Wi-Fi Questions

Discussion in 'The Thunderdome' started by Indy, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. Indy

    Indy Irrational and hormonal

    I have some questions about Wi-Fi.

    I've had Xfinity since I moved to Baltimore last August and it has typically worked very well. We pay for 400 mbps down, but I understand that the speed of your internet is limited by what device you're using it on.

    Over the last 3-4 days, our internet has flat out sucked. Online games lag, streaming services are slow or fail to work (we struggled to watch the game Monday night and ended up watching it on cellular service), and sometimes, even simple web pages like the 8th load slowly.

    Xfinity came out and looked at everything, replaced some cords and tightened some things, but the improvements have been minimal. I think the next step is for them to replace the modem.

    Either way, here are my questions:

    1. Some of my friends suggest that with Xfinity, we should have two "band" options (2.4 & 5 GHz). I know my aunt and uncle had Xfinity in Nashville and, despite paying for slower speeds, had the 2 band options. When I asked the Xfinity tech, he told me that both are built into my single network, and each individual device connects to whichever one is best for it. That sounded like bull shit to me, so I figured I'd ask here.

    2. What speeds should I be expecting when I pay for 400 down? We live in an apartment building, which seems like it cause slower speeds from the beginning, due to the amount of people living in a smaller area. We use a number of devices, including multiple iPhones, our laptops (PCs), smart TV's, google homes, and my Xbox One X. I've run the speed test on most of them, and rarely do I see the speed even top 200 like it did when we first moved in.

    3. How important is upload speed compared to download speed? What activities is it most important for?

    4. Is there a more accurate way to test my Wi-Fi speed than Xfinity's speed test web page? It seems wildly inconsistent, but is that normal? I ran the test 3 times in a row, back to back to back a short while ago and got 110 down, 176 down, and 63 down. Is it normal for the numbers to jump around that much?

    5. Are there other steps that can be taken beyond replacing the modem? Will replacing it do anything to help? I just want to have the consistently fast internet I enjoyed for the first 8 months here again.

    I appreciate any feedback any knowledgeable people are able to offer!
  2. GahLee

    GahLee Director of Conspiracy Theories, 8th Maxim

    Comcast has data caps which leads to throttling of internet speeds at times. Seems like resetting the modem usually fixes any problem I have. I pay for 100mbs and get anywhere from 70-140mbs depending on time of day.
  3. lumberjack4

    lumberjack4 Chieftain

    Use speedtest.net to test download speeds. If you are hardwired in, you should get no worse then 90% of your advertised speed. If you get lower, [itch bay] and complain. There are a lot of factors with wireless. Depending on how far away you are are from the router, how many walls you're going through, how many other devices are using the wireless, and what kind of interference you have. If you're in an apartment complex everyone else's phones and routers are affecting you. Generally the 5GHz band is better; it supports higher speeds and generally has less interference than the 2.4GHz band, but is worse at penetrating walls. As a rule of thumb, the routers the ISPs give you are shit, I always use my own.

    Now go ignore all this sage advice and do something else.
    justingroves likes this.
  4. GahLee

    GahLee Director of Conspiracy Theories, 8th Maxim


    NEW COACH Contributor

    Trying too hard
  6. InVolNerable

    InVolNerable Fark Master Flex

    Good bet to get your own modem too. Pays for itself after less than a year.
  7. lumberjack4

    lumberjack4 Chieftain

    I used to do that until they started bundling the modem into the base station which I need for my wireless cable boxes to work. Still have a DOCSIS 3.1 modem in a box just in case I ever need it again.
  8. InVolNerable

    InVolNerable Fark Master Flex

    Those [unt cay]s.

    I still have the old school Comcast, blue 4:3 menus and all.
  9. Indy

    Indy Irrational and hormonal

    So first step is hardwire connection for the Xbox, I suppose. And see if that helps.

