Optimizing Time Capsule Wi-Fi - Options?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by CoMoMacUser, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. CoMoMacUser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    #1
    I bought a refurbished 1 TB Time Capsule (FB277LL/A) in August 2009. I'm looking for options for optimizing its Wi-Fi performance.

    The TC is upstairs in my home office so it can have a wired connection to my iMac and Vonage box. For years, it provided good performance (coverage and speeds) in my living room, which is downstairs and on the other end of the house.

    A few months ago, my wife's Windows laptop died, and she started using my mid-2012 MBA. Ever since, when we're in the living room, my iPad 1 has trouble maintaining a connection to the TC, and my wife often complains that the MBA doesn't stay connected as well as her old Windows machine. When I use the MBA there, I notice that it often loses the connection. The only other thing that's changed since performance went downhill is that Apple pushed out an AirPort update. I think that was in July.

    First question: Is anyone else experiencing reduced TC coverage since that update?

    Second question: Is it possible that the TC is performing normally, but the the MBA and iPad are interfering with each other? If so, what are my options for reducing that interference? For example, I don't see any settings in AirPort Utility -- both the software that I access via my iMac and the AirPort Utility app for iOS -- that would let me put each device on a separate channel.

    Final question: Moving the TC to a central location in the house isn't an option. What about Wi-Fi range extenders? Do they work well? Any models to focus on or avoid?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #2
    You can't run devices on separate channels - they must be on the same channel as the base station.

    The first thing to check is whether it's a pure range issue, or something else. If you move closer to the base station, does the signal reliability improve? Are there any other electronics in the house that you can unplug to see if that's causing interference?

    Assuming you dont identify & fix some form of interference - Rather than a range extender, I'd suggest getting a new Airport Exteme (either a new .AC model, or a refurb 5th gen). You can keep using your Time Capsule for backups, just turn off the wifi in it. The model you have has significantly shorter range than newer ones, and it doesn't support simultaneous dual band. You can expect a SIGNIFICANT performance improvement from a 5th or 6th gen Extreme over your current model.
     
  3. nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Northern District NY
    #3
    Also go to About this mac and check the hardware and go to your computers Wi-Fi / Airport. Check to see what channel your router is on as well as any other routers are on. Generally speaking on the 2.4GHz band routers come stock at Channel 1 and if everyones on channel 1 that doesn't help so switching to a non-overlapping channel (1 or 6 or 11 or 14) that is different from other routers around you that can help. I live across the street from my old highschool and received their wifi at about -68dB's even from a good amount of distance because they have several directional antenna's that are pretty powerful. If I go to channel 1 they interfere, in fact I get more dead zones and lower throughput if I use Channel 1. Now I use Channel 7 and get much better results. When I had a router that was less restricted I'd use channel 14 which is extremely uncommon, I also used channel 14 when tethering my old Android phone since often when I tethered I'd be in a building with heavy 2.4GHz usage. Just some things to consider.
     
  4. CoMoMacUser thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 28, 2012
    #4
    That was one of my questions: How can I see the channels? I haven't found that information anywhere in AirPort Utility.

    ----------

    So the TC can't simultaneously support multiple devices on multiple channels?

    The iPad and MBA work great when they're in the room with the TC. I can see at least eight other WLANs from my neighbors, so it might be tough to find a vacant channel if it turns out that in the living room, the TC's signal is too weak to compete with the other WLANs.

    Good to know. Thanks. That sounds like the way to go.

    BTW, I see you're in Eureka Springs. Great place. I'm northeast of you in Missouri.
     
  5. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #5
    In the current version of the AirPort utility, go to Wireless > Wireless Options. Default is "Automatic" but you can manually select a channel. In almost all cases Automatic does as good a job or better as you would do manually.

    No, that's normal for Wi-Fi routers. Each router runs on just one channel.

    I'd certainly expect a newer AirPort Extreme to improve things dramatically. You'll get simultaneous dual-band (so your MBA will talk on 5GHz - don't remember if the iPad 1 has 5GHz or not; if so it will too). Plus you get a significant increase in range due to improved antenna design, probably 40% better with the 5th gen and more with the current one.

    It's my happy place :)


    Edit: It looks like the iPad 1 does support 5GHz - so if ALL your wifi devices support 5GHz, you could switch the radio in your existing TC over to 5GHz and maybe resolve your issue that way. And maybe not; range is still limited on that model. But your TC can do either 2.4GHz or 5GHz, but not both. The newer model TCs and Extremes do both simultaneously.
     
  6. mneblett macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    #6
    One other thing to consider is that the unit is simply dying. My last AE started to be come intermittent and weak after a few years. Replaced it with another AE and back to normal.

    FWIW, I'd seriously consider a new tower AE -- you can always return it in 14 days, but I'd wager you won't.
     
  7. mneblett macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    #7
    One other thing to consider is that the unit is simply dying. My last AE started to be come intermittent and weak after a few years. Replaced it with another AE and back to normal.

    FWIW, I'd seriously consider a new tower AE -- you can always return it in 14 days, but I'd wager you won't.
     
  8. CoMoMacUser thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 28, 2012
    #8
    I don't see that anywhere in APU's Preferences or drop-down menus. How do I get to that?
     
  9. priitv8, Sep 8, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013

    priitv8 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #9
    In the iOS version : Adanced > Wi-Fi Settings.
    Generally speaking the new APU (6.x) misses many options, so you can search this forum or google for how to get & install the old version (5.x).
    PS I've also discovered a good Wi-Fi discovery & analyze app for Mac : NetSpot http://www.netspotapp.com try it and you can take a wireless coverage survey of your house.
     
  10. CoMoMacUser thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 28, 2012
    #10
    That setting must be in the old version because I don't see it in the current one.
     
  11. FreakinEurekan, Sep 9, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013

    FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #11
    When I pull that up on my 1st gen Express N (which I use as an extender) I don't see the ability to set channel, so maybe not an option on all versions of the routers??
     
  12. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #12
    I think mine is the latest version, which is 1.3.1
    Are you in Edit mode??
    PS Or do you mean version of TC? My Extremes are one 2nd and other 4th gen. Both allow manual setting of the channel(s).
     
  13. CoMoMacUser thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    #13
    I finally found a menu in the AirPort Utility iOS app that lets me change channels, which I did from automatic to 11. It's helped noticeably, so I'll stick with that for now.

    I really appreciate everyone's advice.
     

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