Wi-Fi Booster for my Apple TV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by MacBookpro2011, Dec 21, 2018.

  1. MacBookpro2011, Dec 21, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018

    MacBookpro2011 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2017
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #1
    When watching Netflix via my Apple TV the movie just stops and freezes. I noticed in the settings for Apple TV the signal strength will go to nothing then back to 3 or 4 out of 5. It doesn't do this all the time. Would purchasing a Wi-Fi booster/extender correct this issue and if so any type better than others. My router in behind a plastic door in a storage closest that also has a door, and to add to that the room where my Apple TV is has a door. The router cannot be moved the way it is setup and wired in the newly built apart. See link for some extenders that I could get at a local store. How easy is it to set them up? Is it just a matter of plugging it in and it links to my system? Thanks for any info or suggestions with this.

    https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/category/range-extenders-powerline-networking/32220.aspx

    Here is my current equipment setup:

    (1) ARRIS Touchstone TG2472 Modem provided by Cocego Cable - this is of course for our cable tv and also provides phone and internet.

    (2) Airport Express is plugged into the Modem above.

    My macbook works fine but it seems to be a signal issue in the other room when watching Apple TV.

    Setup.jpg
     
  2. waw74 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #2
    it might,
    wifi problems are hard to diagnose remotely.

    A booster can only boost what it gets, so if you put the booster where it has poor signal, then it can only repeat poor signal.

    in your head, imagine a straight line from the aTV to your router,
    what all does it pass through? (walls, furniture, anything) (what are the walls made of, is there plumbing in the wall)
    are you able to reduce the number of things it hits somehow?
    Move the aTV out from behind the TV.
    Move the router to the other side or outside of the cabinet it's in.

    if you have a lot of close neighbors, you could try changing the channel on the wifi.

    hardwiring is the best option, but if that doesn't work for your layout, take a look at "power line networking"
    you can even get a box that has wi-fi built in to boost for your other devices.

    you would put one box by your router, and run ethernet to it from your router..
    you would put another box in the TV room, the aTV would connect to that box via wifi or ethernet.

    the 2 boxes would connect using the power lines between the 2 outlets they are plugged into
    (obviously, they need to go straight into the wall, no battery backups)

    if you're using the router supplied by your provider. those can be not so good.
    disable the wifi in that router, and get one of the new mesh routers (orbi, eero to name a couple)
    that will be a few hundred $$, and depending on how your house is, it may not be perfect, but it will be better than the provider router
     
  3. MacBookpro2011, Dec 21, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018

    MacBookpro2011 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2017
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #3
    "if you have a lot of close neighbors, you could try changing the channel on the wifi." We are in a 12 floor apartment and many internet networks show up when I select the Wifi symbol on my macbook". I will google changing channel and give that a try first.

    Here are how many neighbours we have:

    Networks near by us.jpg

    I ran a Wireless Diagnostics and got this report:

    1.jpg

    2.jpg

    3.jpg

    Shows my actual connection info:

    4.jpg
     
  4. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #4
    You are running quite old and very basic AirPort wifi access point. But as it is the n-model already, it supports 5GHz as well, just not simultaneously with 2.4 (as soon as you have a 2.4GHz client connected, everyone is downgraded to 2.4 WLAN).
    First thing I'd do - to move to 5GHz WLAN, the ether is still much less crowded there.
    Second - a better wireless router/access point with more MIMO antennae and perhaps 802.11ac WLAN would be a wise upgrade.
    That old Express can still be used as AirPlay Audio device and a USB print server.

    Does 2nd generation AirPort Express work better with Airplay than 1st generation?
     
  5. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #5
    This is an issue that plagued me for 5 years with 2.4ghz WiFi.
    IMO 2.4 should NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER be used. It's just damn terrible. It's so prone to interference. An example is that I have 400mbps fibre. On 5ghz setting is shows 429mbps. Now if I try the 2.4ghz it fluctuates - sometimes 400mbps and THEN other days it is 0.5mbps due to interference. I have a scanner on my router and it shows PLENTY of neighbours using channels 2, 3, 7, 9 even though only 1, 6 and 11 should be used. The person using ch3 is wiping out all channels 1 to 7. Sadly only 13 was useable on the 2.4. Also once a month or 6 weeks some eternal interference seems to wipe out the entire streets 2.4. A guy was mentioning this at the gym the other week who lives a 15 minute walk from me!!!!!!!

