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I have Xfiniity Internet at my house, which is a duplex. The wifi has been working fine for around 7 months, then in the last month it started to get choppy in the living room. At that time the router was in my bedroom. When I say choppy, I mean that some days the wifi would work fine, other days, no device was able to keep a wifi connection for more than a few seconds, while the device was in the living room. A device would connect to the wifi network, but the connection would drop after a few seconds. Sometimes it would be enough to load a few websites, but that's about it. Devices in the bedroom had no issues.

Over a few weeks this kept getting more and more frequent, and now devices in the living room are unable to ever keep a connection to the wifi for more than 30 seconds (at best).

My initial thought was that the 2.4ghz wifi channel was having issues, as the devices in my bedroom were close enough to the router to connect using 5ghz. I went and swapped out the router with a new Xfinitiy router, but that did not fix the problem.

I then moved the router to the living room, but the results are the same! I can be 4 feet away from the router, in the living room, and I am unable to keep a wifi connection. At the same time, the devices in my bedroom do not have any issue connecting to the wifi (with the router still in the living room).

Results from a wifi scan (ran in the living room around 8 feet away from the router) show that my wifi network has an RSSI of -42 and a noise level of -91.

I have changed the wifi channels to be statically set, I tried changing the names of the 5ghz and the 2.4ghz to be different from one another. I'm not sure what else to try. I don't believe that anything has changed in my house in terms of redecorating furniture, new electronics, etc.

At this point I suspect there is interference in the living room area, probably from my downstairs neighbors, but I am unsure. The downstairs neighbors did sign up for a wireless Internet provider (https://www.common.net/technology/) who installed a dish on our roof. It seems possible that the connection between the dish on the roof and the router that they must have downstairs might be causing the issue...

The thing is, the problems with connecting to stuff in the living room started out sporadic and has gotten worse over time, which also makes me think maybe it's not related to the wireless Internet provider's equipment, as that likely would have had an immediate impact, not a gradual one.

Oh, and this is happening on multiple devices, laptops, phones, and a Roku TV. The same devices work fine while in the bedroom.

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I think you're on the right track with the common.net link in this problem. Their web page notes that they use mesh networking, relaying signals from node to node. This implies that the devices are transmitting at a level higher than needed for simple residential service.

If you can work with your neighbor, your solution becomes a bit more easily accomplished. While you are checking your signal level and/or quality, ask them to power off their equipment. If you notice an immediate change, there's the answer.

If there is not that level of communications or cooperation with the neighbor, it gets more difficult.

In my years of work in the communications field, I found that a spectrum analyzer was a valuable tool. The generic device displays frequency information on a grid/graph type display, showing frequency in the horizontal and amplitude (strength) in the vertical.

You would power off your equipment and read the display for wifi range frequencies. Moving from room to room should match the information you've provided with regard to interference.

Spectrum analyzers are expensive, but I've discovered there are a number of apps that will work with laptops and cell phones.

One of them, at US$49 seems promising, as it works on a laptop and appears to provide substantial information at a moderate price.

https://www.netspotapp.com/wifi-spectrum-analyzer.html has a personal/home use license that may be valuable for your problem.

There are others you can find using "wifi spectrum analyzer" if you with to explore other options. I learned a few years ago that Android devices are better suited for this sort of research, as iOS devices tend to be locked down to reduce/prevent outside hacking.

The US has FCC regulations regarding interference. If you discover that the neighbor's equipment is causing problems and the company is not willing to mitigate the interference, you may be able to file a complaint with the FCC. If you arm yourself with an understanding of this "feature" when/if you have to speak with the company, you may not have to file the complaint to get the problem resolved, presuming that the trouble lies with their gear.

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You can end up with devices too close to a wireless router. If the signal strength is too hot, it overloads the front end of the radio receiver, causing distortion (imagine someone screaming directly into your ear, "rattling your eardrums"). I've tested Wi-Fi radios that started having increased bit error rates and packet error rates if the signal was stronger than -40 dBm.

With modern high-power wireless routers that transmit at +30 dBm (1 watt), I recommend keeping your client devices at least 2m away for best performance.

  • In this case i don't think this is the issue. The location of the router seems to not matter, it can be in the bedroom or the living room, and yet devices only in the bedroom work. – chadsmiith Dec 29 '19 at 23:30

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