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Old 02-21-2015, 09:03 PM
 
79 posts, read 200,133 times
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The last several weeks I've been having major internet slowdown on my laptop and phone, and after hours of troubleshooting, I discovered the problem is likely another resident's WiFi router causing interference. When I notified the landlord, she said they have nothing to do with "internet service wifi" (which are two different things), and to contact my internet provider (Comcast) for troubleshooting. The problem is Comcast has nothing to do with WiFi, and will charge me if they have to troubleshoot it, even if they discover another resident is causing WiFi interference.

TL;DR: I'll describe below what I did to troubleshoot it (it gets technical so you can skip it if you wish), but my concern is the landlord being oblivious not only to the difference of internet and WiFi but to the notion that they're responsible for residents not interfering with other resident's use of WiFi. There are now 18 WiFi routers in range that I can detect on my phone, whereas years ago there was between 1 and 3. It's not specifically mentioned in the lease, but WiFi interference can become a problem and landlords should be responsible for ensuring residents aren't causing a problem. If they are using devices too powerful for their space or outside of FCC regulations (which are there to prevent interference), then they can be definitely causing a problem.

How do I deal with this with the landlord? I've already replied clarifying the issue and asking them to pass it to the owner, but I've hit brick walls with them before and they've gotten angry or just ignored my protests.

What I did to troubleshoot (technical): I first tested the internet speed on a wired computer (which is always connected to the router, along with a gaming console). It tested at 85-100Mbps (I'm paying $65 to Comcast for what I thought was 20Mbps, but maybe they've upped it or boosted it or whatever). The gaming console runs multiplayer just fine. Normally my wireless devices run 8-20Mbps, which is more than adequate. I have a smartphone, a laptop, and an iPod touch, among other wireless devices, all of which run any variety of media, including video. Now when I test any of them, they get up to maybe 6Mpbs max but only within a foot or two of the router, no matter where it is or what's around it, even on a second backup router that I've had stashed in a box and ran great before, and no matter which channel it's set to. More than a few feet away and it drops to 1Mbps or less, and the internet basically becomes unusable even for loading a page, and I work at home sometimes.

I'm looking for tools to troubleshoot, and I've used these so far: Android WiFi Analyzer, Fing, Ookla; for Windows I want to try inSSIDer but I need to read more about it's quality before paying for it.

Any advice would be great.
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Old 02-22-2015, 04:52 AM
 
Location: Someplace Wonderful
5,170 posts, read 3,729,458 times
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Why do you think this is the landlord's problem?

Sincerely, purchase some metal foil and cover the wall between you and your neighbor to block his signal and contain yours. After all, you may be interfering with his signal as well.

Believe it or not, this is not an uncommon problem with wifi, which is, after all, just a low powered radio signal. Interference between radio transmitters happens. Never had issues driving around listening to your car radio, and hearing two stations interfere with eachother?

An alternative is to speak with your neighbor and determine if you are both broadcasting on the same frequency. Then one of you changes channels (frequencies) and life becomes good.

But no I dont believe it is the landlords problem to assure that your your internet or your wifi is behaving optimally.
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:48 AM
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Location: Ohio
16,417 posts, read 32,230,996 times
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The best course of action from a technical standpoint would be to adjust your own router to operate on a different channel.

How to boost your WiFi speed by choosing the right channel | ExtremeTech
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:22 AM
 
Location: (six-cent-dix-sept)
3,976 posts, read 1,943,310 times
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same happens with me using xbmc and my fedora server. moving the router a few inches helps as well sometimes.
(perhaps i have some metal brackets under the floor boards ?)
what i do to troubleshoot is scp a large file while moving/ changing channels on the router and wait a few minutes for the bits/s to fluctuate.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:30 AM
 
Location: (six-cent-dix-sept)
3,976 posts, read 1,943,310 times
Reputation: 2440
Quote:
Originally Posted by dhinged View Post
The last several weeks I've been having major internet slowdown on my laptop and phone, and after hours of troubleshooting, I discovered the problem is likely another resident's WiFi router causing interference. When I notified the landlord, she said they have nothing to do with "internet service wifi" (which are two different things), and to contact my internet provider (Comcast) for troubleshooting. The problem is Comcast has nothing to do with WiFi, and will charge me if they have to troubleshoot it, even if they discover another resident is causing WiFi interference.