    Try using 5ghz as it's less prone to inference AND have 16+ channels as opposed to 3.
    I have switched off my 2.4 signal on my router so that nothing uses it.
    I regard 2.4 as very pre 2012! Bluetooth, neighbours, baby monitors, microwave ovens, cordless phones all interfere with it. Not good when streaming a continuous film.

    If you still have problems then do as the majority of people that i've spoken to regarding WiFi and hard wire it using the Ethernet port. WiFi is great for web browsing etc BUT when streaming a 2 hour film without interruptions, it can be a totally difference experience!
     
  6. imaccooper macrumors 6502

    imaccooper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #6
    I think there are several things you can try, many of which have been listed above.

    First, wired is always better than wireless with regards to a consistent connection. If it is at all possible to get a wired connection to the Apple TV then that is the way to go. Power line adapters are a good second option if a regular wired connection is not available. This link may help you understand the concept if you are unfamiliar. You can get them from amazon or bestbuy and probably several other places.

    The above options should solve the immediate problem which is getting your Apple TV to be working better; however, they don’t address the issue with your WiFi. You are running an older setup. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just means it’s old and not as capable anymore. Changing WiFi channels is a good idea and yes 5.0 ghz is faster, but it will only do so much. A new wireless unit is probably a good idea at this point.
     
  7. techwarrior macrumors 65816

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #7
    Except that many smart home devices use 2.4 because it is cheap and more than enough (theoretically) bandwidth for the limited amount of data these devices typically send.

    If OP is using relatively recent Mac and iOS\tvOS devices, 5GHz would be a better solution. But if there are also 2.4GHz devices, all bets are off unless he upgrades to dual band.
     
  8. waw74 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #8
    there are fewer non-wifi devices that use the 5gHz frequency. so less likely to be stepped on.
    It's still just as prone to interference, you're just less likely to run into something that will do it.

    5 also doesn't penetrate through things like walls or furniture as well, so in an indoor space, 2.4 is likely to be usable further from the base in a typical home environment.
    After 1 or 2 walls, 5 might be slower than 2.4 deepening on construction.

    especially since your hardware is that old, as others have said, i'd recommend an upgrade
    and if your house is a decent size, the mesh options are great, but a little pricy, expect to pay $250-400 for a system of 2-3 devices.

    in an apartment, any decent modern router from netgear or the other major manufacturers should do you, and run $100-150
     
  9. SamuraiSam33, Dec 22, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018

    SamuraiSam33 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    #9
    While today's latest and greatest is no doubt "Better" in many regards than yesterdays tech, I would like to share my experience with you.. I live in a three story townhouse which had fairly poor WiFi coverage.. I decided to create my own "Mesh" style network on my own, and with the discontinuation and relative affordability of Apple AirPort Extreme and Express routers, have picked up one Extreme and three Expresses to extend off it. I've never had better coverage or easier network administration.

    The AirPort Express that you are using is very old, and wasn't really designed to be the main router in a network. It can do it but doesn't have much signal strength and it can only support 10 clients (not many) it was more designed to perform as a Wireless Access Point (rebroadcaster). Simply put it doesn't have the coverage that a more up to date would offer. Your Express also only supports 802.11 a/b/g while your Apple TV and any newer devices you own can utilize much faster, newer WiFi technologies such as N and AC.

    Upgrading your main router to a newer more powerful unit, even one that's a few years old like the last gen Extreme (which is a dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac unit) will provide huge benefits. Since you already have an Airport Express, you can then re-use that AirPort Express as a Wireless Access Point. There's multiple options - a wired Wi-Fi extender (optimal- plugged into Cat5 that hooks to your Airport Extreme, would provide the best quality WiFi) while as a Wireless extender (It can only extend the wireless signal it receives, so if a physical object is cutting signal by two bars, the performance of the extender will ALWAYS be hindered by that.) Even running a short cat5 cable out from this hidden closet and to the Extreme so it can extend the network without obstruction will be of benefit. All these configs are very easy to set up using the AirPort Utility built into your phone and computer. It'll be easier than mixing and matching different brands of extenders together.

    Check out Craigslist and OfferUp in your area. You can probably score a last-generation Airport Extreme router for $50-75 depending on what's available. And if you discover any other poor coverage areas or even want to add WiFi outside you can pick up additional Extremes to extend super easily for $25-50 bucks. I suggest the last model A1521 Extreme and the last released "802.11n Second Generation" A1392 Express.
     
