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Topic # 201529 22-Aug-2016 20:30
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I’m in the process of upgrading my network and setup, which (among other things) involves adding a second WiFi access point to try and improve the spotty WiFi performance at one end of my house. I’m not that familiar with more than the basics of networking, so thought I would toss a few questions out there for those with more knowledge.

My basic network consists of a Wireless Router in the spare room, in to which my main PCs and NAS connect. I then extend it out around the house (bedroom, living room, spare room) to my other equipment (media players, DVD recorder, music streamers, TV, Sky box etc) using Ethernet-over-powerline. This works well and I get stable connections with good throughput. However, my WiFi performance isn’t great, particularly downstairs, and I want to fix this.

I have acquired a TP-Link powerline adapter which also functions as a WiFi access point, and I want to set this up to improve WiFi coverage. (Note, isn't a WiFi repeater, it will is access point that ties tied back to the router using powerline networking, conceptually the same as using wired Ethernet).

1.   Choice of SSID

I have been giving conflicting advice about this. One bit of advice was to set up the access point using the same SSID (and password etc) as my main router/network, so it’s seen as the same network by devices. The other was to set it up as a separate SSID as, apparently, some wireless clients will lock on to the device (router or access point) they first connect to, and refuse to change from one to the other when I move – even if the other is putting out a much better signal.

So my first question is whether to set the access point up with the same SSID, or as a separate network?

 

And if I do set it up as the same SSID, should I expect devices to hop to the strongest signal when I move around the house?

2.  Choice of WiFi Channel

My second question is, if I set the access point up with the same SSID, do I set it for the same channel or a different (non-conflicting) channel?

Again, I have had different advice on this.

3.  Anything I have overlooked

I would also appreciate any thoughts or comments on anything else that I may have overlooked.


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  Reply # 1616035 22-Aug-2016 20:47
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1. I use the same SSID and changing which access point the device is conneced to depends on the device, you can get an app on android that will force it to change access point if the signal gets below a certain level. Laptops are generally pretty good about switching if you change the aggressiveness settings.

 

2. set them to non overlapping channels, so 1 6 and 11. How busy is your wifi enviroment? with neighbours etc.

 

 


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  Reply # 1616695 24-Aug-2016 09:55
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I would setup the wifi powerline on a different SSID
why : because that allways works .
have downstairs SSID as "downstairs", simple

 

other wise, some devices just wont auto-switch to the stronger wifi signal if they have the same SSID
I guess its a try it & see sort of thing.

 

"using Ethernet-over-powerline"
"I have acquired a TP-Link powerline adapter which also functions as a WiFi "
2 different powerline kits ?
or just an additional powerline wifi unit that MATCHES the existing powerline

 

you might run into issues if running different brand/types of powerline kits in the same house.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1617094 24-Aug-2016 23:14
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1101:

 

I would setup the wifi powerline on a different SSID
why : because that allways works .
have downstairs SSID as "downstairs", simple

 

other wise, some devices just wont auto-switch to the stronger wifi signal if they have the same SSID
I guess its a try it & see sort of thing.

 

"using Ethernet-over-powerline"
"I have acquired a TP-Link powerline adapter which also functions as a WiFi "
2 different powerline kits ?
or just an additional powerline wifi unit that MATCHES the existing powerline

 

you might run into issues if running different brand/types of powerline kits in the same house.

 

 

If you have more than 2 powerline units then its conceptually more like thin-net ethernet: all sharing the same channel or bus like an old-style hub. Any traffic "collisions" should have a retry mechanism but not too bad unless you have huge congestion.

 

Separate channels regardless of the SSID setup.





Qualified in business, certified in fibre, stuck in copper, have to keep going  ^_^



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  Reply # 1617542 25-Aug-2016 19:18
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@webwat: I do have more than two powerline units, but the throughput is fine. I rarely have (for example) video streaming to two rooms simultaneously etc, and the 70-85 megabit thoroughput I get on my AV500 units is fine. Plus several of them are about to be replaced by AV1200s, which will double the throughput.

 

The brands are different, but no biggie. Worst case, I may have to replace one (older) paid and also spend $40 on a gigabit switch.

 

@Jase2985 - there are quite a few other wifi setups around me, but all my neighbours seem to be using channel 6, pretty much without exception. Channels 1 and 11 on 2.4GHz are pretty clear (channel 11 is essentially unusable), and the 5GHz band is pretty clear as well.

 

 

 

Thanks for the advice guys.


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  Reply # 1618697 28-Aug-2016 14:10
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JimmyH:

 

1.   Choice of SSID

I have been giving conflicting advice about this. One bit of advice was to set up the access point using the same SSID (and password etc) as my main router/network, so it’s seen as the same network by devices. The other was to set it up as a separate SSID as, apparently, some wireless clients will lock on to the device (router or access point) they first connect to, and refuse to change from one to the other when I move – even if the other is putting out a much better signal.

 

 

Imagine you had three access points in a row down a long corridor and you are at one end.  You would think your wireless client would associate to the first access point and as you walked towards the second access point your wireless client would move (roam) to the second access point.  You would stay associated to the second access point as you walk under it and once the signal from the third access point gets stronger the wireless client would move (roam) to it.

 

In reality here is what happens.  You start at one end of the corridor and the wireless clients associates to the strongest signal (access point one).  As you walk away from access point one towards access point two the wireless client continues transmitting to access point one.  Once the signal strength (as well as a few other values) reach a certain level (defined by each wireless driver) the wireless client will start looking for another access point to move (roam) to.  Depending on the wireless driver you could be 40%, 50%, 60%, etc. of the way up the corridor towards access point two.  If the signal from access one is extremely high you could even have walked under access point two and be heading towards access point three before the wireless client starts looking to move (roam).

 

So, if your wireless client "lock[s] onto another device (router or access point)" it means that wireless router or access point has a too high transmit power, low data rates enabled (if you have the option to change the data rates) or is too close to the other wireless router or access point. 

 

JimmyH:
So my first question is whether to set the access point up with the same SSID, or as a separate network?

 

 

If you want your wireless devices to truly roam you need to have the same SSID defined in both devices.  If you have two separate SSIDs defined the wireless client will try to hold on for dear life to the SSID it is associated to (as that SSID is not configured on the other wireless router or access point) and, finally, when it can hold on no longer it will deauthenticate and then look for another supported WLAN.  It will be associate to the second SSID as if it was a completely new network.  As the DHCP and DNS sources for both WLANs will be identical it will appear as if the wireless client has roamed from one SSID to the other.

 

JimmyH:

 

And if I do set it up as the same SSID, should I expect devices to hop to the strongest signal when I move around the house?

 

 

If the wireless routers/access points are located in the right places for their transmit powers.

 

JimmyH:

 

2.  Choice of WiFi Channel

My second question is, if I set the access point up with the same SSID, do I set it for the same channel or a different (non-conflicting) channel?

Again, I have had different advice on this.

 

 

Unless you are building a wireless bridge the radios should be configured on unique non-overlapping channels.

 

In the 2.4 GHz spectrum this means 1, 6 or 11.

 

In the 5 GHz spectrum this means at least one channel should separate the radios.  For example, 36 and 44 are good but 36 and 40 are not (assuming 20 MHz wide channels are in use).  I would also avoid DFS channels (if your wireless routers and access points support them).  This means use channels 36, 40, 44, 48, 149, 153, 157 and 161.  


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