TL;DR: I'll describe below what I did to troubleshoot it (it gets technical so you can skip it if you wish), but my concern is the landlord being oblivious not only to the difference of internet and WiFi but to the notion that they're responsible for residents not interfering with other resident's use of WiFi. There are now 18 WiFi routers in range that I can detect on my phone, whereas years ago there was between 1 and 3. It's not specifically mentioned in the lease, but WiFi interference can become a problem and landlords should be responsible for ensuring residents aren't causing a problem. If they are using devices too powerful for their space or outside of FCC regulations (which are there to prevent interference), then they can be definitely causing a problem.

How do I deal with this with the landlord? I've already replied clarifying the issue and asking them to pass it to the owner, but I've hit brick walls with them before and they've gotten angry or just ignored my protests.

What I did to troubleshoot (technical): I first tested the internet speed on a wired computer (which is always connected to the router, along with a gaming console). It tested at 85-100Mbps (I'm paying $65 to Comcast for what I thought was 20Mbps, but maybe they've upped it or boosted it or whatever). The gaming console runs multiplayer just fine. Normally my wireless devices run 8-20Mbps, which is more than adequate. I have a smartphone, a laptop, and an iPod touch, among other wireless devices, all of which run any variety of media, including video. Now when I test any of them, they get up to maybe 6Mpbs max but only within a foot or two of the router, no matter where it is or what's around it, even on a second backup router that I've had stashed in a box and ran great before, and no matter which channel it's set to. More than a few feet away and it drops to 1Mbps or less, and the internet basically becomes unusable even for loading a page, and I work at home sometimes.

I'm looking for tools to troubleshoot, and I've used these so far: Android WiFi Analyzer, Fing, Ookla; for Windows I want to try inSSIDer but I need to read more about it's quality before paying for it.

Any advice would be great.
this pretty rudimentary but what I sometimes do is boot up a linux live-usb on my laptop while running something like:
Quote:
while [ 1 ]
do
iwconfig wlan0 | egrep "ESSID|Quality"
sudo iwlist wlan0 scan | egrep "ESSID|Quality"
sleep 5
done
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:58 AM
 
79 posts, read 200,133 times
Reputation: 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckmann View Post
Why do you think this is the landlord's problem?

Sincerely, purchase some metal foil and cover the wall between you and your neighbor to block his signal and contain yours. After all, you may be interfering with his signal as well.

Believe it or not, this is not an uncommon problem with wifi, which is, after all, just a low powered radio signal. Interference between radio transmitters happens. Never had issues driving around listening to your car radio, and hearing two stations interfere with eachother?

An alternative is to speak with your neighbor and determine if you are both broadcasting on the same frequency. Then one of you changes channels (frequencies) and life becomes good.

But no I dont believe it is the landlords problem to assure that your your internet or your wifi is behaving optimally.
You want me to put tinfoil all over my walls? I'm surrounded by neighbors to the south, east, and west, 15 total, and there's 18 routers in range; would you enjoy having people come over and seeing the tinfoil all over your walls? Me neither. As far as me interfering, sure, but it's been fine for the last 2-1/2 years; as I stated in the original post, the problem started manifesting several weeks ago and I've troubleshooted everything I could think of to see if it's my fault (since I can fix it if it is) and it's all pointing to someone else's interference, especially considering there's more routers in range here than there are surrounding apartments (at the very least indicating someone has an over-powerful router).

While this may not be an uncommon problem, it hasn't been a problem over 2-1/2 years until the last several weeks. Yes, I've rarely had issues driving where two stations interfered, and this has usually only happened when crossing city boundaries or being in the boonies.

