Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

Can’t Connect or Wi-Fi Drops Signals Frequently? Here’s How to Likely Fix It

If you experience Wi-Fi dropping signals or disconnections, or you can’t connect a specific device to your network, this post is for you.

I’ll explain how things work and walk you through a few specific tricks that will likely make things better. (Tip: Use the Table of Content below to jump to the part applicable to your situation.)

“Likely” because there’s a chance it’s not possible to remedy the problem at your particular place. That’s just the nature of the wireless connection.

But at least, you’ll know you’ve done all you could to improve your Wi-Fi situation. Before continuing, though, make sure you’re comfortable with handling a home router.

READ  Wi-Fi Router Explained: How You Can Figure out that Perfect One Today

(By the way, this post is about the Wi-Fi connection. If you have Internet disconnection issues, that’s taken care of in this one about troubleshooting your network.)

The Netgear RAXE500 Router is quite huge
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: Don’t immediately blame your router.

Dong’s note: I first published this post on March 29, 2020, and updated it on April 9, 2021, to include additional up-to-date and practical tips.

Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: Don’t immediately blame your router.

Wi-Fi signals (and speeds): A brief perspective

Signal distortion and disconnection are part of radio transmission’s nature. As the radio waves travel through the air, they run into so many things that can alter their integrity.

But starting with the age of cellular Internet and Wi-Fi, signal dropping has become more and more of an issue. 

Wi-Fi dropping signals:  Wave frequency
Radio (Wi-Fi) signals.

If you want to imagine how wireless transmissions take place, drop a pebble in a still pond, and watch the ripples moving outwards. That’s your Wi-Fi signal.

Now, throw in another rock at a different spot. That’s your neighbor’s Wi-Fi signal. Toss a shoe in! That’s your microwave. See what happens when the ripples collide? That’s signal distortion — it’s when your Wi-Fi drops.

What you might not have seen is the fact the pond was never entirely serene in the first place. And there were other things, like wind, insects, fish, the liquid’s viscosity, etc., that already affected the ripples created by the original pebble.

The point is, at any given time, there are more things that don’t help your Wi-Fi work as intended than those that do. And the fact it ends up working at all — delivering hundreds of megabits of data per second 24/7 — is already quite amazing.

But it’s human nature to take things for granted. As Wi-Fi improves over the years, we’ve come to expect more out of it. But like all things tech, there’s also more to Wi-Fi than what we can see. And we can’t even see it, to begin with.

So set your expectations right. There’s no magic! Your Wi-Fi is never as fast as the vendor claims, and its speeds are always going to fluctuate. And that’s partly because your home is not ideal for it in the first place.

Wi-Fi dropping, disconnections, and failure to connect: The general causes

To have good Wi-Fi, you first and foremost need the right hardware. So get a router (or mesh system) that’s suitable for your place and set it up properly. Hint: When possible, use network cables to link the pieces of your network together.

READ  Broadband Internet Troubleshooting: The Steps to Do It Right

Considering you’re on this website, though, I’d assume that you already got one of the best routers, which leaves us with three other common reasons that cause your Wi-Fi signal to drop or impossible for some devices to connect to.

Hardware incompatibility

This is likely the most common cause. As mentioned in perspective above, Wi-Fi is very complicated.

There are so many hardware vendors with lots and lots of devices. It’s tough to keep all of them interoperate well in all scenarios. That’s to mention hardware and software quality and different Wi-Fi standards and tier.

But at the core of it, this issue derives from the fact your broadcaster (router) and the client, like your laptop or IoT device, don’t work well together due to incompatible hardware or software driver.

Signal saturation or interferences

This is also common, especially in urban environments. Just look at your phone’s Wi-Fi scan, and chances are you’ll see a ton of available networks. Even though you have no access to most, they all are in your airspace, taking up precious spectrum allocation.

So, the more broadcasters of different types in the vicinity, the more likely you’ll have to deal with interferences. That’s not to mention other types of devices (like microwaves, cordless phones, etc.) that might also use the same frequecies.

Extra: The curious case of Bluetooth

The popular Bluetooth connection method also uses the 2.4GHz band. However, it’s very different and generally won’t cause (much) interference.

That’s because Bluetooth is mostly for peer-to-peer connections which don’t require a fixed channel. As a result, it can “channel hop,” meaning it actively pick and choose the most unoccupied channel to use in real-time. And it does that 1600 times per second.

As a result, generally, Bluetooth doesn’t affect Wi-Fi. Except in two instances, I think of:

  • The 2.4GHz band is fully saturated: Now, no hopping can help, but well, chances are non-Bluetooth devices saturate it.
  • Hardware sharing: This only applies to a client. Many (older) Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo chips don’t work well when both wireless functions are used simultaneously. This is rare, if at all, with newer chips, however.

