Help me optimize my network please!  

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  1. Posts : 172
    Windows 10

    My internet keeps dropping out!

    I have so many reasons I need help with my network! For starters. Because of various reasons I just don't think it necessary to for me to get into here, my wife and I have decided to home school our daughter this fall. This means we MUST have good internet access. Then of course there's the issue that I need work as well. I don't drive, nor can I due to injury so I'm looking for a telecommuting type job as well.

    Now my wife, daughter and I live with her uncle. He thinks his 13yr old b/g router is "just fine" and refuses to upgrade it. I was lucky enough to convince him to allow me to place a newer router between the cable modem and his, so long as it doesn't interfere with any of his stuff. So, after talking with friends and family I picked up a recommended TL-WDR4300.

    It was relatively easy to set up even though the pre-owned one I had gotten from Amazon only came with a Spanish manual, it still had an but the online disk is in English, and so is the .pdf. Now after setting up A Roku 3, my wife Samsung tab 7, a PS3, the one thing that's giving me the biggest headache is my Toshiba laptop! Dang connection keeps cutting in and out on me all the time! Suggestions on how to tweak that? The laptop has a Realtek RTL 8188E embedded nic. . I must tell you. Windows 10 makes it HELL trying to get to setting to change encryption, and such. I only just came up on that just now while type this out!
    Last edited by jayv2251; 12 Aug 2016 at 19:43.
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  2. Posts : 471
    Windows 10 Pro

    I suggest you connect your laptop to the router with a ethernet cable. If the wired connection is stable you know that there is nothing wrong with the internet connection itself and with your LAN. Next step would be to go to the website of your laptop manufacturer and look for the latest WLAN drivers. Install them and test whether it improves the reliability of your WLAN connection. Then post back the results.
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  3. Posts : 7,254
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

    May I suggest powerline adaptors. They are faster and more stable than wifi. There are models for all budgets and speed. But they do have a caveat. They depend heavily on your electricity rings. The more rings you have the more issues you might have. I have a stable gigabit link to my router downstairs and I think its wonderful.

    If you do use wifi then its important to keep uptodate for security reasons as some older wifi tech can be hacked in as little as 60 seconds (thats not enough time for you to even respond to prevent it). Also newer routers have faster and more wide ranging wifi signal. On my router for example, it has the technology to reassign wifi channels to connected devices if there are a lot of devices connected.
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  4. Posts : 172
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Okay, I tried to edit my original post last night but, well, the connecting cut out....AGAIN! UGH! I know the internet is working fine as while all this is happening my wife is watching a movie on the Roku 3 that's using the 5ghz band of the new router I just set up while using Facebook using the 2.4ghz band on her Samsung tab 7. (That device actually sees both, oddly the Roku only sees the 5ghz ssid).

    although I posted some of my specs on here, I had forgotten to mention. I am a stickler for keeping my system up to date on patches and driver updates. Not withstanding the bios on both my laptop and the router as well. So that's a non-issue. Everything is up to date there. Now it's just a matter of is this a Window's 10 issue? Is it a setting on my nic? Or can I tweak the router? After about 6 or more hours mucking with this last night, and then down loading vistumbler, I was able to determine of the 30 some odd networks in and around me 12 of them use channel 6 and another 7 of them use channel 11, so I moved my 2.4ghz ssid to channel 8 and then widened the radio signal to 40hz. Results....I still kept craping out...(sigh)

    Ya wanna know something!? When I was going to school (I was a late bloomer in my early 40's) for my net+ class I had like 7 computers in my home office with 4 different flavors of windows and 3 different flavors of Linux, two subnets and a vpn...and that wasn't as frustrating as this damn router is to me right now!!!
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  5. Posts : 471
    Windows 10 Pro

    If other computers/ devices have got stable connections my guess would be it's your laptop. Why don't you get one of those cheap WLAN sticks and test if you get a stable connection with it. I doubt Windows 10 is the culprit here. Or you switch to a wired connection.
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  6. Posts : 2,311

    If it is fine for a while and then dies , but only on the laptop , my guess would be the laptop wifi chip is overheating and shutting down.

    the alternate is the same thing is happening with the "previously owned" Router from Amazon (why you got a deal ?)

    how does the laptop connect with your UIL's Router ? any drops ?
      My Computers

  7. Posts : 172
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    As I'm trying to work the problem while asking questions here and there, I figure some things out. Of major note, while using Facebook my daughter was simultaneously using Netflix. Now I had already told her to use the 5ghz ssid for video and reserve the 2.4ghz ssid for stuff like facebook, ebooks, ect, we both lost carrier. I then reminded my daughter she needed to use the 5ghz ssid for video, but that's just having to deal with a pre-teen. She did as I told her for the second time and logged onto that SSID then continued to watch Netflix. I did a troubleshooting option on my connection and went back to Facebook only to be bumped several more times. Yet my daughter never lost carrier a gain after switching.