    Speedtest.net says I’m above 300 down. At the same I had a 2.6 GB update for a game, and the Xbox was downloading at 30-80 mb/s.

    My router/modem/whatever the hell its called sits on the TV stand, so it’s right behind the TV and right above the Xbox. Other TV is right behind it in the next room (wall in between). Proximity to it shouldn’t be the problem.

    So should I have two separate networks like my friends tell me? We just have one network, and I have no idea if it’s 2.4 or 5 GHz.

    I’ve been told buying your own router is helpful but they get outdated quickly. Is that not the case? Which would you recommend?
  10. Indy

    Indy Irrational and hormonal

    How does it pay for itself? Am I paying more to “rent” the one they gave me?

    Also, same question I asked LJ:

    I’ve been told buying your own router is helpful but they get outdated quickly. Is that not the case? Which would you recommend?
  11. Indy

    Indy Irrational and hormonal

    I only have one modem/router. Is it both combined into one?
  12. lumberjack4

    lumberjack4 Chieftain

    Looks like you're getting pretty close to full bandwidth from your ISP, just remember if you're doing other shit while you do your speed test, the test results will be lower since the test is competing with whatever else you're doing.

    Technically you can get radio interference if you have a WiFi device sitting right next to your router due to the nature of radio waves; however, that's the last thing I'd be worried about. Proximity and walls wouldn't be the reason for a massive speed drop in your case. I'd expect you to easily get over 200Mbps down in your bedroom, you won't get the full speed though.

    All modern routers should give you a 2.4GHz and 5GHz band. If you log into your router you should see an option to turn the 5GHz on. It's generally better because fewer device operate at that frequency so there's less interference. If you have old wireless equipment it may only be able to connect on the 2.4GHz channel so you generally leave both on.

    For the average user they don't get out of date too quickly, but think about this - Comcast is putting the cheapest wireless hardware it can find in its box and wants you to keep it for several years. Almost anything you buy will be better than what's in there. If you have a small apartment a mid tier Linksys AC1750 is probably more than you'll ever need. Just having the external antennas will be a big help to your signal strength. Also make sure you're wireless network is using 802.11ac. You sometimes get really old equipment that's 802.11g which tops out at 54Mbps on wireless. AC is rated well over your 400Mbps.

    A couple of basic suggestions.
    1. If you have gear located right next to the router, just hardwire it in. It will free up more wireless spectrum for however many Rokus, Apple TVs and cell phones that are on your WiFi.
    2. For the love of all that is good change the default admin/password on your router. This basic step will make your set up so much more secure.
    3. Disable the shitty wireless on your XFinity box. You have your own router now, all the XFinity box is doing is creating interference for your better WiFi and opening an additional attack vector on your network.
  13. Indy

    Indy Irrational and hormonal

    We have 4 Wi-Fi devices (TV, Xbox One X, PS4, and google home mini) all on the TV stand. But we’ve also had that setup since we got here, so, like you said, that’s probably the last thing to worry about.

    I dug around in the advanced settings on the Xfinity App and found the 5GHz option. I read up on my Gateway (xFi Advanced Gateway), and apparently it does connect each device to the best possible option, based on a number of factors. Still, I think I’d rather connect certain devices to the 5 GHz manually to make sure, otherwise, I have no way to know if it’s working correctly. The Xbox is one I’d love to connect manually, as I don’t think it’d be struggling so much if it was connected to the 5 GHz band. I have the ability to change around the “channels,” but I don’t really know what that means/does or how to use it to set certain devices to the 5 GHz.

    We have about 1,000 square feet, so not tiny but not huge. I’ll look into the AC1750. If I buy that, is that the only thing I’ll need to replace my current gateway?

    The 2.4 GHz option gives me 2 options. 802.11n or 802.11g,n (default). The 5 GHz gives multiple options:

    802.11a,n,ac (default)

    Which ones should I be using? The defaults?

    Got it. Hard wire the Xbox and PlayStation. Can Smart TV’s hardwire?