Other factors

There are other factors, too. Some of them you have no control over.

Examples are hardware issues, radar activities, thick walls, or even a jammer near your home. Or the fact your home is made of materials that block radio waves.

Now that we have identified the issues let’s find out how to fix them.

How to fix Wi-Fi dropping and connection issues

We can only fix what we have control over. Specifically, we can make changes to our hardware to deal with signal saturation, radars, and incompatibility.

Again, there are two sides of a wireless connection, the broadcaster and the receiver. Each might have issues of its own.

Wi-Fi dropping, failure to connect, and disconnection: What to do at the broadcaster (router) side

Your router is the center of your Wi-Fi network. If something is wrong with it, all devices in the house will suffer. So it’s a good idea to ensure it’s in good shape.

(Note: In case it’s not obvious, don’t cover your router — any broadcaster for that matter — with anything. Don’t fall for rip-off stuff like Wi-Fi router protective cages! It’s best to leave it out in the open.)

So, before continuing, make sure you’ve taken care of the common stuff, including:

  • Restart your router: You should do this once in a while, like once a month. Many routers allow you to schedule an automatic restart. In this case, don’t make the router restart more than once a week.
  • Upgrade the router to the latest firmware: This generally helps with security, compatibility, and performance.
  • You’re not blocking a client via its MAC address. (Doh!)
  • Backup the router’s settings to a file: You can reset and restore it to a previous state if you mess up. That happens.
  • You have a router with a web user interface and are comfortable with the interface itself.

(If you’re using a router that only uses a mobile app and no web interface, your chance of getting things fixed is minimal.)

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at more specific things you can do.

1. General settings against Wi-Fi dropping signals: Pick the best channel

To avoid signal saturation and the interferences it brings, you need to pick the most available channels in the airspace. The easiest way, also the default in most routers, is to use the “Auto” setting. (If you use a single router, that’s likely all you need to do.)

This means the router itself will pick the best channel based on the real-world condition. And most of the time, that works.

However, a router can only detect the signal at its location, not throughout the entire home. As a result, all might be fine when you’re near, but as you move farther out, your device may start disconnecting intermittently.

This often happens when you use a mesh system — there are multiple broadcasters at different places around your home. To improve the situation, pick a channel that’s used the least, on average, throughout your area of desired Wi-Fi coverage.

WiFi Analyzer
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: A Wi-Fi Analyzer app, like this one, helps you visualize your airspace and help you pick the best channel for your Wi-Fi network.

Here’s how: Get a Wi-Fi analyzer app to site-survey the airspace as you walk around.

My favorite is the Wi-Fi Analyzer app (a free version will do), but you can also use others. You’ll note that a channel might be completely free at one spot, wholly used at another, and lightly use at another.

Pick the one that’s used the least on average. Do that for all the router’s bands involved.

(By the way, to understand the Wi-Fi signal strength and usage, you need to know the value of dBm. I explained dBm in detail in this post, but the gist is you’re dealing with a negative number, so the lower the value, the better the signal is.)

Synology Wi Fi Settings
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: The Wi-Fi setting section of a Synology router.

2. Many (legacy) devices can’t connect to Wi-Fi? Change the settings to favor compatibility.

This tends to happen when you upgrade your router to a newer standard. Existing clients might not be ready for it. So it’s a good idea to make the (new) router friendly with older clients. (More on how to improve this on a client below).

Generally, you can do this in the Wi-Fi or Wireless section of the router’s interface. There are many settings, but you only need to focus on the following:

(Note: Any of the following items alone might be enough to fix the problem. Try them out one at a time.)

  • Wireless Mode: Use Mixed or Auto. If you pick a specific standard like 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) or 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6), clients of different standards won’t be supported.
  • Channel width: Choose the value that allows for all available bandwidths, including 20MHz, 40MHz, 80MHz, and 160MHz. If you pick just one value, the higher the number you select here, the fewer clients are supported. (More on the 160MHz and DFS channel below.)
  • Security level: The level that’s balanced between security and compatibility, for now, is WPA2/WPA3. If you use WPA3 only, many clients won’t be able to connect. But if you pick WPA or lower level, your network is susceptible to being hacked. It would be best if you stopped using clients that require even less secure methods (WEP).
  • Smart Connect (when available): This setting combines the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands into a single Wi-Fi network. It doesn’t necessarily improve compatibility, but it helps keep your connection consistent since clients can automatically switch between the two.
  • 802.11ax HE frame support: Available in some routers; this setting favors performance for Wi-Fi 6 clients. If you have a lot of Wi-Fi 5 and older devices, you should turn it off.
  • Turn on Extended NSS: Not available in all routers, but if yours supports it, it’s in the advanced/professional area. Also, it’s likely already turned on by default.

