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wireless slow degradation
Old 08-12-2017, 11:24 AM   #1
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wireless slow degradation

Can any wireless network geeks figure out the following? I'm baffled.

My video streaming box can operate either wired or wireless. Over the course of a few weeks of daily use of the box the wireless connection speed gradually drops to the point streaming Netflix becomes impossible. Power-cycling the box makes no difference. Power-cycling the network's other components too similarly yields no improvement.

If I run a temporary wired connection between the streaming box and the wireless router, streaming then works fine. Now the odd part: removing the wire the next day and switching back to wireless operation also works fine initially, but over the course of a few weeks the wireless connection again degrades to the point of being too slow to stream.

I've repeated these steps a few times this year and the trouble repeats. I'd like a better solution than flipping to a wired connection for a day. Why that should reset the trouble is a mystery to me. Why the slow wireless degradation happens, despite power cycling devices, also makes no sense. Is there a logical explanation?
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Old 08-12-2017, 12:58 PM   #2
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Are you power cycling the wireless router too? Wasn't clear to me what you had turned off/on other than the streaming box.


I'm going to embarrass myself at how little I remember from my networking days, but my thought is that there are some errors on the wireless "connection" that is causing packets to be retransmitted or causes the router to slow down the send rate so the streaming box can handle it. If you don't power off both ends at the same time, one end may remember the issue with the other end, and continue the slow rate. Or just powering off the router only could work. On the wired connection the router won't assume the same issues with the streamer so it starts fresh, and probably doesn't have the same errors so it can continue sending data faster. It also must clear out it's memory of the wireless connection so once you switch back to wireless, it starts fresh until the errors degrade it. That may be more detail than you want and I may be full of it, but it's probably not too far off.


I did find once, over 10 years ago, where I had to get real techie and figure out how to configure something called the MTU rate on the router optimally, but that may be a relic from the past and I don't think I want to try going down that path again, especially remotely.


It could be outdated software/firmware on either end, so you could try upgrading your wireless router version. Should be straightforward, but there's always the risk that the new version won't load properly or will have more problems, so you may break more than you fix. Many people find that replacing their wireless router fixes the problem too. I can't explain what kind of hardware problem would cause this degradation, but maybe there is something, or maybe it just gets you a router with more current software. It's also something you can easily back out of if it makes things worse, as you have your current router still available. How old is your router?
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
Can any wireless network geeks figure out the following? I'm baffled.

My video streaming box can operate either wired or wireless. Over the course of a few weeks of daily use of the box the wireless connection speed gradually drops to the point streaming Netflix becomes impossible. Power-cycling the box makes no difference. Power-cycling the network's other components too similarly yields no improvement.

If I run a temporary wired connection between the streaming box and the wireless router, streaming then works fine. Now the odd part: removing the wire the next day and switching back to wireless operation also works fine initially, but over the course of a few weeks the wireless connection again degrades to the point of being too slow to stream.

I've repeated these steps a few times this year and the trouble repeats. I'd like a better solution than flipping to a wired connection for a day. Why that should reset the trouble is a mystery to me. Why the slow wireless degradation happens, despite power cycling devices, also makes no sense. Is there a logical explanation?
Mine also was a pita, so I did an Ethernet hard connection and let it be. I never stream movies on anything other than my LR computer and TV set, so it didn't really matter. Your situation is really interesting though, and it illustrates why I just give up abut this stuff.

Ha
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:50 PM   #4
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All the equipment is about 5 years old. While the wireless is too slow or jammed for Netflix, other services like Pandora operate fine. Rather than buy new equipment I might just run a permanent wired connection. OTOH since I've never had it wired for more than a couple days I don't know that the wired connection won't also bog down after a few weeks.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:07 PM   #5
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Pandora is just audio, right? That's way less bandwidth than video+audio. You could be considerably constrained yet get Pandora without hiccups.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:16 PM   #6
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We just consider it normal to turn off router and modem and re-boot about once a week. We have also installed a range extender so our main TV gets a good signal.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:49 PM   #7
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We haven't knowingly booted our routers in years. If routers need to be booted frequently then I think that points to a hardware or configuration issue.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:58 PM   #8
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We haven't knowingly booted our routers in years. If routers need to be booted frequently then I think that points to a hardware or configuration issue.
Agreed. I do not reboot for months (or years) at a time
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Old 08-12-2017, 05:21 PM   #9
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If rebooting the router fixes the problem for a few days, then it goes bad again, just buy a new router. They're cheap.
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Old 08-12-2017, 07:07 PM   #10
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Many wireless routers have the ability to communicate over different bands, 2.4GHz is usually the default but many also offer 5GHz. Some devices do better when connected to the 5GHz band, no guarantee it will fix your problem but it won't hurt giving it a try.
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Old 08-12-2017, 07:31 PM   #11
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You have a personal problem that I share with you. Once you plugged in the network directly and everything worked just fine, why couldn't you just leave it plugged in and call it a day. I don't know - I wouldn't either, but once you get what you want, it seems prudent to stop and move on with your life. I wish I had the hours back that I spent trouble shooting a problem for no good reason.

