Bad network advise needed please

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by fkntotalkaos, May 3, 2010.

  1. fkntotalkaos macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2007
    Ok here is my problem. We have a 4 story house, 3 and a finished basement. The only phone jack is in the finished basement, thus the DSL Verizon modem, and phone... We have this hooked up to an Airport. %80 of the time, I get 5 bars on my MBP and 3-4 on my mac mini on the top floor. Most of the time on the weekend or late at night, the signal is gone entirely. Sometimes, like last night, I could not even get a decent signal from the airport in the kitchen which is on the first floor, within feet of the Airport in the basement. How do I make this network reliable? Is there a way to cancel my DSL now and go with Cable (comcast) who will provide a better install, seems like verizon wants to charge more money..?:confused:

    Fledderdog is the network and I am 10 yards at most from the wireless router

    Attached Files:

  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    If the wireless signal (the "bars" you get) is gone and not the bandwidth, it's your local network at fault and not your service provider. If the problem were your service, then what would happen is that you'd have a strong wireless signal all the time, but at night and on the weekend, in spite of the strong wireless signal, pages would take forever to load, etc.

    If your signal is deteriorating at only certain times of day, it probably has to do with the presence of increased radio-frequency interference at those times -- more cell phones and wireless devices in the area / in your home at that time, microwaves being used, etc.

    You can try opening up the Airport utility and changing the channel your Airport broadcasts on -- this sometimes clears up the issue. The Airport utility, depending on your Airport version, may also have an option to boost signal strength. Alternatively, if all your devices are 802.11n devices that can use the 5GHz frequency, then you might look at using that, which will reduce interference between the router and cell phones / bluetooth somewhat. This may require a new router, depending on which Airport model you have.
  3. fkntotalkaos thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2007
    It is the second problem you describe. We have the newest Airport from apple with the latest updates. I do notice, that my Iphone and my MBP pick up different levels of signal, and are never the same, but quite opposite.
  4. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    #4 your thread's some bad network advice....broadcast your wireless SSID and don't use any encryption! (Sorry....couldn't resist)
  5. cutterman macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2010
    Couple of thoughts:

    Download Kismac and get real numbers for signal strength. I have found the "bars" indicator very unreliable.

    Wireless N connections are not very good over longer distances. Try changing to "g" connection (Cant remember if Airport can do that or not). You can try different wireless channels to overcome some types of interference.

    Wireless landline phones are common causes of interference.
  6. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Was thinking the same thing.

    Anyway, you could always buy a couple of Airport Express Base Stations and let them function as wireless repeaters. Maybe put one on each floor somewhere.

    Alternatively, you could figure out a way to relocate the base station itself. If the base station is close to an exterior wall, you could try running a 25-50 foot Ethernet cable up the outside of your house and try to come in on a different floor.
  7. fkntotalkaos thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 24, 2007
    here is the problem.. Verizon installed this, and we only have 1 phone jack in our 4 story newly remodeled row home in the City. Maybe I am an idiot, but why would verizon install this type of service into a house without doing a Jack on the main floor? Now we are locked into a year contract and we have horrible service because the router is in the basement?

    "repeaters", I thought of this, but read that it slows down by 1/2 each one you use.

    "running a 25-50 foot Ethernet cable up the outside of your house and try to come in on a different floor"

    I don't think this is safe for multiple reasons, especially static discharge
  8. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Loveland, CO
    First off ... "Bad network advice needed please" seems like it could be read that you are purposely seeking bad advice on networking!

    I currently have a new dual band Extreme, a new dual band TC, and an older N capable single band Extreme. I have noticed much better network performance from the new dual band models because they improved the antenna arrangement. I used the new Extreme as the core router, the TC is in my office and extends only the 5Gh network and provides Gig switched ethernet to my mini/MBP/HP Laser printer. The old Extreme extends the 2.4Ghz network to the living room area. This is a two story house with my office on one end and the living room on the other end of the top floor. The network drop is in the basement, not quite in the middle. We get 5 bars on 2.4Ghz everywhere. The 5Ghz struggles in the living room ... 3-4 bars typical.

    The slow down is not 50% ... probably closer to 10-15% depending on load.

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