If you use a tri-band router, you can name one of the 5GHz band as a separate network and use it exclusively for high-speed clients leaving the other 5GHz band in the compatibility mode. Also, some routers allow for multiple virtual network names (SSIDs). In this case, you can make one specifically for legacy clients.

By the way, if you use a tri-band wireless mesh, set the backhaul band to be the fastest supported by the satellites. After that, there’s no need to worry about compatibility with this band — it works exclusively for the satellites.

3. Intermittent Wi-Fi disconnections on high-end/new devices? Avoid Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) channels

If you live close to a radar station — within tens of miles — it’s a good idea not to use DFS channels. Note that all airports have radar, and almost every city has a weather radar station.

DFS shares its airspace with radar and, by regulations, takes the back seat. Consequently, when radar signals are detected, a router automatically switches its DFS channels to one that the other party is not using.

READ  Wi-Fi 6E Explained: Better Wireless Connections at the Expense of Range

When this happens, clients will experience a brief disconnection, from a few seconds to even a minute. It’s a dilemma since DFS channels are necessary for top Wi-Fi 6 speeds.

Depending on how frequent radar signals are present, you might not even notice the disconnection at all. But if that happens when you’re in the middle of a real-time communication app, like video conferencing, or online gaming, it sure is a pain.

Disabling DFS Channels
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: Steps to turn off DFS on an Asus router.
How to not use DFS channels

This depends on the router — some don’t support DFS at all. Generally, you can make the router ignore all DFS channels, or manually pick one that’s not part of the DFS spectrum.

Before you can do that, though, note that DFS is only available in the 5GHz frequency band. So first, you might need to separate it from the 2.4GHz — turn off Smart Connect, that is — before you can make specific changes.

After that, keep in mind that the 160MHz channel width requires DFS, so don’t use it.

Finally, DFS ranges from channel 52 to 144. That means channels outside of this range, including 36, 40, 44, 48, 149, 153, 157, 161, and 165, are not part of this special spectrum. Ensure your router (as well as the backhaul link if you have a wireless mesh system) uses one of those.

4. Network printers, IP cameras, etc., get disconnected sporadically? Time to make some IP reservations

This is quite common. Your devices might work for a while and then stop. This often happens with network printers or IP cameras but generally can happen to almost any device that requires a fixed local IP address.

Specifically, the device identifies itself via the IP address given to it by your router. When its IP changes — often when you restart the router or the device itself — the device now appears as new, causing the rest of the network to no longer see it as what it used to be.

IP Reservation Netgear router
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: IP reservation on a Netgear router.

To keep this from happening, you need to reserve an IP address for the device in question to make sure it has the same IP at all times.

Basically, this means you “bind” an IP address with the device’s MAC address. You can find out more about IP addresses and specific steps on performing IP reserving in this post.

READ  IP Address Explained and How to Quickly Figure out Yours
Extra: Stop using extender

On this IP reservation topic, note you can’t do that with most, if not all, Wi-Fi extenders. That’s because extenders give out virtual MAC addresses to their clients.

That said, if you need IP reservations, stop using extenders in your home or connect the device in question directly to the router.

5. Internet of Things (IoT) or legacy devices can’t connect to Wi-Fi? Use simple SSID (Wi-Fi name) and password

While this trick doesn’t seem to make sense, it has helped many situations in my experience. As it turns out, the complexity of a Wi-Fi network’s name (SSID) can be the reason why some clients — especially IoT devices — can’t connect to it.

That said, make your network name as simple as possible by following these rules:

  • Use plain English letters
  • Avoid using special characters or spaces
  • Keep it short

That said, instead of using a name like “Dong Knows Tech”, or even worse, “Đông Knows Tech ⚡”, pick “Dong-Knows-Tech” or, better yet, just “DKT”. (Needless to say, the quotes are not part of the names.)

As for the password, it’s best to use a long string of numbers. You can make it long and random, so it’s hard to guess. A Wi-Fi password that includes letters, numbers, and special characters, can be a pain when you need to enter it into an IoT device anyway.

Tip: When it comes to passwords, don’t associate complexity with security. The goal is to make your password hard to guess and, most importantly, to keep it a secret. Your password shouldn’t be as hard (for you) to use as possible.

If you need to use a fancy name and password for your Wi-Fi for one reason or another, you can create a separate simple Wi-Fi network just for the devices that can’t connect to the fancy one.

In this case, you can make a Guest network for this purpose — make sure you turn on the intranet access for it. By the way, many IoT devices only work with the 2.4GHz band, so you only need to worry about this band.

6. A (new) device can’t re/connect to Wi-Fi? Make sure the IP address pool is large enough

By default, most routers (or mesh system) limit their IP address pool to accept no more than a certain number of clients, like 25, 30, or 50 — much lower than the total number of IP addresses any router can give out, which is 253.

