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wi-fi and range extender - no internet

ccr67ccr67 Posts: 140
in Home Networking Aug 04, 2019

I switched from TW plan to Spectrum plan and Spectrum switched my hardware (modem and router both).  Now even my 2gh wi-fi will not reach my patio.  I now have a new Technicolor modem ( DPC3216) and a new Spectrum router which broadcasts in 2.4 and 5ghz wi-fi.  Problem is, the wi-fi signals from this new router do not broadcast as far as my old TW equipment, and I can't connect with my android (2.4) and iPhone7 (5ghz) telephones from my patio at the far end of the house.  My wife bought us a Netgear Range Extender AC1200 EX6120 and I cannot get it to work.  Both phones connect to the new networks (2.4 & 5ghz) quickly, but neither phone will connect to internet.   We can connect to the old network names OK and do get internet (but not out on patio).  I called Netgear support and over 2-3 hours we tried many things including factory reset on the extender, but Netgear (and I) finally gave up trying to get internet (we couldn't even find a way to download/install current firmware) .  We agreed that I should return the extender.   

1.  is this a common problem?

2. Should I try some other extender?

3. Does Spectrum offer an extender that would work?

4. This is an average size 1 story home install, and of course cost is a consideration.  Please let me know if I should do something different - and if so, what SPECIFIC router and/or extender  should I buy to work with my Spectrum modem? 

Comments

  • dstoffadstoffa Posts: 988
    Aug 05, 2019

    Do you have an all-in-one?  (Modem + WiFi Router)

    Are you paying Spectrum for Home Wi-Fi?  (Would be a $5 per month adder on your bill.)

    Is your router using a "crowded" channel?  (When you scan for wireless networks, especially ones on the 2.4 GHz band, how many of them are on Channels 1, 6, and 11?)

  • ccr67ccr67 Posts: 140
    Aug 05, 2019

    New Technicolor cable modem from Spectrum.  New router from Spectrum.   Units are separate.  They were installed to replace old TW/Spectrum hardware because Spectrum REQUIRED that happen as part of changing from a TW "plan" to a Spectrum "plan".   I have phone, TV, and internet with Spectrum and I do pay for wi-fi.   I changed plans to lower monthly cost - I changed from TW's ultra (350Mbps) internet to Spectrum basic (230Mbps)  internet- speeds I quoted are via Ethernet to my desktop PC.   Wi-fi on 2.4ghz I get 30+Mbps.  On 5ghz my wife gets 120-170Mbps (iPhone7).   

    Both 2.4 and 5ghz are being broadcast from new router and both signals are just fine from Spectrum equipment.  Have never had any problem with interference  - ever.  Problem is that the new router just doesn't broadcast the signals quite as powerfully as my old Spectrum cable/modem/router that was a single box.  Wi-fi signals no longer quite reach my patio as they did from my old Spectrum Technicolor cable/modem/router - so I wanted to use the extender to get the signals to reach further - at least to my patio.   I live in a single story house and there are not many wi-fi broadcasts from other homes that I can see. 

    Spectrum router is broadcasting 2.4ghz on channel 1.

    Spectrum router on 5ghz - control channel = AUTO,  current ctl. = 36  

     

  • reds91185reds91185 Posts: 2,452
    Aug 05, 2019

    Is the extender itself actually connected to the network?

    Did you use the same passwords as the router for the new extender networks?

    All LEDs on the extender are green?

    Did you connect the extender via the WPS method or the browser method?

    Can an ethernet connected device connect to the internet via the extender?

  • ccr67ccr67 Posts: 140
    Aug 05, 2019

    The extender connects quickly to the router and my phone expansion of the connection  window shows that the connection is very good (but no internet).  Wife's phone connects to extender just fine on 5ghz.

    Neither phone device/connection (my 2.4 Android phone and wife's iPhone7 on 5ghz)  is able to access internet using extender wi-fi signals.

