An open community 
of Macintosh users,
for Macintosh users.

FineTunedMac Dashboard widget now available! Download Here

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#33262 - 03/03/15 07:17 PM Wifi extenders do they work?
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Just bought a netgear, had to return, could never get it to work. Then bought D-link, works, but my speed test show it slower than when I'm not on the extended network. Puzzled.

Top
#33274 - 03/04/15 07:32 AM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: kevs]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
"extended network" ?

speed tests between what two points?
_________________________
I work for the Department of Redundancy Department

Top
#33286 - 03/04/15 08:47 AM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: kevs]
Ira L Online


Registered: 08/13/09
Loc: California
Yes, extenders work, but they have quirks. What is your primary router? Is it supplied by your ISP/cable/phone company? Not every extender will work with those proprietary routers. Check with the provider and see what brands they claim will work.
_________________________
On a Mac since 1984.
Currently: 27" iMacs, Macbook Air, macOS 10.14.x,; iPhones, iPods and iPads galore!

Top
#33301 - 03/05/15 11:47 AM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: Ira L]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Ira,
I have ATT Uverse ARris combo modem/ router.
Before I bought, I called D-Link and they said it works but I've gotten up ok, I've tested this many times and dont see any benefit from the extender to the original router/modem connection.

With Netgear I could never even get to the stage of the extender working.

Two other questions:

1) I do speed test to verify,

https://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/


and it may say 5mbs and then next immediate try, a few seconds later say 10 mbs, and next try 18 mbs... I don't see any consistency with that.

2) Sometimes when I have the worst freeze up with websites, Video halts, I do a speed test, and sometimes it will say 1 mbs, which makes sense, but sometimes it will say 19 mbs which is the max! what is that all about?

Top
#33302 - 03/05/15 12:39 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: kevs]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
I've never successfully made WiFi extenders work correctly. So I actually solved that problem by creating two separate networks in my house. I have a cable modem connected to a WiFi router that assigns IP addresses in the 10.1.whatever range, and I have a cable running from one of the WiFi router's ports to a second WiFi router that's set up as its own separate network (it assigns 192.168.whatever addresses). So traffic isn't routable from a device on one WiFi network to a device on the other, but frankly, I don't care. It's been way, way more reliable than trying to set up an extender.
_________________________
Photo gallery, all about me, and more: www.xeromag.com/franklin.html

Top
#33303 - 03/05/15 12:43 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
The Speediest results are momentary and depending on a plethora of different factors that can change literally from second to second. To get anything resembling a definitive test you would need to:
  1. take several speed tests taken one after the other. (I would a bare minimum of 5 trials)
  2. repeat that suite using different server locations (By the way the more distant severs may actually result in higher speeds than a relatively nearby server — or not, again I would use 5 widely located target servers)
  3. repeat both suites tests at least five times during a 24 hour day
  4. for more accuracy repeat the entire set of tests over several days of the week
  5. Finally take the average of all of those results.
Of course there will also be monthly and seasonal differences as well, but that should derive a repeatable result with a reasonable statistical margin of error.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#33305 - 03/05/15 02:39 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: tacit]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Tacit, did not understand a word, and not sure I want to! But I'm sure your contraption is working good...but it is revealing that someone as smart as you also, have given up on wifi extenders, which definitely make it more likely for me to return this one... as well. ok, I re-read your post. So you have a long cable running from one modem/router to another? or something like that?

Joe, why do I want to do all this? Really, these speedtest do give some indication, you know, if it's 1 or 2 mbs you know things are bad. But, man, I want to know the speed right now, not an average. I do a test then I'm watching internet tv and it freezes to see if speed is the issue. That's the whole point. But maybe it does not matter being how wildly it change from one second to the next?...

Is that weird that this wi fi extender is not doing any better than the base station?

And is it weird that on my worse website freezes and stalls the speed test will sometimes say things are going at a blazing fast speed of 19mbs?

Top
#33307 - 03/05/15 03:28 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: kevs]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Yep, there's a long cable running between the two routers. Only consistent, reliable way I've found to get WiFi coverage everywhere.
_________________________
Photo gallery, all about me, and more: www.xeromag.com/franklin.html

Top
#33310 - 03/05/15 04:45 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: tacit]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Tacit, I'm taking notes, thanks!

