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Solved: 2.4g vs. 5g Wireless

Discussion in 'Networking' started by Morania, Apr 30, 2015.

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  1. Morania

    Morania Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    I have a shiny new cable modem/router and it's running fine but I have some questions about the signal bands.

    I set the router up with both 2.4 and 5 g broadcast. My mobile phone picks up the 5g just fine and according to my signal checking app, I have 5g all over the house.

    My wife's computer briefly saw the 5g but doesn't see it now.

    Our Wii system doesn't see it. My wife's phone doesn't see it.

    Only my phone sees it and one of the Kindle Fires.

    Are devices specifically configured for one band or the other or is there anything I may have to do in the router setup to make the 5g more consistent?
     
  2. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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    yes, some devices may not have a 5Ghz adapter

    thats unusual
    There are various restrictions in countrys on the bands used in 5Ghz
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WLAN_channels

    try running xirrus on the PC
    and post a screen shot

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Run Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector
    Download and install

    If you cannot access the internet with this PC, then you will need to copy the program across to the faulty PC
    Save the file to a USB flash drive or other removable media. Plug it into the working computer with internet access and copy the file to the faulty PC and install the program.
    You will now need to take a screen shot and copy that back to the working PC and attach the screen shot in a reply on the forum here.

    If you do not have another PC - do you have a phone connected to the internet - can you photograph the result and post the image in a reply

    http://go.pardot.com/l/66982/2015-01-26/2361i
    enter you details
    Download this file "DOWNLOAD WI-FI INSPECTOR Vx.xx "
    ( the site now appears to allow webbased emails like gmail, hotmail, outlook and yahoo now )

    There is also a xirrus gadget, But that does not have all the fuctionality "DOWNLOAD GADGET Vx.xx

    Alternative links - Use the links below
    http://www.softpedia.com/get/Network-Tools/Network-Monitoring/Xirrus-Wi-Fi-Inspector.shtml


    Then run and install the program - on a wireless enabled PC/Laptop
    if you get an error - You will need to have NET Framework installed for the WiFi Inspector to function.
    On windows 8 - (i do not have windows 8) but, it would appear that, When you first try to run, you may get a message that .net framework is needed, and included in that message is a link to download/install.

    Run the program

    A user guide is available here
    http://www.xirrus.com/cdn/pdf/xirruswifiinspectorguide1-2-0

    post a screen shot of the program running.
    if there are a lot of networks showing can you click on "networks" top lefthand area - so we can see all the network information.

    post which SSID name is yours, its located in the list, under network "Adapter Name" (1st column)


    Note:
    For a reliable (or robust as the Xirrus user guide says) wireless connection you need a signal of about -70 dBm or better. "A desirable signal level for a robust Wi-Fi connection will be green".
    note: the signal level is a negative number, so for example -88 is worst and -40 is better

    To post a screen shot of the active window.

    Windows XP
    Hold the Alt key and press the PrtScn key. Open the Windows PAINT application (Start> All Programs> Accessories> Paint) and Paste the screen shot. You can then use PAINT to trim to suit, and save it as a JPG format file.

    Vista or Windows 7
    you can use the "snipping tool" which is found in Start> All programs> Accessories> Snipping Tool
    http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/how-to-use-the-windows-snipping-tool/

    Windows 8
    you can use the snipping tool > Open Snipping Tool (From the Windows 8 Start Screen, type "snip" and press enter.
    >Press the Esc. key.
    >go back to your Windows 8 start screen - Swipe from left or press Window Button
    >Press Ctrl+PrntScr button to use Snipping Tool
    see here
    http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/opinion/windows/3415854/how-take-screenshot-in-windows-8/
    http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/windows/3405830/how-take-screenshot-in-windows-8/


    To upload the screen shot to the forum, open the full reply window ("Go Advanced" button) and use the Manage Attachments button to upload it here.
    Full details are available here http://library.techguy.org/wiki/TSG_Posting_a_Screenshot
     
  3. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    Not sure about that. Certainly there are many wireless adapters that do not have 5 GHz capability.
     
  4. Morania

    Morania Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    I've been looking deeper into the subject and went as far as to find the specs of the various network adapters around the house.

    All three all-in-one computers here have adapters that are known to use 2.4. Not sure if my wife had the 5g in her list on a fluke but it hasn't returned since.

    Small Kindle Fires don't use 5g but the bigger one does.

    My Razr Maxx mobile uses 5g but the older Razr does not.

    Our WiiU use 2.4. (XBox uses 5g.)

    This has all been interesting and the fella at Cox Cable should see me and give better advice to customers.

    Also, I found out that 5g has crappy range so why bother in the first place? If connectivity is an issue in the house, just find out which channel is loaded up in the neighborhood and select one that isn't used much by way of the router control interface page.
     
  5. Morania

    Morania Thread Starter

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    Hmm. Ended up answering my question, but I hope this post helps others.
     
