I have a Dell Inspiron 5370 which has the Qualcomm QCA9377 802.11ac Wireless Adapter. I have a TP-Link TL-WR841N 300Mbps Wireless-N Router in the other room.

My earlier Thinkpad used to get the wifi signals fine even in my other room. But the Dell couldn't. So I purchased the Netgear Wifi Extender & set it up with the same SSID - so that the laptop seamlessly works when I move it across rooms. This worked fine for a month. But since then I am facing issues - my laptop tries to connect to the extender but fails & then goes back to connecting to the router whose signal is too weak & hence unusable. I have to turn the extender on 2-3 times & also disconnect/connect to the SSID 2-3 times on the laptop before it successfully connects to the extender. The extender is very close to the laptop so it's not a signal strength problem. All the lights on the extender also seem to be fine/same when it does connect to the extender & when it doesn't. I have even done a factory reset of the extender but the problem continues. I think the Extender says "No internet" & hence the laptop goes back to connect to the main router, but I am not 100% sure about this.

I have latest firmware on both the wifi adapter & the extender.

Is there a way, I can troubleshoot this further?

  • Have you tried to replace the Extender? – harrymc Jan 31 '19 at 10:48
  • @harrymc - do you mean replace with a different extender? No - it's a new extender - less than 2 months month & I don't have another one. – user93353 Jan 31 '19 at 10:53
  • Try to factory reset it, but if it cannot connect to the router then something is wrong in hardware, or conditions have changed such as new interference. – harrymc Jan 31 '19 at 10:56
  • @harrymc - Already mentioned it in my original question - I did do a factory reset & try but no difference. Also as I have mentioned in the original question, it's not as if I am never able to connect - after turning the extender on/off 2/3 times & also turning wifi on/off on the laptop 2/3 times, I am able to connect. – user93353 Jan 31 '19 at 11:02
  • You mentioned a reset on the laptop only. To be sure: Does it help if you just turn on/off a few times the extender or only the laptop? Was there a driver update of the computer wifi card (check in Device Manager)? – harrymc Jan 31 '19 at 11:16

You would be better off getting a new router that supports multi-band AC with multiple beam forming antennas. The reason is that adding an extender contributes to noise in the air and could result in worse performance if radio smog was the original problem you were facing.

I recommend you perform a site survey. You can use WiFi Analyzer for free on your phone or computer:

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.farproc.wifi.analyzer&hl=en_US

Windows: https://matthafner.com/wifianalyzer/

This will tell you how many other devices are broadcasting on each channel and you can also measure signal strength of your APs from various important locations around the house.

If you find that your AP or signal extender are using a noisy channel you could look to manually configure the channels they use. A modern AC router will often pick the best channel when set to auto but those old N routers might need to be manually set if they are not finding a good channel.

  • This isn't really an answer to my question at all. I could buy a new router or a new laptop or a new extender. But here what I am looking for is a way to troubleshoot - why it works sometimes & doesn't work at other times. – user93353 Feb 5 '19 at 5:44
  • WiFi Analyzer is how you can troubleshoot. Did you finish reading? – HackSlash Feb 6 '19 at 16:53

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