    Password is the same for both the old and new networks.  New network names are same as old but with "_ext" something-or-other added to the end of network name.  No problem with that - it matches what install guide shows will happen.

    All LED's on extender are green.

    Connected  with WPS - both 2.4 and 5ghz.

    Connected the extender directly to PC via Ethernet to try to install downloaded firmware upgrade file.  Logged into extender from PC via that Ethernet cable but we (Netgear support and I) were never able to see anything to click on to get the firmware upgrade to install.  Did not see anything on Netgear's Network Genie to click on for firmware upgrade.  Not sure whether current firmware level is same as what came on extender which we just received new from Amazon.  Also connected via wi-fi with phone 2.4 to extender's app and couldn't see anything to click on to load firmware.

    I don't think we tried connecting router to extender with Ethernet cable (if that is what you meant).  Also did not try to connect any device to extender (other than my PC) using Ethernet cable.  I don't think I have any Ethernet devices that I could do that with other than my laptop, and we did not try that.

    Returned extender to Amazon for refund.

  • dstoffadstoffa Posts: 988
    Aug 05, 2019

    Save yourself some money, and stop paying for "Home Wi-Fi" from Spectrum.  Buy your own wireless router - one with external antennas - and get control of your home LAN.  Your ruter will pay for itself.  And if the previous router you were using is owned by you - by all means use it.

     

    For the 2.4GHz network, perform a site survey.  If everyone around you is on 1, 6, and 11, go for an unused channel half-way between the others..  i.e. - If 1, 6 and 11 are heavily used, I'd set my router to use 3, 4, 8, or 9.  You want to be the only WLAN on a channel.

     

    Can't help you with the 5 GHz.  I have a router that uses it, but I don't.

     

    In terms of Wi-Fi Extenders, I'd rather use an old router set up as an access point, connected via ethernet to the router, and put that router on yet a different channel.

  • ccr67ccr67 Posts: 140
    Aug 05, 2019

    I do not own a router.

    On my Spectrum bill I do see $5.00 for wi-fi service - is that for the router?   I do not see a separate charge for the Spectrum router device itself. 

    I always rented from TW or Spectrum.

    My worry was that when I had problems, that Spectrum would blame my owned router and me (not being a tech) would be powerless to argue with Spectrum's support.  At least with (only) Spectrum hardware and software I could always say to Spectrum "it's your stuff - fix it!".  

    So, since I have no owned router, should I buy a router? 

    And then the question is - what router should I buy?  I'm not a tech and I do not know which router would be best for my situation.  I know I need AC and dual band 2.4 & 5ghz.  I know it needs to be compatible with the Spectrum/Technicolor DPC3216 modem that I rent from Spectrum.   I know it needs to send more powerful wi-fi signals than the new Spectrum router I am renting now  (it is labeled as Spectrum, but no model number).   If it isn't stronger than the Spectrum router I have now  I will still have no good wi-fi signals on my patio.   What router should I buy?

    And if I do buy my own router, do I need to contact Spectrum at all to get it going, or do I connect it with Ethernet cable to the Spectrum cablemodem, then Ethernet cable to my PC, and then simply log into it from my PC (Ethernet) and specify my proper network names and password for the 2 wi-fi bands?  And then maybe reboot the router to check out connectivity via Ethernet and wi-fi's.

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Aug 06, 2019

    have to agree with @dstoffa here.

     

    Sortof an Occam's Razor kinda thing... tring to integrate the wifi extender may be complicating things more than necessary, considering that is the only thing you truly have control over and not very savvy with the technology.

     

    Grab one of the mid to upper tier Netgear routers.  Even their AC-1750/1900 models are prety robust, and the set up is pretty simple and for the most part automated.  My daughter's linksys went AWOL at her college apartment (3 hours away), and her trying to get help from them was an exercise in futility, as she pretty much just knows how to reboot it and how to put in the password for their PS4's, phones, etc.  Ordered her a $99 Netgear AC-1750 for her to pickup at the local walmart, and she got the apartment up and running in about 30 minutes from opening the box.