  10. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #10
    Maybe but 2.4 is simply of no use. My experience has shown that here in the UK cities, the spectrum is plagued by interference which renders it unusable. 0.5mbps when it should be 400mbps is insane isn't it. The problem is also of course from neighbours that simply do not understand which channels you should NOT use and if you do, you simply cut out everyone else's 2.4 wifi.

    The great thing about 5ghz not travelling far is that neighbours 5ghz wifi doesn't interfere. My router has a scanner on it so I can see over 30 houses 2.4ghz wifi. It only sees my direct neighbours 5ghz wifi which is far away from my channel 40.
    I live in a Victorian house with thick walls and I'm lucky that our 5ghz WiFi does indeed fill the entire house for our MacBooks :)
    In urban areas, my 5 years experience with 2.4ghz shows that it is not suitable to be used for streaming or web browsing or even Apple Home Sharing of video which is VERY VERY problematic - constant buffering and freezes.
     
  11. MacBookpro2011, Dec 22, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018

    MacBookpro2011 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2017
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #11
    Thanks for all the great info and help. Below is the current setup in my airport express and the available options to change and see if it works. One question is I select a different channel etc is their a chance of losing my internet or will it work as it does now but hopefully a little better.

    Current setings in first screen grab

    CurrentSettings.jpg

    RadioModeOptions.jpg

    ChannelOptions.jpg

    My neighbours are using mostly Ch 11 & CH 1 on 2.4 GHZ, a couple on 5 GHZ
     
  12. imaccooper macrumors 6502

    imaccooper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #12
    Changing those settings won’t cut you off, just change the way you are getting signal. The following recommendations are general so there are always situations where the exact opposite could be true.

    First the radio mode should probably be in 802.11n only mode. In almost all situations 5.0 will be faster than 2.4, but there is one very notable exception. 2.4 penetrates objects better such as walls which could factor into your decision. With that said, I run an Apple TV on 5.0 through two walls and about 12 feet or so and never have trouble (in fairness I have a newer router on a newer wireless standard but the point is the same). I would probably try it on 5.0 for a day and see if it is better, if not switch to 2.4 as it will travel further.

    As far as channels, the only thing you are looking for is a channel with the fewest people on it. Macs have a built in utility to check the best channel. Whichever one it says is the best is probably the best in your case. They are all basically the same, just looking for the least crowded.

    Again, a wired connection will solve all of this for the Apple TV and a newer router will probably eliminate these same problems as well, but I understanding trying to make it work with what you have.
     
  13. SamuraiSam33, Dec 22, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019

    SamuraiSam33 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    #13
    1, 6, and 11 are the only channels to use for 2.4Ghz. One of the reasons folks don't 2.4GHz is because of how crowded it is. 5GHz is more complicated but usually works fine on "Auto" if it doesn't you should use a signal analyzer to help find a good channel. https://www.maketecheasier.com/best-wifi-channel-for-5GHz-frequency/ 5Ghz won't travel as far, nor penetrate as well as 2.4Ghz does though. The best thing to do is start with a router with powerful antennas. That's why I suggested replacing your tiny/underpowered Airport Epress with a full fledged router equipped with far more powerful antennas like an Extreme.
     
  14. techwarrior macrumors 65816

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #14
    This is very helpful. It tells us that your Express supports 5Ghz 802.11n. This may be your best option, since APEx does not support dual band, you have to choose.

    First question: What devices do you connect to WiFi? Think about everything, Macs (since 2008 or so), ATV and iOS should all be able to use 5Ghz. But if you have home automation stuff, it might not support 5Ghz.

    Why is 5Ghz a better choice? It offers more channels, so you may find it easier to steer away from neighboring networks. It has a shorter range, which is a double edged sword. The range might mean less interference from neighbors, but might mean less coverage for your home. Finally, it tends to offer more bandwidth (read that as faster WiFi for larger files or streaming).

    Try setting it on 5Ghz and test with a mobile device as far from the Express as you typically use WiFi. Does it have 3+ bars? If so, that will work. Now make sure all devices can connect to 5Ghz. Easiest way to do this is to check WiFi settings on every device, if you can see Newfoundlander61, then you can connect. if you don't see it, the device doesn't support 5Ghz and you will need another strategy.

    Once you determine if 5Ghz will work for you, scan for channels on neighboring 5Ghz networks and choose channels that don't overlap.