While it’s a good idea to have fewer active clients, it’s fine to make the address pool much larger than the number of devices a router can handle. That’s because not all clients are active at all times.

DHCP Server
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: You can configure your IPv4 address pool using your router’s interface.

Also, sometimes, one device might use more than one IP address for a variety of reasons. So the pool limit can run out earlier than you expect, causing new or returning clients to fail to connect.

That said, it’s generally a good idea to set the IP pool limit significantly larger than the number of devices you want to use. For more on IP pool and the detailed steps on how to change that, check out this post on all things router-related.

READ  Wi-Fi Router Explained: How You Can Figure out that Perfect One Today
Extra: IP lease time and you

As you can see on the screenshot above (below the IP pool), the IP lease time is the window of time the router will keep an IP for a particular device. During this period, the IP will not be available to any other client.

This period starts when the device first connects and won’t change until it runs out unless you restart the router before that, which will cause all devices to re-connect with a new lease.

The lease time is used in second, and by default, most routers use the 86400 value (24 hours). And that’s fine for most home use. But if you have an environment where you want the IP to become available immediately, you can reduce that to an hour or two.

When the lease runs out, the client will need to reconnect and might get a new IP. This process takes a brief second and requires the router and client to negotiate, so it’s not a good idea to keep the lease too short.


And that’s it. Now cross your finger and apply the changes to the router. Hopefully, things are all good. If not, it’s time to check on your clients.

Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: What to do the client

There are two things about the clients, the client itself and the software driver.

Client’s Wi-Fi settings, physical condition, and protective case

That said, check the client. Is it physically intact? If you have dropped it, that could have caused some hardware parts to not functioning properly, and the Wi-Fi adapter might be among those.

Again, check to make sure you haven’t turned off the Wi-Fi (Airplane mode) or manually set its Wi-Fi to work in a certain way — leave the settings at default unless you know what you’re doing.

If you use a phone or tablet, keep in mind its case adversely affects the wireless reception. All cases do. It’s a matter of degrees. The more “protective” the case is, the worse it gets. Take the case out or get a thinner one.

Software drivers

You need the latest Wi-Fi driver on each client for it to work well. The driver is a piece of software that allows a hardware component to work with the operating system.

If you’re on a Mac, you’ll need to upgrade your computer to the latest version of macOS and also the latest of whatever offered via Mac Software Update. That’s how you can keep your Wi-Fi driver updated. There’s no other way.

On a Windows computer or a mobile device, there are a few other things you can do.

How to upgrade Wi-Fi driver on a Windows computer

In Windows 10, you can check on the driver of the Wi-Fi adapter the same way you do any other hardware components. Here’s how:

Driver Check
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: It’s easy to check on and update the Wi-Fi adapter’s driver on a Windows computer.

1. Right-click on the Start button (lower-left corner) to bring up the Windows X menu. (I call it the “Windows X” menu because you can also call it up by using the Windows + X keyboard combo.)

2. On the menu that pops up click on the Device Manager item to bring up its window.

3. On the Device Manager window, navigate to a hardware component in question, in this case, it’s one of the Network adapters. Pick the Wi-Fi adapter, and double click on it to bring up the Properties window of that device.

4 On the Properties window, click on the Driver tab to look at the Driver Date value.

For a Wi-Fi adapter, the driver’s release date shouldn’t be before 2019. If so, it’s too old, and you want to try updating the driver. To do that, just click on the Update Driver button, then on Search automatically for updated driver software.

If there’s a new driver available, it’ll be downloaded and installed automatically. Alternatively, or if the computer can’t access the Internet, you can also check the manufacturer’s website using a different computer to see if there is a new driver. Download it and install it manually.

If there’s no driver update and the computer’s Wi-Fi doesn’t work with your new router, even after you have done all the router-related tricks above, well, you’re out of luck. It’s time to think about replacing that Wi-Fi adapter or the host device entirely.

How to fix Wi-Fi dropping issue on a mobile device: Latest updates and reset

You can’t update just the Wi-Fi software driver on a mobile device. The only way to update anything is to wait for the update pushed out by the manufacturer.

Reset Network iOS
Wi-Fi dropping or disconnection repair: Reseting the Network Settings on can help improve Wi-Fi performance on a mobile device.

However, there are ways to fix your mobile device, especially an iDevice, from Wi-Fi dropping issues, without getting any update.

Here are a few things to try. Note: In many cases, just one of these would fix the problem, so check after trying one. There’s no need to do all of them.

