Home network advise requested: some devices faster than others

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by NorCalZman, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. NorCalZman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    #1
    Internet: cable modem to new Airport Extreme (a year old, so AC speeds). 100mbps internet provider plan.
    Devices: iphone 6S (personal), iphone 6 (work), 2011 27" iMac, 4th gen apple TV and less important: ipad mini, Lenovo work laptop, 3rd gen apple TV.
    home: 750 sq foot 1 bedroom apartment. tests were run around apartment and speeds were roughly consistent.

    I periodically check my internet speeds, and now I want advice. This morning was the newest test via Speedtest. I tried my 6S and my 6 iphones and they were getting 30mbps. So I tried restarting my Airport Extreme and after that they were getting around 40-60mbps or so (it jumped up and down depending on the test). I then tested on my iMac and my 4th gen Apple TV and they are getting consistent 120mbps. Huge difference right? I thought the iphones were capable of much faster wifi speeds than what they are getting now.

    I dont know what troubleshooting steps I should try. Totally resetting the airport extreme and setting up as new? Tesetting network settings on all my idevices (all my wifi networks/passwords are automatically shared between all my devices)?

    I will be moving to a 2 bedroom and getting a roommate soon and I want to make sure all our devices are getting the speeds I am paying for. The roommate is one of those change-every-setting android lovers and is already groaning about having to use apple network gear. "It wont handle a network drive!" (yes it will). "does it have QoS? I need to use VoIP!" etc etc etc.
     
  2. adam9c1 macrumors 65816

    adam9c1

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #2
    See if moving to a different WiFi channel fixes your problems:

    http://osxdaily.com/2013/12/11/find-best-wi-fi-channel-wireless-tool-mac/

    http://alternativeto.net/software/inssider/?platform=mac
    http://alternativeto.net/software/wifi-explorer/?platform=mac

    Also note:
    2.4 ghz signal travels further but this spectrum is more congested.
    55 ghz signal does not travel as far but less devices support it (for now).
    Cordless phones, Microwaves, ... use 2.4 ghz

    Take a look at what channels are available. If you and someone else is using same channel the other party will cause interference, retransmissions, etc.
     
  3. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #3
    Is the iMac on wifi also?

    The iPhones can certainly hit the max speed. I get my full 200/20Mbps with the Speedtest app on my iPhone 6.

    Check in the iPhone wifi settings to see if it is connected over 5ghz.

    Where in relation to the router are you doing all these tests?
     
  4. NorCalZman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    #4
    Thanks for the replies. I am at work right now so I will have to try those links/changing channels when I get home. Do you mean if someone else is on a different wifi network and are using the same channel that will cause interference? Or if two of my devices are on the same channel? I have so far let the various apple devices handle everything by themselves but looks like I will have to educate myself and do some deeper digging!


    Ok, I will check my iphones when I get home. I ran the various tests in different rooms. The iMac and apple TV are in the living room with the Airport Extreme and every device is connected via wifi only. No wired connections. I ran the tests with the iphones in the living room as well as other rooms and the iphones got about the same speeds no matter where in the apartment it was (its not a big place).
     
  5. adam9c1 macrumors 65816

    adam9c1

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #5
    If two different WiFi NETWORKS use the same channel SPECTRUM both networks will fight for a chance to broadcast their data and will see the other network data as garbage / interference / noise.

    I have personally not worked with any AC devices, (maybe now this is changing), but so far it is best practice to have a streaming device connected to the network via a wired port.

    Also if you choose to extend your network wirelessly such as with an Airport Express using WiFi only the throughput will be cut down in half as the device needs to receive and retransmit each packet of info.

    On your network all of your devices will be using the same channel (which is fine / normal).
    If you have some legacy devices for the duration that they transmit or receive that network will be brought down to that speed but based on what you provided I don't think that's the case.

    Lastly make sure your WiFi network is secure / you don't have any leechers.
     
  6. NorCalZman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    #6

    Ok good info thanks. I have heard about having the streaming boxes on wired connections. My apple TV (speedtest has an app for the new apple TV) gets 120mbps on wifi on a 100mbps plan so I am not sure I can improve that if I wired it up. It and the iMac get great internet speeds and no complaints there.

    Its the idevices like my iphones that are the current issue as they are only getting 40-60mbps. I will check the channels and the ghz signal of all the devices when I get home and report back.

    Im not planning on extending my network. I am hoping my Airport Extreme will be able to cover the 1050 sq foot 2 bedroom apartment I am moving into. My network is set up with a password. I will check for any unknown connections though.
     
  7. campyguy macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #7
    A few additional tips. First, consider segregating your router's networks into 2.4 and 5GHz networks - in my home office and offices I name them "Fast" for 2.4GHz and "Faster" for 5GHz. Our AEs provide 20MHz of channel bandwidth while our Netgear wireless devices provide 40MHz of channel bandwidth, while both provide 80MHz of channel bandwidth in the 5GHz frequency range. I've painstakingly allowed only the Macs/PCs on the wider range devices and 5GHz channels - they're the devices that really matter to me, and there's no reason IMHO to allow iPhones and iPads to connect to the faster access points. At home, I set up my iOS devices, Tivo Bolt, and ATV to connect to my "Fast" network and my Macs to connect to my "Faster" network. Put the devices with a "need for speed" on the network with the most available bandwidth.