  6. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    You'll find that in many apartments and condos in cities often all the 2.4 GHz channels are represented by strong signals. And, I understand, that there are fewer other sources of interference on 5 GHz.
     
  7. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    The reason why you want to move to 5 GHz and why 802.11ac exclusively uses this band is due to performance. People don't understand that with the quest to have routers which can blast a 2.4 GHz signal as far as their neighbor and some times beyond, you're creating more of a problem than solving it. 2.4 GHz has only 3 unique non overlapping channels (1, 6, and 11). Everyone is learning to adjust their wireless routers to take one of these channels. As more people implement wireless and go with the hotter signal the better from their wireless routers, you're going to run into congestion. Now why isn't a hot signal that your neighbor can see bad? Well, the wireless NICs in your mobile devices only have a limited range. It's akin to the wireless router having a concert level speaker blasting the signal which can be heard from the wireless client but the wireless client is shouting back its signal with a small AM radio speaker. Both ends need to be able to pick up the signal for the communication to be effective. Some SOHO routers have decent antenna sensitivities to pick up weak signals from wireless clients. Some don't. With new construction housing and people doing remodels, it's sort of inexcusable for someone in that position to not have their house wired up with LAN drops. The real fix for coverage issues is to have multiple APs placed around the home. Not only will signal strength not be an issue at that point but performance will be better as a single AP is not servicing multiple wireless clients. Remember, wireless technology is still a half duplex technology....only one device can talk on the wireless network at a time this includes the AP. The more wireless clients you introduce into a wireless network the more wait time there will between device transmissions. There's even a newer standard being proposed called 802.11ad which is looking into using an even higher frequency signal to not only increase performance but to purposely limit wireless range so there isn't so much noise beyond the intended service boundaries.

    Another reason why 5 GHz is preferred besides the obvious crowded airspace issue is the head space available with 5 GHz. There are tons of additional channels used in 5 GHz over the paltry 3 channels 2.4 GHz has. The larger number of channels available allows techniques like channel bonding to occur to increase wireless performance. This is what 802.11ac leverages heavily to gain the 1.3 Gbps theoretical performance. The next iteration of 802.11ac wave 2 (phase 2) is going to open up more channel space and thus increase the 1.3 Gbps speed cap.

    I know my post is/was a bit long winded. But people need to realize that blasting a hot signal isn't the answer to all wireless issues and really understand how wireless technology works. The manufacturers sure haven't done a good job in educating consumers.
     
  8. Morania

    Morania Thread Starter

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    It's ironic. 5g has less interference but it has crappy range and penetration.

    My 2.4 has a pretty good selection of channels in the controller. I have to find an app like I have for my 5g that tells which channels are loaded up on this street.
     
  9. zx10guy

    zx10guy Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    If you look at some of the data on 2.4 vs 5 in terms of range, 5 doesn't really give up that much compared to 2.4.

    When you say your 2.4 router has a good selection of channels, your router is no different than any other 2.4 wireless device out there. You're limited to channels from 1 to 11. And nothing is going to change the fact that channels 1, 6, and 11 are the only channels you can use with true separation from other channels. Channels 2-5 and 7-10 are all overlapping and in my opinion really shouldn't be included as options as it gives a false sense of more available channel space than there is.

    I have an app on my Android phone called WiFi Analyzer which gives what it picks up as far as wireless networks and what channel and frequency they're operating on. The wireless system I use for my home network can tell me various interference sources (WiFi or other devices such as microwave ovens/baby monitors, etc) and general direction of detection. My wireless system can also adjust operating channel on the fly based on interference/quality of air space and performance. It does this continuously without me having to do any intervention.
     
  10. Morania

    Morania Thread Starter

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    I have the 5g analyzer from Netgear. I just loaded the one you mentioned and checked out the 2.4. Good stuff.
    The controller for Netgear says that the AUTO Channel setting will constantly monitor the channel use for me. I'll still go to the least used, which probably translates to unused in my rural area.

    It would be good if the router bubbas at the cable shop knew as much as this thread.
     
  11. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    I use inSSIDer that shows local usage in both ranges (if your adapter is capable)
     
  12. Morania

    Morania Thread Starter

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    I'm not sure how "congestion" came into play here. I hope I didn't indicate that it was a problem. I live in the middle of nowhere- it's just me and a few people who get online once a week or so. I was mainly interested in the subject of which things like to use what band and maybe find out if there's any way to be sure that I'm not missing anything's capability to find the 5g band.

    It's all about my devices' abilities and now I have cool apps to tweak my house room by room.
     
  13. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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    inSSIDer was an excellent tool - I still have some older versions. Problem is last time I looked you had to purchase now :(
     
  14. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

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    I'm using 3.1.2.1 and I think that is the latest home(free) version
     
  15. etaf

    etaf Moderator

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    Yep V4 was pay for :( i have 2 and 3 - liked 2 layout
     
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