  • LGTLGT Posts: 94 ✭✭✭✭
    Aug 06, 2019

    This may be a simplistic approach, but is your wi-fi router centrally located?  It would seem to me that any commercially available wi-fi router should be able to cover a standard home. Now if your router is at one far end of the house and you are trying to reach the other end of your property outside you might be stretching it a bit. The router should be located in the center of the coverage area.   Also is your wi-fi router up off the ground?  There is a reason TV Stations put their antennas on the tallest structures available.  I would start here before going to any more complex and expensive solutions.  

  • ccr67ccr67 Posts: 140
    Aug 06, 2019

    @LGT  router is on a shelf, about 5' above the floor, about 3' from the desktop PC that it is connected to via Ethernet cable.  My desktop PC needs to stay in the front room office it is in now, which means that the router needs to stay near it so that a long room-room Ethernet cable is not required.  I can't be punching holes in walls and ceiling, trying to run new cables from room to room or thru the (impossible-to-access due to the truss jungle) attic.

    The router has been located where it is now for many years with no wi-fi problem until Spectrum replaced the old Technicolor cablemodemrouter with the new Spectrum modem and separate router.     So the router is not centrally located now,  never has been,  and cannot be moved.  I need for wi-fi connected cell phones to work well on my back patio.  And yes, the signals need to pass thru 3-4 walls to reach the patio.

    Apparently, I need a router that will throw the wi-fi signals a greater distance than the Spectrum router.  I have asked in this string for someone to tell me about a strong-signaling routers but  only RAIST5150 has replied.  He/she mentioned the Netgear AC1750 as being "robust" but I don't know, of course, whether that router would throw wi-fi signals as well as or better than my old TW Technicolor cablemodemrouter.  Hopefully someone who reads my post can recommend a specific router as being "one of the most powerful" (signal-wise).       

    I have returned the Netgear range extender to Amazon because I and Netgear support were not able to get it to connect to internet - although it connected just great without internet to the 2 cell phones I tried - just no internet.  Spectrum does not offer a range extender.  I hate to go to a mesh system  because of cost - Google offers a 1 pack and a 3-pack but no 2-pack, and a 3-pack would be overkill at high cost.  Buying 2 singles would also cost too much.

  • reds91185reds91185 Posts: 2,452
    Aug 06, 2019

    You could also use powerline adapters from the office to the back of the house and set up an access point there to cover your patio area.

     

     

  • dstoffadstoffa Posts: 988
    Aug 06, 2019

    You are paying for home wi-fi.  Your router will pay for itself in just over a year.

     

    I currently use a TP-Link Archer C1200 router.  Bought it 2+ years ago.  Works like a charm.

     

    This one is more current:

    https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-AC1750-Smart-WiFi-Router/dp/B079JD7F7G/

     

    There are others, but this is what I have experience with.

     

    They are very easy to set up.  I believe mine came with a "quick-setup" card.  In a nutshell, you will disconnect your current router, and power down your modem.  You will connect yoru PC to a LAN Port on the Router.  You will power on the Router (but do not connect its WAN port to your cable model unless told).  When you fire up your browser, I am sure you will be redirected to the router's home page, where you will set up the channel number, the passwords, etc.  (Defaults are in the box, or on a label on the underside of the router.)

     

    If the router, by itself, does not solve your Wi-Fi problems, then you can buy an Access Point (or another wireless router, configured to be an access point and NOT a router), to extend your Wireless LAN.  You'd locate the access point where you have spotty coverage, and connect it to your routher via ethernet powerline adapters.

     

    This kit gives you two adapters:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009ZRBXMI/

    No need to fish cables.  You just plug them into outlets (preferable the same curcuit, then the same phase).  I too, use these with much success.

  • ccr67ccr67 Posts: 140
    Aug 06, 2019

    @distoffa

    I looked at link for Powerline..