Still curious on this issue, any ideas?

1)Is that weird that this wi fi extender is not doing any better than the base station?
2) Weird that speed test change wildly every 2 seconds, hence do they mean anything?
3)Odd And is it weird that on my worst website freezes and stalls the speed test will sometimes say things are going at a blazing fast speed of 19mbs?
4) Do channels matter? The D-link guy said setting it all with the best channels is a big deal.

Top
#33312 - 03/05/15 05:39 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: kevs

Two other questions:

1) I do speed test to verify,

https://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/


and it may say 5mbs and then next immediate try, a few seconds later say 10 mbs, and next try 18 mbs... I don't see any consistency with that.

2) Sometimes when I have the worst freeze up with websites, Video halts, I do a speed test, and sometimes it will say 1 mbs, which makes sense, but sometimes it will say 19 mbs which is the max! what is that all about?

——————

Joe, why do I want to do all this? Really, these speedtest do give some indication, you know, if it's 1 or 2 mbs you know things are bad. But, man, I want to know the speed right now, not an average. I do a test then I'm watching internet tv and it freezes to see if speed is the issue. That's the whole point. But maybe it does not matter being how wildly it change from one second to the next?…

All "this" was to some extent a due to an incomplete understanding of what you are asking. An internet speed test indicates the router at your ISP is working and the server for the speedtest is working and the relative speed of the links that your tests pass through from one to the other and that link can and will go by many alternate routes in the course of a single speed test. An internet freeze on the other hand is likely coming from an entirely different source and traveling via another complete set of links. The only commonality between the two is the path from your location to your ISP's router. That is sort of like checking the traffic on I45 between Dallas and Houston to see if there is a problem on I40 between Amarillo and Oklahoma City.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#33315 - 03/05/15 06:11 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
But Joe, the speed test give a number, 3 mbs, then 10 mbs, isn't that indicating throughput?

What is your guess on the culprit for the video, web freezes?

And then what is the point of a wifi extender, and how would one verify it's working?


Edited by kevs (03/05/15 06:12 PM)

Top
#33321 - 03/06/15 07:42 AM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
It depends on your definition of "web freeze". If you are able to so much as contact another web site, the internet is working and the web is not frozen. If you mean communications with a given site or an interruption of a given download I would term that a "session" freeze and there are any number of factors that could cause that. Initially I was going to attempt to list some things that might precipitate a "session" freeze but quickly realized they would not be comprehensible unless you know some basics about how packet switching networks and how they work. That was going to take a LOT of explaining; more than I have time to write (not to mention probably more than you want to know).

If you are serious about digging into the technical details of how this all works this Wikipedia article on ARPANET would be a reasonable place to start. (ARPANET is the first large scale packet switching network and established the fundamental technologies that later became the internet.) Once you have an idea of how a packet switching network functions I think you will see at least some of the things that could cause a "session" freeze and if you are like me become amazed how robust this late 1960's very early 1970's technology has proven to be. I seriously doubt any of the original developers could have envisioned todays internet. When I worked for Microsoft in the mid 90s the corporate position was ethernet was all we needed to worry about because the internet was just a geek fad. That was in spite of the fact that unofficially within the Microsoft engineering ranks we were rapidly becoming dependent on it.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#33325 - 03/06/15 10:06 AM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Ok Joe. Here is the scoop.

I cut the Time Warner cord, and now watch TV on the web. Hulu or direct shows.

So freezing, not total freeze, but sometimes, I'm watching and the show stalls, then moves, then stalls, super annoying.

Then I run a speed test, and sometimes it says 2mbs (poor), yet other times is says 18mbs, which is a good speed.

Anything I can do?