  • Restart your device: When did you restart your phone? Exactly! It’s a good idea to close all open apps and perform a restart once in a while. That can solve a lot of issues, including those relating to Wi-Fi (and cellular) connection.
  • Update your device to the latest OS version and patches: This is especially true with incremental updates, which tend to include the latest drivers. The update process will also restart your device, by the way.
  • Reset the network setting: This will erase all saved Wi-Fi networks, and you will need to enter them again. However, it also removes all incorrect settings that might cause connection issues. You can find the Wi-Fi or Network reset in the device’s General Settings area, or you can search for it.
  • Reset the device to default:  This will erase everything you have on the device, so make a backup first. This drastic step helps refresh your equipment and make it work like new, at its optimal state, including the best possible Wi-Fi support.

The takeaway

Wi-Fi is a lot more complicated than wired networking. For one, it’s invisible. You can’t see the things that can cause interruptions in the radio waves. So knowing what has gone wrong could be a challenge.

That said, proper hardware setup on the router and using clients with the latest software are the key to a well-performing wireless network. Besides that, make sure you pick the best channel given your situation and use a simple SSID.

Most importantly, don’t expect magic! Take some time and appreciate how the technology has worked for you. A little Wi-Fi dropping and disconnection here and there is a small price to pay for so much gain you’ve gotten from it.

67 thoughts on “Can’t Connect or Wi-Fi Drops Signals Frequently? Here’s How to Likely Fix It”

  1. Dong, thanks for another excellent and comprehensive article. I’ve used many of your suggestions, but I’m still scratching my head over the connection quality between my Asus AiMesh system (3 XT8 units) and my 3rd Gen. Nest Learning Thermostat.

    The Nest is located approximately 6 feet from one of my XT8 nodes, yet still consistently connects (via the 2.4 Ghz band – no Smart Connect, it doesn’t seem to work well in my system) to my router located over 25 feet away. If I try to reconnect the Nest via the Asus GUI, or bind it to the closest unit, I get a warning message that the signal is too weak and may preclude connection to that unit. Same result occurs if I try to set the Nest for the 5 Ghz-1 band (3rd Gen Nests are dual-banded).

    I’ve heard comments that Nest IoT products don’t play well with Asus mesh systems. I’m wondering if that’s the case here, or I’m missing something obvious.

    Reply
  2. Thanks Dong ! Another great post. Honestly I have learned so much through all your posts, they are truly fantastic.

    Very stupid question on the subject of interference, and more specifically on interference within my own mesh network. As you mentioned in another post, one cannot control the channel used by individual satellites in an Asus AI mesh network (can only control a channel for all). Yet if I am using a 5GHz back haul, that means that the router and the satellite need to be close enough for the 5G to get through, (ideally without too much loss). But since the 2.4G signal propagates further and goes through walls better, it seems that the router and satellite will necessarily interfere with each other. Is that true ? Why would AI mesh system not try to optimize the mesh by using the most appropriate channel on each AP so that they don’t interfere with each other?

    Looking at wifi analyzer, my AP is placed just right so that the 5 GHz signal covers the house well (without the satellite it doesn’t work in the back). But on 2.4gHz it feels like there is a very strong overlap and I could almost do with the 2.4 turned off on the satellite.

    Reply
    • That’s not exactly true, Leo. That’s where a mesh is better than an extender. That’s because the two hardware units that have overlapped signals work together. You can think of them as sharing the same signals, so to speak. But the 2.4GHz band is generally congested even by non-Wi-Fi devices anyway — your analyzer won’t show these signals. I wouldn’t worry about it.

      Reply
  3. Hi Dong,
    I have an ASUS ZenWifi mesh using both a wired and wireless backhaul. At least once a day I lose my internet for 5-10 seconds, both wired and wireless. I am running the latest firmware version. Any thoughts as to what I should try – could it be hardware?
    Thanks

    Reply
      • Many thanks Dong. I should have mentioned that I have the ZenWIFI AX, but I will follow your instructions about DFS. We are rurally located, and can only see one neighbors WiFi, but are close to a number of radio towers. Additionally we are approx 6.5 miles from an airport!

        Reply
        • Yeap, I suspected that you use the XT8, Steve. You’re close to an airport. Disable DFS, including for the backhaul band, — you’ll get slower speed but things will be more stable. There’s no way around it.

          Reply
  4. Hi Dong,
    I was a longtime Amplifi HD user and switched to the Linsys MX10 with 3 (MX5300) nodes in Dec. They are all using backhaul to the main. I am constantly having to start the main node and the firmware has never updates. The app is also slow to update.
    I was thinking of switching back to Amplifi with the new Alien and 2 extra Aliens using backhaul. But, you have made me start thinking about switching to ASUS instead. What do you think? Dump the MX units? ASUS or Alien. House is 5800 sqft. 3 stories.

    Reply
      • Seconded (fwiw). I was going to ask if you had any suggestions as to why my Lenovo laptops can’t connect in SmartConnect mode while my mobile and IoT devices connect just fine.

        Dong, thanks for all of your informative reviews and articles. I’m fairly technical but I still learn a lot from you.