Of course, the next step is that you will flip a switch hoping to fix that problem, but it will disable your entire wireless network and you'll spend a day or more figuring that out - of course you know how I know that. Ugh!
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:21 AM   #12
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You have a personal problem that I share with you. Once you plugged in the network directly and everything worked just fine, why couldn't you just leave it plugged in and call it a day. I don't know - I wouldn't either, but once you get what you want, it seems prudent to stop and move on with your life. I wish I had the hours back that I spent trouble shooting a problem for no good reason.

Of course, the next step is that you will flip a switch hoping to fix that problem, but it will disable your entire wireless network and you'll spend a day or more figuring that out - of course you know how I know that. Ugh!


Ouch. This sounds far too familiar. Especially that last step. Except I did it while DW was streaming something she wanted to watch.
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Old 08-13-2017, 06:13 AM   #13
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I agree with Zinger1457. I just bought a new cable modem/router combo that works SO much better than the old one that just bit the dust.

I put the wireless streaming devices on the 5GHz network and all the rest of the devices on the 2.4GHz network. 5GHz doesn't have the range, but it definitely makes it up with the power. Locate, if possible, your router nearer to the wireless streaming devices.

Here's the one I purchased. Motorola 7550
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Old 08-13-2017, 07:06 AM   #14
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A few things come to mind.
1. Look for a firmware update for the router
2. Another device on your network is causing the problem
3. Neighbors wifi signal is competing
4. The router wifi is just NG, or not 100% compatible with your needs

Try a new router, since yours is older. It is the simplest fix.
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Old 08-13-2017, 08:53 AM   #15
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This sounds like a difficult issue. Usually a wireless network won't degrade over a long period like that.

You need to isolate the portion of the network that is slowing down. You can do this by using a different wireless device like a laptop and see if the laptop slows down when the streaming device slows down. For example, run internet speed tests on the laptop over the two week period and see if it slows down as well. If it does then something is going on with the wireless router side of the network. If the laptop is fine then the problem is with the streaming device.

If the streaming device is the problem, you can be getting into a lot of potential weirdness depending on how the device software and hardware is implemented. It could be a potential heat related degradation, something problem with how media is buffered, or as mentioned by others some interference related issue.
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:32 AM   #16
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A few things come to mind.
Try a new router, since yours is older. It is the simplest fix.
Seriously, do this. Software gets better over time and many of the first generation or two of WiFi boxes had seriously awful software in them.

And buy a different brand than you had.
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:06 AM   #17
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Thanks for the replies. Sounds like there's nothing obvious I missed. Since I know wired works, at least for awhile and perhaps long-term, my plan is to reroute the temporary wired connection so it won't be a trip hazard. That means some drilling and cable pulling but that's doable.
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:09 AM   #18
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Thanks for the replies. Sounds like there's nothing obvious I missed. Since I know wired works, at least for awhile and perhaps long-term, my plan is to reroute the temporary wired connection so it won't be a trip hazard. That means some drilling and cable pulling but that's doable.
Why not try the new router suggestion first? I've seen highly rated routers for not much money. You'd have a spare if it wasn't needed.

Seems simpler than drilling/fishing!

This one was mentioned, I added it to my wish list at Amazon, if I ever need one. Good reviews, and $25!

edit to add the link ( DOH! ): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001FWYGJS...D8SVABYEF&th=1

-ERD50
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:31 AM   #19
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Why not try the new router suggestion first? I've seen highly rated routers for not much money. You'd have a spare if it wasn't needed.

Seems simpler than drilling/fishing!

This one was mentioned, I added it to my wish list at Amazon, if I ever need one. Good reviews, and $25!

-ERD50
Is it a secret? You didn't post a link to any router!
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:46 AM   #20
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Is it a secret? You didn't post a link to any router!
YES! I don't want others to buy them all up, or drive the price up!

Nope, just a secret between my fingers and my mind!

Thanks, I posted the link, here too:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001FWYGJS...D8SVABYEF&th=1

-ERD50
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