Top
#33329 - 03/06/15 02:37 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Getting another, different ISP might help. The best AT&T can do for me is UVerse or DSL either is only 6 Mbps but Charter cable internet service is hitting my house with 40+ Mbps and that can at least help keep the buffers full and therefore a bit less subject to hangs and glitches. But that is not a guaranteed sure cure because the source of the problem may not be on your end. We still lose the entire internet occasionally. There might be other things you could do to reduce the incidence of problems, but I doubt you could afford them. Things like a dedicated T1 line to your house and a fixed IP address would guarantee your bandwidth availability (at a cost of several hundred dollars a month plus installation fee which can run well into 4 or 5 figures — my son's installation cost $25,000 USD, because they had to dig up a city street to run the cable), but still that cannot eliminate all the possible stalls, breakups, etc. that originate at the source end. To do that you would have to have a direct physical connection to the program source and even then their source connection could get hit.

I have satellite TV and even DirecTV's network connections are subject to the occasional breakup or hangs and we won't discuss the effect severe weather can have on the satellite uplink or downlink. Note that many (most?) of the internet program sources are dependent on satellite links for their content.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#33332 - 03/06/15 02:54 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Joe, in my building ONLY ATT services it, no one else.
My program is 19mbs, which is a lot no? And they do offer for more money even faster plans.

So, in short, it may not even be a speed issue, hence, the speed test is almost worthless?

Top
#33344 - 03/08/15 05:14 AM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Yes to everything. I don't know how your building network is configured, but it sounds as if your bandwidth may be shared with other tenants and if all or several are hammering on the internet bandwidth at the same time that could easily be a cause of your freezes, hangs, pauses, whatever. However that is entirely outside your control.


Edited by joemikeb (03/08/15 05:18 AM)
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#33349 - 03/08/15 08:11 AM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Yesterday Joe, I almost thought the extender worked. the internet TV freezed, then did a test, was only 1 mbs.

The put the extender back in the wall and did a test, was 13 mbs. and video was good.

Then switched to orginal wifi and but then it was also then good! All within a few minutes!

So you don't think the extender actually increased the speed from the router/ modem in the other room? You agree with others wireless extenders are BS?

And so you have a point. The internet TV was unwatchable yesterday, until, 4 minutes later, when it was fine, nothing to do with Speed really, just clogged at that instant...as you point out.

Top
#33350 - 03/08/15 12:28 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: kevs
So you don't think the extender actually increased the speed from the router/ modem in the other room? You agree with others wireless extenders are BS?

I don't believe network extenders are BS. I have one in my home that I use to boost the signal strength at the far end of our ranch style house nearly 70 feet and three to five walls away from the Time Capsule router that creates the WiFi network. An extender cannot increase the network speed per se. If you have an area where the WiFi signal is weak an extender can increase the signal strength and therefore make it less subject to interference from other environmental noise which in turn may reduce the error rate of data getting to that area and thereby increase the effective speed. There are several apps for OS X and iOS devices that measure WiFi signal strength, the signal to noise ratio, and detect nearby networks on the same and/or adjacent channels. I use Network Analyzer on OS X and Net Analyzer on iOS. The OS X application gives by far the best overall information. I would check that first. If your problem turns out to be a weak signal and/or interference changing the band from 2.4GHz to 5GHz or even changing the WiFi channel would be be first thing to try. What you are describing does not sound like a weak signal and/or interference problem, but it would not be the first, or last, time I have been wrong about something like that.

Originally Posted By: kevs
And so you have a point. The internet TV was unwatchable yesterday, until, 4 minutes later, when it was fine, nothing to do with Speed really, just clogged at that instant…as you point out.

That is what you have described sounds like to me.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#33352 - 03/08/15 03:02 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Joe, can I change from 2.4 to 5, or the channel myself or does ATT have to do that.

I searched Macupdate and Google, for Network Analyzer. Nothing comes up, except with Google there is a high end product with that name for Windows. Are you sure that is the name? Perhaps you have a link...

Ah, just found the free Netspot software, looks good.

Everyone is on 2.4 except one guy, he is 5, but has no level reading. Signals has - signs, except % which is positive.

It seems I'll have the extender selected and it bumps back to the original wifi. Also, sometimes then it says it cannot be joined, any ideas they those two things happen? I unplug and replug extender and it then joins, but it' s a nuisance.