    So I would run an Ethernet cable from my router to a wall outlet Powerline device and that would allow any other 120V outlet in my house to receive internet via a 2nd ("slave") Powerline device. 

    I would then run an Ethernet cable from the slave to, for instance, my laptop PC, and the laptop would be sort of happy.  Not really so happy because laptop has no 10-100-1000 speed network adapter, so laptop actually runs much faster internet  using the USB 5ghz dongle  on wi-fi. (100-200mbps as opposed to 20mbps on Ethernet) .

    Also, my cell phones require wi-fi .  Seems like I read on internet that some Powerline "slave devices" actually can broadcast the signals via wi-fi which would make my cell phones and laptop happy,  So would I continue to use the Spectrum router to feed the Powerline master device and ALSO use the same router to simultaneously broadcast 2.4 and 5ghz to the front part of my house?  In other words, keep Spectrum router to broadcast both wi-fi bands as it does now, and also feed the Powerline devices, the slave of which would broadcast via wi-fi the same 2 network names  that the router is broadcasting?   

    The 2 Powerline devices would be on the same home electric circuit panel in my garage but the 2 electrical outlets would not be on the same actual circuit breaker - problem?  

    And let me know if I understand how Powerline would work.

  • reds91185reds91185 Posts: 2,452
    Aug 06, 2019

    If the slave doesn't have it's own wifi access point built in, you can connect a wifi access point to the slave via ethernet to run all the mobile devices.

     

    Being on the same circuit breaker is ideal but not required. Most people use them on outlets on different circuit breakers without issue.

  • karlbeckmankarlbeckman Posts: 2,205 ✭✭✭✭
    Aug 06, 2019

    Before you go through all the work of adding a second WiFi access point,  get the first one in your Spectrum router working and set it up to connect to all of your devices.   Be sure all radios are locked to a specific channel, not in Auto or Scan modes.  Your current setup is Chnl 1 on 2.4 GHz and ?Ch 36 on the 5 GHz band.  Test each smartphone, computer,  and printer so you know they all can work together.  Write down all the settings or take pics on your phone of all the device setup menus. 

    THEN you can experiment with a second WiFi access point (NOT an extender!) to add dual-band coverage in  more areas of your home.   When you add the second device, make the SSID (network name) the same on both units, but set the radios to different channels in both bands.  Example:  For your new AP2, use Ch4 on 2.4 GHz and 40 on 5 Ghz, so they don't interfere with each other. 

    As far as selecting a router, buy an ugly one with several 6 to 8" tall external antennas and don't try to hide it behind your TV or other furniture.  The large print on the box should include MIMO, 802.11 ac, and Gigabit.  Much of the rest is marketing fluff. 

  • LGTLGT Posts: 94 ✭✭✭✭
    Aug 06, 2019

    @ccr67  Just trying to see if there is a simple solution. You would not believe how many people have their router on the floor behind the couch in a corner because that is where the outlet is. Is there a reason the modem and router needs to be hard wired next to the  PC?  Would a wi~fi connection to the PC not work?  I ask because if you are paying Spectrum for Wi-fi and you are not getting the coverage you need it should be their job to reposition the router. After all running coax is their main job and they know how to do it in almost any situation.   And they should do it for free since you are not getting the service you are paying for. 

     

    Someone else on on here can correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the power output on most home wi-fi routers is limited to a certain level by the FCC.  You can’t have your neighbor broadcasting his wi-fi signal at 1000 watts.  Plus the return signal from your phone is limited to a certain level so you don’t have a microwave oven next to your head. Thus while your previous wi-fi worked it probably only broadcasted a tiny bit more power.  This would imply that maybe some repositioning of the wi-fi antenna might help.  If companies made wi-fi at many different power outputs range extenders would never be needed, people would just buy a more powerfull wi-fi transmitter.  

     

    My opinion is that you might go through buying and returning a lot of routers before you find one with that little extra bit of power you are looking for. If you can’t get signal coverage, a range extender might still be your best bet.  There must be one made that can be configured to work with your setup. A second wi-fi access point would also work, but that would require you to run cable, which you have already nixed. 

