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A little background:

My brother attends San Francisco Boys Chorus. The seven-story building is located in town down San Francisco. I have an online class which overlaps his singing. I've noticed the internet is unstable. Given my interest in computing, I'm hoping to possibly resolve the issue for the mutual benefit of the other people in the building and make my online class live session more reliable.

Internet Reliability Issues:

The internet is unreliable. However, the unreliability is not related to speed. When I am able to connect, the speed is good (although I haven't run a speed test). The reliability issue is with connecting to the access point and attaining an IP address. Often, when connecting, the connection status says "obtaining IP address" for several minutes and then times out. After several connect attempts, it usually connects and will stay connected for quite a while (usually between 15 minutes and an hour). I have no idea what router they use, if they use extenders, or the configuration of the router. I am just a high school student trying to resolve this for better reliability in my class. I've thought of tethering a phone but I don't have a phone (with service) and even if I did, it would require unlimited data considering the data demands of a live class session.

Online class live session data demands:

My online class is a live session which involves live video, audio, and graphics through adobe connect. Since it is live, buffering is not a possibility although their internet is likely fast enough to handle the live throughput data demands.

Questions:

What do you think the problem is? What would cause this issue with assigning IP addresses and keeping a reliable connection to the router? Thank you. Happy Halloween :)

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    Addresses are assigned using the DHCP protocol, and assigned address also include a "timeout" after which the client gets must ask for a renewal. So likely the DHCP server is unreliable, for whatever reason. But without access to their router infrastructure you won't be able to fix anything. Report the problem to their IT staff. – dirkt Oct 31 '16 at 18:53
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    Have you tried connecting with more than one device? Apple devices are known to be problematic and were given their own APs at my former workplace. To be frank, there is not enough information here to diagnose the symptom and it is unlikely that this question will be resolved. – gatorback Oct 31 '16 at 19:03
  • @gatorback Yes, I use many different devices. I had an iPhone 4 (I just gave it to a friend), a Dell Inspiron (forget the model number) running Windows 10 (with anniversary update), a Kindle Fire 2015 model, and a BLU R1 HD. They all are experiencing the same connectivity issues on their network only. All of my internet enabled devices work on my home network. – www139 Oct 31 '16 at 19:04
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    In that case the problem is definitely with the router. If your access is worth the cost of a new router, offer to replace it. – gatorback Oct 31 '16 at 19:05
  • @gatorback I've thought of doing that. I bought a cheap router with my birthday but that probably won't help. I'd have to purchase a really expensive router to offer the signal strength they need. I've been saving birthday money for 10 years now so I have about 2k in my bank account. I guess I could purchase them a better router. They appreciate donations. I called them earlier about it and they said they don't have the money to upgrade equipment and the money they receive goes toward the chorus directly. – www139 Oct 31 '16 at 19:07
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Given that:

  1. It is not your router
  2. No admin access to troubleshoot it
  3. No other symptoms other than unable to being assigned a LAN IP

In the absence of any other data, your best bet to resolving is to find out what AP they are using (ask them) and offer to replace it or add an additional access point in addition to the current access point.

It is not possible to determine the technical cause of the problem without observations or data: that requires sysadmin access. If they do not have a sysadmin, maybe this is a volunteer opportunity. You'll need to identify the right person to gain physical access to the router. This is a great learning opportunity for a student

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  • I'm trying to collect enough information from this question to justify approaching them. I can always refer their admin people to this question to back my claims and at least present the possibility of me repairing their unstable internet. – www139 Oct 31 '16 at 19:11
  • Yep, that would be awesome. Volunteering would be an awesome opportunity to score points with people and something to put on a college application maybe. Awesome suggestion. Thanks. – www139 Oct 31 '16 at 19:12
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    Awesome is making your world a better place and gaining the knowledge to replicate that success – gatorback Oct 31 '16 at 19:20
  • I like your statement better than mine ;) thanks for setting me straight and for helping me figure this out. – www139 Oct 31 '16 at 19:22

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