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MrBlack
Level 2: Rookie

LH1000 & Booster with MacBooks

I have a rather curious problem that has been plaguing us for the past few months. We have 2 MacBooks (2015 and 2018 model) and both continually have issue with connecting to WiFi provided by the LH1000/Booster.

 

Sometimes (20% of the time) they will connect fine to the 5GHz network. 50% of the time they will be able to connect to the 2.4GHz network. But almost all the time they fail to connect and will simply not even try (we have to manually try to connect) and when it does try to connect, it will just loop and ask for the WPA password repeatedly.

 

In almost all cases where they can't connect, rebooting the router fixes the issue and both can connect for a period of time.


I've tried
- manually selecting broadcast channels on the router settings. Again it works for a period of time, then drops out and its impossible to connect again.
- removed/rebooted/reset the network settings on the MacBooks (on one of them I've reinstalled the OS completely)
- I have 3 iMacs that connect to the 5GHz network without issues at all.

 

We have a large number of other Apple devices in the house and they have no issues connecting around the house to the 5GHz network (which is the preferred network obviously)

 

It only seems to be an issue with these MacBooks.

 

Any help with diagnosing or fixing this frustrating problem would be appreciated!

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7 REPLIES 7
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Mkrtich
Level 11: Detective

Re: LH1000 & Booster with MacBooks

In case this helps.

 

Is your Booster a Gen 2 (looks like Modem) or Gen 1 (Disc) type. If Gen 2, it could be a signal strength issue between the Booster and the Modem (wireless backhaul) or a bandwidth  issue associated with the number of network devices, their concurrent usage at any point in time and where they are located within your home.

 

Are your Macbooks in the Booster coverage area of your home or are they moved in between that area and the Gen 2 modem Wi-Fi zone - handover scenarios can be a possible disconnect source. Is one common SSID used for your network and the device chooses the best to connect to? If so, are the Macbooks sharing their connectivity with the iMacs through the Booster or do they mainly link to the Modem's Wi-Fi coverage area?

 

Wi-Fi devices will always try to connect to the strongest band available at the time, so on the Telstra Modem/Booster arrangement, if one SSID, they can alternate, in theory, in between 802.11n 2.4Hz (variable depending on technology e.g.(54 Mbps-800-1300 Mbps), 802.11a 5Ghz (54 Mbps max)  or 802.11ac 5Ghz (1733 Mbps max in case of Gen 2). To ensure quality of connection, strength of signal usually overrules speed.

 

If connectivity is being compromised, it may be slow, if the wireless link in between the Booster and the Modem (provides the SSID) is congested - this may in theory occur if all iMacs, other Apple devices and TV are sharing high bandwidth applications, games or streaming services, consuming the majority of the available bandwidth in the backhaul at the same time. This may also contribute to why Macbooks do not sometimes enjoy continuous connection and then challenged for WPA Password. 

 

Is it possible to connect the Apple iMacs with LAN cables to the Modem to see if any improvement occurs? You could also see if moving the Booster closer to the Modem improves the strength of the backhaul connection from Booster to the Modem.

You may also wish to review the firmware level on the LH1000; last version I have seen on forum in August was v0.08.06r. Not aware of Booster Firmware history. 

MrBlack
Level 2: Rookie

Re: LH1000 & Booster with MacBooks


@Mkrtich wrote:

In case this helps.

 

Is your Booster a Gen 2 (looks like Modem) or Gen 1 (Disc) type. If Gen 2, it could be a signal strength issue between the Booster and the Modem (wireless backhaul) or a bandwidth  issue associated with the number of network devices, their concurrent usage at any point in time and where they are located within your home.

It's a Gen 2 model. I have it connected via Ethernet cable back to the main modem.

Screen Shot 2019-09-22 at 6.06.35 am.png

 


Are your Macbooks in the Booster coverage area of your home or are they moved in between that area and the Gen 2 modem Wi-Fi zone - handover scenarios can be a possible disconnect source. Is one common SSID used for your network and the device chooses the best to connect to? If so, are the Macbooks sharing their connectivity with the iMacs through the Booster or do they mainly link to the Modem's Wi-Fi coverage area?

Most of the time, they are in the Modem's WiFi zone. It uses one common SSID for each 2.4 and 5 GHZ network (no band steering)

The iMac's are predominantly in the Booster coverage area.

 

Wi-Fi devices will always try to connect to the strongest band available at the time, so on the Telstra Modem/Booster arrangement, if one SSID, they can alternate, in theory, in between 802.11n 2.4Hz (variable depending on technology e.g.(54 Mbps-800-1300 Mbps), 802.11a 5Ghz (54 Mbps max)  or 802.11ac 5Ghz (1733 Mbps max in case of Gen 2). To ensure quality of connection, strength of signal usually overrules speed.

You make a good point... perhaps there is too much 'overlap' going on and its struggling to pick a constant signal....

Is there a way to set the signal strength of the booster or is it linked to output power settings on the main modem?