  • ccr67ccr67 Posts: 140
    Aug 06, 2019

    @karlbeckman

    I assume you mean that I should 1st make your suggested channel changes to my existing Spectrum router and make sure that all my devices  - 2 phones (one 2.4 and one 5ghz) , 2 Vizio TV's on Roku sticks, 1 laptop using 5ghz wi-fi,  1 HP Envy 7155 printer (uses 2.4ghz but also broadcasts it's own 2.4 wi-fi signal for Direct Print (which I may have never used), 2 Sony Blu Ray players that can connect to wi-fi for Netflix or Amazon Prime video and a tiny HP PC that uses wireless keyboard and wireless mouse and connects with wi-fi - which  displays its monitor (via HDMI cable ) on a 46" Vizio TV  and a Ring Doorbell 2 on 2.4ghz..  All of the previous devices connect just fine to my existing router because all of them are located close enough to the router to get decent wi-fi.  If I change the router to use channels as suggested by you, I may have to reconnect my devices or maybe reboot the router and connect the devices - I don't know.

    If you are suggesting based on me using the Powerline wi-fi idea - well, my son forwarded me a  page from the Netgear install manual that said the new device will create 2 new wi-fi  network names, not use the same names as those coming from the Spectrum router.   So your reply and the Spectrum manual seem to be saying different things, and that confuses me. 

  • ccr67ccr67 Posts: 140
    Aug 06, 2019

    @LGT 

    I still am thinking about the Netgear AC1750 router.  If it has as much or more transmit strength as my old TW/ Spectrum Technicolor cablemodemrouter (a single box) then that would solve my problem of wi-fi range.  I need signal to go only another 10-15' + 1 wall to cover my patio.  The Netgear router is about $89 on Amazon.  And I can send it back for refund if it does not do the job.  And Spectrum would cut my monthly bill by $5 if I don't need their router - which would pay for the Netgear router in 18 months.  I think Powerline would provide more speed and maybe more stability but would be more complicated than a router 1 for 1 replacement.    I believe my desktop  does have a wireless card but on Ethernet it is so fast (230Mbps) and stable.

  • RAIST5150RAIST5150 Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
    Aug 07, 2019
    Keep in mind potential protocol/frequency limits. 5g band AC local transfers can potentially go to 866mb/s in the 1750 class or higher, depending on different factors. So in some cases it can match or even exceed what the Ethernet is doing (bottleneck may wind up being the internet plan, not the router).

    Just one of those things you have to try to see how it performs. 9f the wifi works well enough for the PC, then you may have more flexibility... put it up higher, move it closer to the patio, etc. to get more range.
  • ccr67ccr67 Posts: 140
    Aug 07, 2019

    RAIST5150

    I just now ordered the Netgear AC1750 from Amazon.  I will try it out and if it does not do what I need I'll just send it back to Amazon.  If it does work, my $5 monthly saving from Spectrum will pay for the new router in 18 months.

    Yes, wi-fi 5ghz to my laptop USB wi-fi dongle is faster than Ethernet because the laptop has only a 10/100 network adapter.  On Ethernet, laptop download speed is maybe 30Mbps.  On 5ghz wifi it downloads at about 120-150Mbps (same download speed to my wife's iPhone7).  My ISP, Spectrum, internet plan is "Basic" at supposedly 200 Mbps, but I always get 220-240Mbps Ethernet to my desktop PC.  I downgraded internet from Spectrum's "Ultra" to save a few bucks.  Ultra gave me 350Mbps download speed, and Spectrum is the ONLY provider in my area that offers any speed at all.  Changing to a Spectrum plan from my old TW plan REQUIRED that Spectrum change my Technicolor cablemodemrouter to the separate modem and separate Spectrum router I have today.  The old and new hardware works perfectly EXCEPT that the new router broadcasts wi-fi a shorter distance than my old hardware did - thus my problem.    

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