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Upgrading WiFi signal

I've just moved in to a shared house a few months ago and the router/wifi hub is on the ground floor (I'm on the top floor, 3 flights up) and the WiFi signal is terrible and rarely stays connected.

For reference I have a really good PCI-E WiFi card in my PC so I've done what I can on that end. There are no mains plugs in the stairwell to plug in WiFi boosters and wall plugs (which I'm currently using) are okay but my broadband speed is still cut in half.

We have the 200MB package and my average speeds are around 70--80MB with some days that getting dropped to 15-20MB!

I can't run an ethernet cable all the way downstairs, is there anything I or Virgin Media can do to fix this?

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Alessandro Volta
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Message 2 of 12
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Re: Upgrading WiFi signal

It is unsurprising that you are getting a poor signal two floors above the Hub as due to the way wireless propagates the signal strength is weaker in the vertical direction.

However, the signal strength can be affected by many other factors like interference, obstacles etc. So, it is worth scanning with a wireless scanner such as InsSIDer or WiFi Analyser to check that you are using the best wireless channel bearing in mind the scanner will not pick up interference from non 802.11 devices like A\V Streaming Devices, Baby Monitors, older Cordless Phones, Heating Aids, Microwave Ovens, Plasma TVs, Security Systems, etc.

Wireless "boosters" that work by repeating the signal need to receive a good wireless signal to "boost", as the signal is repeated the speeds will drop by half due to the half duplex nature or wireless.

I am not sure what you mean by wall plugs.
Do you mean Powerline Adapters?, if so what Make \ Model are you using?
This would be the most convenient solution, but speeds will vary due to noise on your electrical mains, and obviously the longer the run through the mains, the more noise will be encountered.
Is the slave unit located in your room?

What is the make\model of your PCI-e Wifi card?

 

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Re: Upgrading WiFi signal

Hi Griffin

Thanks for the reply. You're right I did mean a powerline adapter 🙂

The model is this TP-LINK TL-PA7020PKIT V2 2-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit

My WiFi card is : Asus PCE-AC68 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Network Interface Card

The master unit is directly plugged into the mains in the living room next to the router and the slave is in my room, but it makes sense about the electrical noise, I'm sharing the house with 5 others so there's going to be tons of stuff going on over the mains.

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Wise owl
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Re: Upgrading WiFi signal

It's very likely that your mains supply up on the top floor is on a different ring main to the ground floor, which is not ideal for powerline connections.

To be honest I think the 70-80 Mbp/s is about as good as you are going to get with that setup.  When the other residents are on line, it will of course drop because they are all sharing the same bandwidth.

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Re: Upgrading WiFi signal

Is there anything that could be done to improve the setup though? When the speed drops it's very frustrating 😞

I mean I'm paying for 200Mbp/s, having the speed drop down to around 20 is terrible!

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Alessandro Volta
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Re: Upgrading WiFi signal

I am a bit confused, those powerline adapters are LAN only, there is no wireless access point built in.

So, the obvious question is how are you connecting to the internet?
Are you connecting directly to the TPLink by ethernet cable?
You should get near to 200Mbps wired to the adapter.
I tested a set with similar specs and got around 180Mbps

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Alessandro Volta
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Re: Upgrading WiFi signal

jpeg1 is probably right but it would be worth checking whether you are on a different power circuit and thus ruling out powerlines (with + wifi). You say shared house - is it flats with separate meters - or just a big old rambling house? If it hasn't been rewired to add electrical circuits they may still be connected by going through the same consumer unit or fuse box. Can you figure out if that's the case? - if so they should "work" (mine are on separate ring main circuits but they do go through the same unit and work fine) notwithstanding any electrical "noise" of course, and so it would be worth "borrowing" a pair and doing the experiment.
Other option would be for you (or perhaps the whole house) to invest in a good quality wireless access point (see the Ubiquiti range)or mesh sytem - like those used in internet cafes, hotel lobbys, coffee shops etc, and connect that by ethernet cable to the Hub and position it in a more central area.

--------------------
John
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My services: HD TV on VIP (+ Sky Sports & Movies & BT sport), x3 V6 boxes (1 wired 2 WiFi,) SH2 in modem mode with Airport Extreme Router. On VIVID200, Talk Anytime Phone, x2 Mobile SIM only iPhones.
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Re: Upgrading WiFi signal

You may be paying for 200 Mbp/s, but if all six of you are on line at the same time you will only get 33 each!

(assuming equal shares, which may not be the case if others are getting a better signal)

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Message 9 of 12
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Re: Upgrading WiFi signal

@jbrennand wrote:
jpeg1 is probably right but it would be worth checking whether you are on a different power circuit and thus ruling out powerlines (with + wifi). You say shared house - is it flats with separate meters - or just a big old rambling house? If it hasn't been rewired to add electrical circuits they may still be connected by going through the same consumer unit or fuse box. Can you figure out if that's the case? - if so they should "work" (mine are on separate ring main circuits but they do go through the same unit and work fine) notwithstanding any electrical "noise" of course, and so it would be worth "borrowing" a pair and doing the experiment.

Why? there is a perfectly simple method to test the powerline adapters and mains noise without borrowing another set or going through the rest of the rigmarole if you understand what you are doing.

Other option would be for you (or perhaps the whole house) to invest in a good quality wireless access point (see the Ubiquiti range)or mesh sytem - like those used in internet cafes, hotel lobbys, coffee shops etc, and connect that by ethernet cable to the Hub and position it in a more central area.


Do you know for sure that a single access point would work? considering we know nothing about the wireless environment. The OP has already mentioned that
The same with a mesh system which will depend on the topography of the house and I would suspect a few satellites would be needed to lift the signal two floors. The more satellites, the slower the connection will become.
Businesses like you mentioned mainly use enterprise kit, which for one is very expensive.

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Re: Upgrading WiFi signal


@griffin wrote:

Why? there is a perfectly simple method to test the powerline adapters and mains noise without borrowing another set or going through the rest of the rigmarole if you understand what you are doing.


True, but the beauty of doing the experiment is that you get the answer when you don't know what you are doing and also don't want to pay a person who does.


@griffin wrote:
Do you know for sure that a single access point would work?
Businesses like you mentioned mainly use enterprise kit, which for one is very expensive.

Nope, you are correct it probably wouldn't - but as an experimentalist, I would of course borrow one and cable it up, temporarily located in different positions, and see if it does work.   Smiley Happy


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John
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My services: HD TV on VIP (+ Sky Sports & Movies & BT sport), x3 V6 boxes (1 wired 2 WiFi,) SH2 in modem mode with Airport Extreme Router. On VIVID200, Talk Anytime Phone, x2 Mobile SIM only iPhones.
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