Solved: Novice router user

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DKTaber

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I recently bought the Amazon Fire TV Stick and am having problems with it maintaining a connection with my cheap, 4-yr.-old D-Link DIR-601 router. The connections are effemeral, in that they work much of the time, but randomly refuse to connect or tell me my connection is too slow. So I'm considering buying a MUCH faster router, like an ASUS RT-AC68U or -68W (the latter being noticeably cheaper). The only devices in my home using wireless technology are my laptop, my wife's laptop, my Canon printer, and the Fire stick.

Given the above, I have some questions:
  1. Which of these routers will give me the performance I need for the Firestick?
  2. Is buying one of these (expensive) routers overkill?
  3. Do you have any cheaper recommendations for solving my problem?
Any help is much appreciated.
 

TerryNet

Terry
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What download speed does your ISP promise?

What download speed are you getting with a computer connected to the router by ethernet as measured by Speedtest.net? With a computer connected by wireless?
 

DKTaber

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Hi, Terry. You're asking the same questions I've asked myself. My ISP (Xfinity) delivers 90-95Mbps to my Ethernet wired PC, but I get only ~38Mbps on wireless devices (e.g., laptop). So when a router says it can deliver a gazillion Mbps, I've always thought "What good does that do me if the MAX I'm getting from Xfinity is 90Mbps?" My current D-Link DIR-601 is rated at a meager 150 Mbps. . . but that's way more than the speed of the input.
 

TerryNet

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With that internet access I think any 'n' (or, of course, 'ac') router should be satisfactory.

The question is why your current router isn't working satisfactorily with the Fire TV stick. I think that 4 or 6 Mbps is plenty for High Definition movies. The D-Link router may need replacement or you may be getting a weak signal or interference where you are using the stick. If you want to pursue that possibility, when you are having a problem connecting or it complains about slowness use a Windows computer at the same location and ...

Please attach a screen shot of the Networks page (don't collapse the Radar, Connection or Signal History) of the Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector. If you need help with a screen shot see TSG Posting a Screenshot. FWIW to take screen shots with Windows Vista or latter I prefer to use the built-in Snipping Tool.

Let it run for a minute before taking the screen shot so we can see some signal history.
 

DKTaber

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OK, per your request, attached is the screen dump from Xirrus WI-Fi Inspector, posted to a .docx document and zipped.

Despite this, I think I know the answer to my question because another Amazon Fire TV stick customer just posted the following on Amazon's customer review page: "I have 3 fire sticks. All of them have random connection issues which are not seen by any other devices on the network. You can rule out interference because no one else lives close to me. I have tried two different types of the routers Asus N56u and a Netgear Nighthawk. Various channels and bands do not help. Tried more robust power supplies (5v, 2 amp) for the sticks, but that did not help. Once they connected they stay connected for awhile, but once they disconnect, they are a bugger to get reconnected.

We need a firmware upgrade to address the wireless issues (hopefully). If not, these will need a new hardware revision."

When I measure the router's output speed right next to the router, which is in the center of the basement, I get 37Mbps. When I test it next to the TV, which is in a room directly above the router (so the signal has to go thru a wood and carpeted floor), the signal is 25Mbps. And in both cases, it's pretty consistent all day.
 

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DKTaber

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For those who see this thread, be aware that the inability of Amazon's Fire Stick to maintain a connection is probably due to a weak internal antenna. By taping a 14" piece of copper wire to the Stick and making sure it hung down vertically, thereby acting as a 2.4Ghz antenna, disconnects are now extremely rare -- like 3-4 times over 10 days and 12 hours of movies. The Amazon forum on the Fire Stick is now about 16 long pages (hundreds of posts all complaining about this problem). As of today, there is no evidence that Amazon knows about the problem or is doing anything about it. I presume they eventually will. If they don't, they will have a failed product.
 
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