 

If connectivity is being compromised, it may be slow, if the wireless link in between the Booster and the Modem (provides the SSID) is congested - this may in theory occur if all iMacs, other Apple devices and TV are sharing high bandwidth applications, games or streaming services, consuming the majority of the available bandwidth in the backhaul at the same time. This may also contribute to why Macbooks do not sometimes enjoy continuous connection and then challenged for WPA Password. 

As above, they are connected via Ethernet (about 10 meters of cable)

 

Is it possible to connect the Apple iMacs with LAN cables to the Modem to see if any improvement occurs? You could also see if moving the Booster closer to the Modem improves the strength of the backhaul connection from Booster to the Modem.

You may also wish to review the firmware level on the LH1000; last version I have seen on forum in August was v0.08.06r. Not aware of Booster Firmware history. 


WiFi booster firmware is "2.02.60 08" and Modem firmware is 0.08.06r

 

Mkrtich
Level 11: Detective

Re: LH1000 & Booster with MacBooks

My theories probably don't apply in your configuration, the Booster services the three stable iMacs and your backhaul link is an Ethernet Cable (CAT5e/6 @1000 Mbps), so it works for them.The Arcadyan modem connects 10 devices and it supports the Wi-Fi Alliance EasyMesh standard. This allows a Gen 2 modem to act as the Wi-Fi Controller for all connected Gen 2 Boosters which can cross mesh together to provide path diversity when more than one Booster is employed.

 

I had assumed your backhaul was Wireless as depicted in the Gen 2 Booster Quick Start Guide. In the guide, it shows the alternative Ethernet backhaul only for their Gen 1 Modems which require two Boosters (one acting as the Controller substituting for the Modem's Wi-Fi and the second one acting as the extended Access Point. Not sure why Telstra's Gen 2 Booster Guides don't show an Ethernet backhaul for Gen 2 Modems; I also expected them to show an alternative LAN cable connection. Could just be a user convenience assumption by the guide writer or maybe a unknown technical pecularity. 

 

Generally, Telstra modems come set at default at 100% Wi-Fi power for the 2.4 Ghz and 5Ghz Radios in their folio pages, so your two Macbooks which are likely being connected to the modem along with the other eight devices, should get a decent signal strength but may drift off towards the Booster depending on their location in home and mobility as Booster signals would also be entering the modem's coverage area. I don't know if you can see any data on the Booster within the Modem's Admin Screens or log into the Booster's IP address. 

It may be just a random phenomenon of Wi-Fi, not sure. 

 

@343GuiltySpark- any ideas or experience with Wi-Fi disconnections involving Gen2 Booster connected with LAN cable backhaul to Gen 2 Modem? I got the impression from the Quick Start Guide, the backhaul may be preferred as wireless, but can't see why the Ethernet backhaul to a Gen 2 modem used in this case would be troublesome. 

Level 24: Supreme Being
Level 24: Supreme Being

Re: LH1000 & Booster with MacBooks

Can the WiFi channel in the boosters be changed. If it can set the channel used by the modem and channels used by booster so that there is at least 3 channels separation.

MrBlack
Level 2: Rookie

Re: LH1000 & Booster with MacBooks


@cf4 wrote:

Can the WiFi channel in the boosters be changed. If it can set the channel used by the modem and channels used by booster so that there is at least 3 channels separation.


As far as I can see, there is no seperate setting for the Booster channels. They follow the main modem WiFi channel settings.

MrBlack
Level 2: Rookie

Re: LH1000 & Booster with MacBooks


@Mkrtich

So, I have made a change to the Output power in the settings (from 100% to 75%).... I can't tell if this changes it for both the Booster and the Modem of just the modem

 

Without jumping the gun here, I think this may have provided some sort of solution. Since I made the change this morning, the MacBooks have been able to connect to the 5GHz network straight up and stay connected.

 

There also seems to be more devices connected to the Main modem now, instead of the Booster

 

Screen Shot 2019-09-23 at 1.02.39 pm.png

 

I'll give it about a week though before I celebrate.....

Mkrtich
Level 11: Detective

Re: LH1000 & Booster with MacBooks

Thanks for the feedback and a good to know discovery. Initially, it sounds counter intuitive, but if stability keeps up then that is what matters. Sometimes when signals are too strong they can intersect with other Wi-Fi transmissions causing poor zone coverage spots or bounce back off walls and cause unforeseen problems. I think the modem acts as the Controller for the Booster but I have no knowledge about accessing the Booster directly for administration purposes.

 

Using your screen shot as a benchmark, if you ever change the power settings again in the future, you will be able to check and see if the Booster power signal values change.  Current signal strengths appear to be in between the 'Very Good(-67) to Amazing Zone(-30)'  #, the theory being that a 3dBm improvement (e.g. -66 dBm to -63 DBm ) delivers double the signal strength.

Without knowing what the modem change from 100% to 75% actually does in the modem's program, it may or may not mean much of a difference in actual power output of the radios. Linear relationships do not always apply. 

 

# In case of interest - https://www.metageek.com/training/resources/wifi-signal-strength-basics.html

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