    If 5Ghz won't work for all of your devices, find a new router. if you want to stick with Apple, you can still find AP Extreme\Time Capsule on EBay and other places. the Extreme\TC line on newer models is dual band, so you can have both frequencies. Added benefit is the radio signals are much stronger on the Extreme\TC Line, so you should get better signals throughout your living space. As the list above shows, many of the local WiFi are dual band, you can tell from the Network names being identical with a -5G at the end.

    Finally, if 5Ghz range is a problem and you do get a new router, the Express can be used as an Access Point to "extend" your signal. But, I recommend finding a way to run Ethernet to it at the remote location as wireless extending will defeat much of what you gain by installing a more powerful router. Apple refers to AP connected via Ethernet as a Roaming network, a wirelessly connected as an Extended network.
     
  15. MacBookpro2011 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2017
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #15
    "First question: What devices do you connect to WiFi? Think about everything, Macs (since 2008 or so), ATV and iOS should all be able to use 5Ghz. But if you have home automation stuff, it might not support 5Ghz."

    I have a 2011 Macbook Pro for general internet use. We have Apple TV on one of our TV's for watching Netflix and sometimes youtube videos. The wife has a tablet that she use on Wi-fi for scrabble and some facebook stuff but that is only for a couple of hrs each day. Our TV is cable and we also have a home landline phone all with the same cable company.

    Will try setting it to 5GHZ and see how that works out. We live in a one floor apartment but the router & airport express sits a few inches inside a wall opening that has a plastic cover. This is loctated in a small storage room that has a freezer and with the door closed most of the time. This is located about 50 feet from the Apple TV setup which is in a room that also generally has a door closed. As the building is new and has soundproofing. When using the Apple TV last night I watched the signal drop from 3 out of 5 to zero then come back a few minutes later and was able to watch a movie.
     
  16. imaccooper macrumors 6502

    imaccooper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #16
    That is a long way between a router with a relatively weak range and your Apple TV which will probably lessen much of the gains you would get with 5.0. Unfortunately, there isn’t any magic setting that you will find that is going to reliably get a wireless signal that far with the device you have.

    In my opinion, you are looking at three options. Or better, a combination of these options.

    1. Get an Ethernet wire to your Apple TV. The best way is a dedicated run, but you may not be able to pull that off without some construction which may not be possible for you. The other option here is a power line adapter which I talked about before.

    2. Use another access point/repeater. I’m not the biggest fan of repeaters, but when used properly you can use one. The key here is to find a place in your house where signal is still good so it actually has something to “repeat.”

    3. Purchase a new router with larger antennas. Of course if this is not financially possible then I understand, but I think you have seen the better days of use with your current setup and it is time for an upgrade. You will want something with a good range if you are stuck with the equipment in one corner of your place.
     
  17. MacBookpro2011 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2017
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #17
    Thanks again for the help much appreciated. I just remembered one other device that is connected to my WiFi and that is a Ecobee 3 Lite Thermostat that is connected 24/7, hmmm maybe if this was turned off when not needed this may be part of the problem? Its connected to obtain the weather and generate a monthly report, not 100% necessary but is handy as it allows me to adjust the temps when I am away from the apt for any length of time. It runs the heating and cooling of the apt, it is easy enough to just turn off the WIFI part of it and still heat the place. Not sure if this could be causing an issue, completely forgot about this device.
     
  18. techwarrior macrumors 65816

    techwarrior

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #18
    The Ecobee 3 supports 2.4Ghz WiFi only. So, if you want to continue using the thermostat, you have to either stay on 2.4 or get a new dual-band router.

    Here is a thought... You have the APEx at the far end of the living space? I assume this because 50 feet to the ATV suggests they are on opposite ends of a relatively large living space. If the APEx was closer to the center of your living space, ATV may do better. The Ethernet cable between the modem and route can be much longer than the 3 foot patch cord that comes with most kits. So, it the APEx was moved closer to the center of the living space, it may just be acceptable along with tuning channels.
     
  19. George Dawes macrumors 6502a

    George Dawes

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    Location:
    =VH=
    #19
    I tried everything then recently when my house was renovated we installed Ethernet , wow , what a difference !

    Try making a hard wired connection if you can , it’s a dramatic improvement on the atv wi if experience
    --- Post Merged, Dec 23, 2018 ---
    I tried everything then recently when my house was renovated we installed Ethernet , wow , what a difference !

    Try making a hard wired connection if you can , it’s a dramatic improvement on the atv wi if experience
     

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18 December 21, 2018