Suggestions for investigating mesh connection issues?

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Suggestions for investigating mesh connection issues?

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My home network uses one RT2600ac and two MR2200ac's with wired backhauls. In general things work well, but there are a few areas where devices will periodically lose their connection to the Internet. Can anyone recommend any tools or make other suggestions as to how I might figure out what's going on?

My best guess is that these places are in range of two or more access points, and the devices are switching from, say, the 5 Ghz network on one to the 2.4 Ghz network on another. It's an older home so there may be differences in wall obstructions based on exact placement, but I've seen it happen even when both the device and access points are stationary. It's tricky to investigate because the issue is transient and I need a second device with a good connection to pull up the admin tools.

I'm moderately technical, so all suggestions are welcome. Thanks!
 

jeyare

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welcome here

1. your description isn't sufficient for "go for an action" from our side

2. to be sure in your description "devices periodically lose their connection to the Internet" it means:
a) lose connection to Internet, but keep connected to the WiFi network (LAN)
or
b) lose entire WiFi connection

3. same & specific places in your house where you lose the connection?

you need a laptop and:
install some WiFi analyzer, that can help you recognize more important information. E.g. WiFi Signal strength in dB, channels crossing, interference from another APs, Signal to noise ratio, Signal to interference ratio, ...
don't use iOS crappy APPs, because it's a time wasting way.
Note: this is a sweet point for the analyzer, because for the Pro grade you will pay >1k USD
 
4
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  1. macOS
Mobile operating system
  1. iOS
Thanks @jeyare!

When the devices lose their connection to the Internet, it's hard to tell whether the issue is a) between the router and the ISP or b) between a device and an access point. The device wi-fi status indicates a connection as expected, but it's hard to say whether this is reliable.

One specific problem area is the far end of the master bedroom. I would expect that to be in range of the MR2200ac in the kitchen, but there are exterior walls that may be blocking the signal. Instead devices sometimes connect to the RT2600ac that is twice as far away, but with only interior walls in between.

I'll try NetSpot or similar. My only macOS device is a Mac mini, so I'll need to find a laptop to borrow.
 

fredbert

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NAS
DS1520+, DS218+, DS215j
Router
  1. RT2600ac
  2. MR2200ac
Operating system
  1. macOS
Mobile operating system
  1. iOS
@lehrblogger Netspot has a Windows version too, if that's helps you. I've both WiFi Explorer and collected Netspot Pro in a bundle of apps (but has been reduced singly on Macheist/AppleWorldToday). I regularly use WiFi Explorer to work out where networks are dropping, even used it to position a battery-powered WiFi repeater to extend a signal across a sports field. Netspot Pro looks to add WiFi assessments using a floor plan so is more effort but will probably get better results (WiFi Explorer Pro, I think does this).

I have an overlapping RT2600ac/MR2200ac mesh using ethernet uplink (via unmanaged switches). FYI these are my WiFi Connect settings for the main WLAN network.

SRM - WiFi Connect Main Network.jpeg


I've come to this combination of settings after tweaking many times. I think it's working but I don't usually get told of issues, unless I'm especially busy and haven't time to fix it.

Things to note:

802.11r can cause issues with older wireless devices (I've a 2009 MacBook and it refuses to connect with this enabled). My Guest WLAN is pretty similar but with 802.11r disabled and rotating passwords.
I play with enabling/disabling the Smart Connect for devices not supporting 802.11v.
I've found it best to leave all channels to 'Auto' select rather than my preference to fix them.
If I could change to WPA3 authentication then I would but I've too many devices of varying ages: iPhones didn't like it when WPA2/WPA3 was released.
 
4
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  1. macOS
Mobile operating system
  1. iOS
Thank you @fredbert, this is helpful! There are a bunch of differences between your settings and my (default) settings, so I'll start experimenting once I can do proper analysis to verify the results. No Windows laptop either, unfortunately.
 
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Router
  1. RT2600ac
  2. MR2200ac
Operating system
  1. macOS
Mobile operating system
  1. iOS
I have the same RT2600AC + 2x MR2200AC setup as you. Depending on your location in the world, if you have Allow auto-switch to DFS channels enabled, this could be the culprit. In my experience (Canada/Vancouver Area) DFS channels are not reliable for WiFi usage as we have multiple international airports close by so when I have enabled this option, despite the router showing some available DFS channels that it could choose from, the internet connection was very unreliable. Switching this off and setting channel selection to Auto to use the normal WiFi channels eliminated connection issues. I live in a large house with thick walls and stucco siding, there are no issues with WiFi signal strength from these routers when they are connecting properly.
 
4
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Operating system
  1. macOS
Mobile operating system
  1. iOS
@DaClown, I currently have that setting disabled, but I'll keep this in mind. There's a medium-sized international airport about 20 km from me. Thanks!
 

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