        Reply
  5. Hi Dong — I have the ZenWifi AX router and node set up in my house. Updated to latest firmware, reset to factory default and then reset my network through web GUI. The node is connected to router through dedicated wireless backhaul on the 5Ghz-2 channel. Because of location of node in my home I can’t use wired backhaul.

    I’m having an issue where the node randomly disconnects from the router. It will flash blue for a few minutes and then reconnect (solid white). Great signal strength (-44 dBm). Disconnects happen periodically throughout the day. The main router always maintains its Internet connection to the cable modem. As a result of the node disconnect all connected devices reroute to the main router. So I end up with 30 devices on the main router and nothing connected to the node. Then slowly as devices find the node again it will connect them — until the node randomly disconnects and all devices go back to the main router.

    Is this an issue I can address myself or a hardware issue that needs to be sent to ASUS for diagnosis?

    Reply
  6. Hi Dong
    I have just joined Vodafone broadband after having years of Stone Age broadband speeds with BT and others.
    It seem I’m getting good speeds into the router but then crazy poor WiFi signal throughout the house.
    I cannot game, I can barely watch tv. And signal is constantly dropping.
    A colleague has mentioned adding a few mesh access points?

    Reply
  7. Hi Dong I have a virgin media hub 3 and have had it for 3 months with no issues. We decided to get 3 wireless cameras fitted to the outside of our home and since we did this our wifi is now terrible. I can be just 2 meters from the hub and my devices loose connection. I tried different channels but no improvement? Is this because of the new cameras and if i were to wire the cameras up to the network would this restore the wifi back to a better state?

    Reply
      • Hi Dong thanks for your speedy reply, I turned all cams off and reset the home hub 3 and still had bad WIFI afterwards. So luckily I had a BT Superhub lying around and put this in the center of the home and sent a Ethernet to it from the virgin hub. I setup the BT hub first now WI-FI runs through the BT hub and all works very well. The virgin hub is very poor for Wi-fi in my home. Thanks for your help again.

        Reply
  8. Hi Dong – this is the most useful piece I’ve read on troubleshooting wifi issues at the router level (and I’ve since followed you down a rabbit hole on other posts).

    I’m completely at a loss for my issue and wondering if you’ve seen anything similar. I recently replaced my router with a newer one – same SSID and password for wifi. I can get about 90% of my IoT devices (mainly outlets, switches) to connect to the 2.4 ghz and then the network refuses to let me connect new devices. Refuses phone, tablet, laptops, but retains IoT existing connections. If I adjust the wifi or router settings, or reset the connection or device, I can temporarily connect a phone/tablet/laptop for a few minutes.

    Never had this issue with the previous router, and that one connected to 100% of my IoT devices. Checked the channel, bandwidth, DHCP. I don’t have DFS controls. Anything else you can think of? I returned this router and replaced it with another unit thinking it was the unit, but same issue occurred.

    Reply
    • Check the IP pool and security settings mentioned in the post, Diana. Also, make sure you use the same IP subnet, meaning if your old router used the 192.168.x.1 IP, then the x should remain the same as the new one. If you don’t remember what you used, reset the IoT devices and reconnect them.

      Reply
  9. Hi Dong,
    I recently switched from Linksys 1900AC wireless router to the TP Link Deco M9 plus (router + 2 AP mesh). We’ve been having problems where it appears to drop the internet link periodically throughout the day. Wired devices show no issues, wifi local devices do not appear to drop, but my VPN tunnel will close for a minute and I lose SSH connections to office hosts.

    Any thoughts on this? Wife is getting frustrated since she’s always online.


    Dan

    Reply
  10. Hi Dong, came across your site. Awesome info! Maybe I can ask you a question: I’ve got fiber 600 Mbps entering my home in my living. My desktop is ~40ft away in the adjacent room (= study, 1 wall in between). Since no ethernet runs to the study, I think about the ASUS RT-AX92U (2-pack mesh). One to be used as main router (living), the other in my study wired to my desktop. I’ll use the backhaul for communication. The node in de study can also cover (by 2,4 n + 5 ac) the garden directly behind the study. Do you think the AX92U is a great buy, or do you recommend another type/solution? The mesh feature is not mandatory.

    Reply
  11. Came across this post through a google search….
    I don’t know if you’ll have a solution to this problem I’ve been having but I occasionally get WiFi isn’t connected to the internet errors which lasts a couple seconds to a few minutes randomly through the day, it’s extremely annoying when working from home getting disconnected and having to reconnect to conference calls all day, or in the middle of gaming afterwards.

    I’ve already tried rebooting the cable modem and wireless router, forgetting the wireless access point/reset network settings on devices but it still happens. Any thoughts on ways to find a remedy to this problem?