I can speak with the neighbors, but they've reported me to management for doing that with other problems (like noise), they deny everything, say everything's fine, and the management says to contact them first; well, I did, and they didn't understand the difference between internet and wifi and said "pay Comcast to fix it for you", which they can't do if someone else's WiFi is interfering with mine, that is primarily the responsibility of the landlord, who thinks it isn't because they've obviously not dealt with WiFi interference issues.

It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure people's WiFi/electronic devices/routers are not interfering with other people's WiFi/electronic devices/routers, otherwise the resident has to deal with disputes which can get nasty. It's the whole reason they put rules in the lease; so they can deal with it, such as the rule to have pets on a leash outside. If that weren't in the lease, chaos would ensue and someone's pets or neighbor would get hurt or shot.
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:03 AM
 
79 posts, read 200,133 times
Reputation: 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo View Post
The best course of action from a technical standpoint would be to adjust your own router to operate on a different channel.

How to boost your WiFi speed by choosing the right channel | ExtremeTech
I've already done that; I usually do that. My router is currently on a channel that no other routers are on: 7. It was originally set to "Auto" which unfortunately just keeps it on "1" all the time, where most of the routers already are. I've read that the only truly separate channels are 1, 6, and 11 (the rest have some crossover), so I try to use those if they're empty otherwise I use a channel with the least routers on it and around it. I'm not a newb to this, I've been working with the innards of computer hardware and software for decades; I've done everything I can think of and read about and take advice for, and nothing is presenting itself as a problem I can fix, the only thing consistent appears to be interference.

Thanks for the link, I'll read it, but I've already chosen the channel of least resistance, and choosing other channels has not helped (and I typically haven't had problems regardless of the channel selected). I just think there is one device in range that is causing a problem from someone else's apartment.

Last edited by davetah; 02-22-2015 at 09:12 AM..
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:07 AM
 
79 posts, read 200,133 times
Reputation: 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by stanley-88888888 View Post
same happens with me using xbmc and my fedora server. moving the router a few inches helps as well sometimes.
(perhaps i have some metal brackets under the floor boards ?)
what i do to troubleshoot is scp a large file while moving/ changing channels on the router and wait a few minutes for the bits/s to fluctuate.
I've moved the router to various places, inches/feet away; nothing helps, same glitchy connection. One strange thing I have noticed is that the speed rapidly jumps back and forth between slow and fast, when normally I can see a gradual movement; this is an indication to me that interference is "bursting" from something, getting in the way, which I'd assume is coming from an overpowered/illegal wireless device in another apartment (I tried it with all devices turned off except for the modem, router, and my phone and/or laptop). Considering how people tend to (unwittingly?) buy overpowered equipment for apartments, such as speakers, my guess is someone has bought some "superpowered!" router because it looked flashy, which they don't need, is meant for a house, and is now interfering with my signals. Unfortunately the landlord won't tell me if anyone else has reported the problem, so I'm left to asking the neighbors, which shouldn't be my responsibility.
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:10 AM
 
79 posts, read 200,133 times
Reputation: 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by stanley-88888888 View Post
this pretty rudimentary but what I sometimes do is boot up a linux live-usb on my laptop while running something like:
Thanks, I will try this. This is the first good suggestion I've read here (and I appreciate you actually reading and understanding my post).

Which version of Linux are you running on the USB? I can load that to my ThinkPad T60p (Windows 7 bootstrap) but I've had trouble trying some versions.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:12 AM
 
79 posts, read 200,133 times
Reputation: 53
I ran WirelessNetView and found a ton of information on WiFis... I can't tell if the problem is coming from any one of these WiFis (including my own), but one thing that stood out is there are a bunch of xfinity-wifis, which I'm not sure are coming from Comcast-provided residential routers or "free" nodes they've installed somewhere (or are running as unique secondary SSIDs on the residents' routers, which is heinous in my opinion).
Attached Thumbnails
Resident's WiFi router possibly interfering with my own, landlord oblivious-wirelessnetview-routers-1.png  
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