That said, thanks, I see the extender at 72%, and original at 46%, a few min. before they were only 10% off so this is great. Really flucuates by the minute. I remember you suggested a similar software years ago, but I forgot about it. ok, I'm keeping the extender! I was just using Speed test.

Both on Cannel 1. is that good?


Edited by kevs (03/08/15 03:30 PM)

Top
#33354 - 03/08/15 04:09 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
That is WiFi channel 1 not TV channel 1. Whether or not channel 1 is good depends on what channel others around you are using. In the 4.2GHz band there is some overlap between channels which means it is easy for someone on an adjacent channel to interfere. ideally you would like to have at least 1 clear channel between you and any other WiFi channels in the area.

The only excuse I have for saying "Network Analyzer" before is I do not do well with Daylight Savings Time change. My preferred OS X app for WiFi analysis is actually WiFi Explorer and is available from the App Store. IMO it gives the most information and in an easily comprehendible display.

Whether or not you can switch to the 5 GHz band or not is a function of the router that is creating your network and the devices you are going to attach to your network. The 5GHz signal will not be quite as strong as the 2.4GHz signal but it has roughly 4 times the bandwidth. The 2.4GHz channels have a bandwidth of 20 HHz while the 5GHz band channels have a bandwidth of 80MHz. 5GHz is also a bit better punching through intervening walls, furniture, [i[etc[/i] enroute to your receiving device. In an electronically "noisy" environment 5GHz is probably preferable if all your devices support it, if not then its not.

If you want to get really techie then you have to consider the network mode b, g, n, ac but in most cases the router originating the WiFi network is the limiting factor so I am not going to go into that now.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#33365 - 03/09/15 09:33 AM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Actually Joe this free netspot app is pretty darn good, I may be able to save th $7 on Wifi Explorer.

The new bug is this: my Wifi choice is set to the extender but keeps reverting to the original modem one later that day or the next day. Any idea on that? Should I contact the manufacture of the extender?

Top
#33366 - 03/09/15 03:10 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
When there are multiple sources for a WiFi signal, which is the case when you are using a WiFi extender there are at least a couple of factors that will determine which source your device will attach to.
  1. Signal strength — the strongest signal will always be preferred.
  2. Signal to noise ratio — if for any reason when signal strength is not too widely different the signal with the hightest ratio of signal to noise will be preferred.

Those values can change from minute to minute and even second to second so if the signal strength and SNR are close it is entirely possible the connection may switch from one to the other. In your case where the connection is switching back to the router that is creating the network that could be interpreted as indicating the extender is not providing any real benefit for you. (If that sounds pretty cautiously worded — that was my intent.) Assuming your computer is located where you are watching the videos that are hanging/pausing/etc., what does Netspot tell you the level (SNR) is from the router and from the extender?
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#33368 - 03/09/15 04:01 PM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Interesting Joe, well it has stayed with the Extender for a few hours and the SNR is much better with the extender right now.

I have not yet see it go from router to extender, only switch from extender to router. That said, most indicators are that the extender is going better, snr, signal% etc., so I figured it should always be on the extender. The extender is right next to the laptop which plays the TV shows.

That said, is there a default way to keep it on the extender? Or should I not worry about it? It will self correct and choose the better one?

Top
#33370 - 03/10/15 06:24 AM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Since they are both the same network there really isn't any way to force which it chooses. Personally I wouldn't worry about it.
_________________________
joemikeb • moderator

Top
#33400 - 03/11/15 09:22 AM Re: Wifi extenders do they work? [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Offline


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Joe, final thing. Well, I don't remember when I had the Apple Extreme/ Express set up having to always switch back constantly. Oh well, maybe Apple can make it stick to it's extender?

But final new issue now: When I go to switch back, it says the extender is not available. I then unplug it from the wall, wait a few minuets, and then it's ok, Total nuisance. Is this normal, and unavoidable on non Apple extenders?

That's the pattern, it works, but it then switches over to the main source, then you have to manually choose the extender from the dropdown, and then 1/2 time you then have to unplug from the wall and wait a while for the green light to stabilize. Total nuisance, I could get used to it, but it's a bummer...

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  alternaut, dianne, MacManiac