couple posts and comments that said NOT to use the inbetweens because they overlap the crowded channels on both sides so it would be worse performing - but other people disagreed.. So I wanted to see what you guys thought. I think since the center frequency is out of the crowd and strongest it should be better, no?

2.4Ghz general cover wider area than 5Ghz but slower, with that said the channel 1,6,11 has least overlapping
5 Ghz on the other hand has far more superior bandwidth than the 2.4 G but its range is pretty weak
so, if you planning to put multiple AP in same area/bulding close to each other I suggest to try use 5 Ghz as their area coverage is small thus cause less interference.
My issue is really just that there are so many 2.4GHz APs and ad hocs in my building that it's causing me problems. I'm trying to get by with what I have until I get a new AP and that new Fire TV. The Fire stick that I have and an old tablet that I use as a clock/weather display are the only wifi devices that I use - everything else I have is hardwired to a gigabit switch. I scanned the 5GHz band and there are 9 wideband and 4 narrowband APs that I can see (the router/modem our ISP gives out is dual-band so most of them are dupe -5 SSIDs of what's on 2.4).

And I live in my own house! That is just how saturated 2.4GHz is getting. 5GHz isn't far behind thanks to pretty much every ISP installing a wifi router with both channels now...
I had to wire my sister's house because they had bought Rokus for all the TVs so they could cut the cord, but they couldn't get any of them to work reliably due to the fact that they live in a very crowded beach community, and literally every neighbor (it was about 15-20 in range) had a Fios router on the same channel. And yeah like I said to chaosmassive, when I scanned 5GHz here I found most of the 2.4 SSIDs were duplicated on 5GHz because our ISP provides a dual band router.

Personally, if you only have the one device that needs Wi-Fi, and it is attached to a TV and never moves, I'd run a cable to the Firestick, and put an access point right next to. So the Wi-Fi only has to travel like a foot.
Yeah I had the old AP mounted right behind the TV and it still didn't work lol. Now that it went legs up on me today I think it may have been on its way out when I moved in, but I had it set to channel 11 at my old place and never actually scanned here until now. So it was probably a combination of the two lol.

 
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#6
Ive had to switch channels on customer routers because other homes were causing congestion to get best possible bandwidth
 
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#7
If that last image above is how it currently is, I would sure do whatever it takes to get that wireless router up off the floor, as high as possible. You are not helping yourself any by having that AC to DC converter power supply right next to it either.
 

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#8
You are not helping yourself any by having that AC to DC converter power supply right next to it either.
I could be wrong, but I don't think that is an AC to DC converter. It looks like a POE breakbout box to me.
 
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#9
I could be wrong, but I don't think that is an AC to DC converter. It looks like a POE breakbout box to me.
You could be right but the router has to get power from somewhere. So I don't know what is in that image. If that is not the power supply, then there's no power getting to the router! If it is the power supply (AC to DC converter), it sure could affect RF propagation and reception and for sure ,is not helping it.

In any case, I still recommend mounting/sitting the router up high, not on the floor and not right next to its power supply when it is finally powered up.
 

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#10
You could be right but the router has to get power from somewhere. So I don't know what is in that image. If that is not the power supply, then there's no power getting to the router! If it is the power supply (AC to DC converter), it sure could affect RF propagation and reception and for sure ,is not helping it.
It is getting power from the POE breakout box. That is what a POE breakout box does, it lets you send DC power over the ethernet cable to pretty much any device. The box splits the PoE into regular ethernet and a DC power jack.
 
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#11
I would also move the router out away from the wall, 1-2 feet so the signal does not ground out. (any wires or pipes in that wall?)
 
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#12
You could be right but the router has to get power from somewhere. So I don't know what is in that image. If that is not the power supply, then there's no power getting to the router! If it is the power supply (AC to DC converter), it sure could affect RF propagation and reception and for sure ,is not helping it.

In any case, I still recommend mounting/sitting the router up high, not on the floor and not right next to its power supply when it is finally powered up.
It is getting power from the POE breakout box. That is what a POE breakout box does, it lets you send DC power over the ethernet cable to pretty much any device. The box splits the PoE into regular ethernet and a DC power jack.
Yeah its a PoE splitter. I have a real 802.3af switch too, it's not that hacky passive PoE that injects DC onto unused pairs.



I would also move the router out away from the wall, 1-2 feet so the signal does not ground out. (any wires or pipes in that wall?)
Its drywall and wood studs, no steel, no plumbing, and aside from the coax, wiring wouldn't be in those stud cavities based on where the light switch and outlet are.. I really don't even need the signal to get out of that room, it just needs to get to the fire stick plugged into the back of that TV.
 
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#13
I would also move the router out away from the wall, 1-2 feet so the signal does not ground out. (any wires or pipes in that wall?)
Well, the signal would not "ground out" but metal pipes and wires sure can interfere and affect signal strength to and from the distant end. Of course that applies to every barrier (wall, floor and ceiling) between the router and connected device.

But wires and pipes typically run straight up and down from the floors above and below, then run parallel to the floor about a couple feet above the floor. Most routers are actually designed to be wall mounted too and either have mounting holes or come with wall brackets. So it really is not necessary to move it away from the wall. I just would not center it directly above a wall outlet or light switch.
I really don't even need the signal to get out of that room, it just needs to get to the fire stick plugged into the back of that TV.
Maybe you could try connecting the stick to a USB cable/extension cord then position the stick in a more "line of sight" location.
 
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#14
I had the same problem years ago, 24 APs on 2.4ghz channels in a complex I was living in. Had to switch over from my n300 router to a n600 and go all 5ghz. Also look into power line adapters for any clients that can be hard wired. I now use my old n600 router as an upstairs AP with a powerline adapter.
 
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#15
Well, the signal would not "ground out" but metal pipes and wires sure can interfere and affect signal strength to and from the distant end. Of course that applies to every barrier (wall, floor and ceiling) between the router and connected device.

But wires and pipes typically run straight up and down from the floors above and below, then run parallel to the floor about a couple feet above the floor. Most routers are actually designed to be wall mounted too and either have mounting holes or come with wall brackets. So it really is not necessary to move it away from the wall. I just would not center it directly above a wall outlet or light switch. Maybe you could try connecting the stick to a USB cable/extension cord then position the stick in a more "line of sight" location.
Its actually working better there than the old one did being mounted right behind the TV literally inches away.. It's actually almost centered between the outlet and the light switch, so I doubt there's any electrical wiring there.

I had the same problem years ago, 24 APs on 2.4ghz channels in a complex I was living in. Had to switch over from my n300 router to a n600 and go all 5ghz. Also look into power line adapters for any clients that can be hard wired. I now use my old n600 router as an upstairs AP with a powerline adapter.
Yeah my old AP was an E3000 but I could never get the stick to connect to 5GHz, hence why I was originally stuck with it using 2.4. No need for powerline, I have the entire apartment hardwired. The fire stick just doesn't have an ethernet jack which is why I have to do this. ;)