    IMHO, it's pretty obvious that the router location should be optimized in 2D (read on...). In 3 of my offices and my home, the cable is in about the worst location possible - that's where the cable/fiber penetration is. In two of my offices that are relevant to this thread, I use powerline AP devices to get a more-stable hard-wired location to my devices.

    Last, building on what Weasleboy's great advice ("Where in relation to the router are you doing all these tests?"), I've been modeling dynamic fluids for over 25 years. Air, water, radio frequencies - they're "fluids" to me in that "fluid" is a dynamic state and not a substance. "Think in 3D" - that's what I do when I'm modeling dynamic fluid states, from pollutant discharges to locating/building cellular-based antenna structures (towers). Sooooo, relevant to this point, I trusted a project manager to set up my new office, and the wireless router throughput was "not good" IMHO (two of my techs whined to me just about every day...). The Tx rate of the AE in that office was, at best, 867Mbps. I use a laser level (nifty tools!) to check vertical elevations - pretty much overkill for this thread - but I was able to figure out that the AE should be moved upward about 8 inches, to an elevation that more-or-less matched the vertical elevation of the devices being used in that office. A reboot of the router, and of the devices (Win boxes, a few iPads, and two rMBPs) - now the Tx rate is a solid 1300Mbps everywhere and I've not heard one peep out of my techs (a good thing). Pick the vertical elevation that you're going to surf with - sitting on a couch, a table - and adjust your wireless router to broadcast at (about) that vertical elevation.
     
  8. NorCalZman, Mar 1, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016

    NorCalZman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2010
    #8
    Thanks guys. Learning a lot about wifi networks. So I came home and I looked at the how-to site that adam9c1 posted. The Airport Extreme is set to automatically pick channels and is broadcasting on channel 6 at 2.4ghz and channel 36 at 5ghz. The channels in the general area seemed to be equally crowded. Does the AE periodically change channels if needed when set to "Automatic"?

    Also, I couldn't find on the device or in Airport Utility to see which of my devices are connected to what ghz signal (do I need one of those linked programs to see that)? No leeches on the network.

    Also checked signal to noise relationship and its a constant top and bottom line which I read is good in one of those articles.

    Something interesting happened, which might mean the problem is solved, at least until I move to the new apartment and the android lover starts testing his VoIP programs. I tested the speed when I got home on my work iPhone and again received very slow results. So on my 2 iPhones and my iPad mini I told them to "forget" the wifi network, then rejoined. All of a sudden they're getting 90+ to 130mbps while in the living room, just like my iMac and Apple TV. Huge improvement. Not sure what that did but the all the devices seem to be consistent now while in the living room. When I took the iPhone's into the bedroom (next to living room and maybe 20-25 feet from the AE) and tested again speeds dropped down to 40-60mbps. I am okay with that, I guess.

    Campyguy, Thats a good point. While not obstructed by anything around it, the AE is currently set way below ideal height due to not having a table for the space it has to be near. In the new apartment I plan on putting it at least at waist level with no obstructions around it.

    PS, only one cleverly named wifi network around me: It burns when IP too
     
  9. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #9
    On OS X if you option key click the wifi menulet you can see if you are connected to 802.11ac. I was thinking you could see this information in the info screen under wifi, but I just checked and you can't. Sorry for the bad info there.

    I know on my Asus router I can see what devices are connected and over which band, but I can't remember if there is a similar screen in Airport Utility.

    Yes, ideally the router would reassign channels to a less used one, but I find it works better to set it yourself.
     
  10. adam9c1 macrumors 65816

    adam9c1

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #10
    You need to remember this is a WiFi signal so that a reading you are getting next to your router (interference etc) will be much different than for example when you are further away from the device.

    Few suggestions:
    - if it is possible look into moving your router to a different / more centralized location (if majority of your clients are WiFi and/or you can run longer cables to the client(s) which are wired
    - if you are OK with running two separate networks (one for slower legacy units) and one for newer that might be an option
    - you may want to turn off 2.4 ghz band all together but I have a feeling 5 ghz will leave you with dead zones
    - if you decide to split the frequencies into two networks and want to only manually connect to 2.4 ghz take a look at an iOS app called WiFi Priority. With this app you will create a profile and only manually connect to a network (no need to type the password each time).

    two big things:
    - walk around with a laptop and look at what channels are available. Because you are getting a very strong signal next to the router does not mean at all that that's the same further down and depending on what channels are stronger in different areas of the house you may want to adjust your settings
    - I strongly suggest picking a channel manually and if time allows look into it every few months. Perhaps your neighboors upgraded their gear / or reset / or changed settings and not they are on a different channel.
     

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