General Networking/Lan/Wan/How to keep my devices connected to my wifi
QUESTION: Hi Jeff,
I have some devices that won't stay connected to my wi-fi network. Here is a list of them:
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 wi-fi, 16GB, rooted Android 4.2.2
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 wi-fi, 16GB, unmodified Android 4.4.2
Vizio VIA Smart TV
Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile, 8GB
And some more details:
It doesn't matter how close or far away I am, there is no effect on this issue.
The signal strength remains constant and behaves normally, except on the TV.
I have more devices on the network. Only the listed ones have this problem.
I have rebooted all routers, this has no effect.
Turning off all devices except one makes it much worse.
My ISP is Xfinity. I am getting about 850 baud (bits per second).
This happened 3 times while I typed this.
ANSWER: Hi Bruce,
First, I apologize for not replying sooner. I missed the original notification of your question, and just got a follow-up notification only today. Thank you also for providing a good amount of background on your issue.
There are 3 key pieces of information:
- I have rebooted all routers, this has no effect.
- My ISP is Xfinity. I am getting about 850 baud (bits per second).
- This happened 3 times while I typed this.
You mention "all routers". It seems unusual that you would actually have more than one router - I am assuming that this is a home network. I'm guessing - and PLEASE feel free to post follow-ups, that you have a cable modem and a wireless router. Often a cable modem these days will often also have an integrated wireless access point - mine does. So, perhaps that is why you imply more than one router?
I'm concerned about the stated SPEED of the connection. 850 bits per second is VERY Slow. Like slower than the old modems that we used in the early 90s. I'm hoping that you wrote this number and meant Kbps or Mbps, etc. Please clarify just to be sure. You may wish to run a few SPEED TESTS on both of these sites, to validate what you are getting:
All that aside, the MOST LIKELY root causes of your issues are one of the following (yes, it could be a combination of these but usually it's just one):
1. Line Issue
- Xfinity can remotely run tests to see if there is packet loss, etc on your line.
If they find things then they own fixing it - it could be a config issue on their side,
or a config issue on the cable modem, or even actually a bad line or bad connector.
This happened to me once.
2. Cable Modem is bad / needs firmware update
- All hardware eventually dies. The cable modem they provided to you could be "bad"
- Xfinity would no doubt wish you to do testing where you have a
single PC directly connected to the cable modem - to isolate root cause as
they won't care about an issue behind the cable modem.
Yes, technically the cable modem could be owned by you but I'm just guessing that
like most people (me included) that the cable company owns it.
3. Wireless router is bad / needs firmware update
- All hardware eventually dies. I have to replace my wireless router every so often.
It's a part of life and not fun. In my experience, I have the best reliability
and an acceptable price tag when using something like a refurbished Cisco E1500.
Over the years, I have tried MANY brands. Often, they'll work well for 3-12 months,
and then get very flaky. Knock on wood - my Cisco E1500 has been running strong for
years (but I do need to reboot it every 2-4 weeks, depending).
Ok so ... what should you do? Several things to start:
- Update firmware on the wireless router - make sure you don't
lose power to the device during this process
- Have Xfinity perform line tests to see if it's clean or if they pick on some issue.
They can also remotely detect issues that could be related to the cable modem.
- If there is no issue w/ the cable modem or line then:
- Yeah you MIGHT fix things w/ a firmware update to your wireless router
Try it - it can't hurt. Don't bet on it but keep your fingers crossed.
If that fails (likely) time for a new router. If true ...
- I'd recommend a refurbished Cisco E1500. Yeah it's "only b/g/n" and doesn't
have the latest 802.11 ac. But ... they are cheap, reliable and your bottleneck
is your cable speed, not your wireless connection. Your cable might be 15 mbps
up to maybe 50 mbps. At wireless 802.11 n, you'll get to use most/all of it.
Most (or all) of your devices won't handle 802.11 ac ANYWAY ... and those routers
are - IMO - still too darn expensive to bother.
ADDED to original response:
All that aside, I had a few additional thoughts, in case they might be relevant to your situation, which I can't know but feel free to provide more info if any of this seems like it could be happening.
- Assuming that you are NOT having a line or hardware issue, there are other things,
though unusual, that can cause/contribute to your issues:
- Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS). It would be unusual,
but it DID occur to me. How? If you are an on-line gamer and you hosted
a game directly on your PC - instead of using an internet-based server,
then your external IP is exposed, and some creep with access to a BOT.net
can setup a MASSIVE attack that will cause your symptoms. IF this happens
to you, about the only way to fix it is to have Xfinity change your IP,
re-provision your account, or turn off your modem/router for days in the
hope that your IP will change. I hope this ISN'T what's going on for you.
When it happened to me the ISP wouldn't help at all and I had to change ISPs.
- One or more of your neighbors is using your connection, with very aggressive
file sharing software (bittorrent, etc). If you aren't using an encrypted
network, then change it to use security. If you are using security, change
your passcode (unless you live too far from your neighbors for this to be a
For either of these cases, after a reboot, things will usually be "ok" for a brief
time and then get very clogged up and nasty in a short time.
I hope that this is useful to you, and sorry that I didn't get to it sooner. I'll email allexperts.com, to ask them to send out daily reminders, to avoid the chance of this happening in the future. Most of the time, I answer within 2-24 hours. So, this is embarrassing.
Thank you for your consideration.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: I do mean 850 bits per second, not kbps or mbps. The xfinity speedtest said I was getting over 1000 mbps, the other one timed out. My tablet and wi-fi router both say 850 baud standard, 1 kbps peak.
I do mean a cable modem and a wireless router. The cable modemdoesn't give wireless.
I am not hosting anythingnthat would make my ip visible. If I was, I would get a free domain (yes, those do exist. I own about 10) to hide it.
We are actually using our neighbors connection. They use very little bandwidth.
I have contacted my dad and neighbor about this. They are the (mediocre) admins of my network. My dad told me to email my neighbor again, and my neighbor says it's "fine" and won't do anything, just because he is paying a lot of money for it.
Well this complicates things quite a bit. Lots of things could be the root cause, as I've tried to detail out. Unfortunately, it would seem that you can't try most of (all) of them.
Honestly, I wish that you had mentioned this up-front. Please forward my earlier response to your dad/neighbor for them to review. It's up to them to proceed or not.