I am turning to this always-helpful community because I am stumped, and while my family thinks I understand this stuff (I like troubleshooting things on my own and am usually successful) the truth is I really don't know how networking works. At the risk of over-sharing, I'll lay out everything I know. And if I have to buy anything new, Black Friday would be a good opportunity I suppose.
What I've observed
What I've tried
- Inconsistent internet performance in our home, whether wired or WiFi.
- Inconsistent WiFi coverage in our home -- sometimes great, sometimes not
- Inconsistent performance of WiFi -- sometimes connected but can't reach the internet
- NEW DEVELOPMENT: Connecting too many devices to the router caused internet connectivity to drop everywhere
I diagrammed it all. Two floors. Click thumbnails to view. The bold lines are brick walls. We have a Verizon FiOS Gateway G1100 router in the corner of level 1, with the WiFi turned off. Connected to the router are 3 gigabit switches from D-Link and TP-Link, from which we have Cat5E running from that room to many other rooms in the house. There are switches in a few of those rooms as well.
For WiFi, at the center of the lower level, I have an Orbi RB20 AC2200 Router, operating in AP Mode.
Above that, at the center of the top level, I have an Orbi RB20 Satellite, connected to the Orbi router via WiFi (I could not get the satellite to connect to the Orbi router via ethernet, going through all the switches).
I've fixed the channels at 6 and 40.
I downloaded a free trial of VisiWave and created these heatmaps, but it's worth noting that they vary wildly by the hour.
At any given time, we have 25 to 30 connected devices. Right now 9 are ethernet wired, 8 are using 2.4GHz, and 7 are using 5GHz.
In terms of wireless interference, we are in a single family home, so I don't think it's a problem, but depending on where you stand, you can pick up the a weak signal from more than a half dozen SSIDs from our neighbors.
What I've observed
I purchased this Orbi system earlier this year (I had been using the FiOS router for WiFi, and had a quality TP-LINK AC1200 Access point on the 2nd level). That system had worked great at first, then the spotty performance started, and so I switched to the Orbi system, which also seemed great at first, but now frankly seems to perform no better than what it replaced.
We pay for 85/85 from Verizon FiOS, which is plenty for us. Internet Speed Tests are wildly inconsistent. Most of the time, we get good speeds up/down (not always 85Mbps, but enough for us all to work), but sometimes the UPLOAD speed tanks to almost zero. This can happen whether it's a wired desktop or a wireless laptop or phone.
When this happens, it's sometimes device-specific. It won't affect everybody in the house at the same time. In fact, if the internet stops responding on my desktop, I can sometimes switch from ethernet to WiFi and get a solid connection. The next day, everything will be fine and I can go back to ethernet.
Verizon has it's own speed test site that shows separate performance for router-to-network and device-to-network. If that site is to be trusted, it shows the upload speed problem to be isolated entirely to device-to-network.
What I've tried
I was advised by somebody to go into my Orbi settings, and check Enable Beamforming, Enable MU-MIMO, and Enable Fast Roaming, and to un-check Enable Daisy Chain Topology. I did that and the problems continued.
So I tried creating the heat maps above, and that suggested that placement or # of devices is not the problem, but I tried messing with the access points anyway, moving the Orbi router to the other side of the house, and turning on the Verizon WiFi (same SSID, different unique channels). I don't know what I did, but after working well for about a half hour, EVERY device in the house went off line (strong signal but "no internet"), including hard wired devices. We still had internet to the house according to Verizon, but no internet from the Verizon router.
Turning off the Verizon WiFi and wwitching everything back to the way it was didn't solve the problem. The only way I got things working again was to unplug all but one of the switches from the Verizon router. Any time I plugged two things back in, we lost internet throughout the house. So now I have one 8-port switch serving critical devices around the house, and everything else is temporarily disconnected.
I have stretched my limited knowledge of networking and don't know how to diagnose. I don't know if the router is fried, or if it's my inside wiring, or some configuration I don't understand, or if I'd should buy more access points or something else.
If you've read all of this, then I already owe you my thanks for your time!