    What I think I may have discovered by using both Vistumbler as well as watching the network list from the task bar, I can see on particular local network. From what I can see, every the person(s) whom own that one logon, my connection drops out and I have to reconnect. We're not on the same channel. As I mentioned in my original post, I took a look at all the nearby networks, counted how many are which channel and then picked on that had the least amount of networks on it. That's why I set mine to channel 8. So I don't know what this person is doing, but it's odd then I drop when he/she logs on. If this person is running a "hot" network I have a few questions on what should I do then.

    First option. How else can I tweak either the router or the laptop? It looks like the laptop is only able to see the 2.4ghz ssid and not the 5ghz one. If I can't tweak either the router or the nic further my next option is to get a usb dual band dongle. Which brands do you all recommend? Which brands should I avoid? Another option to think about. Can I replace the stock antennas? There's three of them on my TL-WDR4300 that use rp-sma connections. Not sure of their db rating as I can't find anything about them on the spec sheet.

    I don't think wiring a connection at this time is a good idea. Just a 50' cable is $30. A dual channel dongle can be as low as $8 for a really cheap Chinese one if you wanted to go that route. If I did that, I'd want to add a switch so I could connect the Roku and the PS3 to the wired network reducing the wireless load a bit.

    Oh and as for the question about the uncle in law's network. It was only G rated, so no N. To say the connections were iffy is giving it too much credit. When I first mentioned the issue about the router to the uncle, he's comment was that it didn't need to be upgraded as he just bought it 2 years ago so it had to be good. I was sarcastic and mentioned that I could still buy a Model T and drive it, didn't mean it was a good idea to take it on the expressway. Then the screaming began.... Can you tell the uncle and I don't get along very well? I was lucky I got him in a good enough mood to convince him to allow me to put my router between his and the cable modem setting him up on a subnet. This makes us more secure as well.
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  8. Posts : 7,752
    windows 10

    The problem with a lot of networks close is many router auto select channel so they can suddenly switch to yours so you move to a clear one and ten mins all other router change. 5gig is normally faster and less congested but shorter range. The other thing is what speed do you get if your pumping a film down it could suck all the bandwidth
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  9. Posts : 2,311

    you aren't the only one experiencing those issues with that Router , the comments sections on Amazon has many reporting similar issues
    not sure if you can still return it? Customer Reviews: TP-LINK TL-WDR4300 Wireless N750 Dual Band Router, Gigabit, 2.4GHz 300Mbps+5Ghz 450Mbps, 2 USB port, Wireless On/Off Switch

    I have the TP link C7 which 98% of the time is good , now and then I think it overheats and needs to be turned off and on again to reset it.

    Hard wiring with a switch what you can should help with the heat issue hopefully though.

    Some laptops have replaceable Wifi Cards too though some Manufacturers lock them via the bios with a white list so they can't be replaced with anything but the exact same one.
      My Computers

  10. Posts : 172
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    I did a bit of research before I bought this router. I know it's not the top of the line, nor is it the newest. Going by the positive ratings on Amazon, plus some personal experiences people whom actually own it I talked to directly and am discussing this with on a Facebook page as well as on here to help sort this issue out all agreed it's a good middle of the road router. I only notice the drop out when one particular network becomes active.

    As I said, hard wiring is not an option due to cost. Remember folks, I'm not working. A 50' cable is $30 alone, not including the cost of a switch and a second cable to my laptop. That also eliminates the possibility of relocating the cable modem and router as well. That's if I could get the permission of my wife's idiot uncle. This then leaves me with two last options. Either swap the stock antennas out with high gain ones, or get a usb dual channel dongle for the laptop....or a combination of both.

    I've gone over all the drivers, firmware and software that I can think of. Unless there's something someone that has more training then I do...and that is more then likely many of you out there, I don't know what else to do.
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