    Thanks

    Reply
  12. Hello! I recently found this site while searching about AI Mesh and Asus routers. Lots of info and very rich piece of work you got here. I’m not too into tech and I actually feel a bit overwhelmed with all the information available. I will make this quick to see if you can help me. I have a 1450 sq ft. 2 story town house in Miami, FL. Wi-fi has always given us issues and now we notice it even more, due to the fact that the kids have remote school. ISP is Comcast Xfinity 300 mbps plan, Arris SB6190 modem, AI Mesh RT-AC3100 router (primary) and RT-AC68P (node). I used to have the cable modem and primary router inside the master bedroom (2nd floor) and the AC68P node in the living room downstairs, but I decided to bring the modem and AC3100 to the living room downstairs, because I became a bit scared that all these radio waves could cause health issues since they were concentrated inside our room.
    Connections are wireless because it is almost impossible to run a cable in this house. I wish I could though.
    At this point, my primary router AC3100 is in the living room along with the modem, and the router is located nearby the stairs that lead to the second floor. The AC68P node is located in the hallway on the second floor and it is about 23 to 25 feet away from the primary router. My questions:

    1. I have read some bad things about the SB6190 and the Puma chip causing latency issues. I have noticed my modem drops signal very often and it always leaves me thinking if the issues could be on the ISP side or mine. Should I get a different cable modem for this AI Mesh setup? If so what would you recommend?

    2. As far as the AI Mesh goes I’m using this dual band routers because its what I have and I wanted to take advantage of whatever resources I had without spending too much money. Should I get another node to place on the first floor about 10 feet away from the primary mesh router?

    Thanks for time and attention in advance. I would just like to make my setup a bit more reliable. My kids home schooling gets impacted a lot when the internet doesn’t work right and I would like to see if I can fix this.

    Reply
  13. I have a new PC which I’m trying to connect to my ASUS Zen WiFi AX6600, and I’m not getting very far. The PC came with an ASUS PCE-AX3000, and while it connects to the router, it usually doesn’t get Internet access without running the Windows troubleshooter, or manually flushing DNS and releasing and renewing ipconfig. And when it does get Internet access, it usually lasts about 30 seconds before losing it.

    I have copied the latest firmware over to the WiFi adapter, reset my router a couple times and updated it to its latest firmware, to no avail. I have also tried removing the WiFi adpater and re-enabling the motherboard’s built in WiFi, but get pretty much the same results.

    It seems unlikely that the problem lies with the router, because I have multiple devices connecting to the Internet through it with no trouble. But it also seems unlikely to be a hardware problem with the new PC, as two different WiFi connections are having the same problem. Is there a setting in Windows 10 that would be causing this? Or do you have another article you could point me to which might help for this issue, where one device can connect to the WiFi but can’t get consistent Internet access, while other devices have no problem with the same router?

    Thanks,

    Reply
  14. Extremely grateful to have found your site. The past week I have been having Wi-Fi issues. After many speed tests, I concluded it was my Apple Extreme. Checked the firmware per your article and found the last update was May 2019.
    Guess I didn’t realize it was that old!
    I’ve been reading many of your reviews, so I can find the best replacement. 🙂

    Reply
    • Happy to have you, Michele. You’ll likely find what you need here, mostly because almost any routers you find here will be better than the one you have. 🙂

      Reply
  15. Hi Dong,

    I live near the airport and while playing Xbox which is connected to the node I had some instant connection lags. Searching the internet brought me here and as always helpful article.

    I believe the issue could be backhaul connection between the nodes of my Asus ZenWiFi AX. I disabled 160Hz for 5Hz 2 which is now 20/40/80Hz but can not disable “Auto select channel including DFS channels”. Every time I unselect it and apply it refreshes as selected. Also available control channels are 100-140Hz which according to this article are the DFS channels. Am I doing something wrong?

    My ISP speed is 200mbps download so I don’t need gb wireless seeds. What I need is solid connection with no interruptions or lags. Thanks.

    Reply
  16. i don’t think combine 2.4GHz and 5GHz is a good idea. when the client switch between two band, gaming dropout happens. seperate is better.

    Reply
    • You’re right TKO. This is more about “compatibility” as in making sure something can get connected. Separating them will give you more control.

      Reply
  17. Hi Dong, your articles are excellent and very informative. I’ve progressively improved my home network based on your articles. I moved from my ISP Modem/router to bridge mode and standalone router. I also added a Netgear AP(wired) for wifi purposes because of our larger house. Unfortunately, I am not ready for a Mesh setup yet. What is the preferred setup same SSID for my router and AP or different? I was cautious with no overlapping channels etc. but had issues with drop-out, so I am trying different SSID’s. Unfortunately, the changing of SSID is painful with the number of clients.
    Any suggestions or articles that I may have missed be very appreciated.