    Is the admin/password the network name and password? If so, yes, we have our own network name and password set up.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  14. TBSVOL

    TBSVOL Member

    Indy, LJ's advice is right on IMO.
    To check 2.4 wireless radio channels you can download the following to see what your channel settings are compared to the neighbors in your immediate area.
    This can be installed on windows or android.
    Most of the time the 2.4 wireless channels are set to AUTO.
    This works most of the time but in some rare cases it does not if there are a lot of wifi people in your neighborhood.
    The most common wifi channels are 1, 6, 11.
    Just a thought if you want to check your channels.
  15. GahLee

    GahLee Director of Conspiracy Theories, 8th Maxim

    I downloaded this and I'm not sure what the hell I am looking at or what some of this means. Is higher better when it comes to max rate? Are certain channels betetr than others? Like you said, most people are 1,6,11....I'm on 44. Is that good or bad?
  16. TBSVOL

    TBSVOL Member

    2.4 wireless channel range is 1 to 14
    I would suspect 44 is for 5.0
    5.0 wireless channels are 36,40,44,52,56,60,64

    If your 44 is 5.0, probably no sweat cause 5.0 has a very strong wifi signal but very poor range.

    For 2.4 channels there is not a black/white answer for better because what you look at is the cross interference between the channels.
    ie, your channel number compared to your neighbors channels and how strong your signal is compared to theirs.
    Below the wifi listing at the top of the analyzer, you should see 4 gray colored tabs - Welcome, Time Graph, 2.4 GHz Channels and 5.5 GHz Channels.
    Select 2.4 GHz Channels and you should see a real-time graph of the channels and wifi strength.
    GahLee likes this.
  17. GahLee

    GahLee Director of Conspiracy Theories, 8th Maxim

    I appear to be good then. Thanks.
  18. lumberjack4

    lumberjack4 Chieftain

    Indy, most of the time you can give each frequency a different network name such as TackledByAPunter2.4 and TouchedBySab5. This way you know which one you're connecting to.
    The default settings on your 2 frequencies are fine
    I wouldn't play with the wireless channels if you aren't literate in that area. Most of the time Auto is fine
    Most TVs can hardwire to the router
    The user name and password I was referring to is the one to your router. So after you log into your network and go to (or whatever address your router is on) change the default login information to anything other than admin/password. It's also good to log in periodically and update the firmware.
    RockyHill likes this.
  19. fl0at_

    fl0at_ Humorless, asinine, joyless pr*ck

    Tehlu anyway, where to start...
  20. fl0at_

    fl0at_ Humorless, asinine, joyless pr*ck

    Why? I pay for 20 Mbps down. A streaming buffered video down is like 900 Kbps.

    Let's break down 400 Mpbs though, that's 400 Mega BITS per second. There are 8 bits in a byte. So what that translates to is 50 Mega BYTES per second down. Why? Why do you think you need to move 50 Mega BYTES per second?

    You are double NATing. I take that back. If you only have a single unit, it'd be tough to double NAT. But 300 on a 400 should be expected. It's 400 from telco, not to destination X.

    Your friends are mostly right. Your WIFI router can probably broadcast at 2.4 and 5. You need both. 2.4 is better for longer distance. 5 has more throughput. Depending on the device, it will auto range, and pick the strongest signal.\

    Well. 400 down should translate to 400 down. Back to Xfinity. To elsewhere, depends on hop and if they suck at networking as bad as you do.

    It isn't, unless you are hosting something. Like a plex server, or, really anything someone is trying to pull from. Then it doens't matter what their "down" speed is, they are only as fast as your up. See Q #2 answer.

    Fix your house first, then look outside. I bet you can't move 100 mbps across internal network. And since you can't, you shouldn't be paying for 4x the service you can't utilize.

    You can fix your network. But since you've said nothing about models on modems or routers, or how it is setup, how the hell can anyone help?
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019

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