    Reply
  18. This post is very informative. I’m trying some new things as a result, but still having an issue. My issue may be too specific to warrant a reply, but I’ll give it a shot and if you have time and advise I’d very much appreciate it!

    I upgraded to an Orbi mesh network and was quite happy for about 2 months. I have quite a few smart home devices, and everything was working beautifully.
     
    One day I decided to add in a raspberry pi with hass.io and a Conbee II zigbee stick. That evening I noticed the wifi was completely disappearing and reappearing every 10min or so. I have no idea if that had anything to do with the problems, but of course I started googling and found that zigbee can cause some interference. I unplugged it and haven’t plugged it back in, but the problems have remained and gotten worse.

    I’ve tried all sorts of things, but never got it to return to “normal”. Sometimes changing channels helped, but it wouldn’t last long. I notice on day my laptop was getting extremely slow speeds while my phone was still getting good speeds. I tried turning off the satellite that day, and my laptop bumped up to reasonable speeds. So I tried moving the satellite around and fiddling with various settings, but that didn’t help. So I just kept the satellite off for a while, but after a week or so the disconnecting/reconnecting issue returned.

    I’ve also tried factory resets, which didn’t help (or at least not for long). I even tried a factory reset and just left the default SSID and only connecting my phone. I also confirmed the firmware was up-to-date. That particular time, after only 10 minutes I noticed the wifi disconnecting and reconnecting again (on for a few minutes, then off for a minute, then repeat).

    You mention in this post that radar (and airports) can cause disconnections like this. I DO live 1 mile away from a very small airport. But I’ve tried playing around with the channels and that doesn’t seem to fix the issue, or at least not for more than a few days. I’ve tried doing the site survey you recommend and there didn’t seem like there was an unusual amount of stuff going on. I only have one neighbor who’s a good distance from me, so I typically only see my own network and sometimes hers and a very weak signal coming from one of our town’s ISP’s open hotspots.

    Any thoughts? Is it possible I may have somehow killed the router? Could the rasberry pi/zigbee stuff I was fiddling with have anything to do with it?

    Reply
    • It’s unlikely something to do with the Zigbee, Jacob. But it can be anything. It’s impossible to diagnose from afar, unfortunately. It can be just issued with the hardware itself.

      Reply
  19. I live in a complex with lots of ppl having wifi
    I would get frequent disconnects on my ipad/iphone when in my bedroom, router was in lounge. Ipad worked perfectly fine in the lounge.
    I changed the radio frequency etc with no benefit.

    Interestingly i split 2.5ghz and 5ghz and only allow ipad/iphone to 5ghz and have not since had a problem. My iot decices connect fine to the 2.4ghz.

    Router – tp link Ax3000.

    Sadly I was having a similar problem with my apple airports and replaced the router unnecessarily

    Reply
  20. Having issues with WiFi and own Roku streamer. The Roku may be your issue. The Roku uses WiFi channel to talk with its remote. How does Roku pick WiFi channel? It follows your router. If router is on 48 the Roku picks 48. If the router moves to 36 the Roku moves to 36. Had major issues with WiFi stability. The router kept changing channels to fix inference, but Roku followed. Fixed Roku WiFi issues, smooth sailing.

    Reply
  21. Hi

    Do you have an article on how to set up FTTP interface with a Talktalk super router as my WIFI keeps dropping, more so when 2/3 people are doing Zoom together. Thanks

    Reply
  22. I mentioned this on your AX82U review. Have been very satisfied with my new AiMesh network (AX82U as my main router on the first floor and TUF AX3000 wired as my node on second floor). Now I have full 5Ghz coverage and full internet speed as advertised by my ISP around the house.

    Was having problem with some of my older devices (especially the older IoT that I use to control my air conditioner). Tried to reset those IoT devices, change a lot of setting on my router but still have troubles. Finally change my 2.4Ghz security to WPA2 only (I use separate SSID for 2.4 and 5Ghz) while keeping WPA2/WPA3 for the 5Ghz channel. Now all of my devices are working fine and I am very satisfied with it.

    Reply
  23. Does anyone know from Asus confirmation as to whether Guest nodes will fully support Guest Networking in the Asus ZenWifi AX and if so, when? Thank you.

    Reply
  24. Hello, just received the RT-AX89X this weekend and so far it has been somewhat unstable. Twice it has locked up to the point that both wireless and directly wired clients lost connectivity. I could not even connect to the management IP address of the router, it seemed to be completely locked up. The only way to get things back up and running was to power cycle it. The last messages in the log prior to it locking up look like this:

    wlan: [0: E:NSS] [nss-wifili]: wifi peer message send fail2

    The firmware that it came with is 3.0.0.4.384_81377-gc8d8dff and when I check for updates it says “Temporarily unable to get the latest firmware information. Please try again later.”

    Have you seen similar issues with the router and how did you resolve?

    Reply

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